Jason and I will be exploring the traditional sacramental cannabis cultures of Asia on a forthcoming episode of Curious About Cannabis. So I was nicely surprised to see that the British Museum has just opened an amazing exhibition, Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution, that’s also available to view online.
Tantric cultures – whether Hindu, Buddhist, or indeed Muslim – are a crucial part of the mix out of which emerged iconic figures of cannabis culture such as the dreadlocked chillum-smoking sadhus we all know and love. On the forthcoming episode we’ll be looking at the explosive and prolific encounter between Persianate and Indic culture in the Medieval Muslim Era, which is when cannabis began to feature ‘bigly’ in the ascetic milieu of South Asia. We’ll also be looking at what all that might mean for cannabis culture in the West, whether ‘the counterculture’ or people involved in meditation practice, be that mindfulness, yoga, or things still more esoteric.
For a discussion of this painting, see David Gordon White’s fascinating lecture, ‘Yogi, Jackal, and Goddess in Hindu Tantric Yoga‘.