In a sharp contrast to Colorado University’s recent ban on 4/20, Nepal lifted a ban on smoking cannabis last weekend for the Shivartri Festival held in the Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple.
Normally, cannabis is illegal in Nepal, yet the Shivarati Festival, which draws close to a million Hindu devotees into the streets to smoke cannabis in the temple is permitted by the government of Nepal.
“After I smoke I get a feeling that I have overcome worldly pleasure and dissolved myself in the universe,” holy man Mahant Ramnaresh Giri told Reuters.
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva the God of creation and destruction, entered the forest by the temple to smoke cannabis, cover himself in ash and roam around high with a snake on his head.
Sadhu ascetics in Nepal celebrate this ritual annually in order to clear themselves of sin and reserve a place for their soul in heaven.
Krishna Nanda, a 23-year-old Romanian holy man wearing only a cloth and studding Sanskrit in India, explained how he felt after smoking cannabis in the temple for the first time.
“I love everything in society and god … I am always happy,” Nanda said.