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Kaljug

Possible Reasons For Sukh Nidhaan

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

I suppose I should do the responsible thing first and declare that sukh nidhaan is not for everyone, neither should any Sikh take nasha without purpose, nor should this discussion turn into Nihang bashing.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with some very high level BJJ practitioners recently who are amazing athletes and who also regularly take cannabis (they smoke it) to improve their performance. I happened to mention - when I was not being choked out or twisted into some obscure yogic asana - that there are Sikhs who have taken cannabis, though prepared in a particular and sacred way, during war to improve their battle prowess, and I was naturally very interested in what they had to say as it may shed light on the reasons Singhs took sukh nidhaan.

(I won't mention names, but it's no secret that MMA fighter and BJJ prodigy Eddie Bravo and some of his students have talked about their use of cannabis also for improved performance in the ring and on the mat.)

I was told that the primary use they find for the substance was that it improves "flow", that is uninhibited and unconscious movement from one position to another to establish dominance over the opponent. (Naturally, this automatic movement to a superior position comes after intense discipline and hours of dedicated time drilling these movements beforehand.) I felt that this explanation of flowing from move to move described rather aptly the way that good Gatka or Shastar Vidiya experts move - in circles and coils rather than in simple and choppy straight lines.

One of them also described how he found it useful for buffering the adrenalin rush that occurs during the first few seconds, and sometimes minutes, of a bout, and that most of his fights were over by this time due to the inability of his opponent to muster his full fighting abilities for this crucial period. The same guy believed that cannabis improved his stamina because he did not feel the adrenalin dump that occurs after these first few moments (and in between bouts if he had multiple matches) affected him as much.

However, they were also the first to admit that too much indulgence can have the opposite effect, and I felt they gave little consideration to any longterm ill effects of their habit.

I found the conversation quite illuminating given that I've always had the impression of people who partake of this herb to be lazy, unmotivated, lacking in coordination and mentally slow - these men were athletes, and world class ones at that.

It would be inteesting to know if any of the reasons they gave me bore any similarity to the reasons Singhs sometimes took sukh nidhaan before battles, and especially interesting to discover whether the other herbs that are placed in sukh nidhaan are there to counter the adverse side effects of the most controversial ingredient.

When I have the time (and when I can move my elbow again!) I hope to research the effects of the ingredients of sukh nidhaan from an ayurvedic point of view and determine whether this is the case.

Regards,

K.

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Smoking cannabis is an idiots game. Its affects cannot be compared to Sukh Nidhaan.

I personally knew intelligent 3 people who have become paranoid schizophrenics - one is dead, one is a secure home and one is living a very low quality life. All 3 were 'cannabis' pleasure seekers. The research into the effects of cannabis and schizophrenia is huge, in many cases it has affected low consumption users.

Sukh Nidhaan was primarily used as a pain killer. It helped Singhs to sleep with painful condition (and thus rest/repair) wounds etc gained through training and/or fighting. It also helped Singhs do extreme seva/travelling without feeling ill effect - if one spends time in a chhawnee in India today (esp at Holla Mohalla etc) the Nihangs amritvela, simran, NITNEM and then continuos seva will blow your mind...

We must not forget that Cannais is only one indredient (the most subtle - 5 leaves) in Degh. Milk, Almonds, Gudh etc are responsible for providing a complete super nutritious food.

The cannabis maryada 5 patai is a hugely subtle intake of a medicine in a very different way to 'smoking' pure cannabis.

The only thing that can be compared correctly to your friends above use of cannabis, esp in pre-war/fight conditions is the use of alchohol in my opinion. Last I remember, it has always been traditional for the Sikh regiment to take a 'shot' of whiskey before entering war to 'calm the nerves'. I recall having come across some old rehitnama or ithihaas that stated Singhs did or can take a shot of liquer before war (I am not promoting this before anyone gets excited), I will try and trace the reference.

Edited by shaheediyan

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Smoking cannabis is an idiots game. Its affects cannot be compared to Sukh Nidhaan.

I agree with the first part, not so sure about the second part given that some puraatan accounts describe the intoxicating effects of sukh nidhaan.

I guess I should have made it clear that I don't endorse smoking cannabis (or anything for that matter) for Sikhs or for anyone else.

I personally knew intelligent 3 people who have become paranoid schizophrenics - one is dead, one is a secure home and one is living a very low quality life. All 3 were 'cannabis' pleasure seekers. The research into the effects of cannabis and schizophrenia is huge, in many cases it has affected low consumption users.

I think this has a lot to do with the ever increasing strength of cannabis sold on the street, but I personally feel that cannabis is a lot more dangerous than most people believe, especially for young adults who do not have the maturity to balance substance use with the demands of everyday life. I know a lot of Punjabi kids who seem to think that smoking a doda or two is nothing different to their dad drinking a shot of whisky before bed.

Sukh Nidhaan was primarily used as a pain killer. It helped Singhs to sleep with painful condition (and thus rest/repair) wounds etc gained through training and/or fighting. It also helped Singhs do extreme seva/travelling without feeling ill effect - if one spends time in a chhawnee in India today (esp at Holla Mohalla etc) the Nihangs amritvela, simran, NITNEM and then continuos seva will blow your mind...

Agreed, though I believe that sukh nidhaan has many more uses than as a painkiller although this may be its primary use. I also personally believe that it is detrimental to any Sikh who does not have the same dedication to seva and bhagti that the Nihangs have, and even if they do, it is still better not to take it regularly in the West where we do not exactly live in the condition of Nihangs.

The only thing that can be compared correctly to your friends above use of cannabis, esp in pre-war/fight conditions is the use of alchohol in my opinion. Last I remember, it has always been traditional for the Sikh regiment to take a 'shot' of whiskey before entering war to 'calm the nerves'. I recall having come across some old rehitnama or ithihaas that stated Singhs did or can take a shot of liquer before war (I am not promoting this before anyone gets excited), I will try and trace the reference.

Alcohol's effects are pretty shortlived in comparison to the oral use of cannabis - I don't think a slug of whisky is going to do much more than dull the initial adrenalin effects at the commencement of a battle. On the other hand, sukh nidhaan which contains a small quantity of cannabis and is ingested orally, will calm nerves when the battle begins but also counter the long term effects of the cortisol (the stress hormone) response that occurs with the rises and crashes of adrenalin.

Anyway, this is all theory, and I'd like to talk to some Nihangs who take sukh nidhaan regularly to understand their reasons.

By the by, I'd appreciate it if you'd post up the rehat that permits alcohol before battle if you find it. I recall reading something similar, though I don't remember where. My own personal feeling is that the only intoxicant that is completely forbidden to Sikhs is tobacco, and that it would not break one's rehat if one were for example a pilot in the airforce (the US or Khalistan) and had to take something like methedrine to stay awake for 24 hour+ flight missions.

Regards,

K.

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I don't think you will get the scientific answers you are looking from via real Nihangs.

They will simply say this is the 'Degh' prescribed by Shamshere Pita, end of. And thats all that matters really, that it is used specifically by Jungi Khalsa should be all the explanation we need, although you raise some interesting points.

Maybe you could do some 'experiments' on the Nihangs, lol!

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I don't think you will get the scientific answers you are looking from via real Nihangs.

They will simply say this is the 'Degh' prescribed by Shamshere Pita, end of. And thats all that matters really, that it is used specifically by Jungi Khalsa should be all the explanation we need, although you raise some interesting points.

Maybe you could do some 'experiments' on the Nihangs, lol!

Yes, well the fact that Degh was established by Dasmesh Pita for the chardikala of his Singhs doesn't seem to precent ignorant Sikhs denigrating this ancient practice. As such, I think it would be beneficial to examine and explain the reasons for Shaheedi Degh being prescribed.

Various sorts of herbs and drugs, some intoxicating and other not, have been used by peoples engaged in war since war itself began, from the Viking Beserkers who went into their rage on a combination of mead and the amanita mushroom, to Singhs who became intoxicated on sukh nidhaan and afeem to do battle with war elephants, and all the way to modern day pilots in the US airforce who are given methedrine to keep the awake and alert during flight missions that last more than 24 hours or more. I feel the only reason that some Sikhs don't understand the use of Degh is because they have never had to fight a war before, and because some of them seem to suffer from the delusion that puraatan Singhs all lived on air and sunshine, and could fight for days without effort on this diet, that none of them felt even a glimmer of pain when they were stabbed, shot or slashed, and never suffered a bout of indigestion.

The science is one thing I'm interested in, but there is plenty of room in ethnobotanical research for anecdotal evidence. It would be very illuminating to hear first hand accounts from NIhangs of how sukh nidhaan affects their seva, bhagti and battle prowess (real or simulated).

Regards,

K.

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On 10/16/2009 at 12:12 PM, Kaljug said:

Yes, well the fact that Degh was established by Dasmesh Pita for the chardikala of his Singhs doesn't seem to precent ignorant Sikhs denigrating this ancient practice. As such, I think it would be beneficial to examine and explain the reasons for Shaheedi Degh being prescribed.

Various sorts of herbs and drugs, some intoxicating and other not, have been used by peoples engaged in war since war itself began, from the Viking Beserkers who went into their rage on a combination of mead and the amanita mushroom, to Singhs who became intoxicated on sukh nidhaan and afeem to do battle with war elephants, and all the way to modern day pilots in the US airforce who are given methedrine to keep the awake and alert during flight missions that last more than 24 hours or more. I feel the only reason that some Sikhs don't understand the use of Degh is because they have never had to fight a war before, and because some of them seem to suffer from the delusion that puraatan Singhs all lived on air and sunshine, and could fight for days without effort on this diet, that none of them felt even a glimmer of pain when they were stabbed, shot or slashed, and never suffered a bout of indigestion.

The science is one thing I'm interested in, but there is plenty of room in ethnobotanical research for anecdotal evidence. It would be very illuminating to hear first hand accounts from NIhangs of how sukh nidhaan affects their seva, bhagti and battle prowess (real or simulated).

Regards,

K.

.

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my experiments with sukhnidhaan tell me that yes it does increase concentration , yes tehre is a feeling of just the 'head' existing and ther rest of the body as a jsut a part you can drag along.Yes it is like a pain killer. HOWEVER, BEWARE IT HAS HUGE EFFECTS ON MEMORY.

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I'm certain sukhnidhan is part of traditions in war, but what i still don't get its, how is it justifed as not being kurehit? Is it no longer defined as being nasha as its purpose is different?

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Interesting discussion.

I spoke to a Nirmala Mahapurush from Daya Singh Samparda,

he shed alot of light on this,

basically he said Sukha is not/was not used by householders (except in times of war),

he said that householders now have no understanding of these traditions

because they have never fought wars, nor have they done hard bhagti in jungles sitting in one posture,

he said that Sukha/Bhang prashad were taken by non-brahmgiani beginner sadhus who were doing long meditations

seated in one posture like for days at a time and who weren't used to the rigours of such harsh practise,

the Sukha helped them to concentrate and overcome the bodily pain and environmental factors,

when they were accustomed to the penance they would decrease and stop it's use.

This ability to help one overcome environmental harshness etc fits in with the plight of the Singhs

who lived in jungles and such, the bottom line is that it was/is for warriors and sadhus and modern householders

have no understanding of the practical difficulties faced in either occupation.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Nice info, veer ji! Thanks very much for sharing. I hope you stick around and share your insights more regularly. :D

Warm regards,

K.

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We have bigger fish to fry (and pakoray for all the veggie 'massive').

The biggest nashay we have to deal with are kam, krodh, and hankaar...... I think these nashay are lesser in comparison and I'm not justifying anything before it is taken on that tangent.

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Has this brother taken too much Sukha? The way he is rambling reminds me of some friends who have done too much of the stuff. He seems to be in the middle of a strong buzz to me. My Panjabi is pretty mediocre but I couldn't make out what he was trying to say very clearly, can anyone help?

The boli that the other guy does is interesting.

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/sukha-boli-anandpur-sahib-shaheed-bagh-part-1/12742661

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Has this brother taken too much Sukha? The way he is rambling reminds me of some friends who have done too much of the stuff. He seems to be in the middle of a strong buzz to me. My Panjabi is pretty mediocre but I couldn't make out what he was trying to say very clearly, can anyone help?

The boli that the other guy does is interesting.

http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/sukha-boli-anandpur-sahib-shaheed-bagh-part-1/12742661

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

LOL, he looks intoxicated, but I know people who have never done any kind of drugs who talk like that (I can't make out what the Nihang is saying eiother). It's impossible to say whether he is intoxicated without having a video of him when he is not grinding Sukha to compare.

That boli is great!

K.

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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

LOL, he looks intoxicated, but I know people who have never done any kind of drugs who talk like that (I can't make out what the Nihang is saying eiother). It's impossible to say whether he is intoxicated without having a video of him when he is not grinding Sukha to compare.

That boli is great!

K.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Kee Fateh!

Kalyug, the way he is rambling and losing his train of thought is exactly like people who smoke weed do. Towards the end he sort of interrupts the Singh doing the boli when he recalls something he feels is important but then makes no clear point. You can hear him saying something like ..."I can't remember" .....again short term memory loss is something associated with excessive weed consumption. By the way I am not puritanically against the practice myself, incase my words are taken that way.

I found this interesting bit in McLeod's translation of Prem Sumarag (Page 61)

Never take intoxicants (amal). If however, you should happen to do so, take the following. If you have consumed the apheem variety of opium, eat an equivalent quantity of large grained mung [dhaal] of the best quality, seasoned with spices (masala). If masala is not available, drink 3 masas [referenced as approx. 1 gram] of plain bhang (cannabis). If you have taken opium of the post variety, soak two and a half small flowers in [in water] and drink the resulting concoction.

He who takes medicinal drugs (daru) shall be cast into the deepest hell (kumbhi narak). Even though he takes them as remedies (ilaaj) [for some ailment] he shall never obtain the blessings of the Sikh faith.

Taking intoxicants is prohibited because they make the body lazy and induce one to neglect naam and world obligations. They prevent one from attending to those duties, drawing one to harmful drugs and developing a tasty addiction. Once an addiction is established there is no escaping evil drugs.

If you must take [intoxicants] then do so when yo have leisure and no essential work. If you must take them, do so in secret. Let no one see you.

If you eat bhang add two and a half masas of spices, comprising cloves, nutmeg, pepper, mace saffron and husk. Then it will do no harm

Here ends the 5th chapter of Shri Prem Sumarag. Protect me in all my doings.

Shame we haven't got the original text to compare.

Edited by dalsingh101

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Reading the earlier posts had me looking into some old rehats. Found the following regarding intoxicants.

A Khalsa should never be without a weapon. Do not pray without having your weapons with you. Intoxicating liquor may be taken before battle, but otherwise should be avoided. In battle a Khalsa should never be defeated. Sustain the spirit which declares, 'I shall kill the enemy!' In a fight, never turn your back or flee from the field of battle. In battle a Singh should roar like a lion. Let him do the deeds of a Kshatriya, crying "kill!, kill!" as he fights. Never wield a weapon against another Singh. Desa Singh Rahit from McLeod's translation.

From the same source:

Keep away from poisonous substances (bikhaya). Avoid the hookah, the tobacco bowl on a hookah, tobacco (tamaku), cannabis (charas), hemp (ganja), toddy and other intoxicating things. It is however acceptable to take small amounts of opium or bhang.

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i've tried cannibis, smoked it SOMETIMES in the days before i became a sikh.

the negative effects on concentration are absolutely devastating. and i didn't even smoke very much. it took a long time to recover from them, which is why I become concerned at attempts to normalise peoples views on sukha (used in the traditional sense). I see a lot of curiosity among young people, many of them just looking for an excuse to indulge.

Edited by Xylitol

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Confession time, hats off to Xylt for leading the way: I have tried cannabis a few times when a student. I have met lots of people who have used it over time also.

Whilst I do believe in small doses it can help SOME people to think in dimensions that they wouldn't otherwise. It DOES have serious negative effects if used excessively or too frequently. I have noticed that it can be a trigger that exacerbates existing mental health problems too. I have seen long term users turn into schiziophrenics, this is indisputable. One guy I used to go uni with would have paranoid schizio episodes after just a few puffs of a joint. He would start hearing voices and imagining all sorts of stuff. This would last for days and that was after just a few lung fulls of the stuff. Tiny amounts can have have massive effects for those with existing conditions.

I have NEVER understood how cannabis could ever be some sort of aid to a warrior IN battle myself. It does make one lethargic with physical reaction times slowing the hell down. Perceptions of time become seriously skewed. I can understand how people may use it as a relaxant between battles but other than that....(I have read that the Afghan army use cannabis and opium extensively in their free time, but am not sure if this is western propaganda?)

When I did it and tried to read some text, I would not be able too as I would struggle to keep concentration and nothing of what I was reading would stick in my memory. That is another thing. Long term abuser's memory seems to get shot to pieces. Talking from a neurology point of view - it seems to weaken the creation of neural pathways or traces that lead to memory. Recall itsef is also effected and people seem to take much longer to retrieve things from their memory.

From my experience, I would say (on reflection), it is better for Sikhs to keep the prohibitions against such substances. Overall, as a quom, we are better off promoting an intoxicant free life with good food and physical activity. I say this knowing full well that for a serious amount of the Panjabi Sikh community (my own clan included), frequent alcohol lubrication is a norm. I believe originally this may have been some sort of method to gain respite from hardcore physical work for some farmers or builders, but now it is more of a cultural thing that is so ingrained within family social dynamics, it doesn't look like it is going to go away any time soon.

Edited by dalsingh101

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Xylitol, 5 pathe maryada prepared Shaheedi degh in a big bhatta cannot be compared to - 'smoking' cannibis. The quantity of the drug consumed and its method of consumption are totally incomparable.

It would be like comparing someone having a cup of white tea Vs someone chewing copious amounts of Kola nut (to give a caffeine consumption example).

dalsingh, don't worry, as a 'quom' Nihang traditions are frowned upon, the quom is safe, and so are the puratan Nihang traditions.

Edited by shaheediyan

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when I used to occasionally smoke, I would have 3 puffs, maybe 4 max. that's still a lot more than 5 patte in a big batta. but it just goes to show that surprisingly small amounts can over time cause long lasting effects.

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Guest Matheen

Xylitol, 5 pathe maryada prepared Shaheedi degh.....

Singh, in most places these days, the sukha is green in colour - that's not from 5 pathe, or 5 pinches. The effects of smoking and eating are of course different - burning anything releases compounds that would otherwise pass through the body without being digested, or with minimal digestion. However, the effects of drinking modern sukha can be seen wherever you get random groups of Nihungs - totally wasted and in many cases passed out. It's sad, but that's why they have such a negative reputation in Punjab.

There are some researchers who claim that drugs were introduced into the Sikh armies to weaken them - this sort of thing goes on today as well. Who knows? The danger is that many see it as excuse to indulge, especially impressionable kids in the West. I know of a few cases in the UK where one thing has led to another with devastating consequences for the families involved.

We have to question the motives of people who actively promote taking sukha and make it seem indispensible from the Nihang lifestyle, despite the fact that a few Nihung Mahapursh say it is not necessary. Look at the misquotations in the short clip of the up-coming documentary you posted or on sarbloh.info - what's the motivation behind lying to make sukha seem more important than it is.

If sukha was a painkiller, then why the need to consume it out of war? The reply usually given is, "to get used to it" - if you get used to it, it isn't going to kill your pain if you eventually get injured, is it?

Having sparred against people who are high on cannabis, I can only say that if anything, it dulls your reflexes and reactions. Funny thing is that the people who were high at the time felt that they were faster and more focused. For me, it was like watching them in slow motion, lol.

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