​Exploring the Mystical and Metaphysical Qualities of Incense

When we encounter incense sticks labeled with names like “Gold” or “Silver,” it’s tempting to smile at the idea of their magical properties. However, the true essence of incense goes beyond these whimsical titles. In this discussion, I aim to delve into how incense has the power to attract and transform individuals, shedding light on the diverse range of people who find solace in its fragrant embrace.

One common misconception I’ve held, and perhaps you have too, is that incense is primarily reserved for meditators and yoga practitioners – those devoted souls who seek to enrich their sacred spaces. Recent encounters, particularly through reading an esteemed incense blog, have opened my eyes to the multitude of incense enthusiasts with varying backgrounds and interests. It’s become clear that while incense can be profoundly spiritual, it cannot instantaneously alter a person’s character. To expect such a miracle from incense would be unrealistic. Genuine transformation requires a deeper commitment to spiritual practice.

Now, let’s pivot to the brighter side of life. I’ve had the privilege of knowing incense artisans who embody spirituality in every aspect of their lives. Engaging in conversation with them is akin to an uplifting spiritual experience. For these individuals, incense is not just a business; it’s a form of creative expression that allows them to merge with the process of crafting these aromatic sticks. It’s as though they’ve found a conduit to the divine, a channel through which inspiration and guidance flow.

I take great pride in being able to offer incense created by these masters of fragrance. They may be advancing in years, but their passion remains undiminished. I pray that they continue to enjoy good health and longevity so that we can savor their aromatic creations for years to come. Interestingly, they do not sell their incense to just anyone. Prospective buyers must undergo a lengthy interview over a cup of chai, displaying a willingness to submit to their authority. They carry themselves like spiritual guides, and to purchase from them, one must adhere to their rules. There’s no phoning in an order from London or Paris and having it shipped via DHL. They insist on face-to-face interactions and spending quality time together. This is why we dedicate several months each year to travel to India, where we engage in a fruitful exchange of knowledge with these masters.

As I sit in their shops, I marvel at their creative process and the fervent discussions surrounding new fragrances. They involve their entire family in the decision-making process, occasionally soliciting my opinion. I often remark that incense has a distinct scent in the West due to differences in humidity and overall weather conditions. In India, incense must contend with a multitude of spices and aromas. After extensive testing, they introduce new incense at the local temple, closely monitoring the temple’s atmosphere for any shifts. This is a genuine experiment for them, with profound implications, as they believe. Consequently, they only present their finest offerings at the temple, sparing no expense. Once a new fragrance has passed the most rigorous spiritual test, they initiate mass production.

Picture: Author`s wife Olga at Arunachalesvara Temple in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu 

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