Various legends, many concerning Baba Ku, illustrate the prominent place held by hashish in the history of Central Asia, especially Afgahanistan. A Baba is a religious teacher. Baba Ku is considered by Afghan smokers to be the man sent to earth by the Creator to populate the entire world with Cannabis and to introduce hashish-making technology and smoking techniques to the Afghan people. Another legend character Baba Ku as a herbal healer from Samarkand or Bulkhara in Russian Turkestan who traveled south into Afghanistan. Afghans tell the tale of Baba Ku walking through the countryside and healing plage victims with “little sticky balls” administered like a modern day pill. Twentieth century folklorist suspect these sticky balls to be hand-rubbed hashish. Legends about Baba Ku may account for the spread of knowledge of hashish throughout Afghanistan. Baba Ku is portrayed with a huge water pipe, the jar of which held approximately 40 liters of water cooled by a mountain stream. The fresh flowing water circulated up through the bottom of the jar to cool the smoke .
Baba Ku purportedly smoked up to three kilograms of hashish per day in this water pipe.
Before his death, Baba Ku gave Cannabis seeds and other medicinal plants, along with an allotment of gold, to ten Afghan families who were charged with carrying on the cultivation of healing herbs.
Baba Ku is said to be buried in a tomb near Balk in Northern Afghanistan. However, other incarnations of Baba Ku may have predated the famous healer. His spirit surely lives on in the reverent chants of modern hashish babas.
(Robert Connell Clarke “Hashish!” 1998)