DLM/EV History: 1977

Re-dedication: The Devotional Period

The 1976 liberalization was short-lived. As larger numbers of premies left the ashrams or left Maharaji entirely, DLM's finances, and the money that had supported Maharaji's extremely lavish lifestyle, began to dry up. According to Bob Mishler, Maharaji became concerned about the reduction in donations, and felt that unless the premies viewed him as the lord, as a perfect master, and as "the supreme power in person," they would not continue to dedicate their lives, and their earnings, to him.

In the fall of 1976, Maharaji made an abrupt turnaround, and reverted to his previous ways. Bob Mishler resigned as president of DLM to protest this change. Thereafter began what some ex-premies have called "Guru Maharaj Ji's heavy devotional period".

Some place the first articulation of this change at a national coordinators conference in Essen, Germany in late 1976, where Maharaji lambasted the DLM national coordinators for failing to understand that the only purpose in a premie's life was devotion to him. He said that premies had gotten confused, "in their minds", "spaced out", and had become focused on themselves instead of on him.

Afterwards, Maharaji returned to North America and held a program in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in December of 1976. It was sparsely attended, but he again wore his Krishna costume, held traditional darshan, and spoke of the need for every premie to be devoted and to surrender to him.

In 1977, he began holding a new program in North America every 22 days. Many premies lost jobs so they could attend as many of these programs as possible. However, according to Maharaji, this was right and proper:

"I mean it's like, I think to sum it all up it comes down into one simple thing. If I were a premie and I had a job the only reason why I would work and save up some money is to be able to go to festivals. I mean that really sums it up". (Maharaji speaking in Rome, 1977)

Although many of the premies who had left in 1976 began coming back to the fold, many did not. Despite his own involvement in the changes in 1976, Maharaji repeatedly blamed the premies for what he saw as the debacle of 1976. For years to come, the year "1976" stated among premies was synonymous with "spaced out."

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