In 1979, the international headquarters of DLM
was moved from Denver, Colorado to Miami Beach,
Florida. A mansion was obtained for Maharaji and
his family in Miami Beach, in addition to his
existing mansion in Malibu and his residences in
England, India, and Australia. He also requested
that the premies buy him a plane that would include
living quarters for himself and his family.
Eventually, a Boeing 707 passenger plane was
located and purchased for several million dollars.
Maharaji asked that premies themselves convert the
plane for his use. A huge fundraising and
conversion project centered around the Boeing 707
The decision was made to keep the plane project a secret
from the premies, except for those who were working directly
on it. Since huge sums were needed to finance the project, a
fundraising campaign directed at the premies was necessary.
It was decided that the premies would be told that funds
were being raised for a "world tour" and to not mention
anything about a plane.
A warehouse was found in Hialeah, Florida, and premies were
brought in from all over the country, and from around the
world, to work on the plane. Several hundred premies worked
on the plane project at any given time between 1979 and
1981. Non-ashram premies who worked on the project were
encouraged to dedicate themselves in the ashram. Some
couples and families broke up so that one or more of the
parents could live the monastic life.
Despite the constant fundraising, the project was always
running out of money. Emergency fundraising sometimes had to
be undertaken. Premies from Miami would fly to various
cities around the country, collect cash from various
communities, and return it to Miami. On at least two
occasions, $250,000 to $500,000 in cash was collected in
Due to US treasury laws, bank deposits of less than $10,000
were made. This money had to be in cash, since checks would
leave a record of donations directly to Maharaji that were
being collected by a non-profit religious organization
(DLM), for the benefit of an individual (Maharaji), in
violation of U.S. tax laws.
Premies have also confirmed that they were requested to
transport large amounts of money (i.e. $250,000) across
national borders in violation of currency laws, so that this
cash could be immediately available for Maharaji's use.
It took years to finish the plane, partly because Maharaji
himself micro-managed the project and was constantly
changing his mind on how he wanted various details.
Ironically, before the plane was even completed, Maharaji
decided it was inadequate, and he was already considering
the purchase of a different plane.
The project was completed in 1981, but the plane itself was
used for only a relatively short period. All in all, the
plane required thousands of man-hours and millions of
dollars - all supplied by the premies.