DLM/EV History: After 1983

Disbanding DLM, and the emergence of Elan Vital

After the closing of the ashrams, Divine Light Mission continued to exist as a charity, but underwent a name change to Elan Vital. Almost everyone was fired and most of the offices were closed. Maharaji said that DLM had grown too large, had too many people on its payroll, and that too much money was being used to maintain the offices.

There were very few day-to-day activities following the closure of DLM and the ashrams. Some of the remaining mahatmas gave Knowledge, but this happened rarely. Satsang was held in premie's homes. Maharaji kept touring minimally, but in most countries the organization consisted of one or two people running mail/information programs, and who also organized the few programs at which Maharaji spoke.

Local offices for Elan Vital were opened circa 1984-85. These offices consisted of a national contact and a few assistants; often ex-ashram premies. Propagation activities restarted, with halls being rented for satsang. "Participation" meetings were organized to ask for service in the form of financial support.

Eventually, Maharaji decided to recreate the position of Instructor [Instructor's Manual]. These were initially part-time positions, given to both single and married people who had full-time jobs. Training sessions for candidates were established in the US and in Europe. In a few years, Maharaji had between 150 to 200 part-time instructors. Most of them were ex-ashram premies, or other people who had been around since the 1970's. These instructors were supposed to give satsang, teach aspirants, and reveal the meditation techniques. These people were now the only ones allowed to give satsang and talk about Knowledge, which was a major change in the dynamic of the premie community. Formerly, anyone had been able to give satsang and talk about their experiences with Knowledge, but now this became a privilege bestowed on a small percentage of premies.

There were also a few full-time instructors, who were trusted followers who had been with Maharaji since the beginning. These people were more or less at the top of the organization, and they handled propagation and Knowledge sessions in places where there were no part-time instructors, or where propagation was just starting.

After a few years, Maharaji decided to abolish the position of part-time instructor. This was probably because it was difficult to manage all those people. The former part-time instructors were no longer allowed to give satsang or Knowledge.

Maharaji then decided that he would be the only one who could give Knowledge. He still does this, except in rare cases when he cannot get to the Knowledge session. In these cases the full-time instructors are allowed to give Knowledge.

Maharaji slowly increased the number of programs that he spoke at. Videos were made of his talks, since by this time no one was allowed to speak in his behalf other than the few full-time instructors who toured with him. The Malibu-based Shri Hans Productions became Visions International, making and distributing videos, audiotapes, souvenirs, and publications.

Elan Vital also purchased some land at Ivory's Rock (Amaroo) in Australia, and at La Tierra del Amor in Argentina.

Sometime during this period, Maharaji indicated that he wanted to be referred to as "Maharaji", rather than the more foreign sounding "Guru Maharaj Ji". He also asked that premies refer to his wife as "Marolyn" (her given name), rather than as Durga Ji.

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