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Ancient pot with holes used for burning incense
The oldest source of incense is the Vedas, specifically, the Atharva-Veda and the Rig-Veda. Incense-burning was used both to create pleasing aromas and as a medicinal tool. Its use in medicine is considered the first phase of Ayurveda, that uses incense as an approach to healing. Incense-making was thus almost exclusively done by monks.
The specific knowledge of incense as a healing tool was assimilated into the religious practices of the time - early Hinduism. As Hinduism matured and Buddhism was founded in India, incense became an integral part of Buddhism as well. Around 200 CE, a group of wandering Buddhist monks introduced incense ‘Dhoop’ making to China.
It is the finest energy purifier of atmosphere. Using ‘Sambrani’ fumes is a traditional and spiritual secret in India to uplift the energy level. It has been used for centuries by saints and kings.
A uniform and codified system of incense-making first began in India. Although Vedic texts mention the use of incense for masking odors and creating a pleasurable smell, the modern system of organized incense-making was likely created by the medicinal priests of the time. Thus, modern, organized incense-making is intrinsically linked to the Ayurvedic medical system in which it is rooted.
Benzoin Resin also called Styrax resin is obtained from the bark of a tree and is used in perfumes, incense sticks and as a flavouring. It's main component is Benzoic acid. It has a distinct smell. You would perhaps be aware of this particular smell if you have lived in South India. It is called 'Sambrani'.
Benzoin (Sambrani) is often used in religious ceremonies, and is considered to have a great influence on cleansing and unblocking the human body energy centers/meridians. It is antiseptic, and is wonderful for cleansing, whether you wish to clear a room or simply for cleansing your aura. It is said that benzoin helps bring inspiration and creativity. Benzoin can help attract love, provide psychic protection, wisdom, aids the memory, and helps ease depression. It is also often used in prosperity spells.
While performing puja, burn a Dhoop and offer to Deity, upon the completion of puja take dhoop on you and spread it in the entire house. It removes all negative energies that surround you. It is also a pure, good and natural pest repellent. Women used to dry their wet hair in these fumes, after a bath. It would scent the hair and also prevent scalp infections.
It is presented in artistic earthen containers with holes that allow the smoke to escape. Lit Sambrani cones can be placed inside this container. The ash collects inside and your room remains clean and tidy, and you can benefit from the pure fragrance...