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George Harrison: Remembering 'the quiet Beatle'
by Keith Deboer

Transcendental Meditation - USA
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3 May 2011

Of course George Harrison is best known for the role he played as lead guitarist of one of the most popular, influential musical groups in modern history. And his own beautiful compositions ensure he will remain a beloved part of our modern music tradition. As the 10th anniversary of his passing approaches, it's sweet to remember George, his music and his humanity.

We're also thankful to George for the influence he had on our society's interest in meditation. It was his fascination with the ancient knowledge tradition of India that led the Beatles to meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and to learn the Transcendental Meditation program.

''I had got to the point where I thought I would like to meditate; I'd read about it and I knew I needed a mantra—a password to get through to the other world.'' — George Harrison

It all started when in 1967 George's wife, Patti Boyd, learned the Transcendental Meditation technique in London while George was away on tour with the Beatles. 'I loved meditating and I found the effects remarkable,' Patti said. And it was her enthusiasm that led George to encourage the Beatles to hear a lecture in London by Maharishi.

This meeting led to a lifelong dedication to meditation and the quest for higher states of consciousness—one that would set the tone of his personal and professional life. And it certainly influenced his music.

Some of his great contributions to the musical heritage of the Beatles came as a result of his experience studying Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi in India. His compositions that resulted from that special period include ''Here Comes the Sun,'' ''While My Guitar Gently Weeps,'' and ''Something''—a song that John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the two principal songwriting members of the band, felt was among the very best the group recorded. It was also the second most covered (i.e., recorded by other artists) songs after ''Yesterday.''

George's interest in the Transcendental Meditation program and the widespread adoption of Maharishi's revival of Vedic wisdom continued throughout his life.

In 1992, to show his support for Maharishi's effort to help raise the consciousness of society, George performed at a benefit concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. George was also enthused and engaged in Maharishi's revival of the ancient Vedic science of health, ''Ayur-Veda''. He regularly visited the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, USA.

During the 1990s, George also visited Maharishi at Maharishi University in Holland. Dr. Bevan Morris, the president of Maharishi University of Management, was present during George's visit and recalled with fondness the way George approached Maharishi ''with great respect and tenderness. It was very sweet to see George's humility, and how deeply he appreciated being in Maharishi's presence.''

In our modern world where celebrity often overshadows the integrity of a person's basic character, George's life was one of simple dedication to high ideals. In the words of Dr. Morris, ''George was a very fine, spiritual, humble and enlightened man.''

''Everybody's looking for something. . . . We don't have to look anywhere—it's right there within ourselves.'' — George Harrison, Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974

This post on the official US Transcendental Meditation program website includes photos of George with Maharishi as well as sources used in the article.

Related posts:

1. Dear Prudence: Won't You Come Out to Play?

2. Paul McCartney remembers his first meditation with Maharishi

© Copyright 2011 Maharishi Foundation USA

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