From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, December 14, 2012

By George: Harrison's Hinduism

Harrison in 1974 (Public Domain)
George Harrison was once seated right behind the pilot on a private jet.  Shortly after takeoff the plane went into a dive, and Harrison could see warning lights flashing in the cockpit.  It didn't take a brilliant Beatle to figure out that this meant trouble with a capital "T."

Rather than rely solely upon the pilot's expertise, Harrison's immediate response was to begin chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna" and "Om, Christ, Om."  His fellow passenger began following Harrison's lead.  The plane then "pulled out of its stall and landed safely…"

Coincidence?  Harrison would probably think not.  In his article Harrison & Hinduism, Subhamoy Das points out that Harrison regarded the "Hare Krishna" mantra as "mystical energy encased in a sound structure."  Das also explains that such chanting was a vital part of Harrison's existence until – literally - his last dying breath. On November 29, 2001 "images of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were beside his bed as he died amidst the
chants and prayers."

Kenneth Shouler and Susai Anthony in their article The Quiet Beatle and Hinduism write that Harrison was particularly preoccupied with experiencing God directly.  As the lyrics of My Sweet Lord ("I really want to see you Lord, but it takes so long my Lord…") imply, this was far easier wished for than realized.  The Yoga that Harrison practiced required a great deal of self-restraint and austerity.  This was a tremendous shift from the lifestyle that he had previously been immersed in.

Although all this may sound somewhat mystical, Mark Judge of Real Clear Religion reports that Harrison remained quite a realist.  In other words:  He believed that God is real and that there are certain concrete things you can do to reach him.


Copyright December 14, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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