“Some years ago, while director of an ad agency, I was practising advanced psychic, scent-purification exercises. Neha, a trainee, with attitude, and a future flounced in at 10.30. Being a high creative outfit, we welcomed attitude. May I scent out your being? I asked her formally. ‘Sure’ she said, I take a deep breath of her being as she sits 5 feet away. And I rattled off her diet which included cornflakes. She was shocked. I had smelled what she had eaten hours ago, from a distance of 5 feet!” – Tarun Cherian
Of the 5 key senses, we humans respect smell the least. Most rank sight, hearing, touch above it… But do not dismiss it. Ruled by the Root Chakra, smell is the first sense, the primal sense.
Before our eyes learn to see, our nose learns to trust or reject. ‘Whenever my sister left the house for work my nephew then one-year old, would scream for hours. To pacify him, my brother-in-law would put my sister’s night gown on his shoulder and the child would sleep.’ Smell is the very foundation of trust. Revealing, pheromones, health, vitality…
Smelling is obviously practical. Things may look good, but to get the real ripeness of food the wise use their noses. Connoisseurs have been known to tell rainfall from a sniff of a wine’s bouquet.
Smell is the sense of the hunter. In the wild, where camouflage blinds the eye, we can sniff out our prey and predators. Fear and fearlessness. We normally look at auras. But at times that leaves us with a confusing set of colours. To break the deadlock we sometimes smell the aura. In a recent case: a patient came to us with a severe stomach problem. It’s only when we asked with our noses that we identified the real reason – rage! But our noses are humble compared to animals. And so at times, we refer the problem to Buffy. Her superior doggy nose pinpoints the problem, offering insights like ‘man’s tum-tum is hurting’ which explains the headache.
Another psychic gift of smell is love’s secrets. A friend’s husband comes a little late to a dinner party. Celia looks at him with her nose. ‘He’s having an affair’ she says. A month later, the affair trickles out of the closet.
Recent research into Penguins reveals that in their huge colonies, they find their mates using smell. Avoiding inbreeding and ensuring genetic enrichment.
To Buffy scent is the greatest language. But Buffy’s idea of the finest scents are physical in extreme. Among history’s greatest lovers are Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine. Returning from a battle, he sends her this missive, appalling to the modern nostril… “Josephine do not wash!” Urging her to let the casing of animal magnetism wrap her around.
Yes smell leads us to momma, food, health, lovers and… We were returning home through a sullen rain, when from a roadside vandi, came that most irresistible of invitations. The ‘Amma’ insisted on frying hot-hot bhajjis for us. In the time they bubbled, an auto driver, a street urchin, an old man, a young parent joined us. We talked. Little things happened. The amma gave a stool for the auto man, dropped an extra vada for the street urchin. We returned home with a great treasure wrapped in old newspaper. We put back the ingredients to the Italian dinner we had planned. And feasted on the feeling of a common humanity.
Another precious treasure that smell offers are memories. According to psychologists, the sense that most surely evokes memories is smell. The smell of mama, baby things, wet ink, ironed clothes, sweaty bodies, coffee, incense… they are the heart’s photographs.
But smelling does more. It can reveal and also heal and uplift. For jumpy executives, worried housewives we often recommend essential oil perfumes. An executive addicted to sleeping pills recovered his ability to get a good night’s rest when we recommended lavender.
But the rewards of following our noses are not merely earthly. The most extreme psychic presences are best revealed through smell, foul sulphuric smells signal the presence of the damned and rose-hued airs, the presence of angels.
According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead the last scent that leaves the human being…is smell! “For the last 6000 years,” The Yogi says, ‘I have revealed that smell is a key to the root chakra’s gifts, survival, security, trust, good food, vitality, fertility, humanity, demons & angels, God & joy…’
Yes dear reader… it is time to take a deep sniff… of life.