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Does Hinduism Prohibit Drinking Alcohol?

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Alcohol has been a topic of interest for ages. People who drink have always found ways and excuses to justify their habit of drinking. Alcohol, almost throughout the world is seen as the best mode of intoxication, relaxation or inebriation. It is a socially accepted habit in most countries while in some others, it is seen as a vide. India happened to be one of the countries where drinking alcohol was a taboo till a decade ago and till now there are regions where alcoholism is not a very accepted habit.

The alcohol taboo is usually attributed to the religious beliefs and practices. For example, Islam prohibits its followers from drinking alcohol. But the question is whether the taboo of drinking alcohol in India is due to religion or not? If not, then what factors make drinking alcohol a taboo in India? Many religious groups are strictly against the use of alcohol and talk about the health hazards, financial problems it causes.

DID YOU KNOW: WHO ARE THE AGHORIS?

So, here we must analyse that does Hinduism prohibits drinking alcohol ? Let us take a close look.

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The Soma Rasa

The mythological stories often mention the use of Soma Rasa, an intoxicating drink which was used to as offering to the Gods during the sacrifices. Indra, the king of the demi-Gods is often portrayed as intoxicated by drinking the Soma.

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Alcohol In Ayurveda

In Hinduism, it has been documented that wines were used as medicines in the ancient system of healing, Ayurveda. But drinking alcohol in large quantities is not prescribed by Ayurveda. Various herbs were fremented and used only for medicinal purposes. Wine was seen as a potent healer in cases of cough and cold but only in the prescribed amounts considered suitable by the healer.

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Alcohol & Hinduism

Many Hindu groups practice celibacy and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking any kind of intoxicationg drug for that matter. In such cases, alcohol becomes a taboo if we go by the religious standards. But on the other hand, there are groups such as the Aghoris and other Tantric cults who regularly use alcohol as part of their puja rituals.

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Is Alcohol Prohibited In Hinduism?

There is no formal prohibition of alcohol in Hinduism, unlike Islam. In fact, a few herbal wines are considered good medicines when taken in right quantities. Hinduism does not prohibit anyone from drinking alcohol as such. But it does ensure that the person uses it in restraint and is aware of its potential side-effects in case of misuse.

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What Hinduism Says About Alcohol?

Hinduism never issues a list of do's or dont's but only provides a balanced view of what is right or wrong. It depends much on individual choice as to what he/she wants to do. Every individual should learn to decide what is good and what is bad instead of getting dictated by some rigid set of rules.

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What Hinduism Says About Alcohol?

One must understand the harmful effects that alcohol misuse may cause to the individual. After that if he still chooses to opt for a life of alcoholism then it can be only attributed to his lack of judgement. A person who indulges in alcoholism ends up losing everything: from his senses to his property and family life. Thus, we may say social factors are more responsible than religion to make alcoholism a taboo in our country.

Read more about: hinduism
Story first published: Friday, September 5, 2014, 13:13 [IST]
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