(Last update: April 2, 2007-coming soon!)
At his death in 1931, according to sources, Lalaji had 100 to 200 followers. Upon his arrival at the SRCM in 1964-65, Chari estimates the number of disciples to be only 42 or 43, and then seven times that in 1970. In 1983, after the death of Babuji, he asserts that there were 180 preceptors, which could mean up to 4 to 5000 abhyasis. K.C. Narayana estimated their numbers to be 20,000 in 1991. The SRCM announced 50 to 55,000 followers in 1995-97, and 75,000 in 2000. Chari estimates that he then multiplied the number of Indian abhyasis by 3 India in 3 years. Finally, the figures between 2004 and 2006 fluctuate depending on circumstances between 200 and 300,000 adepts, no less ...
Just as there is little data on India, so far we do not lack data outside India. According to these sources, there is evidence that the number of abhyasis per preceptor outside India varies between 8 and 20 at the most. The orders of magnitude would therefore be 5 to 10,000 abhyasis outside India in 1995 and twice that today. If one accepts Chari's figures, it would imply that there was a preceptor for 70 abhyasis in India in 1995 and one for 200 today!
What, then that so differentiates the Indian abhyasis from the others? Probably the very definition of what an abhyasi is. Which favorably inflate Chari's statistics ...
Indeed, there were significant differences between regular and occasional abhyasis. Today, in Europe, they no longer count abhyasis who do not pay their dues. This may not be the case everywhere.
If we Assume that the number of abhyasis is 5 times lower than elsewhere in India, it would confirm the figures for 1995, but would reduce the current total population of SRCM to 100,000 followers. The penetration rate would be 16 abhyasis per million inhabitants. That is not so bad!
India would be the main breeding ground of SRCM with about 85,000 abhyasis today to about half of that in 1995. What is more certain is that in 12 years the number of preceptors has nearly doubled. More than half of them are now concentrated in 4 states: Uttar Pradesh in the north and 3 states of the southern Horn of India, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This is roughly the same for meditation centers and ashrams. The penetration rate is thus 85 abhyasis per million inhabitants.
The rest of the world would then share in the remaining 15% of the SRCM abhyasis (5-8% if we accept the SRCM announcements). That is to say 10-20,000 today against half of that in 1995.
Thus, the penetration collapses to 3 abhyasis per million inhabitants. Continental Europe is still a solid first with 46% of the preceptors outside India, but against 60% in 1995, while North America rose from 19 to 28% at the same time. Latin America, Asia excluding India and Africa each have 7 to 8% (compared to 0, 9 and 9% in 1995) and Oceania 4% against 2.5% in 1995.
In 1995, SRCM was present in 16 European countries, it is now in 28 countries. The former Soviet bloc constitutes the bulk of this increase. We can estimate the number of followers from a little over 5,000 to fewer than 4,000 there in12 years, which represents a growth of around 40% and is still in first place after mainland India and just before North America. The supervision rate is about one preceptor for a dozen abhyasis. The top three European numbers remain unchanged. France is always first with nearly one thousand abhyasis, followed by Germany and Denmark with 5 to 600 followers. Then Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom with 3 to 400 abhyasis. Five others have around 200 followers, in the case of Austria, Ireland and Spain but also newcomers such as Russia and Belaruse. The others do not reach one hundred abhyasis.
In France, the followers are concentrated mainly in the Paris region, around Montpellier, as well as Marseille-Toulon. In Switzerland, two thirds are located in the canton of Vaud, mainly around Lausanne.
In terms of penetration, the number of abhyasis per million population reached 7 for the whole of Europe. It rises to 18 in the western part to drop to 2 in the east. Three small countries are the exceptions: Denmark (100), Switzerland (50) and Ireland (35). Otherwise, there are 2 distinct levels: between 15 and 20 for France, Austria and Belaruse, for example, and between 5 and 10 for Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany.
In terms of growth, it is generally low in Western Europe (25% over 10 years, making a transition from 3 to 4,000 abhyasis), and very high in the former Soviet bloc where its presence was marginal (actual multiplied by 3 to 4 approaching now the thousand abhyasis). But there was also strong growth in Spain (actual multiplied by 5), Sweden (multiplied by 3) and the United Kingdom (multiplied by 2). Three countries remain stable (Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway) and France is declining ...
Overall, the countries where SRCM had little or no established significant development (Eastern Europe, Spain, United Kingdom), still present a high capacity for evolution (penetration levels still very low in the east) . The country historically affected to the contrary show signs of exhaustion of growth, and even regression, as in France. North America, with its cohorts of immigrants from India, could soon exceed Europe, if Europe is slow to develop.
America has seen a very important progression: this only in Canada and the USA in 1995, North America is now represented by preceptors in most Latin American countries. The number of followers is close to 5,000 to fewer than 2,000, an increase by 3 times in 12 years, the continent is poised to exceed Europe for the second place.
In terms of penetration, the number of abhyasis is close to 10 per million inhabitants in North America from 1 to 2 in Latin America. Growth is very important since starting from scratch in Latin America, and multiplied by 2 to 3 in the United States and Canada. In North America, the supervision rate is about one preceptor for 18 abhyasis. The United States still dominate widely with more than 3,500 supporters, or almost 3,500 followers. They are followed by Canada with approximately 500 people and Brazil with 200 to 300 people.
The USA is the first country after India in number, but it seems that almost half of whom are of Indian origin. The Mission was established there in 1970 without progress until 1984 or after Chari. Since then, SRCM has work twice as hard.
Relatively diffuse, its population is concentrated today in California, Ohio and Texas essentially. Then six other states: North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, New York, Georgia and New Jersey. The first 3 concentrate one third of the abhyasis, the other six, the second third.
The SRCM has also been established in Canada since 1972. More than half of the abhyasis are in British Columbia.
Outside India, Asia does not count more than a thousand followers against about 700 there 12 years ago, an increase of just over 40%, but the penetration rate is the lowest (below 1).
In this context, only Malaysia and Singapore stand out, weighing in between them for over half of the followers of this continent. Malaysia has 4 to 500 abhyasis for a little more than 300, representing an increase of 25% in 12 years and a penetration rate of 18 abhyasis per million inhabitants. Singapore is around 200 abhyasis against almost none there 12 years ago and the rate of penetration of the mission would reach to more than 40 abhyasis per million inhabitants.
Elsewhere, the Mission has trouble penetrating, but it is making considerable efforts to win China in particular, the other inexhaustible reservoir of growth ...
Africa also has approximately a thousand followers against about 700, or an increase of 40% in 12 years and a penetration rate close to 1 abhyasi per million inhabitants.
Again, the two countries that stand out: South Africa and Madagascar to weigh in more than half of the abhyasis on the continent, each with around 300 followers. While South Africa saw its abhyasis drop of more than 10%, Madagascar recorded a growth of more than 50% in 12 years. The penetration rate reaches 17 abhyasis per million inhabitants while it is less than 10 in South Africa.
Everywhere else, the success of the mission remain short-term, often associated with the people. In Oceania, the abhyasi population is slightly more than 500 followers to fewer than 200 there in 12 years, an increase by 3 in staffing and penetration in the neighborhood of 15 abhyasis per million inhabitants. Australia accounts for nearly three-quarters of the followers, at least 400 people, and has seen the same trend.