Nag Champa: Agarbatti.
Nag means royal, regal or lofty in Sanskrit.
It’s a respectful prefix used to show that something is revered or honourable.
Champa or Champak is a flower.
Himalayan Magnolia, Michelin champaca.
Agarbatti literally means fragrant stick.
Agarbatti is an ancient method of hand rolling incense.
For a long time the recipe was secret.
Only Satya Shrinigar’s /Shrinivas Sugandha Ashram in India was producing and exporting the fragrance to the world.
The Sai Baba of the 1960’s, you know the one with the frizzy Afro hair and the big, beaming smile? Well, he asked the universe for its most heavenly scent and on his hand he manifested “Vibhuti” or holy ash. They took this blessed or holy ash into the laboratory and broke it down into twenty one all natural ingredients ranging from resins, to spices, to florals.
Only in-house devotees knew the recipe, hand rolling the incense and guarding the secret until inevitably generic brands started popping up in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. There was so much demand that the Ashram could not meet the needs of the market anyhow. Demand grossly out weighed supply.
So by the 90’s there were many different brands and qualities of the unique fragrance that is known throughout the world, in every language and culture.
A pure gift, put in the hands of humans, unfortunately had side affects of greed and possessiveness. In subsequent years, the original recipe as been scrutinised, analysed, plagiarised to the point where the true intention and blessing of the Original is lost.
Many believe that you have to burn the Original. That it’s only the Vibhuti that bestows the blessing, the miracle, the magic.
I do know there is something about Nag Champa that is unlike any other incense I have ever experienced. For me it opens doors, clears my mind, stills my emotions and inspires me to go “Mmmm Arrrrr” or “Ommmm”.
Whether you believe it or not,
Nag Champa is said to be a gift from the heavens for those of us that struggle on the earthly plane.