By Shyamasundar Das and Mukunda Gosvami
Submitted by Karuna Asraya Devi Dasi
Dearest Devotees of Srila Prabhupad:
George Harrison has probably done more than any single popular cultural figure during
these past few decades to spread spiritual consciousness around the world.
He transferred his perceptions of a state of being beyond and higher than ordinary consciousness into the words and music that altered millions of
Along the way he became the friend and devoted servant of Bhaktivedanta Swami
("Prabhupad"), founder of the Hare Krishna movement. George's relationship with the Hare Krishnas was deep and long abiding since he met
them in the late sixties.
During his last days, Krishna devotees were by his side and he left his body
to the sounds of the Hare Krishna mantra.
The devotees of Prabhupad are eternally grateful to George Harrison for his
boundless services to all living beings.
(Written by Shyamasundar das and Mukunda Goswami)
Official News Release
30 November 2001
George Harrison passes away
A great loss to the Krishna Community
Hare Krishna devotees are mourning the passing of George Harrison and extend their deep symphathy and affection to his family.
In 1969, George met Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON's founder-acharya, in London. They developed a close and affectionate relationship, and their association greatly influenced his music and spirituality.
The former Beatle was instrumental in helping devotees establish Krishna Consciousness in England. He arranged recording of some highly successful and classic records around 1970, providing huge publicity for Hare Krishna, and an income for the early Bury Place devotees such as his great friend Mukunda das (now swami).
On hearing the "Goddess of Fortune" LP, produced by George, Srila Prabhupada was moved to tears by its beauty, and decreed that the Govindam prayers from it should by played every morning in ISKCON temples to greet the deities.
In 1973 George Harrison donated his stately home in Hertfordshire, now known as Bhaktivedanta Manor, to the Hare Krishna movement. This has become one of ISKCON's main international centres and one of the most important Hindu temples in Europe. ISKCON feels greatly indebted to him for his generosity.
Srila Prabhupada only ever had praise to give of George, and dissuaded him from joining the movement full-time, saying that putting Krishna into his music and providing and example of a famous Krishna-conscious musician was the best service he could render to Krishna. He is also reputed to have said that there was no need for George to get a spiritual name, as he was already "son of Hari".
George was an intensely private person in all aspects of his life, including his spirituality; he was loved and admired by many devotees of Krishna who respected his attitude of humility and service.
There will be memorial services at Bhaktivedanta Manor and temples around the world over the next week.
Bhakta George Harrison Ki Jai!
Wealth and fame 'were never enough'
(Filed: 30/11/2001 on British newspaper The Daily Telegraph's site telegraph.co.uk)
GEORGE HARRISON might have been part of the world's most famous pop group, but he made up for the over-exposure of his early years by fiercely protecting his private life in the post-Beatles period.
Harrison found solace in Hare Krishna He often said that he did not seek fame or riches, and it was the pursuit of his own space - and something more - which led to his interest in Far Eastern religion.
For much of his life Harrison has been a devotee of Hare Krishna - an interest which was emphasised last year at the trial of Michael Abram, when it emerged that the star had shouted a mantra at his attacker.
The ex-Beatle told the trial: "[Abram] stopped in the centre of the kitchen and started shouting and screaming. I made a decision to shout back at him. I shouted at him `Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna'."
His attacker was indeed confused - so much so that he thought the musician was speaking "in the devil's tongue", and redoubled his assault.
For Krishna followers, the chant is a core principle of their beliefs.
The mantra is supposed to cleanse the mind and free devotees from their anxiety and illusions in their worship of Krishna, the supreme being.
Harrison himself said he chanted Hare Krishna continuously for 23 hours while driving from France to Portugal.
"It gets you feeling a bit invincible," he said of his mammoth chanting session.
He once claimed the mantra had saved him as he took a nightmare plane journey during an electrical storm.
In the Beatles Anthology, Harrison reflected on his search for religion saying: "When you've had all the experiences - met all the famous people, made some money, toured the world and got all the acclaim - you still think `is that it?'.
"Some people might be satisfied with that, but I wasn't and I'm still not."
He developed an interest in India after meeting the renowned musician Ravi Shankar, reputedly at a party hosted by actor Peter Sellers. Harrison told Shankar he wanted to learn to play the sitar. He was invited to India to study the instrument, and agreed to stay for six weeks.
He and his then wife, Patti Boyd, flew to Bombay and checked into the Taj Mahal hotel under a false name, after he had, on Shankar's advice, cut his hair and grown a moustache.
During his stay, during which he visited Kashmir and Varanasi, he learned basic sitar techniques and met the master musician's disciples. His studies and the country had a deep effect on his music and his beliefs.
Boyd also became fascinated and attended a lecture on spiritual regeneration in London.
She later convinced Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon to attend a 1967 appearance by spiritual guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the Park Lane Hilton.
The band subsequently had a private audience at which he invited them to a ten-day course on his Transcendental Meditation technique in Bangor, north Wales, and also for a three-month stint at his ashram in Rishikesh, India.
But the Maharishi's relationship as their spiritual guru was short-lived. After allegations about his conduct, the group left the ashram.
Shortly afterwards, Harrison developed an interest in the Krishna movement. He met its founder, A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, when he became a house guest of the Lennons in 1969.
Harrison once reflected: "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."
He showed his devotion to the sect on his post-Beatles hit My Sweet Lord, in which parts of the mantra are repeated.
Shankar's friendship with Harrison led to the pair working together on their fund-raising extravaganza The Concert For Bangla Desh.
The idea was to raise cash to ease the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the east of the Indian sub-continent, where a military crackdown had been ordered in East Pakistan, causing 10 million refugees to spill over the border.
Harrison convinced Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan to perform at the show, in Madison Square Gardens, New York.
The event, on August 1, 1971, raised 243,418 dollars for the United Nations Children's Fund to help youngsters in Bangladesh.