Since ancient times, incense has managed to maintain a captivating hold upon society. It’s fragrant aromas seem able to transport us to faraway lands and allow us to experience the fruits of another culture’s way of life.
However, today times are different, and people may wonder if incense has any viable use anymore.
In this article we are going to discuss several reasons why people still burn incense in modern times.
One of the original uses of incense was as a religious offering. In India, they refer to it as a puja and it is often burned both inside and outside of Hindu temples. It was thought that burning such fragrant materials pleased their deities, and many various types of material were burned in such a manner.
Incense is mentioned in many other religions as well including Christianity, with several examples mentioned in Exodus, Leviticus, as well as other chapters in the Holy Bible.
Probably the most famous example would be when the Three Wise Men gave frankincense and myrrh to Baby Jesus in the tale of the Star of Bethlehem.
Meditation & Yoga
Meditation is a deeply spiritual practice originating from ancient India.
Although there are many, many ways for a practitioner to meditate, some of the more popular methods including watching the breath, repeating mantras, or visualizing cultural designs and religious texts.
This practice requires an immense amount of concentration which can often be hard to muster up. Burning incense creates a focal point upon which the practitioner can focus upon. Many practitioners find that burning incense during their practices can contribute to a more enlightening experience.
Yoga is another similar practice from India. It also originates from Ancient India. Not only is Yoga a relaxing way to stay in shape, it is thought aid in mental and spiritual transcendence. Just like meditation, burning incense can aid in yoga practice as well. Burning incense sticks during yoga practice makes the experience a lot more fun and enjoyable. It also helps to eliminate negative odors from yoga studios and other group yoga sessions.
We will discuss incense’s ability to eliminate odors more in the next section!
The smells of everyday life sure can prove troublesome. Whether you’re sweating during exercise, own a stinky dog, or smoke fancy cigars, burning incense can be an invaluable way to eliminate negative odors.
Musky scents such as those which contain a sandalwood base are recommended for that extra odor-fighting punch.
Japanese Kodo Ceremonies
Although some of you may not have heard of Japanese Kodo ceremonies, they are a popular cultural tradition which is still practiced in Japan. Kodo (Way of Fragrance) is a Japanese ceremony which combines the burning of agarwood with elements of story-telling and social games.
This practice dates back to at least the 14th century. Many people consider it to be similar to the famous Japanese tea ceremonies, which usually involve a lavish setup and matcha green tea.
Japanese incense ceremonies proved so popular, that some years later, during the 15th century, Japanese Zen monks produced a transcript known as The Ten Virtues of Koh which describe the many intricate qualities of Koh (the Japanese word for incense).