George Harrison and Hinduism
George Harrison, one of the four Beatles, turned towards Hinduism for spiritual solace. He said that practicing hoary Hindu beliefs made him happy. Despite the fame and tumult of the Beatles saga, Harrison realized that he needed spiritualism to keep himself grounded. This drove him to delve into Eastern mysticism. He was fascinated by Hinduism and Indian music, culture and philosophy.
Harrison Learns Meditation
During the mid-1960’s, Harrison came to India to learn to play the sitar under Pandit Ravi Shankar. He also met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and learnt to practice Transcendental Meditation. In 1969, Harrison’s single “Hare Krishna Mantra” topped the charts in Asia, Europe and the U.K. He also came into contact with Swami Prabhupada, who founded ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness).
Harrison Embraces Krishna
Harrison embraced Krishna and remained devoted to Him till his death. He regularly chanted the Hare Krishna mantra to get peace and solace. Harrison also gave up eating meat and embraced vegetarianism. Harrison said that meditation and Krishna consciousness were methods to realize God. He believed that God can be perceived through these methods.
Harrison also embraced the Hindu philosophy that each individual’s soul is essentially divine. He said that creation and the universe were nothing but a cosmic drama. One needs to transcend the illusion and delusion of this motion picture to realize the ultimate reality, he averred.
Harrison created many spiritual music albums inspired by his belief in Krishna. Swami Prabhupada, the Bhagavad Gita and Hindu philosophy inspired him to compose many spiritual songs. Some of these songs went on to top the charts.
Images of Rama and Krishna adorned George Harrison’s deathbed. He died in 2001, aged 58. Harrison donated 20 million pounds to ISKCON. He wished his ashes to be immersed in the holy Ganges river in India.