Of all the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison were the wittiest. They were most dedicated to meditation when the group traveled to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat at his ashram in Rishikesh, India.
Then George started reading about Hinduism, the Hare Krishna movement and learning mantras and chants. He showed John, and he got interested too. They loved it so much that they once sailed through the Greek islands singing until their jaws hurt.
John Lennon and George Harrison sailed through the Greek islands, chanting Krishna for hours
In 1982 George told a leader of the Hare Krishna movement, Mukunda Goswami (according to the Guardian), that his spirituality began once he saw what was above the wall he had hit in the era. He started reading about meditation, mantras, chanting and Hinduism.
He showed John much of his findings. Then they sailed through the Greek islands, chanting Krishna for hours. In the end, they both felt “elated”.
“Before meeting Prabhupada [the founder of the Kare Krishna movement] and all of you, I had bought this album that Prabhupada had made in New York, and John and I listened to it,” George told Goswami. “I remember we sang it for days, John and I, with ukulele banjos, sailing through the Greek islands singing Hare Krishna.
“About six o’clock we sang, because we couldn’t stop once we were gone. As soon as we pulled over it was like the lights went out. It continued to the point where our jaws hurt, chanting the mantra over and over and over and over and over. We felt elated; it was a very happy time for us.
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John and George’s singing session wasn’t the only time George sang for hours
John and George loved singing through the Greek islands. It changed them. After that, George never stopped and did it on another long trip. When Goswami asked him how he felt after singing for a long time, George replied that he felt invincible after singing for 23 straight hours while traveling from France to Portugal.
“I find that sometimes I have opportunities when I can really get into it, and the more I do it, the harder I find it to quit, and I don’t want to lose the feeling that gives me” , replied George. . “For example, once I sang the Hare Krishna mantra from France to Portugal, non-stop.
“I drove for about 23 hours and sang along. It makes you feel a little invincible. The funny thing is, I didn’t even know where I was going. I mean I I had bought a map, and I knew roughly in which direction I was aiming, but I spoke neither French, nor Spanish, nor Portuguese.
“But none of that seemed to matter. You know, once you start singing, things start happening in a transcendent way.
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He sang to Krishna on a scary plane ride
Singing isn’t just ideal for traversing long journeys. Goswami asked George if he had experienced an incident where he felt God’s presence strongly through singing. George replied that he felt Krishna was stronger with him during a rather scary moment on a plane around 1971. Chanting helped him through that. George believed it saved his life.
“Once I was on a plane that was in an electrical storm,” George explained. “It was hit by lightning three times, and a Boeing 707 passed us, missing inches.
“I thought the back of the plane had exploded. I was on my way from Los Angeles to New York to organize the concert in Bangladesh. As soon as the plane started bouncing, I started singing Hare Krishna , Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“The whole thing lasted about an hour and a half or two hours, the plane falling hundreds of feet and bouncing all over the place in the storm, all the lights out and all these explosions, and everyone was terrified.
“I found myself with my feet pressed against the seat in front, my seat belt as tight as possible, gripping the thing and shouting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare at the top of my voice. I know that for me the difference between doing it and not doing it was actually chanting the mantra. Peter Sellers also swore that chanting Hare Krishna once saved him from a plane crash.
John and George’s experiences with singing were different, but it brought them together for a short time. It made them feel good, and that’s why George continued to sing until his death in 2001.
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