Do Hindus Drink Alcohol?

There are plenty of religions that abstain from alcohol as part of their faith but is Hinduism one of these?

Yes, Hindus are allowed to drink alcohol but you should know that alcoholic beverages or intoxication are viewed as a recipe for sinfulness, weakness, failure, and ruination. Hinduism doesn’t have a single authority that is adhered to by all Hindus.

in several verses of the puranic texts, such as the Vedas and Upanishads, which are the most credible and are considered apauruṣeya, which translates to “not of a man, superhuman.”

Let’s discover which scriptures support and forbid drinking alcohol, some ways Hindus atone for drinking alcohol outside of approved contexts, and what intoxicating drinks are allowed. 

What Hindus Scriptures Support Drinking Alcohol?

Plenty of scripture talks about when and how consuming alcohol is okay, so it’s worth exploring in more detail if you wish.

Some to explore are:

  • Vishnu Smrti 22:84
  • Garuda Purana 1:155:34-35
  • Manusmriti 5.56

Alcohol use is permitted in tantric Hinduism as prasadam. It implies that it should first be presented as Naivedyam to the gods.

A conversation regarding alcohol between Sage Brihaspati and Indra may be found in the Brahmanda Purana.

One of the verses talks about how, in the case of the four castes, starting with the Brāhmaṇas, the ratio of alcohol consumption must be ten to eight or six to four.

It will be half of what is stated above for women, and it will be one-fourth of the amount above if they drink with their husbands.

A widow, a virgin, and a lady on her menstruation shouldn’t consume alcohol. If a lady drinks alcohol out of avarice and alone, she is called Unmādinī (a madwoman). She should be avoided like the Cāṇḍāla lady.

What Hindus Scriptures Prohibit Drinking Alcohol?

Some scriptures forbid drinking alcohol under certain circumstances, and for some people. 

Numerous other texts, including the Brahmanas and Sutras, forbid alcohol intake while yet permitting it on certain occasions.

Some verses to explore are:

  • Manusmriti Chapter 11, verse 55
  • Manusmriti 9.225
  • Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.9

How Do Hindus Atone for Drinking Alcohol?

A Brahmana who inadvertently consumes alcohol may make atonement by engaging in vratas as Kriccha or Chaandraayana, reciting the Gayathri mantra 10,000 times, reciting the Atidurga Mahamantra 10,000 times, or reciting the Ambika Hridaya 10,000 times.

This will absolve the individual of their guilt. To purify themselves, a Kshatriya, Vysya, or Shoodra must recite these mantras five thousand, two thousand five hundred, and one thousand and two fifty times, respectively.

The Japa can be done on behalf of the Shudras and women by Brahmins. Repeating these mantras a thousand times while submerged in water cleans one of all faults.

The required atonement is double what was previously indicated if wine is consumed willfully.

Alcohol and the Law of Karma

We experience momentary pleasure when we consume intoxicating beverages. Our intellect is at ease; some people find it lessens their fear and timidity.

Additionally, it improves mood, although the pleasure gained in this manner is immoral and unnatural.

Moderate to heavy alcohol use affects our ability to think clearly and recall information. Additionally, it may result in sadness, confusion, and memory loss.

As it hinders our ability to think, customers who use it make incorrect judgments and create negative karma, which can destroy not only this birth but also forthcoming ones.

Before committing crimes, many offenders consume alcoholic beverages. Every year, numerous fatal incidents involve drunk drivers, and many men hit their spouses after drinking.

In conclusion, drinking alcohol, both direct and indirect, cause ill karma. 

What Alcohol Can Hindus Drink?

Many people believe that the intoxicating drink Soma is what the gods consume. As a result, Hindus are permitted to use alcohol. The Hindu texts greatly extol soma, a stimulating ceremonial drink.

Despite being a highly detested intoxicant (Rigveda VII.86.6), sura is permitted to be used as an oblation material during srauta rituals, which are rituals carried out following Rajasuya Yajna (Shatpath Brahmana XII.7.2, 12, 21). 

Final Thoughts

Several comments in the scriptures above from Hindu texts conflict with one another.

For instance, the Brahmanda Purana first declares that persons from three castes (apart from Brahmins) may use alcohol as a drink but later declares that a person who consumes alcohol for enjoyment is the evilest man.