My father, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, once expressed the role of the teacher of self-knowledge through a wonderful metaphor. He talks about the Master, which is what people often call their main teacher, especially in India.
Here’s what he said: Knowledge, they say, is like the sandalwood tree, and the Master like a breeze. The entire sandalwood tree is filled with fragrance, but even if it wanted to give its fragrance away, it could not. Yet, when the breeze blows, it carries the fragrance to the whole forest. As a result, other trees become as fragrant as the sandalwood tree. In the same way, the entire world could be fragrant with Knowledge.
Hear Yourself, Prem Rawat
If you’ve spent time browsing the cologne forums on the internet, you’ll see there is a zealous category of people looking for the "perfect scent".
AFAIK, we all have our own unique biological signature scents due partially to the composition of bacteria on our skin, our diet, and how often we bathe. We all have that one friend who inexplicably smells good all the time whether they just ran a triathlon or have been lounging on the couch all day.
In this case, the perfect scent is one that counterbalances your unique biological scent. And indeed, finding that scent is a journey of trial and error, Axe and Chanel, Tic Tacs and electric toothbrushes.
What I’ve learned about smell is that it’s much more important to not smell bad than it is to smell actively good.
Much like hearing your own voice, learning to know how you smell is more of an art than a science since other people won’t tell you you smell bad due to fear of being rude.
I've found that is a good signal in seeing how readily people lean into conversation with you. Much like a bees attraction to the off gassing of a flower, nice smelling humans seem to draw people in, and bad ones push people away. So all other things being equal, you can see how people act around you by paying attention to the nuance in the magnetic distance between others and yourself.
Smell pollution is a very real concept, and being aware of the fact that like noise, people cannot escape smells should give enough reason to give it an element of consideration daily for the sake of others and yourself.
Over the years, I’ve been journaling about my own smell journey. A lot of the lessons are obvious, but will still be said:
Don’t kill the note – Rubbing the perfume into the skin seems a sensible thing to do. In reality – it breaks the molecular bond, making the scent weaker.
But If you want to have a a good scent about you that is unique and signature, consider using unscented hygiene products (like deodorant, body wash, shampoos, etc) and apply a highly concentrated perfume (and eau de toilette vs a perfume for example) twice a day. With a high concentration scent it will last much longer. A good eau de toilette will be noticeable for between 4-6 hours, sometimes longer. Application to the wrist or neck is not as important to somewhere like your chest, where heat will promote the perfume to deepen and sink into your clothes. These factors allow for longevity of your nice smell, and for it to lightly permeate all of your clothes.
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