Agarwood is known by various names in different cultures: it is known as “chenxiang”, “chenshuixiang” and “shuichenxiang” in Chinese; “aguru” in Sanskrit; “oud” in Arabic; and “gaharu” in Indonesian. For many thousands of years, Asian countries have called Agarwood “the Wood of the Gods” and “the King of Incenses”. In ancient times, only the nobles and people of high status could possess and enjoy Agarwood. But more sacredly, Agarwood is treasured in the three major religions of the world.
It is stated in Chapter nineteen of The Lotus Sutra that the fragrance of agarwood can penetrate the three worlds, which makes it an important offering.
Pieces of agarwood or agarwood incense is used in meditation, scripture chanting and other holy ceremonies. Agarwood is also used in making 108-bead necklaces to be hold when buddhists recite the scripture. Being warmed by body temperature, the agarwood beads would then release a fragrance that induces clarity and the peace of mind.
There are a total of five places in the Bible (both The Old Testament and The New Testament) where Agarwood is praised as one of the most precious fragrances.
More than 1,400 years ago, The Prophet Mohammad advised that Agarwood creates pleasant, enduring scents for the body. Agarwood appears in daily life as well as spiritual life of a Muslim since it contains many types of remedies.
Agarwood is an integral part of the ceremonial washing of Kaaba, the cuboid building at the center of Islam’s holiest mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The sacred event takes place twice a year; the first time is 15 days preceding Ramadan and the second time is 15 days after Haj.