Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Swadhyaya Practitioners Page: 315
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P Jain /Worldvieas 13 (2009) 305-320 315
Pilol, Asoj, Padamla, and Siswa villages besides others from the city perform
as 'pujars' in turns at Vrksamandira.
Shah, Sheth, and Visaria (1998) record a similar Vrksamandira known as
Saunaka Vrksamandira in Rojhad. Its total area is 11.64 hectare. There are
11,000 eucalyptus trees and 1617 fruit trees. Chemical fertilizers or
chemical pesticides are not used here. Worm compost is prepared, and a
mixture of kerosene and extracts from cactus thorns is used as pesticide;
there is a tube well; drip irrigation through a network of PVC pipes has
been provided on 14 acres of the Vrksamandira. This Vrksamandira is dif-
ferent from the others here pujaris from not merely the surrounding vil-
lages but from the whole district come to offerpuja. Approximately 3690
Swadhyayis (2443 males and 1247 females) are currently registered as
pujaris at the Vrksamandira. Of them, only 280 pujaris are from the local
talukas, the rest come from all over the district; about 300 pujaris cover a
distance of more than 100 kilometers from their residence to the
Vrksamandira. There are four broad categories of pujarls: (a) Vanaprastha
couples and individuals (senior citizens) who reside for a period of three
months, (b) Vanaprastha couples who reside for a period of one month,
(c) pujaris who live for a fortnight, and (d) those who spend only a day at
the Vrksamandira. The pujaris of the first and second categories are expe-
rienced agriculturalists; they are familiar with the routine work of the
farm; they guide and help others who may be unfamiliar with the farm
work; they act as a link between the daily pujarls. One couple from the
first category, two couples and two individuals from the second and third
categories, and ten individuals from the fourth, work aspujaris at the
The daily pujaris bring packed meals with them while those who stay
for a fortnight or longer cook their meals at the Vrksamandira. All pujaris
use their own resources for their transport, food, and other requirements.
The daily pujaris come to the Vrksamandira in the evening and leave the
next evening. At night, the pujaris engage in devotional activities and dis-
cuss Swadhyaya ideas. The produce of the Vrksamandira is marketed in
the area itself. The pujaris themselves buy the produce at a fixed price;
some visitors also buy from the Vrksamandira. The income during the last
three years has ranged from a little over one-lakh rupees to about two and
a half lakhs. The procedure for handling cash has been streamlined-as
soon as the cash crosses the figure of Rupees 1000, it is deposited in the
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Jain, Pankaj. Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Swadhyaya Practitioners, article, 2009; [Leiden, Netherlands]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38896/m1/11/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.