We humans have a very manipulative mind. Most of us do not refrain from manipulating anything for our personal gain.
In recent years, I’ve noticed that a lot of pictures in which a person is smoking in any form has a hashtag related to Lord Shiva. Now, before anyone feels agitated about it, one should understand that this is nothing immediate or recent. Instead, it is a result of continuous neglect of the manipulation that has happened over a period of time. The manipulation is that Lord Shiva smokes. This manipulation has reached people to such an extent that people have even tattooed Shiva smoking on their arms and so on. Well, it is a human tendency to follow something deeply only if it serves his personal interest.
According to Hindu Mythology, Shiva is not affected even if he gulps down an ocean of poison. Over the years, half knowledge has manipulated the above statement, leading to a belief that the Mahadev smokes or smoked. May be a question arises in your brain that how is Bhaang offered to the Lord then. The answer is that Bhaang is offered to him with the belief that we offer all the poisonous feelings and habits of ours (embodied in Bhaang) to him as he is the only one who despite taking it all, can stay unaffected.
Another argument related to this is the habit of smoking of Aghori Saadhus. Mahadev is himself a Yogi. Aghori Saadhus are highly devoted to the Mahadev. They smoke as it helps them in concentrating on meditation despite the toughest forms possible of the same.
Lord Shiva is the epitome of asceticism that one can achieve, a God that doesn’t need much from humans in the form of devotion. You can check the images to only find that he doesn’t wear any Gold or Silver. Oh yes, a very important media is the images. So, all the images that you see in which Shiva is smoking or is holding a “Chillum” as you call it, in his hands, I’m sure that you know that they all are human made and have sprung up in recent years. So, don’t go with those or believe in it.
Also, another recent development was The Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. The Shiva Trilogy was the story of Lord Shiva presented to you in humane form and a similar humane adaptation of the Ramayan is being presented to you in the form of The Ramchandra Series, currently. If by any chance, you depict the idea of Shiva smoking in any form from the above mentioned book, then I’m pretty much sure that giving that idea was not the attempt that Amish had focused on, at all. Again, above books are the depiction of the actual stories in a humane form and are not the real books of mythology. If you really want to read about the actual stories or mythology associated with Lord Shiva, then go for Shiva Puraan.
Through all that is written above, I’m not requesting you to quit smoking or anything like that. If you do, it is good for you anyway but that is not my concern here. My only request to you is to not to associate or hide your habit of smoking in the name of Shiva.
If you really want to learn something from Mahadev, let it be the following:
1. Remove the negativity from inside.
2. Develop Will Power with Exercise.
3. Manage your anger in a constructive manner.
4. Everything is temporary, even life.
5. Meditate to improve Focus.
6. Take control of your Ego.
7. Make everything possible with a peaceful mind.
8. Dance off your Anger (without wreaking any havoc)
In India, which is a religion-prime nation, we humans learn a lot of our habits from the religion that we follow. And acquiring smoking as a habit through religion would be the last thing that anyone would want. Associating the habit of smoking with a religion in any form is equivalent to corrupting that religion. Since the inception, the focus of any religion has always been to inculcate goodness and focus in an individual. So, let it be the same and let’s not corrupt it to hide our selfish interests.
Lord Shiva a.k.a. Mahadev is the only “Dude among the Gods”, so let him be that. He is amazing in his own league, asceticism at its best.
All the above images have been taken from Google.