Agarbatti or an incense stick is a slow-burning stick which was to emit a mild fragrance to clear the atmosphere and also to keep insects away from the human habitat. Traditionally the sticks are made of bamboo coated with natural adhesives made from the bark of trees along with various non -synthetic ingredients which includes charcoal, sawdust of specific wood, the fragrance from sandalwood, cedarwood, cloves, turmeric and lot of other natural fragrances. Customarily the sticks are made of bamboo covered with normal blocks of cement produced using the bark of trees which incorporates charcoal, sawdust from wood, the scent from shoe wood, cedarwood, cloves, turmeric and parcel of other characteristic aromas. Its natural mix of aromas helps eliminate bad odor from the surrounding. Indeed, apart from blessing the aura with a mesmerizing aroma, burning an incense stick has a lot of benefits.
INCENSE AND MEDITATION
There is a reason incense is burned in temples and churches, the scent is extremely compatible with deep contemplation and evokes a sense of the holy and sacred. When used in meditation, incense can help bring our minds to that clear point of calm. You could either light incense before you begin your meditation practice, in order to cleanse and purify the room or have it burning as you meditate which can have huge benefits when meditating to show gratitude or to visualize positive future scenarios.
It is hard to meditate in a chaotic space, especially when you are just starting out with practice. We don’t all have access to beautiful temples or perfect meditation rooms, so filling your space with the light aroma of incense is a sure way to take you out of the normal world and into that clear space in your mind.
Incense brings a sense of harmony and deepens our spiritual connection. Meditation is about finding that still place within ourselves where we can exist for a few minutes or longer, in a state of pure being, that is ultimately the purpose of meditation. We find the space of clarity and focus, where our minds rest without the usual chatter of our conscious brains.
Incense helps to create that environment of serenity and peace. There is something about the ritual of burning incense before meditating that immediately draws us into a sacred space. It evokes the sense of so many religious and spiritual ceremonies where incense is used, which is helpful in setting up the appropriate environment for meditation.
If we find it hard to quiet our minds, the calming, soothing scent of the incense is a wonderful accompaniment to the practice, deepening our connection and uplifting our spirits. This is the same way in which a Tibetan singing bowl can enhance meditation.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INCENSE AVAILABLE
The best incense for meditation is entirely personal of course, but two classic and ancient scents stand out – sandalwood and frankincense.
Sandalwood is what you will find wafting towards you as you approach any Buddhist temple or monastery. The Buddhists have been using it for centuries for the sense of calm, roundedness and wellbeing it creates among those meditating and worshipping. Sandalwood is instantly recognizable as warming, woody smell that is ideal for inspiring deep meditation.
Frankincense is another ancient scent that reduces anxiety and fosters a sense of serenity and happiness. It promotes a meditative state as it contains certain phytochemicals that have an effect on the parts of our brains responsible for emotions. For tranquillity and centeredness, this is one of the best smelling incense for meditation and it is often used in churches.
There are many popular scents to choose from, floral or herbal, medicinal or fruity. It’s really up to you to decide the best incense for lifting a certain mood or inspiring a particular emotion. You can test out your favorites and decide which resonates most for you. Below are some popular scents and their healing effects.
Jasmine – Long been associated with easing depression, the aromatic little white flowers aid to uplift your mood and calm the senses.
Lemongrass – Citrus smells are associated with an uplifting energy and feeling alert and lemongrass does this in a revitalizing but soothing way. It has a fresh scent and stress-relieving properties that inspire calm reflection and roundedness.
Copal – This is a traditional Mexican scent, made from the sap of a Mexican tree and is used for cleansing negative energy and inspiring positive transformation. It has a clean, woody sharp scent that lends itself perfectly to cleansing your home space and transforming energy. Copal is a good space -clearing smell before meditation or during times of change to accompany new habits and fresh starts.
Lavender – popular for its relaxing, sleep-promoting effects lavender is the ideal scent for those wishing to unwind and find some calm in a hectic world. It’s the most typical scent for creating a sense of tranquillity.
INCENSE STICKS IN THE VEDAS
The oldest source on incense is the Vedas, specifically, the Atharvaveda and the Rigveda. Incense-burning was used both to create pleasing aromas and a medicinal tool. Its use in medicine is considered the first phase of Ayurveda, which uses incense as an approach to healing. Incense-making was thus almost exclusively done by monks. Hence when the oldest and the most pious books in the world prescribe using agarbattis or aroma for self – healing and devotion agarbathies can never be harmful to humans and pets.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The word incense comes from the Latin word incendiary, meaning ‘to burn’. The use of incense can be traced back to ancient Egypt where incense is depicted to have been used by priests for fumigating ceremonies and tombs. Egyptian graves have been discovered to contain traces of fragrant resins such as frankincense and myrrh. It is widely believed that Egyptians would have used incense to hinder the presence of demons and likewise as an offering to their gods during worship and ritual.
Monks and spiritual leaders well know the calming effects of incense. Certain incense aromas work to slow down the heart rate and soothe nerves. These calming effects help to relieve built-up tension in the muscles, enabling incense also to be used as a muscle relaxer.
In the hustle and bustle of today’s world levels of anxiety are increasing all the time and those who are feeling anxious often seek non-medical help to treat their condition, and since incense sticks are a great way to treat anxiety naturally, they have been used for many years. Pine is considered to be the best incense for anxiety
Incense history is synonymous with ritualism and spirituality. It’s believed to have been used in India and other parts southern Asia as early as 3300 BC, with the use of incense spreading to ancient China around 2000 BC where it was used for worship and prayer. India is now the world’s main producer of incense and the burning of incense has been a fundamental part of Hinduism for thousands of years.
The earliest documented evidence of the use of incense is in fact in ancient China, where it was made from blends of herbs and plants such as cinnamon and sandalwood, two fragrances that are still widely used in modern incense. It is even documented that buildings were designed and built specifically for the burning of incense in late 12th-century China.