(Last update: November 25, 2007)
The actual strength of SRCM is a subject of perpetual speculation. It is difficult to identify what is false! Nevertheless, the growth, even if it tends to slow down, has been very important, it is undeniable. And if India constitutes the bulk of followers of Sahaj Marg, there are many groups in Western Europe and North America. Where will the SRCM operate tomorrow is another story?
If one puts aside the goal that was dear to Babuji, to achieve a critical size in order to tilt the world towards spirituality, it is important to realize that the quest for growth was imposed on Chari from the minute he claimed power. His attempted coup could only be legitimized by its numerical success ...
*SRCM in a Few Numbers:
(Last update: November 18, 2007)
1. The Numbers Game
200,000 followers in India, 25,000 elsewhere of which 3,500 in Europe. These are the latest figures disclosed by the SRCM ® during a presentation of the group in Germany in 2007.
When a number is disseminated, it is first an announcement, and a possible effect of which is manipulation. And Chari excels in this area! He handles over or underestimation with agility according to his interests. And then, which number should count? The contributors, participants regular or occasional, supporters? The mixture permanent practiced by SRCM ® even simplifies the manipulation.
Only the SRCM ® knows the exact figures, if they exist at all. Trying to establish the truth is a delicate exercise. There is only one source, but the source and context of the dessimination of each number is at least as important as the figure itself. And the recapitulations of adepts (abhyasis), instructors (preceptor) and meditation centers or ashrams help in consolidating the analysis.
Thus, in reality, it seems rather that the number revolves around 100,000 abhyasis around the world, including 15,000 outside India and approximately 5000 in Europe.
Why such a difference? Chari wants to highlight the importance of his success, and he is keen to increase the numbers. In recent years, the effect of advertisement fluctuated between 200 and 300,000 adepts, as if they were no longer around to 100,000 followers. But due to a relative hostility in Europe toward "harmful sects" (cults), there is a tendency to reduce the local numbers so as not to panic the population and governments. While it is rather the opposite across the Atlantic…
2. Historical Evolution
After his death in 1931, Lalaji had 212 disciples, according NaqshMuMra. Upon his arrival at the SRCM in 1964-65, Chari estimates the number of Babuji's disciples to be only 42 or 43, then seven times that in 1970. In 1983, following the death of Babuji, Ajay Kumar Bhatter reveals that there would have been approximately 3,000 abhyasis. KC Narayana estimated their number to 20,000 in 1991. Then came Chari's announcement of from 50 to 55,000 followers in 1995-97, and 75,000 in 2000. He claims to have then multiplied by three the number of Indian abhyasis in three years. Finally, the figures announced by the SRCM ® between 2004 and 2007 fluctuated between 200 and 300,000 followers, depending on circumstances, no less…
There is, here's a perfect example of manipulation of information. Especially since these figures are all from the effects of announcements, none on the daily administrative management of SRCM ®. Thus Chari's interest to minimize the number of followers before his arrival in 1964 and then to magnify the growth so as to attribute it to himself.
This does not alter the fact that the SRCM ® has grown considerably since the 70's, as regretted Dr. KC Varadachari. But to then multiply the figures by two or three in recent times, there is a big step that Chari crossed gleefully.
3. The SRCM today
Whatever the actual figures, India has at least 85% of the followers of the SRCM ®. Then leading the way, America and Europe each weighing in at nearly 40% of the membership outside India. The rest of Asia accounts for less than 15%, Africa to 5% and Oceania 3%.
India is therefore first with 75 to 100,000 followers. It is followed far behind by the United States with approximately 4,000 abhyasis, 1,000 in France, then Germany with around 750, then Denmark, Canada and the United Arab Emirates with about 500 each, according to the SRCM ®.
Rather than treating the figures in absolute terms, we can also calculate a penetration of SRCM® in each country, which I defined as the number of abhyasis per million inhabitants. This time, a few small countries arrive well ahead: Emirates with about 130 abhyasis per million inhabitants, followed closely by Denmark with nearly 100 followers per million inhabitants, India 85 followers per million inhabitants. They then fall sharply with Switzerland and Singapore with between 40 and 50 abhyasis per million inhabitants, then Ireland and Austria with a approximately thirty followers per million inhabitants. Let us remember that the average penetration rate the world over is only 15 to 20 abhyasis per million inhabitants.
In terms of membership growth, the annual rates (calculated on the period 2002-7) the highest observed growth rates are in Latin America (including Brazil), Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Spain. There is also some negative growth, especially in Africa, and a relative stagnation-negative growth rate in France and Ireland.
4. And tomorrow?
For more than a decade, SRCM is threatened by the stagnation of its membership. Already seen in Western Europe and in Oceania, it now threatens North America. Chari has strongly fought this stagnation by investing all his energy in India in recent years, but this will not last forever.
The rest of Asia, like the African continent, are still fairly sealed off to the theses of Sahaj Marg. The only observed real growth are in the regions of concern where the SRCM has invested more recently, that is Latin America and Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Nevertheless it does not stop Chari from multiplying his efforts to China and Asian countries open to international trade, such as Singapore or Dubai ...
*Geography of the SRCM ®
(Last update: 20/11/2007)
The presence of SRCM ® is very unequal in the world: whatever the actual figures, India has at least 85% of followers. Then there are leading America and Europe each weighing in at nearly 40% of the membership outside India. The rest of Asia is less than 15%, Africa to 5% and Oceania 3%.
Thanks to its membership in India, SRCM was mostly present in Asia. But without them, it is one of the continents most sealed off from Sahaj Marg. India, Malaya (Singapore and Malaysia) and more recently the United Arab Emirates accounted for almost all the Asian membership.
India accounts for at least 85% of the SRCM ® globe (75 to 100,000 abhyasis), which represents a penetration rate of around 85 adepts per million inhabitants. They are located mainly in Uttar Pradesh in the north, and in the Horn of southern India. Namely in the traditional stronghold of Lalaji and Babuji in the north and in the more modernized and westernized South dear to Chari. Outside of that, Sahaj Marg has difficulty in establishing itself.
The rest of Asia has less than 2,000 adepts, a penetration rate of less than one follower per million inhabitants, and one of the lowest and comparable to Africa. The few breakthroughs have been recorded in the enclaves that are the most capitalist of the planet, like Singapore and Dubai. In more than two thirds of Asian outside India, they are concentrated in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and its reservoir of membership, Malaysia. Should we draw conclusions about the people who are interested in Sahaj Marg?
Chari has tried for several years to establish SRCM ® in China by all means, at the heart of an infinite reservoir of potential followers. Hong Kong and the Chinese capitalist evolution might serve as a springboard if we trust the previous results ...
After India, Western Europe has long been recognized as the first bastion of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Established since 1972, notably in France, Denmark and Switzerland, it still covers about 30% of the membership outside India, or about 4,000 followers, with a record entry of 15 to 20 abhyasis per million inhabitants. Its growth falters, however, for the last ten years.
Unlike countries where SRCM ® has a strong and longstanding presence and where the numbers are not increasing, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom could see their numbers grow significantly in the near future.
Eastern Europe is only a land of conquest for the SRCM ® since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are approximately a thousand followers presently, a low penetration (2 abhyasis per million inhabitants), which implies a capacity for very important progress, particularly in Russia. Belarus and Romania in particular illustrate these developments ...
3. The Americas
Implanted also since 1972 in North America, the SRCM has largely stagnated before catching up and then exceeding those in Western Europe, largely due to students and workers of Indian origin who represent the bulk of the SRCM troops in the USA. It rose from 19% of the globe outside India in 1995 to 28% today, while Europe fell by 60 to 46%, despite his conquests to the east (Eastern Europe). Currently, there are nearly 5000 followers, which represents a penetration of 10 to 15 abhyasis per million inhabitants. The gowth tends to falter gradually, which would mean that Americans are less docile than Europeans to the theses of Sahaj Marg.
The penetration of SRCM in Latin America is more recent and weaker, with nearly one thousand followers, and is in a situation similar to Eastern Europe with the same potential increase, already shown in particular in Brazil.
The SRCM entered in Oceania in 80's and has been slow to take off. There are now slightly less than 500 followers, a penetration of 10 to 15 abhyasis per million inhabitants. Despite the importance of people from India, the growth might appear quite low. A situation quite similar to that of the United States ...
Most of the followers are in Australia, even if the SRCM tends to spread over the islands.
Africa has 500 to 1,000 followers at themost, or a penetration rate of less than one abhyasi per million inhabitants. The theses of Sahaj Marg does not seduce Africans. Especially since two thirds of abhyasis Africa are concentrated in Madagascar and South Africa, host country of the traditional Indian labour emigrant.
In the rest of the continent, the spread of SRCM is heavily dependent on the presence of abhyasis expatriates. Their departure is usually followed by the gradual disappearance of other followers.
*Why the growth?
(Last update: 21/11/2007)
At the origins of Sahaj Marg, growth was an unthinkable concept. That did not figure in the thinking of Lalaji, as in the Sufi and Hindu traditions. But Babuji has introduced a new concept, namely critical mass, a minimum amount of followers of the SRCM which would tilt the world towards spirituality.
When did this concept originate? It is clear that there has been no major changes in staffing during the first 20 years of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. But then came the criticism of Dr. KC Varadachari who accuses Babuji for his focus on quantity as opposed to quality. So is this a concept of Babuji's? Is it one of Chari's? Or one of Babuji's under the influence of Chari?
Since the arrival of Chari, that is sure, growth has become an end in itself. Was it there before Chari? No one speaks of critical mass now, or their level of achievement, but Chari still calls for gowth to achieve his Master, Babuji's, objective ...
Practically speaking, the development of the SRCM in the West wanted by Chari was an imperative. That has enabled him to establish himself as the leader of Sahaj Marg, while he was sharply questioned by the elders. He had no choice, it is the numbers which has forced his recogniton, almost naturally. Sahaj Marg probably would not have survived without Chari's Legions!
But these cohorts of worshipers have also created a sense of power, which would quickly intoxicate most men of high integrity, including Chari. One can assume that he succumbed like everyone else, and that he reiterated. Not to mention that the many resignations could not be offset by a constant growth that is at least as important.
Finally, after the intoxication to Power, comes that to Money. The growing importance of the movement required more administration, but also more financial flow. And western abhyasis are awash in capital. And the real estate frenzy has won Chari over. In the interest of Sahaj Marg only, or in his own also, that is the question ...
The fragile take-over of power by Chari has imposed the ongoing search for growth to keep his post, it has also driven the organizational model of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission.
*To get Deeper
* How life becomes hell?
Chari re-states his targets of growth to his preceptor, "guilting" them, because there are never enough results (more ...)
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