The Sacred Domain of Oud

I wasn’t really feeling like wearing Oud today–something that happens every few weeks. On the rare days that I don’t swipe Oud, I will gravitate to a Mukhallat. Lately, that has been either Al-Arabiya or Mukhallat Salman. However, both of those Mukhallats do have some Oud in them–Al-Arabiya is made with Oud Bengal, and Mukhallat Salman with a Cambodi. Otherwise, I’m a daily swiper of one of Ensar’s Ouds.

The wearing of Oud is a ritual I look forward to everyday. In the mornings after meditation, I begin to feel into which Oud I want to wear for the day. It is often very obvious, as I already feel drawn to wearing something in particular that fits my mood. On other days, the consideration can be more lengthy, when my mood is more ambiguous. Nonetheless, there is always the conclusive swipe on my wrist, a beautiful beginning of the day with a fresh breath and the wordless knowledge of artisanal Oud oil.

Upon waking, the first act I do is meditation on my Beloved Guru, Adi Da Samraj. For me, beginning the day with meditation and puja is how I am able to enter into the stream of ordinary life without losing my heart-connection to the Divine. In the same way, the wearing of Oud oil has become a sacramental act of worship, a remembrance of the sacred in the midst of daily life, a sensory integration with What Is Beyond this mortal world. To wear a fragrance such as Oud is the same as wearing sacred jewelry. My Guru calls His disciples to wear a rudraksha mala as a way of remaining in and functioning within the sacred domain, a tangible form of Divine remembrance.

I remember Ensar telling me that in Islam, the wearing of fragrances is considered an act of worship. I was very struck by those words, and although I could intuit something of what he was saying, I did not altogether feel the fullness of its meaning in the way that I do now. With every swipe, I feel the reality of these words sinking in so much deeper. To fill one’s life with profundity–even at the grossest of levels–is a mysterious and wonderful gift.

My Guru also wore Oud oil, and so every swipe of artisanal Oud oil is also a form of remembering Him, and the love and devotion I feel for Him in my heart. Really, wearing Oud is a pre-verbal symphony of so many things. Who knew that so much could be held and expressed in that simple swipe of the Oud-laden glass stick across my wrist.

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