Prem Rawat, The Numbers Game

June 17, 1971 200 followers were at Heathrow aiport to welcome the young Rawat's arrival "in the West".
Friday, September 3, 1971, Newsweek Feature Service: "he claims to have three million followers around the world, including 2,000 mahatmas in India who call him master. In fact, he is now seeking more adherents on a three month international tour which began in Hollywood and is taking him to New York, Washington, Canada and South Africa before winding up with a large rally in London on Nov. 5."
The Washington Post - Tuesday, September 14, 1971: "Someone says the guru needs only seven more hours flying time to get his pilot's license. … They talk about the 1,000 American followers the guru has garnered; about the guru's large toy collection;"
County Times and Gazette, Friday, October 22, 1971: Mike Finch, one of Rawat's early close followers told the press that the "movement has a following of nearly 2,000 in England, several thousand in America, and about two million in India."
The Dominion-NewS, Friday April 7, 1972 Morgantown West Virginia GURU MAHARAJ JI and Mahatma Guru Charanand have returned to the United States, where an estimated 3,000 devotees live. This is the guru's second visit to the U.S. … Ashrams, or houses of devotion, have been established in more than 20 cities throughout the U.S., Mrs. Stevens reported. … Continuing, he says: "The Guru's 'Movement' - he dislikes terming it a 'religion' - has 10,000,000 followers throughout the world. "These believers in North America a year ago numbered only five; today they include more than 30,000, including more than 400 new converts" as a result of his Toronto visit.

Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo Iowa July 21, 1972
Colorado Hosts Guru Puja
Four Waterloo and Cedar Falls people will join 30 others scattered through Iowa to attend a Guru Puja to be held near Montrose, Colo., next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. All are adherents of the Divine Light Mission which began a year ago in the United States and now has approximately 20,000 members.
Guru Maharaj Ji, 14-year-old Perfect Master, will be in the Western Hemisphere for the first time. The Guru Puja has been celebrated, usually in India, for thousands of years on the same date. Through the travels of Guru Maharaj Ji the devotees now number over five million.

Last year the boy guru - a distinctly portly figure in western dress - paid two visits to Britain since when the number of his adherents here has risen from a mere handful to over six thousand.

12 THE TIMES MONDAY OCTOBER 23 1972

Saturday, June 8, 1974: Golden Age magazine The estimates of how many premies there are in England range from 7,000 to 20,000. Certainly there are several thousands of active premies: those who are practising and propagating Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge. However, what confuses the estimates is the number (quite a large proportion) of people who, although they have received Knowledge of the Soul, often two or three years ago, are not currently practising it, or who are meditating, but do not attend many of the DLM meetings or activities.

Guru Maharaj Ji and the The Divine Light Mission - JEANNE MESSER Since August 9, 1971, more than eighty thousand Americans have become his devotees. East and West, the movement itself is called the Divine Light Mission.

November, 1976 GURU MAHARAJ JI: You have a 100 per cent rating. Hong Kong is 10 premies; there are 10 premies in Hong Kong and all 10 of them are active premies. That's the best rating there is. (Laughter). I'm not kidding; look at the U.K. There are 6,000 premies, and there's only 3,325 active premies. Hong Kong has 10 premies and all 10 of them are active. 100 per cent. … COLIN SPEARS (Canada): Maharaj Ji, I have a question which relates mainly to the initiator programme - and probably specifically to Canada - in so far as there are 22 ashram premies in Canada and about 1,000 premies throughout the country;

Guru Puja in Tucson Arizona on Sunday, July 16, 1978  I'm pretty sure there's not exactly 10,000 people in this hall. It's 10,115 "point-something." And this is to all those 10,115 "point-something" people - that you as individuals need that medicine, need that Grace, that Dr. Guru Maharaj Ji has. Because without that, we don't even know. Without that, it's an aimless chase. It's an aimless run. It's aimless everything. And by Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace, such a beautiful opportunity, comes in front of us that we're able to be in this.

1978: The Origin, Development, and Decline of a Youth Culture Religion: An Application of Sectarianization Theory Thomas Pilarzyk Review of Religious Research, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Autumn, 1978), pp. 23-43. By the summer of 1974, the American movement had grown to a total of 27 ashrams which housed over 1200 of an estimated 50,000 members or "premies." In 1973 alone, the DLM had recruited 30,000 new converts (Foss and Lankin, 1975). Foss and Larkin (1975) note that conversions declined in 1974 to less than 6,000 nationwide.

Price, Maeve (1979): The Divine Light Mission as a social organization by the summer (July) of 1973, the mission claimed to have a following of 8,000 devotees, or premies, in Britain. From the small beginning of one mahatma in London and a handful of premies, the mission grew, with up to half a dozen mahatmas at any one time giving knowledge, the establishment of Divine Information Centres in most major towns and cities and the setting up of about forty ashrams (designated premie households) throughout Britain by the end of 1973 It is impossible to be certain of the size of the membership during 1973. Most mission officials speak of 8,000 to 10,000. This figure had come down to around 6,000 'who are fairly active', by February 1978. Mission records confirm that numbers receiving knowledge dropped drastically after 1974. Data on membership have been obtained from the total sample of active premies on the mission's records which were compiled in the years 1975 and 1976. Out of the 2,050 who declared that they were prepared to donate 10% of their incomes to the mission, 642 filled the mission's questionnaire on education, occupational skills, age, year of receiving knowledge and other items. At a festival held in Leicester in 1976 many openly smoked cigarettes and cannabis, drank alcohol and wore 'conventional' hippie clothing, the men complete with beards and beads. Official mission policy is opposed to all these practices. DLM (which is not called DLM anymore, although the name is retained here for the sake of comprehensibility) has changed enormously during the 80's from what it was during the late 70's. It has still retained many of its old hard core members, but these now tend to live a "normal" life. Since there are no meetings, or special communal activities, old members do not meet very much. New people are still being initiated into the meditation techniques - according to what by the present author considers a reliable source of information, 7,000 in the West and 14,000 in India (within the fraction loyal to Maharaj Ji) were initiated during 1986. This sounds large, but since there is no formal organization, it is impossible to estimate how many of these actually practise meditation regularly. DLM has, as a matter of fact, almost changed into what Bainbridge & Stark (1978) calls a client cult, with clients or customers rather than followers. The new people it attracts are predominantly middle-aged, and not young, as was the case in the 70's.

1986: Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America,
(editor) J. Gordon Melton, In 1979 the Denver headquarters quietly closed, and both it and Maharaj Ji moved to Miami Beach, Florida. From there, two periodicals are currently published, Divine Times and Elan Vital. In 1980, the Mission reported 10,000 to 12,000 active members in the United States. The Mission is headed by Maharaj Ji, its Spiritual Leader and the Board of Directors which supervises the 23 branches. Ministers (mahatmas) lead the Mission centers around the world. Many of them travel from center to center to give initiation and satsang (spiritual discourses). Members are required to participate in meditation daily and attend satsang each evening.

1990: World-rejection, world-affirmation, and goal displacement It has still retained many of its old hard core members, but these now tend to live a "normal" life. Since there are no meetings, or special communal activities, old members do not meet very much. New people are still being initiated into the meditation techniques - according to what by the present author considers a reliable source of information, 7,000 in the West and 14,000 in India (within the fraction loyal to Maharaj Ji) were initiated during 1986. This sounds large, but since there is no formal organization, it is impossible to estimate how many of these actually practise meditation regularly. DLM has, as a matter of fact, almost changed into what Bainbridge & Stark (1978) calls a client cult, with clients or customers rather than followers. The new people it attracts are predominantly middle-aged, and not young, as was the case in the 70's.

1999 Religious Movements Homepage: Size of Group: Numbers from David V. Barret's Sects, "Cults" and Alternative Religions: A World Survey and Sourcebook state that approximately 10,000 people from the UK, 250,000 people from India, and 75,000 people from outside India "practice the techniques of Knowledge" 29 . The Maharaji's web page ( Maharaji.org ) reports that the average monthly attendance in the year 1998 was 472,230 people. It reports that interest in Knowledge for 1998 was found in 81 countries. It also reports that in 1998 Knowledge was disseminated to 20,387 people. Maharaji states that in the year 1998, "I accepted invitations to speak at 123 events with a total attendance of 305,696"


The figure for PWK numbers used in the formula below has been taken from the maximum number of PWKs who attended any one of the live broadcast events in your location. You may note that this is not the same as what is on your mailing lists. By taking broadcast attendance as a common reference it was possible to keep the factor of 'uncertainty' (ie between number on mailing lists and actual in touch) and 'ability to pay', as a constant across all centres.

During KEYs Days you have been advised to request a $5.00 contribution. This will be counted towards your centre hence you may need to raise a lesser amount to meet your target. You are kindly requested not to increase the KEYs Day contribution to above $5 since it could impact on the local attendance.

aus_keystats (64K) nz_keystats (23K)

Most of you will have heard about The Keys - a series of steps/modules designed and presented by Maharaji. The Keys cover all of the elements needed to build a strong foundation of understanding for people becoming interested or already involved in pursuing this journey of life with Knowledge. Approximately 200 people (in Australia & NZ) have currently expressed an interest in preparing for Knowledge. They will be sent the Discovering More brochure and DVD free of charge. More relevant information on this project has been and will be progressively relayed to you by the Keys Team and through the upcoming conf calls.

We are fortunate to be provided with an opportunity to be a part of this project by supporting the production, making of masters, duplication, packaging, and associated technical costs. Below is a split sharing to achieve a target of AUD20,000.00 needed to cover these costs and launch Keys (in English language) in Aus & NZ. The KEYs are not for sale, but can only be borrowed, so the costs cannot be recouped through selling materials. There will be some ongoing cost and people will only pay posting and handling.

The figure for PWK numbers used in the formula below has been taken from the maximum number of PWKs who attended any one of the live broadcast events in your location. You may note that this is not the same as what is on your mailing lists. By taking broadcast attendance as a common reference it was possible to keep the factor of 'uncertainty' (ie between number on mailing lists and actual in touch) and 'ability to pay', as a constant across all centres.

NOTE:

  • Efforts through the resource communicators have been initiated and any contribution coming via that initiative, from individual persons in your community, will be counted towards your centre.
  • During KEYs Days you have been advised to request a $5.00 contribution. This will be counted towards your centre hence you may need to raise a lesser amount to meet your target. You are kindly requested not to increase the KEYs Day contribution to above $5 since it could impact on the local attendance.
  • A special contribution form, created for individuals wishing to contribute at personal level, will be made available. Any such contribution will be counted towards the centre/city.
  • If your centre has any funds already earmarked for KEYs project, please send it to Resource Media immediately and indicate that it is for the KEYs Project.

Please ask me if you have any queries re: the formula. Also do express if your centre is unable to sustain your split portion. We can then discuss further with other cities/communities for goodwill support. (Please remove the other persons from cc when you reply.)

  • Please deposit your target amount either in one lot or installments by end of June.
  • Send a message to Rani Prasad via FC at Resource Media (with cc to Ganeshan Rao confirming your deposit and that it is for KEYs. KEYS Account from Resource Media :BANK TRANSFER OR DIRECT DEBIT:

Account name: Resource Media Account 2 Account number: 1021 4983
Bank Name: Commonwealth Bank of Australia Branch Number: 063 225

Thanks for your cooperation. Regards

Ganeshan

(For South Pacific Keys Team)

























Prem Rawat, or Maharaji ("Great King") as he calls himself, rarely, if ever, specified the number of his followers after his early initial, successful phase of recruitment in the West. Why Rawat and his organisations do not publish actual membership statistics is uncertain especially as they have sophisticated methods of counting his followers' activities through the use of obligatory smart cards but it is probably because the number has fallen dramatically from it's height and it appears to be a strict policy of his organisations only to print positive things about Rawat and his activities. As far as can be ascertained he would appear to have about 10,000 'students' in Europe, North America and Australasia - about half of the maximum figure of circa 1980 despite constant efforts in proselytization or "propagation" as he calls it since 1970.