When most people think of wood, images of cozy log cabins, handcrafted carvings and hardwood floors may come to mind. Sandalwood, however, is sought for other reasons. It has an alluring fragrance and religious significance that brings together perfumers, aromatherapists and spiritual seekers in their love for this naturally perfumed and sacred wood that brings peace to the mind.
For more than 4,000 years, it has been enjoyed for its striking woody base note highlighted by a sweet and warm fragrance—a scent called chandana—that is burned in incense, worn as perfume, pressed into essential oil for healing purposes, and added to soap and cosmetics. Traditionally used to facilitate meditation, and create a calming and grounding atmosphere, its scent, which improves with age, can often be detected as it lingers in yoga and meditation centers, and temples. Its natural aroma is known to promote harmony, peace, and serenity, and also has the reputation for being an aphrodisiac. When placed on the skin, it moisturizes, reduces inflammation, helps eliminates fungi and cleans pores. Its scent is an anti-depressant and subdues the nervous system, helping to relax the brain waves of those who suffer from anxiety and insomnia. a
Sandalwood, which promotes a sense of well-being, also has a sacred history within Eastern religions. In Hinduism, sandalwood paste is used as a sacred symbol and form of purification by devotees who place it on their foreheads and other parts of the body. The paste is also used to mark religious items and decorate deities in the temple. In Ayurveda, an ancient system of natural medicine rooted in Hinduism and still practiced to this day, the subtle power of sandalwood’s fragrance is used to re-establish the harmonic balance of the mind and body. In Buddhism, sandalwood is one of the most popular incense aromas to offer Buddha. Its scent is believed to be able to alter personal desires and maintain one’s level of alertness. In the tradition of Islam, it is a mark of devotion applied by disciples on the sufi’s grave. Zoroastrians offer twigs from the sandalwood tree to the priests who keep a special fire burning. a
At Prabhuji’s Gifts, many of our stick and resin incense blends include this much-sought-after natural scent. In accordance to ancient recipes, sandalwood has been ideally mixed with other natural ingredients such as frankincense, patchouli, lavender, and amber, to create different unique aromas, moods, and intentions. In our company, the scent of sandalwood is often lingering in the air, bringing its soothing fragrance to all the yogis while they conduct their service.