DLM/EV History: 1980 - 1983

The Closing of the Ashrams

Maharaji continued giving programs with more elaborate stages, thrones, crowns, dancing, and darshan. Fundraising continued unabated and more money was always needed, despite the fact that propagation was at a virtual standstill in the west. Maharaji appointed more western initiators, and gave a directive in 1981 that these initiators should "clean up" the ashrams. It was unclear what he meant by this, but some initiators took it upon themselves to abuse psychologically the ashram residents, feeling that they had been given permission to do so by Maharaji himself.

In 1983, it was announced that all the ashrams were going to be closed. Many ashram residents were devastated, having dedicated years of their lives to Maharaji and believing, as they had been repeatedly told by Maharaji and the initiators, that it was a life-long commitment. Most had forsaken careers and families to dedicate their lives to him. Now, in their 30's, they suddenly faced having to start their lives over.

Maharaji and family in 1982.

Maharaji took no responsibility whatsoever for these devotees. If an ashram had a debt, it was divided among the residents who were required to pay it off on their own. Neither DLM nor Maharaji took any responsibility for these debts. According to ex-premies who worked closely with him at the time, Maharaji became increasingly concerned with the financial responsibility he might have for the ashrams - as the residents aged, needed medical care, were unable to work, etc. Accordingly, he decided the ashrams were more of a liability than an asset and closed them. Many former ashram premies to this day feel resentment over his cavalier and uncaring attitude towards his most dedicated devotees.

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