Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Swadhyaya Practitioners Page: 313
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R Jain /Worldviews 13 (2009) 305-320 313
On the other hand, the devotion of Swadhyayis towards the newly planted
and deified plants ensures a near 100% survival rates in all their tree-
temples.12 This is a striking contrast between two similar efforts. The for-
mer which is done at the political level with an ecological focus and the
latter which is done at the community level with a devotional focus. The
success of Swadhyaya's efforts is apparent in the way they conduct such
Here is another glimpse extracted from Nathbhai's memoir that he nar-
rated to me. This was in 1978 when the first such Swadhyaya tree-temple
was to be built based on krtibhakti of Swadhyayis without any political,
social or financial support from outside the Swadhyaya movement. The
intensity of Nathbhai's dedication was apparent even after thirty years
when he was one of the key volunteers for this project.
In 1978, a wasteland of about 50 acres was bought and was divided into
parts of about 23 and 27 acres. It was a rocky and barren land. Nearby farm-
ers were not hopeful about the project but Dadaji insisted and even located a
spot for the well and that indeed turned out to a great supply of water for
the tree-temple. Thousands of Swadhyayis came on weekly basis from all
over Saurashtra including districts of Rajkot, Jamnagar, Surendranagar,
Bhavnagar, Junagargh, Vairaval, Amreli, and Kutch. Most of them also had
their own personal farms so had to take some time away from their personal
farming. It was not noticed by any media or political leaders. As usual, it was
a silent work so there is no question of support or opposition from any sec-
tion of society. Volunteers brought their own food, bedding, and worked
completely selflessly with only incentive of devotion, selfless love, and selfless
work for God. After working for about one year, on July 12, 1979, tree-temple
was inaugurated with Bala Taru Prna Pratistha Mahotsav on first piece of
the land. Next year second portion of the land was inaugurated. Bala Taru, a
small plant, was ritually invoked with God and then was regarded as deity. A
few families from nearby villages and towns were sitting near each bala taru
to perform puja for couple of hours. In the next months and years, that
Nations, only 66% of the plants planted by state governments survived. The figures are
similar for several other countries where the survey was conducted. I also found two
reports in Times of India in which serious concerns were expressed about the survival rates
of plantation efforts in Bihar and Haryana (2002 and 2003). Also, see a government of
India report which admits poor survival rate of forest plantation efforts: http://envfor.nic.
") As also claimed by their current leader Didi at WorMld Religions after September 11: A
Global Congress in Montreal, Quebec, September 11-15, 2006. I watched her video-
recorded speech from this conference with a Swadhyayi.
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Jain, Pankaj. Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Swadhyaya Practitioners, article, 2009; [Leiden, Netherlands]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38896/m1/9/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.