All of us are mesmerised by the sweet fragrance of the exquisite agarbatties while moving around temples, especially ISKCON temples where their stores are full with loads and varieties of agarbatties, each having it’s own distinct aroma that submerges a person into an ocean of pleasure.
Even while in the midst of the discussion, if we happen to come across a very pleasant sweet smell on incense, it arrests our attention for a while and makes us forget what we are discussing.
Humans have been delighted by pleasant aromas from the time immemorial and it is said that the kingly orders used to spend millions of rupees on the exquisite scents and essential oils for their daily purpose of bathing, massaging and all.
And, in temples the worship of the deity starts by offering an incense first, followed by other items. As stated in various scriptures like Hari Bhakti Vilasa, one must offer incense to the lord and he gets a load of blessings from him in return.
There is prescription about the types of incense which may be offered to the lord. Eg. Guggul, Ghee, Sandal etc.
As per the description, the agarbatties or the incense sticks are made with pure herbs and ghee , which on ignition, leave scented smoke. The scented smoke purifies the atmosphere by releasing oxygen and other disinfectant gases. These gases are released just in the right proportion to make the environment suitable for a healthy mind.
The scented smoke calms the mind and makes it concentrate on the deity rather than going here and there in the prayers. This relieves the devotee of all tensions and anxiety.