Someone asked me if we should not use Agarbatti in pujas as it contains a thin sliver of bamboo. He thought bamboo to be inauspicious because it used for laying out the dead bodies for the Anteyshthi Sanskar. This is faulty thinking as leaving the physical body and its subsequent Anteyshthi is not an inauspicious activity. In fact Anteyshthi is a Sanskar, the ‘right and auspicious action’.
(I am from Konkan. The houses in our villages are built in large plots, wadis, surrounded by trees and bamboos. We use bamboos in several ways and also the young shoots/rhizomes are eaten in a curry. We do not consider it to be inauspicious.)
I encourage everyone to learn to see auras. It is a useful skill as it gives you a basic idea on whether the person, object, place, ‘haunted’ places, sound or even the thought process you are being exposed to is positively or negatively charged. And you can then act accordingly to protect yourself or open yourself more to the energy. You can also monitor your own aura and take corrective actions in time.
If you can see auras or even sense the energy of objects, do check out the aura of a live bamboo plant or a cut bamboo stick. It is a unique plant on the energy levels, ie its aura is completely neutral. Its energy does not interfere, overlap, impinge or influence the auras of other things put on it, through it or the activities and energy events going on around it etc. No other plant has this sort of energy property.
(Kusha grass or Darbha grass also has unique energy properties, but it is used in activities involving living humans)
The Anteyshthi is the last Sanskar, the most important one. This compound word can be understood as ‘the Ishti of the Antah’.
- Antah – agreeable, handsome, nature, condition, inside, presence, proximity, whole amount, certainty, settlement, death, end, destruction, final, term, boundary, edge etc.
- Ishthi – sacrifice, fruit, desire, request, wish, endeavour, something that is wanted or needed, invitation, acceleration, impulse, order, despatch, seeking. etc
Put these above word meanings together to get an idea of the grandness of this event on so many levels.
Even after the jivatma exits from the shell it is still subtly linked to it. The Anteyshti uses this link to power the individual soul and gives it the generated energy for moving out of the Martyalok, the physical world and reaching the Pitrulok, dimension of the departed jivatma, safely. It is a very precise process and the slightest energy interference can cause issues for the individual soul’s journey. The jivatma is already tired after living on the Martyalok for so long and wants to go to its deigned dimension as soon as possible. Several intense mantra are performed on the discarded body by the heir to generate maximum energy during its dissolution by Agni. It is a yajnya, ie an evolution of the highest level. The Anteyshthi is an auspicious process, the energy generated is positive. The fire is the conscious Agni who ensures protection. The Shmashan, ie the place where this is happening is a high energy place, ie it is the residence of Bhagwan Shankar and its energies are equivalent to a Devalaya.
Thus the bamboo mat on which the body is laid out is the perfect container for this purpose. This specific requirement of the Anteyshthi, ie energy neutrality for the dead body is fulfilled only by this bamboo mat.
In fact bamboo is known to be a thermal insulator. Compressed bamboo sheets are used as building material in cold areas. Do learn to see auras and see for yourself how this ‘thermal insulator’ material is in fact an ‘energy insulator on so many levels.
Ever wondered why the flute, Vamshika is so soothing? Why its music can stir deep emotions in your heart? Or trigger long lost memories from your past? Or show you flashes of your past lives? The inherent energy neutrality of the bamboo plant is the reason why bamboo flutes are so powerful. The emotion of the flautist, the power of the Saptasvar, and energy the melody is expressed by the Vamshika, as it is. Music from a bamboo flute is pure in that sense and impacts you in a way no other musical instrument can. If you are in a really contemplative mood, or want to use music consciously for its power, listen to flautists who play Bharatiya Raga on bamboo flutes.
(I find the native American flute music played by native Americans to be the most evocative. It is a strange mix of sadness, pain, betrayal, longing and yet pure beauty.)
So the Bamboo plant is definitely not inauspicious, it is one of the purest materials. And if you want to use agarbatti for your pujas, go ahead, its all good.