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Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple (Nepali: पशुपतिनाथको मन्दिर) is one of the most significant Hindu temples of Shiva in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

The temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams (Holy Abodes of Shiva) on the continent. Over the past times, only born Hindus were allowed to enter the temple. Others could look at it from other side of the river. However, the norms have been relaxed due to many incidents. If the individual is destined, he/she takes and completes the journey to reach these footsteps without any resistance or obstructions along the way, is believed to be under loving grace of Rudra. It is final stage of harsh penance. Thus, the slave (pasu - the human condition) becomes the master (pati - the divine condition).

It is regarded as the most sacred among the temples of Shiva (Pashupati). Kotirudra Samhita, Chapter 11 on the Shivalingas of the North, in Shiva Purana mentions this Shivalinga as the bestower of all wishes. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri on which day over 700,000 devotees visit here.


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Sadhu

In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit: साधु sādhu, "good; good man, holy man") is a religious ascetic or holy person. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of brahman. Sādhus often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their sanyāsa (renunciation). This way of life is open to women; the female form of the word is sādhvī साध्वी. In 2014 an all-female akhada (group of sadhus) was formed; it is believed to be the first such group in India.


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Nepal

Nepal (i/nɛˈpɔːl/ ne-PAWL Nepali: नेपाल [neˈpal] ( )), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 27 million (and nearly 2 million absentee workers living abroad), Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri corridor. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest metropolis.


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Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivratri (the 'Great Night of Shiva') is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. It is also known as the birthday of Lord Shiva. The Maha Shivratri festival, also popularly known as as 'Shivratri' or 'Great Night of Lord Shiva', is observed on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha every year on the month of Maagh according to the Hindu calendar. Alternate common spellings include Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivarathri. It marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Maagha which falls in February or March as per the Gregorian calendar. Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or golden apple or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil (jagarana). All through the day, devotees chant "Om Namah Shivaya", a sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva. In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life's highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit Mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra महामृत्युंजय मंत्र increase greatly on this night.


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Religious and spiritual use of cannabis

Cannabis has been used in a religious and spiritual context in India since the Vedic period dating back to approximately 1500BCE but perhaps as far back as 2000BCE. There are several references in Greek mythology to a powerful drug that eliminated anguish and sorrow. Herodotus wrote about early ceremonial practices by the Scythians, thought to have occurred from the 5th to 2nd century BCE. Itinerant Hindu saints have used it in India for centuries.

In modern culture the spiritual use of cannabis has been spread by the disciples of the Rastafari movement who use it for its natural consciousness exalting properties for their sacramental and sanctifying rites; according to what they know as belonging to the truthful and faithful prophetic way of life "livity" of the ancient mystics whose history is described in the sacred scriptures.