Why Incense is important in Hindu worship?
Incensematerial is burnt in front of deities as per the Hindu rituals. When burnt, it spreads fragrance creatinga holy atmosphere. The incense material, known as Dhupa, purifies the ambience for the deities. The ritual is included in the sixteen steps of worship. Burning Dhupa is included in the regular as well as occasional worship of deities.
What is Dhupa?
Basically Dhupa is made upfrom the sap of the tree. This sap is collected and processed for readyinga good quality of Dhupa. The saps of Sandal, Sarala, Sala, Kalaguru, Nameru, pine, Khadira, Parijata, etc trees are used for making Dhupa. But the Dhupa made of the sap ofGuggula tree is most famous.
Types of Dhupa
The usage of Dhupais an ancient tradition and over the years different incense varietieshave been explored. These are Yakshadhupa (ral), Vrukadhupa, Anantadhupa, Vijayadhupa, Shreepishtadhupa, Aguruzarzaradhupa, Pavitravahadhupa, Pindadhupa.But Vijayadhupa is considered as the best Dhupa amongst all others. However, Vishadana and Sarpanimochana are also quite popular.
How to make Dhupa?
Dhupamaking is a fine art and requires skillful combination of the saps from various trees. For instance, Aguru, Chandana, Musta, Shilarasa, Kasturi are mixed together in equal quantity to make a form of Dhupa namely Amruta.
Honey, Musta, clarified butter, Gandha, Guggula, Aguru, Haritaki, Laksha, Jatamasi are mixed to make Panchanga, Shadanga, Dashanga, Dwadashanga, Shodashanga types of Dhupa.
Vedicscripturesmarkthe significance of variousDhupasfor various occasions. It is stated in the Vayupurana that Guggula and Tushaka types of Dhupas should be burnt for the ancestors.
One of the sixteen steps of worship
Burning Dhupa is included in the sixteen steps of the Hindu worship. It is performed in the second half of the worship. During this step, theDhupa is burnt in front of deities by keeping it in a special utensil made for it. After performing the step of offering Dhupa, one should not forget to light lamp and offer Naivedya (an offering) to deities. Arati which is done in the evening by burning Dhupais known as Dhuparati.
How is Dhupa burnt?
Dhupa is mainly burnt in the utensil named Dhupatane. Dhupatane is also known as Dhupagraha. It is made up of either metal or terracotta which is perforated. Burnt coals are kept in this utensils and Dhupa is burnt on it. Perforations on the utensils are useful for the spreading the fragrance evenly.
What is Agarabatti (incense sticks)?
Agarabatti is the miniature and handy version of Dhupa. It is long stick which has coating of Dhupa. There is no need of utensil to burn such Dhupa. It is very commonly used and an easier alternative to burning Dhupa in daily worship.
Why Dhupa is burnt?
Burning Dhupa is one of the steps of worship. The main function of burning is to spread fragrance and remove stink. Fragrance of Dhupacreates holy atmosphere at the place of worship. It also makes mind fresh and delightful. Such a pleasant mind and atmosphere helps to create devotion in the devotee’s mind. The Dhupascent also bears a special significance for better concentration and meditation.
What does Dhupa symbolize?
As said, Dhupa works as an air freshener at the worship place. It helps to create holiness in the atmosphere as well as in the devotee’s mind. But most importantly, it symbolizes the removal of evils. Removing stink by burning Dhupacast asides the illspresent in the form of dirt in our environment. As result, by burning Dhupaa spiritual surrounding for the God’s abode isinvoked.