I think any discussion of what kind of a man Maharaji is, is clouded by the fact that most of us have never met the man and know little about his personal values, except what we have heard from people who have spent time with him. Those reports range from undying loyalty and love, to hatred of a man who is greedy, compulsive, entirely self-centered, and dismissive and uncaring towards other human beings, especially his own devotees who don't happen to have lots of money to give him. But the fact that he never had any interest in who his devotees were as individuals, including those who dedicated their lives to him, is an indictment in and of itself, and a clear indication of what he thought about us.
I personally think he is a sociopath, probably due to both genetic and environmental factors. Not a sociopath in the sense that he could be violent or commit violence against others, although there certainly have been stories over the years of his sadistic behavior towards Bahari Singh and others around him, but rather it's a general uncaring about others, perhaps beyond his own immediate family. [Although, again, given his sexual infidelity to Marilyn, one wonders about that, too.] I don't think he has much of a conscience because he has rarely, if ever in his life, been forced to face the consequences of his actions. Once he rebelled against his mother and broke the ties to her, he was a child with the world at his feet -- a very dangerous situation. A child with power and money. God, no. After that, he rarely heard a discouraging word from anyone, and there were always those willing to clean up his messes and make excuses for him. All of that is a recipe for an inability to ever admit error, letalone take responsibility for it.
I agree with you that the ashrams are one of Maharaji's more significant crimes against humanity. And, although I wasn't there, I am told what when ashram premies confronted Maharaji about this after he closed the ashrams in the 80s, he just told them it was about the 'experience of love' or such nonsense, and refused to deal with the reality of the situation. Plus, Maharaji rarely even allowed questions, and when he did the audience was openly hostile to anything that smacked of criticism of their lord and master. Again, I doubt much confrontation went on.
I think he believes most of the time that whatever he does is just fine, but I do feel he has periods of self-doubt, especially due to his failure to fulfill the supposed mission he has, or thinks he has, to continue his father's work. The fact that he has scaled back his expectations about spreading knowledge, and has become somewhat of a recluse and an unknown in the world, feeling he has to do that to hold on to what he's got, must have caused him to doubt himself considerably. Whether he has accepted that and moved on, I don't know.
But a real problem for him is a fairly large group of ex-ashram premies who feel the way you do, Anon. They resent Maharaji for what he did to them, and resent him further because he won't even address the issue. I think that will dog him for however long he is around, because these people are less likely to forget the whole thing and just move on.
I disagree, however, that premies in their 40s and beyond are less likely to abandon Maharaji and his cult. There have been quite a number in that age group who have become visible ex-premies through his website, and also, I think people often tend to examine their lives in their middle ages and are less rigid in their beliefs. I know that's true with me. As a 20 year old premie, I was absolutely sure of what I was doing. I doubt, even if I was still a premie, that I could feel that way now.