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A Parasitic Godly Tree and Dacoits - An Enigma of Sandalwood (standard:non fiction, 525 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Dec 17 2010Views/Reads: 1755/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Sandalwood is known for fragrance but the enigma of Sandalwood is something else. Read about it.

A Parasitic Godly Tree and Dacoits 

The Enigma of Sandalwood 

Subba Rao 

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 dome 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 in scent of sandalwood 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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