Bhavabhuti (8th century A. D.)
Bakul flowers traditionally distilled in light sandalwood oil
Provenance: Tamil Nadu State, South India
The bakul is one of India’s most sacred and beautiful flowering trees. It is most commonly found on the western coast of India and flowers between the months of March to August – filling the warm night air with an intoxicating aroma. The perfume of the bakul flower, also known as the “garland flower” lasts for a very long time and therefore is symbolic for the lasting love and devotion one has for one’s beloved.
Bakul trees are often found growing at temple entrances. The bakul’s deep green leafy branches offer luxuriant shade and cool respite from India’s blazing sun creating a peaceful sanctuary to meditate under. Following the ancient Hindu custom of marrying male and female trees, the bakul – which is considered male – is planted on the right side of the entrance, while the chalta tree, which is considered female, is planted on the left side. The bakul flowers are, thus, considered sacred and are used as temple offerings to please the gods and goddesses, worn and given as garlands at holy ceremonies or extracted into an essential oil called Bakul Attar.
Bakul flowers and its scent is closely associated with various Hindu deities such as Goddess Durga, the goddess of transformation and Krishna. In folklore, Goddess Durga lives among Bakul trees and is very fond of its scent.
Traditionally worn as garlands, the bakul flowers can now be worn as an oil emitting a perfume that delights the wearer and anyone who comes into the wearer’s company. Bakul Attar can also be burned in water to create a peaceful and meditative atmosphere.
Walking through a thick carpet of bakul flowers that have bloomed in the steamy night air and fallen to the ground of a temple courtyard, it is easy to understand why the monks of India’s past pointed to the heavens as the source of these flowers.
Bakul Attar promotes the energy of the seventh chakra, the crown. The crown chakra relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss.