The Monks recently held a farewell puja for the media studios magnificent mango tree. We tried so hard to not take it down, but it is tearing apart the Media Studio with its powerful roots. It was planted in 1959 and is the only one of 20 or so mango trees on the monastery lands that gives edible mangos. It has fed us many breakfasts over the years. For this we are grateful. The wood will be milled by the monks with our portable Cook sawmill, then it will be cured and later used in the construction of the monastery.
"At the base were placed three pots holding mango trees that will be planted to carry on the tradition. They will be planted elsewhere where buildings will not be an issue in their future life. We have done a special puja to thank the tree and to bless the arborist who will remove it safely. He is a Tongan named Phillippe. We have given him the traditional offering tray, shawl and dakshina."
Sadasivanathaswami read from the Kamika Agama where it discusses removing trees and how it is to be properly done:
"The sacred Agamas, Hinduism's scripture on temple worship, are very comprehensive. They include all there is to know on the subject, from the loftiest metaphysics of the high planes of existence, where the Gods reside, to instructions about how to get the right lumber to build a new temple.
The Kamika Agama says, 'You must select only trees growing outside the village or the city. From the place where the temple will be built, the tree should be east, north, west or any direction in between these three, but other directions are to be avoided. The tree should not be poisonous.'
Ahimsa, the dharmic law of not harming any living being, is followed carefully. 'Even to build the most beautiful chariot for God, you must not select trees where birds make nests. Once the tree is selected, you have to propagate 3, 4 or 5 saplings from it and make sure they grow well. Only then you may proceed to cut it down, performing the essential rituals."
A puja was then performed to sanctify the process and tell the tree spirits to move to another residence.