“I Am Awed!” Series – Why Incense for Worship?

“I Am Awed!” Hindu Youth Q & A Series

Why do we use incense and other accessories for worship?

A series of “Little Questions and Lucid Answers” sessions were conducted to explore the greatness and depth of Hinduism through questions posed by global Hindu Youth to Sri Ramanujamji.

The excerpts of each of these questions and answers are being presented every month by our youth, as they understand and absorb it.

Why do we use incense, bells, lamps, and other accessories while doing puja?

In our Sanatana Dharma, we use and offer many accessories like incense sticks while praying.  While this may be a daily ritual for many of us, it is one of the many things we do without really knowing why we do it. However, there is a relatively simple reason why we use these fragrant sticks.

Scientifically it is proven that our senses’ experiences affect our decisions in life. An example of this could be trying to take a test while smelling garbage. Our thought process while taking the test would obviously be disrupted due to the distracting stench of the garbage. Likewise, our other senses which include taste, hearing, touch, and sight can also affect even minute actions to a greater extent.

Most of us recognize incense sticks as having a powerful smell. This type of smell can be linked to spreading a feeling of divinity within us. When you smell the fragrant incense, you feel a sense of goodness inside of you. In fact, when we take a look at our pooja room we can see many individual factors there, that can influence our mind and thought process. The ringing of bells brings us peace and spirituality. This is because they are the closest to the unstruck sound of “Omkara” in our hearts which inspires divinity in us. When thinking about how the simple ringing of the bells can invoke such a feeling in us, it brings me to think how there are many other factors that shape our mind and attitude. The ghee lamps, which is said to have light closest to natural sunlight, and the holy basil we eat, also invoke divinity within us.

All of these were designed in order to create an environment that allows us to have the most positive and divine thoughts possible. These were not created randomly, but rather they were established in Hindu ritual due to common sense, in order to provide an ambience that can enable the mind to easily go toward divine thoughts.

Whether we realize or don’t realize the amount of positivity obtained from these, they still are able to create a peaceful realm where we can forget our stresses and pains. That is why we use incense as well as various other materials while we worship.

Also watch Sri Ramuji answer this question on our “I Am Awed” short video series on our Namadwaar E-Satsang YouTube channel – 


Krishna Prasad Ram, 16yrs, Redding, California
Excerpts from Sri Ramanujamji’s “Little Questions and Lucid Answers” Q&A series.


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