Lighting of incense is a major Hindu tradition that has been in existence through ages.During Puja we say “Dhupam Aghrapayami” while waving Dhupa(incense) before God. Its one of the 16 upacharas (Shodasha Upacharas) as well as one among the 5 Upacharas (Pancha Upacharas). So,an important Upachara, not to be missed.
The 5 Upacharas are 1) Gandham (sandal paste,scented oils etc) 2) Pushpam (flowers) 3) Dhupam (incense) 4) Deepam (lighted lamps) 5) Naivedyam (food offerings).
Each of these 5 upacharas are believed to satiate one of the 5 Tatvas of God (Pancha Tatvas are Prithvi, Akash, Vayu, Agni & Jala)
For example, to satiate the Prithvi Tatva we offer Gandham, for Akash Tatva we offer pushpa, for Vayu Tatva Dhupam, for Agni Tatva Deepam and for Jala Tatva we offer Naivedyam. Not only during Puja,even in Japa after Kara-Anga Nysas we recite the Dhyana Sloka of the Deity & then we offer the “Pancha Puja” using specific Mantras and Mudras(using hands and fingers).
The Mantras are as follows:
लं – पृथिव्यात्मिकायैगन्धंसमर्पयामि।
हं – आकाशात्मिकायैपुष्पैःपूजयामि।
यं – वाय्वात्मिकायैधूपमाघ्रापयामि।
रं – अग्न्यात्मिकायैधीपंदर्शयामि।
Meaning-Lam in the form of Pruthvi i offer Gandham, Ham in the form of Akash i offer Pushpa (Puspaihi pujayami means worship with flowers),Yam in the form of Vayu i offer dhupam etc.There is a spiritual purpose for lighting incense sticks. It is believed to the point that the rings of smoke that ascend high into the air convey our prayers and requests to God as well as to the divine beings. The incense stick smoulders itself totally and fills the air with a fine scent.
This is one of the Hindu customs which symbolises morality or excellence. It shows man the specialty of giving up oneself for the reason for others. Incense sticks are also used to cure a few health issues such as mild headache, depression, gloominess, etc. The fragrance spreads all around after you light an incense stick and it leaves a huge calming and healing impact on the brain. This also offers you some assistance in improving your concentration power.
When you offer a prayer to God with extraordinary dedication it acts like a reflective procedure that reduces anxiety and misery.