(59) Why are incense sticks burnt during pujã rituals?
Dhoop is one of the sixteen ways of offering worship to a deity, known as shodshopchãr pujã. This involves burning fragrant substances such as agarbatti (incense sticks), camphor, loban, guggal, kasturi (musk), chandan (sandalwood) and shallaki (olibanum). These substances possess certain properties which purify the air and induce good or positive vibrations in the brain. This helps a person concentrate more easily during meditation or a pujã ritual.
A philosophical moral of the burning incense stick is that, just as it burns away to ashes while simultaneously pervading the air with fragrance, an aspirant should sacrifice his life to serve others and mould it such that its fragrance inspires others.