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Author Topic: George's spirituality an overview  (Read 233 times)


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George's spirituality an overview
« on: September 09, 2021, 04:34:26 am »

I watched a video on George's belief a little while ago and thought the topic was worth talking about, George has been described as preachy you can't really miss the fact that spirituality played a big part in his life and art. I thought it was worth talking about also personally i have a lot in common with George on this.

George grew up in a Catholic family, but it was his contact with Indian religion Vedanta/Hinduism that formed the basis of his spiritual beliefs.

Things with the Beatles seem to move very quickly, and in 1965 by which time the Beatles had world wide fame and fortune a number of key events happened. During the making of Help! George saw a sitar and became interested in it and a couple of weeks later bought a cheap one that was later used on Norwegian Wood. Friends told George about Ravi Shankar and George got a couple of albums of his and was fascinated. John and George took LSD and George says of an LSD experience, I don't know that it is the first one, that he heard the phrase "the Yogis of the Himalayas". I think George also read Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception around this time. George soon met Ravi and while Ravi is often seen as introducing George to Indian music which he did, it seems that he was also one of the most important people in George's spiritual life too, both in terms of playing music as a spiritual practice, requiring mindfulness and meditation but he also introduced him to various spiritual writings.

In 1966 after The Beatles had quit touring George became the first Beatle to go to India where he studied with Ravi Shankar and read spiritual books. This trip was significant for George an escape from his fame and a plunge into spirituality. One of the spiritual writers that George read was Swami Vivekananda who had come to the US in 1893 to attend the first World's Parliament of Religion in Chicago representing Hinduism. He created a sensation there where he stressed the brotherhood of Humanity and that the various religions were all different pathways to God. I'm also tickled that his Guru was Sri Ramakrishna who was a great devotee of the Goddess Kali who was of course featured in Help! Vivekanada Tat twam asi – That thou art “You are that which you seek. There is nothing to do but realise it.” "What right has a man to say that he has a soul if he does not feel it, or that there is God if he does not see him? If there is a God we must see him. If there is a soul we must perceive it. Otherwise it is better not to believe. It is better to be an outspoken atheist than a hypocrite.” from My Sweet Lord “I really want to see you Lord” God is to be experienced rather than believed in. He also discovered Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda like Vivekananda had gone to the US but Yoganananda spent much of his life there and his Autobiography is filled with wonders of saints and he also gives a great sense of intimacy with God. Yogananda is also a syncretist, seeing all religions being a variety of different pathways to the same God. It is Yogananda's lineage of gurus that George had appear on the cover of Sgt Pepper.

In 1967 all the Beatles visited the Maharishi, who I actually don't know that much about, but obviously he had a focus on Meditation and that led to the Beatles trip to Rishikesh India.

In 1969 George formed a relationship with the Hare Krishnas (ISKCON International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and in 1970 he produced an album of their chants and in 1972 he gifted them a temple in London. The Krishnas are probably one of the more dogmatic arms of Hinduism, but their focus is largely on devotion through chanting, we also know them through their food, vegetarian prasad (blessed food). To quote George “By chanting the name of the Lord and you'll be free”.

George's spirituality may have shifted sa little over the years but these elements remain, he had a respect for Indian Mythological stories, I think he believed that Krishna lived on earth around 5000 years ago and was an avatar an embodiment of God, I think he also accepted Jesus as a divine incarnation. He practiced meditation, chanting and a belief in God and the ability to experience God directly.