DLM/EV History: 1975 - 1976

Maharaji plays Krishna, then "Humanitarian Leader"

After Maharaji's marriage and the break-up of the holy family, some premies in the West abandoned him, but most remained. Due to his marriage and the turmoil with his family, the number of programs and festivals in the West declined in 1975 and 1976.

Few programs occurred in the West until November, when a large international program was held in Orlando, Florida. Prior to the program, a group of four westerners, all Americans, were designated by Maharaji to be "initiators" (this title replaced the earlier title of "Mahatma"). At the Orlando program, Maharaji again wore his Krishna costume, and gave darshan, (in which premies filed by, bowed down, and then kissed his feet).

Maharaji and devotee/wife, Marolyn.

Many premies in the West believed that Maharaji was the incarnation of god on earth. This belief was supported by the various statements that he and his Mahatmas had made, by the opulent thrones and crowns he wore at programs, by his titles ("Lord of the Universe" and "Perfect Master"), and by devotional songs like Arti which were sung to him by his devotees, and which described him as a deity.

But major changes in the way Maharaji presented himself were being discussed within DLM. In late 1975, steps were taken to change his image among the premies. According to various former premies, and the former president of DLM, Bob Mishler [Mishler interview], some premies close to Maharaji were increasingly concerned that many premies had been believed that Maharaji was the incarnation of god when he was, in fact, no such thing. Mishler and others thought that this was having a negative effect on both the premies and Maharaji himself. There were reports that Maharaji was often stricken with anxiety and had developed a serious drinking problem.

Through the first half of 1976, DLM issued various proclamations in which the premies were instructed to begin viewing Maharaji as merely an inspirational teacher, or as a "humanitarian leader". Many premies were confused by these changes, but others merely viewed these as the latest attempts to make Maharaji more acceptable to a wider population for propagation purposes.

Premies were told to be less "cult-like." Ashram residents were encouraged to consider leaving the monastic life, and many did. Some ashrams closed, and many ashram premies left the ashrams to get married, while others returned to school and began repairing damaged relationships with their families. Many premies simply stopped practicing Knowledge during this period.

The extent to which Maharaji was behind these changes is unclear. However, it appears he did support them at least initially. In the Summer of 1976, a series of programs were held in North America, at which much of the Hindu trappings (Krishna costumes, Arti, etc.) were conspicuously missing. Maharaji appeared at these programs in business suits, and darshan was changed from filing by and kissing his feet, to a sort of "receiving line" in which the premies merely filed by and nodded, waved or smiled. Maharaji obviously agreed to these changes to some extent.

Return to History Index

Prev Page: 1974 - Maharaji is married, the "Holy Family" breaks up

Next Page: 1977 - Rededication: The Devotional Period

Top of Page & Main Site Links