You should stick your wonderfull economic analysis in your 'Best of..' (Does it make you go blind if you put your own posts up?)
I think there's another angle on this.
The cult's main source of income has always been donations from wealthy westerners. Although figures of the indoctrinated are well up for the some African and Asian countries, they are not as well heeled and the mainly middle class Europeans and Americans. And it's the wealthy westerners who have been dribbling steadily away for the past few years. Along with the departed goes their income.
Maharaji doesn't really have a grasp on economics. He demands and the premies provide.
Unfortunately the cash is running out and his demands don't seem to be correspondingly tempered, which can only cause a crisis.
He has massive monthly overheads, as well as all his domestic bills, hangers on, slaves and sycophants, airport bills etc.
As the cash crisis deepens, I think we'll see a variety of nutty schemes aimed at refilling the
empty coffers. Premies swallow anything as long as it's for 'heem'.
All the schemes, like the above, are aimed at generating an ever larger pool of cash from an ever dwindling number of followers, but I don't think we'll ever see anything as successful as the ashrams, where we lived 20 to a room on a subsistence diet, handed over our unopened wage packets every week, spent our evenings and weekends raising money with other schemes, and encouraged our secular brothers and sisters to do the same.
Elan Vital is a old rickety bus, imported from India in the 60s, blowing black smoke, heading towards the edge of a cliff. The chubby bloke in the big gold hat is the driver, but he's sitting on the back seat while the passengers line up to empty their wallets and kiss his feet.
Who would of thought it would have ended like this?
Anth the Economic Observer and Traffic Surveyor.