Something Forever

- Chapter 3 Part 4/5 -

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Radha Krsna Temple Album

Now, all tracks for an own Krishna album were recorded, and Apple now officially became the record company under which label the devotees published their record. Apple probably was the most famous label in the late sixties at all, and anyone who was under contract from Apple could be sure to be heard by a large fan base. Thus the devotees were in cheerful spirits because this year had given them much good. They had received so much help from the Beatles that it seemed almost incredible, and you had to pinch yourself to see everything in the right light. They had received a beautiful five-storey house in the heart of London as a temple, also George Harrison provided any help to them in the renovation of the house, in order to form a Hindu temple. As if all this were not enough, they were offered the coveted Apple label for their mantra Dance Mix record on a silver plate as well, which was launched by the Beatles as if by magic, and was a worldwide hit in no time. All this achieved in about six months, was like a divine hint. The revenues of the well-selling single went in the temple treasury with little compromise, which meant that the poverty time was over, and the devotees were able to print books and to establish preaching programs, to get themself vehicles and to decorate the temple. All these circumstances overflowed them like a warm rain, seeming to shower the good karma over them.

Radha Krishna Temple Album

When the devotees, so dizzy from all their happiness, wanted to officially open their temple and communicated to the authorities that the house should be used as a temple, they discovered that not all inside the Swinging London of those days were so delighted by the appearance of this orange Hindu monks in a rather conservative dominated England. The Ministry of Housing affair didn't give the green light for the opening of this hippie-esque Hindu community, but reserved the right to first carry out some slightly more detailed investigation in order to see if everything would correspond to the rules. But the devotees, in their happiness,  already had invited their guru and master Swami Bhaktivedanta to inaugurate their London temple, and were hoping for a spiritual kick in their important preaching work by his presence. All of this at once seemed to be unreachable, and great frustration was spreading.

Once again, it was the Beatles who gave a helping hand to pull up the devotees by their bootstraps from the morass of material circumstances and to bring them to the much safer banks of the famous Beatle-country. John Lennon, informed about the trouble in which the devotees suddenly were,  telephoned Syamasundara Prabhu and suggested him to move on his newly purchased 60-acre estate Teahurst Park with all the devotees , until the legal matters in the city ​​would be cleared, which prevented occupation of the Temple in Bury Place. The estate of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was so huge that it posed no problem for John to host guests in the beautiful conservatory, a large beautiful building at sufficient distance from the much larger house of the Lennons. Teahurst Park was originally built by the multi-millionaire Cadbury with the many millions of his chocolate industry, and also a close neighbor of the famous Askot racecourse, which weekly became  the meeting point of the English upper class and nobility.

John Lennon had just purchased the property dating from the 18th century, and just wanted to begin to renovate and to redecorate the house anyway. And if the devotees were willing to help him with the renovation, they were more than welcome in his kingdom. Said and done, all moved to John Lennon and his wife for the time being. Yoko Ono, however, had arranged that the contact didn't get too intense, because she was afraid John would follow the example of George Harrison and open himself to Hinduism. She was pronounced very feministic, and even then a fairly dominant person who did not like outside influences to follow John. During this time, Apple released the said first Radha Krsna Temple Single at least, and John was one of the first congratulants in the Conservatory, and he also believed that the single would go into the charts, probably because anything the Beatles touched then, mostly went into the charts. He once accompanied the devotees in singing on his white piano and sang loudly with the chanting of sacred mantras himself, which in turn called Yoko Ono on the scene, who, under the pretext of having migraine, declared the session closed.

(Radha Krishna Temple "Hare Krishna" YouTube)

Be smart with prasad

In just these days of August, the record company Apple also arranged a great promotional party for the Radha Krishna Temple Single, where a lot of press and lots of music-business people were invited into a large Gregorian villa in the south of London. In the garden of the villa there was a very impressive large blue and white striped tent set up, in which an even more impressive vegetarian-Ayurvedic table of unlimited opportunity for the gourmets of the Indian vegetarian kitchen was arranged. George with the devotees had transformed a great kirtan into a bustling music scene, which casted a spell over the entire audience, because hardly anyone had connected these sounds with a Beatle before, and now was disabused. It was  the food and the singing of the mantra dance mix which also inspired the press to enthuse about the new Radha Krishna Temple Album Party in the highest terms next day, all over England and abroad, which was sponsored by George Harrison and left a good aftertaste with exclusive vegetarian delights for all.

Yogesvara recalls in Here Comes The Sun (*): "In August 1969, Apple released "Hare Krishna Mantra", without knowing how the public would react to a Sanskrit prayer which was backed by a rock rhythm. Nearly one hundred reporters and photographers gathered at a press conference convened by the Apple Corporation on the manicured lawn of an elegant country house in Sydenham.

George explained that "Hare Krishna mantra" would be no pop song in the proper sense, but rather, in fact, an ancient mantra, which would bring spiritual enlightenment.

"I just can't stop singing the Krishna mantra," he told journalists. "I sing it every morning, some three quarters of an hour. Going to a so-called mainstream church is also okay, this makes you feel good, but they just aren't showing you the way to a consciousness in Christ there."

George Harrison Hare Krishna Launch Party 1969

Those writers who had expected a few chewed informations, scratched their heads, put their pencils aside and went for the delicious buffet of spicy tomato-samosas and sweet mango drinks.

The next day, "Hare Krishna Mantra" earned favorable reviews in the British press and came to continuous broadcast on the radio. On the first day of its release, the record had already been sold seventy thousand times. In just two weeks, it climbed on top of the Top 10. England's most popular television show, Top of the Pops, broadcasted the images of the Krishna-yogis many times, then the ice was broken, and offers and demands for a gig came from all quarters. George followed the national television broadcast with great joy. It was, as he remarked later, "one of the most beautiful moments of my life."

George had arrived at the praise of God by the Krishna mantra.! It gave a good feeling to him, it was easy and musical. The perception that God played on a flute, therefore being a musician, he found marvellous.! Since he had heard the Hare Krishna mantra on Prabhupada's record during  the Beatles' trip to Greece in 1967 for the first time, George was fascinated by the religious song. When he recorded "Hare Krishna Mantra" 1969, such songs had long since occupied a place in his daily routine. George got up before dawn, practiced some yoga exercises for about half an hour, then quietly sat down with some Japa beads (rosary) in front of the pictures of his teachers and various gods. He concentrated on his singing. He sat upright, like a yogi in the lotus position, listening to the sound of each word. If he allowed his mind to wander, the quality of his prayer was changing: Then he produced sounds, but nothing divine any more, he performed a ritual, but awakened no love. So he devoted his full attention to singing. Worries about business matters or tensions between him and his friends may have distracted him from time to time, but as far as possible, he put all these thoughts aside and concentrated on the sound of the mantra's words. He deeply listened inside himself, to give strength to his dedication, and to feel God's presence by the sacred sound."

(Prabhupada Kripa Hare Krishna Hari Om Sharan Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Rama Hare Rama, By Hari Om Sharan, YouTube)

George Harrison I Me Mine (*):
"Well, we should try to see God in everything, then it helps so much being able to taste the food. Let's say it as it is, if God is in everything, why not taste Him when you eat?" I think that prasadam (blessed food) is a very important thing. Krishna is God, therefore He is absolute: His name, His form, His food - prasadam, all this is Him.

They say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and if you can then pass into a man's heart through food and it works, why shouldn't you do it? The point is that prasadam is the holy sacrament, the Christians are speaking of in their holy writings, but instead of a wafer it is a feast, really, and the taste is so good - beyond this world.! "

(*) Quotations in short excerpts:
  • Michael Grant (Mukunda Prabhu), Chant and be Happy, Iskcon BBT 1982
  • Joshua M.Green (Yogeshvara Prabhu), Here Comes The Sun, Hannibal 2006
  • George Harrison, I Me Mine, Chronicle Books 2002


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