Something Forever

- Chapter 3 Part 2/5 -

-->  Part 1    --> Part 3    --> Part 4   --> Part 5

The journey is the destination

Shyamsundar Prabhu recalls, "Because we as Americans had little knowledge of European and specifically British conditions and also little Luxmi - in other words money -, George Harrison offered to help the devotees to find a suitable temple. A little help and service could not hurt,  the Beatle said, laughing, and told the Apple management to take care of it. George Harrison could understand the feelings of the devotees for their Guru and Krishna well, because he himself as a disciple of sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar had understood, what is the meaning of this in the here and now, and in all spiritual depth. To be a student to truly learn something of value, means to learn devotion."

Shyamasundar Prabhu:
"George was always the one of the Beatles, who tried sincerely to find out something about God. This was not just a normal kind of curious intellectual inquiry, but rather a deep, very deep desire for the truth."

After some searching in the following weeks,  Shyamsundar received news from Apple that a probably suitable property for a temple was found . It was a five-story building in Bury Place, near the British Museum, in the heart of downtown London. Of course it was not so easy  to transform an ordinary house into an authentic-looking Indian Hindu temple. When George learned that the devotees had difficulties to equip the inner temple area with marble for the altar, he quickly gave the devotees a hand with a good 2,000 pounds, and also tried to collect some money with his rock star colleagues. In particular, Donovan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger are said to have donated. The Rolling Stones used Apple's own basement recording studio at this time, where they rehearsed their current Hyde Park concert, which was to be held in honor of the deceased  Brian Jones. The collection campaign was bearing fruit, and so the Krsna Devotees were able to complete their temple most beautifully and to marbleise it, thanks to the helpfulness of their great mentor, George O Hara.

(Georges "Awaiting On You All" at YouTube)

George Harrison remembers in
Rolling Stone magazine:

    "Through Hinduism I feel better. I'm just happier and happier. Now I consider it a fact that I am unlimited and now have more control over my physical body. Basically, the Vedic system it includes all about enlightenment, and music is one of the ways to attain enlightenment. I really believe in reincarnation. You are returning as long as you get it right. The ultimate goal is to achieve divinity and to become the servant and lover of God."

Srila Prabhupada writing to Shyamsundar Prabhu

After Swami Prabhupada in New York had been informed that one of the Beatles had proved to be so helpful to devotees, he wrote the following letter to Shyamasundar Prabhu in 1969, in which he expressed some of his remarkable ideas about the great potential within the helpful participation of the Beatles for ISKCON, his great movement which was created for his students. He wrote:

"Dear Shyamsundar, I gather from your friendly letter of ... 1969, that George Harrison very well has a little sympathy for our good movement for Krishna consciousness in himself. If it is Lord Krishna's plan, and the service is satisfying him, then I am sure that Mr. Harrison can help us in the worldwide spread of Krishna consciousness. It seems to me that the Beatles have become a kind of great guiding star and magnet for the European countries, USA and all Western-style democracies in this world. They are seemingly everywhere in the center of attention, and are a kind of example for many young people, and this not only in the free Western world. As I gather from your letter, Mr. Harrison is even interested in our philosophy and is chanting the holy name of Sri Krishna. I welcome this most explicitly, because he not only cleans his own heart with it, but helps to promote the grand plan, predicted since the days of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, which says that the chanting of the holy names Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna - Krishna Krishna - Hare Hare - Hare Rama - Hare Rama - Rama Rama - Hare Hare should be heard in every town and every village in this world. If Mr. Harrison therefore would have an active contribution in leading a large Samkirtan party, with the Beatles and the Krishna devotees at the center, then, I promise you, we will change the face of the world that suffers so much from the many mafia-political maneuvers and disturbing influences of wicked politicians."

(Srila Prabhupada - "The Acharya" part 1/5) mit multi-language subtitles at YouTube)

A few weeks later,  Shyamsundar received another letter of his Guru with the following:

"Dear Shyamsundara, I am so happy that George Harrison writes such beautiful songs where he sings - O Lord, who we have so long ignored. - This is very considerate and beautiful in its thoughtfulness. These are the statements we need about God and our forgetting him. If we should meet in the future, I would give him some thoughts on feelings of separation from God, this should give the Beatles the ability to write beautiful compositions, to let the people understand why we suffer, and where joy and happiness can be found. The public needs such songs that describe the meaning of life, and if they are mediated by such wonderful agents of the dear Lord, their great success is more than  certain."

Bill Harry points out in his "George Harrison Encyclopedia" that during his trip to India in the autumn of 1966, George Harrison said in a press conference:
"The urge to be something more than a mere Beatle provoked me to come to India. By learning to play the sitar, I can give Beatle fans a little more from India. Also I find the philosophy and culture of the East natural and real, unlike Western philosophy which at a central stage reached a dead end. I think the Westerners who say the East is a mystery are a narrowminded lot, not ready to accept its greatness.!"

We also see in this early interview that in recent years, George had studied in detail and with great seriousness ithe sense and nonsense of life. John Lennon used to say: "Ask George he knows all the cords, and all the books of wisdom, he is our bands mystic yogi." And in a nice DVD release in remembrance of George and John, which Dr. Ko. kindly lent to me, John Lennon says about George Harrison: "George himself is no mystery. But the mystery of George inside is immense." 


-->  Part 1    --> Part 3    --> Part 4   --> Part 5