: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - Transcendental Meditation
'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 The book is a documentary in print, profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished colour photos which complement the text in revealing the untold intimate story of those heady times.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'.
Publication date: 11th June 2017
A4 format (210mm x 297mm), 290pages appx.
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