Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chandra Devi Goja Musk and Jasmine Tibetan Incense

Chandra Devi Goja Tibetan Incense Goja is the name for an Indian delicacy made for dessert. It is a recipe that consists of fried wheat crackers dipped in sugar syrup. Naming an incense recipe after a food recipe is a confirmation of a theory advanced by a famous delver into the human senses, the infamous but reclusive researcher Dr. Layton.
He theorizes that incense that is strongly associated with a country reflects the qualities of that country's cuisine - echoing the connection between the sense of smell and the sense of taste. For example, Japanese incense is very subtle, expressive, and simple - like their traditional foods of rice, fish, and soy products. Indian incense reflects the personality of that sub-continents' cuisine - spicy, sometimes sweet and hot, heavy and flavorful. Now we have the example of Tibetan incense - but is there a dish or recipe associated with Tibet? Very few if any come to mind. So, Tibetan incense, like white rice and wheat noodles, is elusive, ascetic, dry, simple as a fire made using grass and herbs and fragrant woods. That perfectly describes this incense.

The Goja recipe is comprised of musk and jasmine, along with the amazing herbal mixture that gives this brand its unique qualities. The dry stick is almost odorless under the nose - the epitome of subtlety. Lighting the stick, one starts getting a sense of the qualities of this fragrance. Slight and sugary, delightful hints of jasmine and musk are accompanied by a strong herbal base that contrasts with the sweetness. It is a compelling scent, one that warrants continued attention and gives a sacred space a sense of being outdoors, a part of the universe as a whole. It rewards meditation, as well as being a suitable background for daily activities. Like a dessert, it blends with and complements all kinds of everyday living.

40 sticks, 17 cm. Hand made in Nepal

Chandra Devi Natural Herbal Tibetan Incense

As a boy I was quite taken with a paperback I found on the newsstand one day called "The Third Eye" by one T. Lobsang Rampa. The Tibetan monks depicted in the book made a real and lasting impression on an impressionable young mind. Such ideas as nirvana, reincarnation, wayward mind-created spirits (called tulpas), the use of sounds and smells to change consciousness, mind control, the wheel of life, and the unreality of death became part of my universe, and changed me incontrovertibly. Later I discovered that there was no Mr. Rampa, that the book was the product of channeling by an American author, but by then it didn't matter - it had done its job of inspiring and leading me to reality.

Natural Herbal Incense seems to be the base recipe for the entire line from Chandra Devi, comprised of the 35 or more exotic herbs gathered in Nepal and blended into this fragrance. It has the woody, grassy, natural aroma that the others in their line do, but it is very stark and simple, and intensely spiritual. If you love simplicity and see the beauty in it, this scent is for you. It has essentially no hint of its composition under the nose, but the smoke is redolent of outdoor fires and herbal cleansing of sacred spaces.

It is clean and earthy, very basic but complex at the same time. It will inspire, and it will reveal the nature of reality if you give it a chance. It is a magical thing, and the Tibetan monks who originated the recipe should be proud.

40 6" long sticks per package

Chandra Devi Sandalwood and Jasmine

Buddhists categorize sandalwood as belonging to the lotus family, so it has a special significance for them. The tradition says that the scent of this tree changes a person's desires, and also assists in meditation in staying alert. It is a very popular fragrance to present as an offering to the Buddha. It is believed to awaken the divinity within, and can be used as an external medicinal herb as well, for soothing and cooling the body.

Jasmine flowers have a sweet but not heavy fragrance. The flower is very important culturally in India, Central Asia, and Japan. It is a beautiful flower that also smells wonderful, and the essential oil is used in perfumes and to make incense, such as Chandra Devi's Sandalwood and Jasmine.

The finest aromatic, pure sandalwood, jasmine, and over 30 other ingredients comprise this incense. It is a special one in the Chandra Devi line, with just a hint more sweetness and light than some of the others. Like the other sticks, however, it has a very faint fragrance as a dry stick. It comes alive when burning, and spreads its love quickly in the room, and lingers in the nose. The combination is magnificent, and seems to have a little of heaven and a little of earth in its personality.

Approx. 40 pure sticks per package.

Chandra Devi Special Amber and Musk

Amber is unusual - a tree resin, preserved through eons untold. When amber is chipped into small pieces and ground for an incense ingredient, it releases its secrets: a scent of ancient pine forests and forgotten trees from long ago. 

The word is special in that it describes a substance, a color, and a fragrance. The color of amber can be correlated with the scent - it is light translucent orange, somewhat resinous, and glowing.

Musk is similarly somewhat odd in origin - it is collected from the glands of a deer in its traditional form. It is, in contrast to amber, dark brown in color and in scent - it is sweet, but in a sensuous, animal way - a dry, sexy sweetness.

The combination of amber, musk and more than 30 other ingredients gives this incense its special character. The smoke is sturdy and strong, basic and earthy, sharp and spicy, with very delicate notes of living things such as pine trees and forest deer.

The dry stick has only a barely detectable fragrance which blossoms into a personality when lit. Call it the soul of the ancient world, but it is affecting, natural, and beautiful, like all of the Tibetan line.

Contains approx. 40 pure sticks.

Chandra Devi Snowlion Tibetan Incense

The snow lion is an important Tibetan icon, symbol, and concept. Used for years as a symbol for the Tibetan government on flags and currency, the white lion with a turquoise mane continues to be a favorite subject for Tibetan artists. It is a celestial and mythological animal, similar to a totem in Native American culture, and represents a clear mind and unrelenting good cheer.

Made in the Himalayan country of Nepal, Chandra Devi's incenses are based on very woody ingredients, probably cedar and similar indigenous aromatic trees. This particular traditional ritual blend features both white and red sandalwood, saffron, nagi, and over 50 other ingredients for a complex fragrance. The dry, thick stick is very subtle under the nose, with a hint of sweetness and floral characteristics.

The burning stick promises to center one’s attention by presenting a deceptively simple, but finally complicated fragrance to the nose. It tends to linger in the head and the room after its long burning time has passed.

It also tends to make you want to burn another stick to re-experience some of that earthy, resinous herbal base, with very light side notes of sandalwood and other ingredients. The result is clarity of the mind, and it also imparts a feeling of bright and cheery blue Himalayan skies. It is a scent that smells like a smile, and that's a very good thing.

Approx. 40 pure sticks per package.

Chandra Devi Lord Buddha Tibetan Incense

Chandra Devi Lord Buddha Tibetan Incense Made by hand from the purest ingredients in their facility at Katmandu, Nepal, all Chandra Devi incenses are products of an ancient art. More so than in other cultures, Tibetans employ incense as a spiritual aid and as part of healing rituals.One of the most potent forms of meditation in traditional Buddhism is using an image of Lord Buddha as a focal point, a method of concentrating the attention. By using the Buddha instead of a candle flame or other worldly object, the meditation is given a boost, so to speak, and will find spiritual bliss and happiness.

Lord Buddha incense is designed to be a part of this process, and to remind the user whenever it's used of the ineffability of spiritual experience. It literally cannot be put into words, because that would negate its effect on the soul.

Lord Buddha incense is a recipe composed of the finest red sandalwood, and a mixture of many herbs - some of which can only be harvested in the foothills of Mt. Everest. Under the nose, it has a very light scent of sandalwood and nothing else - a surprisingly subtle first impression from a strong-looking, heavy stick less stick. Burning, the fragrance is remarkably clean, astringent, dry, cedar-like, with very little hint of sweetness - but enough to make it a delight.

This incense exudes a serious spirituality, and has an exotic personality. It is reminiscent of an aromatic campfire, burning autumn leaves, or sage and herb smudges. It tends to focus one's attention on the sacred, and certainly merits its high status as a namesake for Lord Buddha.

Approx. 40 sticks per package.