cover image of Beatles, Drugs, Mysticism & India

The Beatles,

Drugs, Mysticism & India
: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - Transcendental Meditation

- Jai Guru Deva OM  

- Paul Mason -
Z
The Beatles' search for bliss, self-knowledge & enlightenment - from psychedelia to transcendence  - their experiments with drugs & the practice of meditation. The unvarnished story as told by The Beatles, friends & others who shared the journey.
~ A documentary-in-print, profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished colour photographs. ~

Z

'The Beatles, Drugs, Mysticism & India' is the detailed story of The Beatles' quest for bliss, self-knowledge and enlightenment through extensive experimentation with drugs, and dabbling in mysticism; their journey through psychedelia to transcendence. The Beatles' involvement with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the practice of Transcendental Meditation is told in great detail, largely by The Beatles themselves and also by a great many others who were with them. The book is a documentary in print, profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished colour photos which complement the text in revealing the untold intimate story of those heady times.

 

According to John, The Beatles first became aware of things Indian during the filming of the movie 'Help!', which coincidentally was also when George Harrison first tried playing a sitar. Naturally, their experiences with drugs ushered in a period of intense questioning concerning the nature of reality and consciousness, and The Beatles became increasingly mystical, looking deeper within themselves and out at the world around them. The Beatles ceased to be a performing group, and whilst making 'Rubber Soul', 'Revolver' and 'Sergeant Pepper', John, Paul, George and Ringo emerged as four distinct individual artists and thinkers, creating new sounds through creative experimentation and making music that stirs both head and heart.

 

The Beatles sought for information on how to stay high without drugs, and after meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in August 1967, they all four learned Transcendental Meditation, a simple exercise practised for about twenty minutes or so, twice daily.  Almost immediately they renounced the use of drugs and became ambassadors for Transcendental Meditation. Although The Beatles didn't actually make a record promoting meditation, they recorded a song entitled 'Across the Universe' which makes reference to 'Guru Dev', Maharishi's guru, Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who revived the teaching of meditation, not just for monks but for everyday folks too.

 

In February 1968, The Beatles flew out to India to attend a teacher-training course with Maharishi, at a retreat near the ancient holy town of Rishikesh in a forested area of the Himalayan foothills by the river Ganges. John, Paul, George and Ringo were accompanied by their womenfolk, Cynthia Lennon, Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd, Jenny Boyd, and Maureen Starkey, and their road manager, Mal Evans, and all of them spent their time in India, meditating, listening to Maharishi, and socialising with other students, some of whom were musicians, such as flautist Paul Horn, singer Mike Love of The Beach Boys, and singer/songwriter Donovan. The musicians would often get together to play and write, and George would sometimes play his sitar for his fellow students. Whilst in India, The Beatles wrote many notable songs, some of which appeared on the 'White Album', such as 'Back in the USSR', 'Dear Prudence', 'Julia' and 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill', to name but a few, and Donovan also wrote new material, with a couple of songs about Maharishi; including one called 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'.


John, Paul, George and Ringo, all found great inspiration in the spiritual teachings of India, and though John Lennon's attention shifted to his newfound relationship with Yoko Ono, his interest in meditation endured. The break up of The Beatles took its toll on each of them, who all experienced personal crises, having problems with drink and drugs too. But, come what may, they all seem to have continued to value the practice of meditation, and George, Paul and Ringo all performed at benefit concerts in order to raise awareness of the value of meditation. The Beatles' musical heritage will endure for centuries, and hopefully their idealistic quest for Peace, Love and Understanding will ultimately prevail, and governments of the world will 'Give Peace a Chance!'

~~~

Author profile

Paul Mason became a fan of The Beatles at an early age, and recalls that as an 11-year-old he listened to a live broadcast of them playing, picked up on his transistor radio set on Boxing Day, 26th December 1963. Living in London, Paul got to see many of the major acts live in concert, met a lot of colourful characters on the fringes of the music business, and enjoyed good times together with them, occasionally brushing shoulders with those close to the core.
In 1970, Paul hitchhiked to India where he visited Maharishi’s ashram at Rishikesh and learned the technique of Transcendental Meditation.This spurred him to dig deeper into the history of the teaching of meditation, which led to his being commissioned to write 'The Maharishi: the Biography of the Man Who Gave Transcendental Meditation to the World'. Later he translated the teachings and life story of Maharishi’s master, 'Guru Dev' - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati - from Hindi and Sanskrit into English.
In 2000 at a little ceremony on the banks of the River Ganges at Swargashram, Rishikesh, Paul was given the honorary sannyasi name of 'Premanand'. More recently, a chance meeting with singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch proved the necessary spur to bring to fruition a project that had been bubbling under for years - the compilation of the detailed account of The Beatles, and Donovan’s involvement with Maharishi, and their clear endorsement for the practice of Transcendental Meditation.


Premanand

Publication date: 11th June 2017 

A4 format (210mm x 297mm), 290pages appx.

enquiries to:- premanandpaul@yahoo.co.uk