BELAGAVI – As Karnataka police is cracking down in many parts of the state against drug-peddlers, reports have come out that marijuana is being served as prasada in some temples of North Karnataka.
Among Sharana, Aruda, Shaptha and Avadhuta traditions, devotees consume marijuana or ganja in various forms to achieve enlightenment, reported Times of India.
In Mouneshwara temple at Tinthini, Yadgir district, a large number of devotees, who gather during the annual fair in January, come to receive a small packet of ganja as prasada which they smoke after praying to Mouneshwara or Manappa.
Gangadhar Nayak, a member of the temple committee, said ganja is widely used here. But Nayak denied the temple sells ganja to outsiders for recreational purposes.
“The usage is traditional as Mouneshwara introduced it (marijuana) to people. The devotees and saints believe this sacred grass shows the path to enhancing knowledge of spirituality. During the fair, anybody can come here and smoke. While some eat ganja after boiling it, others consume it like tobacco powder,” he said.
Elsewhere, Mahantesh K, who is into the Sharana tradition and visits various temples and mutts in Raichur and Yadgir, said that in the Ambha Mutt at Sindhanur taluk of Raichur district, this tradition can be seen.
“I believe ganja helps achieve a kind of infinite happiness. It’s not addictive. Many smoke once a week or day and meditate,” said Mahantesh, adding most users are healthy considering it has medicinal values.
Meenakshi Bale, a professor researching Sharana community, believes people who smoke at these temples are not addicts. Respecting traditions, police appear to keep their distance from such temples and turn a blind eye unless a complaint is filed.
“We’re now starting to crack down wherever it is available. I’m not aware of temples or mutts particularly, but if we receive information we will raid them,” said Raichur SP Prakash Nityam.