It's no secret that George Harrison was highly influenced by not only Indian music, but the culture. Harrison was first introduced to Indian music during the filming of The Beatles second motion picture, Help! George first meeting with a Swami was with Swami Vishnu Devananda on George's 22 birthday (25 February, 1965). Swami Vishnu Devananda had given him a book, which he wouldn't look at till years later and when he opened it he found an OM symbol written in it.
Beatles producer, George Martin, would say that the Rubber Soul period would lead to the group wanting to try new instruments, to head in new musical directions. This would lead to George taking an interest in playing sitar and taking a trip to India in 1966 with wife Pattie Boyd and Indian musician and friend, Ravi Shankar, to learn how to play the sitar with Ravi's teaching, also to learn more about the Indian culture.
|George Harrison Meditating|
By 1967 and 1968 The Beatles had seen the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and had decided to take a trip to Rishikesh, India for a Transcendental Meditation training session lead by the Maharishi himself. Along on this trip were The Beatles girlfriend/wives; Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Harrison, Maureen Starkey, and Jane Asher. Also, Donovan, Mike Love, and Mia and Prudence Farrow. During this time George had decided to get heavily into meditation and the culture visiting India whenever he had the chance.
In 1969 George Harrison and John Lennon met the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, Swami Prabhupada in Tittenhurst Park.George would later write the introduction to Swami Prabhupada's book Krsna, reading the following;
That same year The Beatles produced "Hare Krishna Mantra" preformed by George Harrison and Radha- Krishna Temple. The record appeared in the Ten Best selling- Record charts in not only the UK but in Europe and Asia . George even recalls him and John sailing around the Greece Island chanting "Hare Krishna"
"...because you couldn't stop once you got going... It was like as soon as you stop, it was like the lights went out."-George Harrison
George's influences from the Indian culture and Hinduism lead to focuses in many of his songs, for instance one of his most famous songs, "My Sweet Lord".
"That is why I say "God. My sweet Lord, I Really want to see you, I really want to know you. Why should I be paranoid all my life? Wash away my fears." Since then it has been a matter of trying to hold on to that little shining light which one's lucky to have glimpsed, and manifest the light more and more and more until you become that. And it's hard."- George Harrison, I Me Mine
The above video is "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison orginally from the All Things Must Pass album, this version is from George Harrison's "Let It Roll"
George became what he called a "Closet Krishna", practising Hinduism and meditating till the day he parted his earthly life.
"Funny how people say: 'You've only one life Squire'. I've give up saying 'You've got as many as you like and more, even the ones you don't want'. But it's true. We have."- George Harrison, I Me MineThe day George Harrison parted this earth, 29 November 2001, a pictures of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were next to the bed. He also requested his ashes to be spread in the Ganges River near the holy city of Varanas. George had left £20 million for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The Following video is George Harrison's "Awaiting On You All" from the All Things Must Pass album:
"You go on being reincarnation until you reach the actual Truth. Heaven and Hell are just a state of mind. We are all here to become Christ-like. The actual world is an illusion."- George Harrison