Indian holy man smoking chillum

The Hindu holy man called “sadhu” seen in this picture seems to be smoking a chillum. A chillum is a smoking device invented in India used to smoke cannabis, charas or hashish. Cannabis (often called the bhang or ganja) is illegal in India however the use of this drug is so ingrained in the culture of India that is difficult to ban it completely. You can read more about Bhang here

Indian holy man smoking chillum
Indian holy man smoking chillum

You’ll be surprised to see “bhang goli” or bhang balls (cannabis balls) being sold on the streets. There are government approved shops in the holy city of Banaras (also known as Varanasi) and other holy cities where people are able to drink “Bhang Lassi” (cannabis milkshake). Bhang is particularly consumed during the festival of Holi as a yoghurt and milk based drink called “Thandai”. As far as the smoking marijuana is concerned, I have tried a few puffs of my great-granddad’s (lived 102 years) hookah (water pipe for smoking) – Didn’t like it and realised that it was not for me. I have however eaten the “bhang goli” a few times – made me laugh a lot for no apparent reason.

Coming back to the holy man in the picture, he’s wearing rudraksha beads on his wrists and gold ring with a coral stone (called moonga in Hindi) in his index finger. The rudraksha beads or rosaries are used extensively in Hindu prayers and can be worn for good luck. I have worn them as well. I can’t say it has done miracles but I have heard good things from those who wear them. The coral stone is a popular stone used in Indian astrology, it is supposed to provide strength and willingness to meet challenges during critical situations.

SMOKING BABAS – Sadhus smoking Marijuana at the Kumbh Mela

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Shalu Sharma

Shalu Sharma is a blogger and a writer from Bihar, India. She is the founder of YouBihar, the Bihar social networking site and writer on tourism in India. Apart from blogging, she is also a mother who does cooking and washing. She also watches movies and read other blogs. You can follow her on .

29 thoughts on “Indian holy man smoking chillum

  • March 16, 2013 at 8:22 am
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    Seen so many of these Shalu!

    We do have some of these babas our end too, though they are mostly around the temple areas, and with their chillums or hookahs. What amazes me most is to see them puff away with such speed, and to think that if we had to take one puff- we would be coughing our lungs out!

    I’ve never tried the chillum, hookah, nor the much talked of bhang (nor the goli, nor the Bhang lassi)- but yes, I could relate to you laughing for no reason as I’ve seen the after effects it has on people who have it 🙂 I’ve told my hubby that this time we should try it during Holi, and just be lost – sometimes you need to do that – isn’t it?

    That was a nice video, something similar to what I saw online too about the smoking babas at the Kumbh.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂 Happy weekend 🙂
    Twitter:

    Reply
    • March 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm
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      Hi Harleena
      They seem to be everywhere. Some of them seem to be habitual smokers. I have tried a few times but smoking is not for me. You should try the Bhang goli at holi time or at least the bhang thandai.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Twitter:

      Reply
    • September 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm
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      Hi, I have a big question here. Why do Agori’s use chillums?

      I know that God Shiva has the power to control the negative energies, is it connected to that?

      He is known to go against the rules of society; hence, his path is opposite to God Vishnu. But, both are family.

      I need to understand the path of Aghori..
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      Reply
  • March 17, 2013 at 6:19 am
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    These people who seem to be holy claim that they have accepted renunciation in their life and are seeking salvation to reach God. But still they are addicted to such addictive things and can’t leave it . Then how they are holy and why are they called and they claim that they are Sadhus I don’t know.

    Reply
    • March 17, 2013 at 9:40 am
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      Hi Vishal
      you have a point. Sometimes we do think that way. Lets talk renunciation. Thank you for your comment.
      Twitter:

      Reply
  • March 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm
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    HI Shalu jee

    I’ve never tried any of the above but Goli if it can make you laugh then may be I can try this one on Holi.
    Shall I?

    Sapna

    Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 3:30 am
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    Oh, look like this holy people becomes a bad example to everyone who look up to them.

    Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 4:57 am
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    I have seen many holy man while smoking chillum, I try to know why holy man smok chillum but I still didn’t get my satisfaction answer.

    Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 6:36 am
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    bhang is very important part of holi !!!!!!Cannabis has Spiritual connection in India.cannabis used in thandai on holi and mahashivratri,,,

    Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 6:59 am
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    Coming back to the holy man in the picture, he’s wearing rudraksha beads on his wrists and gold ring with a coral stone (called moonga in Hindi) in his index finger. The rudraksha beads or rosaries are used extensively in Hindu prayers and can be worn for good luck. I have worn them as well. I can’t say it has done miracles but I have heard good things from those who wear them. The coral stone is a popular stone used in Indian astrology, it is supposed to provide strength and willingness to meet challenges during critical situations.

    Reply
  • March 18, 2013 at 10:29 am
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    yes, I also seen some holy man, they just smoke something (That I wasn’t know before) they just smoking chillum & holy people most of found on haridwar

    Reply
  • March 23, 2013 at 6:41 am
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    yes, Holy Man will smoke chillum because as they dont eat regularly even some purans telling during those time some gods used to smoke those so by this way now holy mans are smoking if anything posted wrong means excuse me

    Reply
  • March 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm
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    Hi Shalu,

    Seeing the picture makes me laugh. We see these types of holy baba in Mazar. I always think how they call themselves holy person by eating chillum.

    Anyway thanks for unique post
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    Reply
  • April 2, 2013 at 11:02 am
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    Indian holy man smoking chillum!! this makes me surprised.This is really ashame really!!!
    holy man smoking!!! what’s that! he is no longer a holy man if he did that!!

    Reply
  • April 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm
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    I’m sorry to tell this but I am not really agree with what this man doing. Smoking was never a good idea to be holy because it is not good for our health. This is not also good for children and for teenagers.

    Reply
  • May 1, 2013 at 9:39 am
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    Native indian sacred man cigarette smoking chillum!! this makes me amazed.This is really ashame really!!!holy man smoking!!! what exactly is that! he is no more a sacred man if he did that!!

    Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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    I’ve always wanted to try out chillum, the pic is great. lol But mainly just stick to hookah for me.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2013 at 11:27 pm
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    I didn’t know cannabis was illegal in India – How can it be illegal when it’s in the culture though?

    Wait, I’m in the US – nevermind 🙂
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    Reply
  • January 14, 2014 at 9:33 am
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    Very interesting story I didn’t know that ganja was an issue and that widely used in India. As the old saying goes, you learn something new everyday!

    Reply
  • March 27, 2014 at 8:34 am
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    He is known to go against the rules of society; hence, his path is opposite to God Vishnu. But, both are family.

    Reply
    • March 19, 2015 at 9:03 am
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      I have answer…
      When you take ganja..you can able to think those things which is not possible to think in normal.and shiv g always in “dhyan mudra” meditation. And after taking goli and ganja. You are able to activate meditation mode. So take ganja at your own risk..

      Reply
  • August 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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    It really is timeless ultimately the result of smoking, it is a bit like decorating, design, this still exists even in the caves of prehistoric man …
    After you will probably tell me that it is the same time as us, but it’s like people living in the Amazon forest, it seems that the time has not advanced in these places there even if I saw a report with a lamp that allowed inform the tribe. They become more educated and they will soon build big houses and have electricity like us!

    Reply
  • February 26, 2015 at 6:36 am
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    hy..these sadhus are mostly lived in India and they called themselves God’s people but I think these are all superstitious…smoking are not good for health. it must be avoided..thanx for sharing this article.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2015 at 9:00 am
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    I have answer…
    When you take ganja..you can able to think those things which is not possible to think in normal.and shiv g always in “dhyan mudra” meditation. And after taking goli and ganja. You are able to activate meditation mode. So take ganja at your own risk..

    Reply
  • April 16, 2015 at 10:53 pm
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    Indian holy man smoking chillum
    wow thats just crazy
    I didn’t know cannabis was illegal in India

    Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm
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    Is it safe for Westerners to take Bhang Goli or Bhang Lassi in India? Are they made with water?
    I am very interested in the spiritual aspects of India for our trip, but I’d like to avoid getting sick.

    Reply

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