Sunday, November 25, 2007

France (last update: Nov. 21, 2007)


* Membership: 1100 abhyasis (4000 in Western Europe) (ca. 600 in 1986, 1483 in 1994, approx. 1100 since 2001)
* Preceptors: 97 in 2007, 110 in 1995
* Growth: 0% (3% in Western Europe on 2002-7)
* Penetration: 18 abhyasis per million population (15 to 20)
* Association Act 1901 created in 1986
* Ashrams in Montpellier, Nice and Paris + 40 centers

For a long time, France was the country with the largest (most important) abhyasis community after India. The membership has flirted with 2,000 followers level at the end of 90's, only to collapse to approximately one thousand. This is not because of French government policy on (sectes nuisibles) cults, but because of significant internal divisions.

In SRCM France was established in 1986. In 1988, Augerans Castle (39) was purchased to become the European headquarters of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission Ashram and the first Western headquarters. It was resold in 2003 under firm pressure from Chari. The current vice president lives in Switzerland and is of Dutch origin.

The geographical distribution of abhyasis is very uneven. They are concentrated mainly in the Paris region and in the south, around Montpellier and Marseille-Nice-Toulon. Already in 1995, the Ile de France and the south together accounted for three quarters of abhyasis, two thirds of the preceptors and half of the centers.

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