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The word Puja is an ancient Indian word which means "to worship with flowers." At some very early time, in India, the rishis and sages createdFlower Boat on the Ganges a very simple means of expressing the deepest, most pure and innocent feelings of the heart for the Hidden Power out of which all life came into being. This was to offer lovely fragrant flowers at a small altar in some special place in the home which was set aside for meditation and prayer or in local temples where people gathered communally to share in morning and evening worship.

In that earlier era local flowers were chosen according to season and with the passage of time were invested with special symbolic significance to help the common man keep before his eyes the simple truths which help a person through the ups and downs of life. The rich colors, the beauty of form, and the delicious fragrances pouring forth from these simple natural botanical gems which were available at little or no cost were very easy for people from all strata of life to relate to. The result was that Puja became an integral part of the religious life of the Indian people and continues to practiced in millions of households throughout the length and breadth of the country.

Indeed this love of flowers and their use in worship has been partly responsible for an immense floraculture trade in India which has been increasing year by year. Because there has been a major shift in population from the country to the city there has arisen in major metropolitan areas flower markets which are specifically geared to the offering of special flowers for worship at home and in the temples. In ancient times many temples use to have their own gardens that were specially designed just for growing sacred flowers like champa, bakul, jasmin sambac, rose, and marigolds for use in special ceremonies. Many times the priests who lived at the temples also were practicing physicians and so the garden included ayurvedic medicinal plants as well which were used for treating different ailments of the local people.

During the course of many trips to India I have become quite familiar with the integral role flowers playin the lives of the India people in both sacred and secular levels. ourneying from north to south and east to west, I have seen flowers being cultivated and growing wild in many diverse situations. Early morning visits to flower markets in both country and city have afforded a glimpse into an enchanting world of aromatic plants that reveals the ancient love for natural aromatics is as alive today as in the past. It has been a total delight to see children and adults alike collecting flowers or buying them from small stalls where they are taken home for home worship or to adorn various shrines within the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities. At that time of day the fragrance of flowers floats on the air creating its own divine perfume. The commingling of the floral scents has such a soothing effect upon the heart and soul and naturally brings one into a contemplative frame of mind.

In the Puja Perfume I have combined the essences of many flowers that are central to the tradition of home and temple worship. I have tried to capture something of that soft quiet peace that radiates throughout the country in the early morning hours.

"There is an hour of the Indian night, a little before the glimmer of the dawn, when the stars are unbelievably clear and closer, shining with the radiance beyond our belief in this foggy land. The trees stand silent wround one with a friendly presence. As yet there is no sound from the awakening birds, but the whole world seems to be intent, alive, listening, eager. At such a moment the veil between the things that are seen and the things that are unseen becomes so thin as to interpose scarcely any barrier at all between the eternal beauty and truth and the soul which would comprehend
them."-John Hayland

Information is provided for cultural interest, not as a recommendation for treatment of disease