The Beatles - Arriving in India (The Beatles Anthology p281)
GEORGE: I BELIEVE I HAVE ALREADY EXTENDED MY LIFE BY TWENTY YEARS. I BELIEVE THERE ARE BODS UP HERE IN THE HIMALAYAS WHO HAVE LIVED FOR CENTURIES. THERE IS ONE SOMEWHERE AROUND WHO WAS BORN BEFORE CHRIST AND IS STILL LIVING NOW.68
JOHN: We're all going to India for a couple of months to study Transcendental Meditation properly. We want to learn properly so we can propagate it and sell the whole idea to everyone. This is how we plan to use our power now - they've always called us leaders of youth, and we believe that this is a good way to give a lead.
The whole world will know what we mean, and all the people who are worried about youth and drugs and that scene - all these people with the short back and sides - they can all come along and dig it too.
It's no gospel, Bible-thumping, sing along thing, and it needn't be ion if people don't want to connect it with religion. It's all in the mind. It strengthens understanding and makes people more relaxed. It's hot just a fad or a gimmick, but the way to calm down tensions.67
PAUL: I think by 1968 we were all a bit exhausted, spiritually. We'd been The Beatles, which was marvellous. We'd tried for it not to go to our heads and we were doing quite well - we weren't getting too spaced out or big-headed - but 1 think generally there was a feeling of: 'Yeah, well, it's great to be famous, it's great to be rich - but what's it all for?'
So we were enquiring into all sorts of various things, and because George was into Indian music, the natural thing was to ask: 'Well, what is this meditation lark? Do they levitate? Can they really fly? Can the make charmer really climb up the rope?' It was really just pure enquiry, and after we met Maharishi and thought about it all, we went out to Rishikesh.
GEORGE: Each year, Maharishi had a course for Westerners who wanted to become Transcendental Meditation instructors. Although I wasn't going to become an instructor, I wanted to go and have a heavy dose of meditation.
John came, and Paul came after him, and then Richard followed with fifteen Sherpas carrying Heinz baked beans. There was also the world's press; I pretended to be asleep all the way to Delhi so I didn't have to talk to them.
It was a long drive from the airport to Rishikesh, and at that time they only had 1950s cars - Morris Cowleys or Morris Oxfords - so the journey took four or five hours.
Rishikesh is an incredible place, situated where the Ganges flows out of the Himalayas into the plains between the mountains and Delhi. There is quite a hefty flow of water coming out of the Himalayas, and we had to cross the river by a big swing suspension bridge.
Maharishi's place was perched up on a hill overlooking the town and the river. It was comprised of Maharishi's little bungalow and lots of little huts that he'd had built quickly for the Westerners coming out there, in a compound of about eight or ten acres. There was a kitchen with some outdoor seating and tables where we would all have our breakfast together. Nearby there was a large covered area with a platform where he'd give the lectures.
If you go to India you can't wear Western clothes. That's one of the best bits about India - having these cool clothes: big baggy shirts and pajama trousers. They also have tight trousers that look like drainpipes.
JOHN: The way George is going he will be flying on a magic carpet by the time he's forty. I am here to find out what kind of role I am now to play. I would like to know how far I can progress with it. George is a few inches ahead of us.68
RINGO: It was great,- a lot of fun and a lot of meditation. It was pretty exciting. We were in a very spiritual place, meditating and attending seminars with Maharishi.
JOHN: We were really getting away from everything. It was a sort of recluse holiday camp right at the foot of the Himalayas. It was like being up a mountain, but it was in the foothills hanging over the Ganges, with baboons stealing your breakfast and everybody flowing round in robes and sitting in their rooms for hours meditating. It was quite a trip.
I was in a room for five days meditating. I wrote hundreds of songs. I couldn't sleep and I was hallucinating like crazy, having dreams where you could smell. I'd do a few hours and then you'd trip off; three- or four-hour stretches. It was just a way of getting there, and you could go on amazing trips.74
RINGO: We had breakfast outside and monkeys used to come and steal the bread. After breakfast, we'd usually have a morning of meditation in groups, on the roof. Then after lunch we'd do the same.
We did a lot of shopping. We all had Indian clothes made because they could do it right there: huge silly pants with very tight legs and a big body that you'd tie up tight, Nehru collars. We got right into it.
You'd have to fight off the scorpions and tarantulas to try to get in a bath, so there used to be amazing noise in the bathroom. To have a bath you'd start shouting - 'Oh yes, well, I think I'll be having a bath now' - and banging your feet. You'd keep shouting in the bath: 'Oh, what a time I'm having, yes it's wonderful!' Then you'd get out of the bath, get dry and get out of the room before all the insects came back in. At the time I was married to Maureen, who had a phobia of moths and flying things. It was pretty far out.