Alcohol in Saiva Tradition
April 16, 2013 Comments Off on Alcohol in Saiva Tradition
The time periods allotted for drinking wine and beer should be during a meal (lunch or dinner), or to relax after the day’s dharmic duties are fulfilled. Obviously, one should not drink during the work day, in the office, during puja or in the early morning hours.
Of course, this hardly need be said, but drinking and driving don’t mix. This extends also to other potentially dangerous activities. One would never drink while on the job, especially using industrial equipment, such as saws and drills, as alcohol slows down the reactions of the physical body and the conscious mind. While enjoying a glass or two of wine, one should be in good company. Drinking should bring up the higher nature, of creativity, good ideas, conversation, philosophy, intuitive solutions to the problems of the world, healthy encounters of all kinds. One should not drink when depressed, troubled or with a group that enters into confrontation, argument, contention and criticism, personal, mental and emotional abuse. Therefore, we emphasize good company, good conversation, creativity, relaxation, toward the advancement of humanity and of spirituality. That is what these two substances, wine and beer, have been created on Earth by Lord Siva Himself to produce. Of course, imbibing even wine and beer falls under the restraint of mitahara. To overindulge would be unacceptable.
One should not drink alone, not even a glass of wine or beer at a solitary dinner. All the social harnesses are absent when you drink in isolation. Then it becomes a subconscious instead of a subsuperconscious experience. Additionally, there are those who by their constitution or genetics cannot drink even moderately without catastrophic effects: physiological, psychological, sociological difficulties. Even a single beer can provoke extreme responses. When these reactions come, they suffer physically, their families suffer, their professions suffer, their spiritual unfoldment suffers. Therefore, these individuals must, under all circumstances, completely avoid alcohol for a healthy, happy life. Statistically it is estimated that some seven percent of people are in this category. A clear indication that an individual falls into this category is that his friends don’t want to drink with him because it inevitably becomes an unpleasant event for all. Friends and associates are duty-bound to monitor and sanction him. In such cases insisting on moderation is not sufficient. Total abstinence must be required.
In a similar vein, I am often asked about tobacco. My answer is, do you want to live a happy, healthy, productive and long life, or do you want to die early and suffer all the diseases that have been documented that smoking, the world’s worst health hazard, can bring up in your body to destroy it? If the answer is “I don’t mind dying early and I’m looking forward to all the diseases that are promised,” then go ahead and smoke. I should say here that not one of my sincere devotees smokes. – Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya swami, from: Living with siva