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Smoking of a weed called tobacco was introduced in Europe by the English travelers from America, the New World. Waller Rabigh’s name is associated with popularizing tobacco in England during the last two decades of the sixteenth century. It was a practice of inhaling tobacco smoke in a pipe practiced by native American tribes. The weed grew wild there. This practice of smoking met with some resistance in the early days in England. King James – I, who succeeded Queen Elizabeth – I as sovereign in England was gravely opposed to the practice of smoking tobacco.

Tobacco is used in three ways:-

(i) inhalation of its smoke in a pipe or hubble-bubble-hukah,

(ii) chewing it mixed with lime or in a betel leaf and

(iii) inhaling it in powder form as snuff through nostrils. It is habit forming in whichever way it is used. It is also found to be gravely harmful and injurious to health.

Any vegetable matter when it is burned, causes smoke. The smoke of tobacco contains various noxious gases and chemicals. Cigarettes or Bidis release this smokes which when inhaled passes through the trachea and larynx to the lungs. These dangerous chemicals then are deposited in the lungs. The lungs are the most important apparatus of breathing. Life means keeping in your breath continuously. The damaged lungs become victims of chest-diseases like asthma, tuberculosis and cancer. In the tobacco smoke are found such dangerous gases like carbon-monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, formed dehydrate. These gases are definitely poisonous. The person, who forms the habit of smoking tobacco, thus invites various diseases in his body. He also causes the same kind of harm to persons around him. He spoils the health of the total surrounding and causes harm to the environment.

Why do people smoke? It is said that smoking helps some people to bear their despairs and frustrations. They erroneously think that smoking helps them overcome fears and tensions. The element called nicotine in tobacco excites and stimulates the mental processes for the time being. For a short while there is a feeling of well being. Once one starts this initially noxious practice, it soon becomes a habit and then addiction he cannot get rid of soon. It needs strong will-power to leave this addiction.

Some persons are led to smoking for bravado. They want to show off that they are mature responsible ‘gentleman’. If some important person in one’s surroundings say a cine actor, or an officer is seen enjoying smoking, the young one is led to believe that he will also achieve that kind of status by just smoking! Thus an evil habit formed and it leads to addiction and often to a debilitated life or even death from cancer.

A person often thinks, due to ignorance or infatuation, that tobacco enhances his feeling of well being. He thinks this practice will make his mind agile and he would feel fresh! But this is a dangerous ‘half-truth’. The sense of mental well being really comes from the inner resources of the mind and not from any kind of addiction.

There are various ways in which a person is tempted to seek such euphoric experience – soft-drinks, alcoholic drinks, marijuana (ganja), reefers, maajum, chemical drugs from opium like brown sugar, cocaine, heroine etc. This euphoric state is short-lived. It is soon followed by depression in its wake and one has to start with that addiction over again, and then again. He thus falls into the vicious circle. Such indulgences give 10 grams worth of joy and leave behind in the body 1000 grams of worth of toxic substances.

In life we have the dualism of happiness and sorrow; but ‘Anand’ – ‘bliss’ has no opposite. The happiness, which comes from addiction, is transitory. When the effect of the intoxicant is over, there follows a period of deep depression. The sorrow that follows this monetary happiness lasts longer. Happiness is only an external stimulation while bliss comes from within. True bliss has its origin in the divine element that is inherent in all human beings. True bliss obliterates the distinction between body and soul, body and mind. Happiness touches the body and mind; the bliss lifts up the soul. The condition of bliss when achieved remains always with the person, he becomes ‘blissed’. The happiness from drugs is only transient, ephemeral, and short-lived.

When a person orients his mind for seeking the ‘bliss’ he would soon learn that addictions do not help there.

If you seek ‘bliss’ in life and try to find it in smoking tobacco or ganja you are on the wrong track. Make a firm determination to desist from smoking and see what you get from exposing yourself to the toxicity of the weeds, like ganja or tobacco.

If you look into your past experiences of smoking you would not find any moment of elation which you experienced that made you one with the sublime; while in pursuit spirituality in religious pursuits. You will always remember those expresses that led you to the blessed state.

Now we can narrate a technique that can help you strengthen your mind against smoking and winning over your addiction.

Sit right in the chair with feet firm on the ground. Think what you are about to see in the act of smoking your hukka, bidi or cigarette. Think again how others would react to your indulgence. Think of the harm that the smoke will do to you. Think of all these suffering from lung cancer and dying or lingering on death-bed with terrible unbearable pain caused by the cancer. Take deep breath; while exhaling hum in you throat the holy and divine name of Lord Swaminarayan. Think of Him as a savior who would lead you to the state ‘bliss’. Your exhaling of the breath will be your celebration of the communion with the Lord and Master Bhagwan Shree Hari. Seek his help. Try this again thrice. Thereafter again when you are tempted to touch your tobacco, be alert; sit straight, put your arms down and feet on the firm ground; inhale and exhale. At each exhalation hum the Mantra of “Swaminarayan” name. That will help you cast off the devil of addiction that has got into your body. The body again will be purified the heart and soul will be cleansed. The Lord resides only in cool, clean and holy place. Your heart then becomes His throne. You are then blessed. This Anand – ‘Bliss’ will be your permanent possession.

May Lord Shree Hari help you in your conquest of this evil devil of addiction. This is the most important of the five holy Vratman (code of conduct) we are enjoined to follow and practise in ‘Shikshapatri’ the code that leads the human to the divine and mates for true bliss, real happiness in this world and the other world too.