A Parasitic Godly Tree and Dacoits
The Enigma of Sandalwood
Incapable of supporting itself, it turned into a parasitic life style by tapping into roots of other trees.Sapping food from other plants and turning into fragrance, Sandalwood tree is a perfume factory in the midst of forest.
The use of sandalwood perfume and sandalwood paste was mentioned in Hindu mythology dated back to thousands of years. In ceremonies and rituals, sandal wood paste is offered to Gods and sometimes to adorn the deities. At one ancient temple in South India, a thick paste of sandalwood is applied over the deity to form a plaster that grows every day with each application to such a height and girth, the dried sandalwood paste is chipped off in a glorified ceremony at year end that attracts countless devotees. None of the devotees were allowed to see the deity immediately after removing all the sandalwood. Some believe that the temple authorities came out with the plan of placing thick sandalwood coating every day to protect the centuries old folklore that the deity was half lion and half human with fierce and scary look, though more likely the deity was a very small and gentle looking and perhaps feminine. On any given day, devotees can only see not the actual deity but sandalwood encasement formed over the deity with everyday application of thick sandalwood paste. Some devotees truly believe that they were protected from the glance of fierce looking deity by the sandalwood plaster.
A small piece of sandalwood fetches such an exorbitant price, a huge black market created a new class of dacoits that just specialize in illegal trade of the wood. One of those dacoits became so powerful that the government spent years to track him down in the forest known for sandalwood trees.The police dogs failed to smell his tracks in the jungle as the dogs’ olfactory function was shut down from sandal wood perfume sprinkled all over the place.Then the government sought the help of psychics and astrologers only to find that the dacoit was born on a day of unusual and rare astronomical event that he could never be caught alive. Then they played an old game of betrayal to catch him. Every time they thought they were closing on him, the informant was either disappeared or found dead.
Of all the persons, a book keeper came out with a plan.His hypothesis was “since free enterprise got him into this business, only greed would get him.” The government created a phony business front for sandalwood to fish him out.At last, greed got him.To close a big business deal he became more accessible only to be shot dead by the police. Thus the decoitry in sandalwood business came to an end.
The sandalwood tree robs nutrients from other trees and the dacoits rob its limbs for its fragrance. Fake sandalwood carvings in gift shops were made of regular tree wood drenched insandalwood perfume to smell authentic. Forest dacoits, illegal trading in black market, fake sandalwood carvings and masquerading a diminutive deity; the enigma of Sandalwood tree.
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