By Kulasekara Dasa
Submitted by Rasa Manjari Devi Dasi
Yesterday this world lost one of the main preachers of Krishna Consciousness of our times - George Harrison. His contributions to the spreading of Lord Chaitanya's message were unparalleled. Recording the devotees and releasing the "Hare Krishna" single and the "Radha Krsna Temple Album", financing the printing of Krsna Book for Srila Prabhupad, chanting the mantra on "My Sweet Lord", puchasing the marble slab for their Lordships Sri Sri Radha London Iswara, and his purchasing of Bhaktivedanta Manor, were some of the highlights of his service.
The first time I met George, I asked him how he liked our temple room. He said, "You know where the real temple is don't you?", then he poked me hard in the chest with his index finger and said, "It's in your heart!"
We went out to his house in spring 1969 and spent the afternoon. After prasadam, we had a three hour kirtan with George playing electric Bass and Billy Preston playing an organ. Yamuna led the singing and the rest of the devotees played various instruments and percussion. A week after his, George came around to visit and said, "I wrote a song about you guy's, its called "Here Comes the Sun".
George had given me the Tablas that I played at his house, at the time I was studying with Pandit Trickha - an Indian sitar master. George called up two weeks after the visit to his house and said that he wanted to add more percussion to the kirtan tape from his house that he had recorded on an eight track that he had built into his living room. He requested for me to overdub this tape at Apple Records, so I went to Apple with Shyamsundar and Gurudas and got to sit alone with George in a sound room at Apple with both of us wearing headphones and overdub the whole three hour tape. It was quite a 'heavy' meditation experience for me as a new devotee! This tape was the inspiration for George to produce the Hare Krishna Single.
We were going to record the "B" side to the Hare Krishna single in Abbey Road after the Beatles had finished their work for the day, as we had done three weeks earlier with the "A" side. That day I was hanging out at Apple Records on Saville Row, where my service was to preach to the various rock musicians that came through. Tery Nolan, George's personal assistant came up to me and asked what I was doing. I said that I was just hanging out until it was time to go to the studio, he said "How would you like to go over early?" So we went to Abbey Road Studio's in George's stretch Mercedes. When we got to the front gate there were about 60 girls outside hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the band. They climbed all over the car like a swarm of bees, and pressed their faces against the glass to see who was inside, when they saw it was a devotee, they all started chanting Hare Krishna! It took us ten minutes to go from the outside to the inside of the gate.
Once inside I was introduced to Ringo who was sitting on the side with his wife and two friends. I sat down on the floor next to them, George was in the middle of the studio sitting on a bar stool playing an electric guitar through a leslie amplifier, he waved to me. John and Yoko were laying on a King sized bed in the corner, as they had recently had a car crash in Scotland and were not feeling well. Paul was in the mixing room running the board. He came out once and after adjusting the microphones in the middle of the room, he came over to where I was sitting and said, "I saw it on the news last night - Hairy Krishna! Hairy Krishna!, because of the long-hairs at the Isle of White Woodstock Festival. You know George flew down there on a helicopter with Bob Dylan and took a pressing of your Hare Krishna single and played it for four hours solid before the
So I got to spend the afternoon alone with the Beatles while they recorded "She came in through the bathroom wIndow". After they had finished, the rest of the devotees arrived and Yamuna and Malati went around and put tilak on everyone including George and George Martin, and then we recorded the "Prayers to the Spiritual Masters" that became the "B" side.
It is hard to estimate how many lives George Harrison touched and changed with his musical preaching. He wanted to surrender and become a regular devotee, but Srila Prabhupad told him that he could do more good outside of the ashram. He most certainly did a whole lot of good and will be remembered by millions for his message about "My Sweet Lord" - Krishna.
Sri Sri Guru & Gouranga Jayate! Your servant, Kulasekhara das.