2016-07-27
On Personal Spirituality

"I always felt at home with Krishna. You see it was already a part of me. I think it's something that's been with me from my previous birth.. I'd rather be one of the devotees of God than one of the straight, so-called sane or normal people who just don't understand that man is a spiritual being, that he has a soul."

--Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982


The Most Spiritually Important Rocker Ever
How George Harrison transformed the American spiritual landscape.
Deepak on George
Deepak Chopra on his friend's relationship with eastern religion and Jesus Christ.
My Life As "a George"
Amy Cunningham talks about identifying with "the quiet Beatle."
Quiz
How much do you know about the spiritual side of the Fab Four?
"Just certain things happened in my life which left me thinking 'What's it all about, Alfie?' and I remembered Jesus said somewhere 'Knock and the door shall be opened' and I said (knock, knock) 'Hellooo!' It's very difficult. From the Hindu point of view each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest the divinity. The word yoga means union and the union is supposedly between the mind, the body, and the spirit, and yoga isn't lying on nails or standing on your head. I mean, there's various forms of yoga and they're all branches on one big tree. The Lord, or God, has got a million names, whatever you want to call him, it doesn't matter as long as you call him, Jesus is on the mainline, tell him what you want. Going back to self-realization, one guru said he found no separation between man and God, saving man's spiritual unadventurousness, and that's the catch, everybody's so unadventurous. We're all conditioned, our consciousness has been so polluted by the material energy it's hard to try and pull it all ways in order to really discover our true nature. Every one of us has within us a drop of that ocean and we have the same qualities as God, just like a drop of the ocean has the same qualities as the whole ocean. Everybody's looking for something and we are it. We don't have to look anywhere--it's right there within ourselves."

--Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974





"As they say 'to be in the world, but not of the world.' You can go to the Himalayas and miss it completely, and you can be stuck in the middle of New York and be very spiritual. I mean, I noticed in certain places, like New York, it brings out a certain thing in myself. If I go to some place like Switzerland, I find a lot of uptight people because they're living amongst so much beauty there's no urgency in trying to find the beauty within themselves. If you're stuck in New York you have to somehow look within yourself--otherwise you'd go crackers. So, in a way, it's good to be able to go in and out of both situations. Most people think when the world gets itself together we'll all be okay. I don't see that situation arriving. I think one by one, we all free ourselves from the chains we have chained ourselves to. But I don't think that suddenly some magic happens and the whole lot of us will all be liberated in one throw."

--Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974


"'I Me Mine' is the 'ego' problem. There are two 'I's': the little 'i' when people say 'I am this' and the big 'I'; i.e. OM, the complete whole, universal consciousness that is void of duality and ego. There is nothing that isn't part of the complete whole. When the little 'i' merges into the big 'I' then you are really smiling!

"So there is the little ego--the little 'i' which is like a drop of the ocean. Swami Vivekananda says "Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest that divinity'. We have to realise that we are potentially divine and then manifest that divinity-which is to get rid of that little 'i' by the drop becoming merged into the big 'I' (the ocean)."

--From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography



On Drugs & Spirituality



"The very first time we took LSD, John and I were together. And that experience and a lot of other things that happened after that, both on LSD and on the meditation trip to Rishikesh, we saw beyond each other's physical bodies, you know. That's there permanently, whether he's in a physical body or not. I mean this is the goal anyway: to realize the spiritual side. If you can't feel the spirit of some friend who's been close, then what chance have you got of feeling the spirit of Christ or Buddha or whoever else you may be interested in? 'If your memory serves you well, we're going to meet again.' I believe that."
"Out of the LSD madness (and there were a few horrors) there came a few 'zaps'. It made me laugh. I'd never thought about, couldn't even say the word 'God'. It embarrassed me, but it was so strange, GOD, and it washed away all these fears and doubts and little things that hang you up."<>
--From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography



On Meditation



"I must say there's a state of consciousness which is the goal of everybody. I haven't sat down and done meditation for some time, but at the same time I constantly think of the Lord in one fashion or another. My thing is just to remember and to try to see him within all of you and that feeling itself is a meditation."

--Press Conference, Los Angeles, 1974



"So the thing is, if you really want to get it [spiritual enlightenment] permanently, you have got to do it, you know.be healthy, don't eat meat, keep away from nightclubs, and meditate."

On Chanting

"There is one problem I've found when chanting. I start beginning to relate less and less to the people I know. I suddenly found myself on such a different level where it's really hard to relate. It feels as though I'm at a point where I should slow down or pull back towards those people in order to take them with me. The building up of the mantra and its effect is so subtle. There's a point where I can't related to anyone anymore. Maybe you don't have that experience."

--July, 1974




"The word 'Hare' calls upon the energy of the Lord. If you chant the mantra enough, you build up an identification with God. God's all happiness, all bliss, and by chanting His names we connect with Him. So it's really a process of actually having God realization, which becomes clear with the expanded state of consciousness that develops when you chant. Like I said in the introduction I wrote for Prabhupada's Krishna book some years ago. 'If there's a God, I want to see Him. It's pointless to believe in something without proof. Krishna consciousness and meditation are methods whereby you can actually obtain God perception.'"

--Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982




"Chanting Hare Krishna is a type of meditation that can be practiced even if the mind is turbulent. You can even be doing other things at the same time. In my life there's been many times the mantra brought things around. It keeps me in tune with reality. The more you sit in one place and chant, the more incense you offer to Krishna in the same room, the more you purify the vibrations."

--Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982




"Once I chanted the Hare Krishna mantra all the way from France to Portugal, nonstop. I drove for about twenty-three hours and chanted all the way. It gets you feeling a bit invincible. The funny thing was that I didn't even know where I was going. I mean I had bought a map, and I knew basically which way I was aiming, but I couldn't speak French, Spanish, or Portuguese. But none of that seemed to matter. You know, once you get chanting, then things start to happen transcendentally."

--Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982



On Going to India

"I went over there partly to try to learn the music, but also to absorb much of the actual country. I'd always heard stories about these masters living in the Himalayas who were hundreds of years old, levitating yogis and saints who could be buried undergriound for weeks and stay alive. Now I wanted to see it all for myself. I'll tell you one thing for sure, once you get to the point where you're actually doing things for truth's sake, then nobody can ever touch you again, because you're harmonizing with a greater power."

--1966



"I got to understand what Christ really was through Hinduism. Down through the ages there has always been the spiritual path, it's been passed on, it always will be, and if anybody ever wants it in any age it's always there. It just so happens India was the place where the seed of it was planted. The Himalayas were very inaccessible to people, so they always have peace there. The yogis are the only people who can make it out there. It may be something to do with my past lives, but I felt a great connection with it. In this age the West and East are closer and can all benefit so much from each other. We can help them with our material attributes, and they can help us with their spiritual things."<>
--London, 1969


"It was all good, that sitar period. The yoga. I was getting up as they do in India, having a bath, my yoga exercises, doing my meditation, then practicing the sitar and having breakfast, instead of jumping out of bed and having a cup of tea or coffee. So it was a great discipline, vital for me, to be able to start getting a bit of 'culture.'"

--From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography



On Great Spiritual Teachers

"Ravi Shankar is probably the person who has influenced my life the most. Maybe he's not that aware of it, but I really love Ravi and he's been like a father figure and spiritual guide to me. Later I realized Indian music was like a steppingstone to the spiritual path because I also had a great desire to know about the yogic path. I always had a feeling for that and the music led me there. I got involved with Hinduism because Ravi was a Hindu and because it just happened, it came my way, and I went to India."

--London, 1969




"[Paramahansa Yogananda]'s probably been the greatest inspiration to me though I never met Yogananda personally, but he's had such a terrific influence on me for some very subtle reason. A lot of my feelings are the result of what he taught, and is still teaching in his subtle state."

On Charity

"When I did the Bangladesh concert, I spent a couple of months day and night on the phone trying to trick people into doing it and making a commitment." He added, "Nowadays, it's such an accepted part of life that every so often you give something back to charity."



On the End of Life

"In the end, 'Life goes on within you and without you.' I just have a belief that this is only one little bit, the physical world is one little bit of the universe. So in the end it doesn't really matter."


On Past Lives

"There was a big lecture where Yogananda was talking in 1939 in a Self Realisation Fellowship book about friends explaining that the vibrations the soul sets up, and the love and equally the hate we feel causes the attraction of souls to one another-from one life to another. Those people you know much more easily or more quickly are people whom you've known in other lives. It is very specific. There's more to this that meets the eye. It's like Dominic, he always seemed familiar. It's great when you can spot them straight off. He's the first person I've seen all the way through from birth who I felt I knew straight away."
--From "I Me Mine," Harrison's autobiography





more from beliefnet and our partners