Incense and Agarbathies
It can, in a limited sense, be said that any stick like object which burns, emitting smoke but without emitting a no-mal-odoriferous smell is an Incense stick/Agarbathi.
However, Agarbathi can be defined as an item manufactured from forest based raw materials consisting of powdered wood, charcoal, odoriferous roots, barks, seeds, leaves, flowers etc. with some essential oil, mineral oil, resinoids and aromatic chemicals, the paste of which applied to emit non-mal-odoriferous pleasing fragrance or where the perfumes are added to the paste before rolling to emit the fragrance as mentioned earlier, while burning on the coated portion of the stick.It may even be said that only an expert perfumer, a connoisseur of fragrances, like for example, a wine taster, can really differentiate as to what is a good incense stick/Agarbathi and what is not.
Historical Perspective - Ancient:
The usage of incense sticks / Agarbathies has been a part and parcel and in fact is woven in the fabric of Indian culture from time immemorial equally important or more important, incense sticks / Agarbathies has always been used on every and all occasions be it religious or an occasion for joy or sorrow.
In Vedic times, incense sticks / Agarbathies were not only meant to symbolize an occasion or an important event were also used to lend fragrance to the air we breathe as well as to induce a state of mind conducive for the physical and mental well being of the person inhaling the fragrance emitted by the incense sticks / Agarbathies.
Since volatile oils which form an essential part of the raw materials used in the manufacture of incense sticks / Agarbathies are known to destroy airborne bacteria when used in a congregation. The de-odorized atmosphere and the pleasing smell soothe the nerve and render the atmosphere congenial for concentration, meditation and prayers. Ayurvedya prescribes the use of incense in... [continues]
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