George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)
This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Beatles and Hare Krishna
George: It’s really the same sort of thing as meditation, but I think it has a quicker effect. I mean, even if you put your beads down, you can still say the mantra or sing it without actually keeping track on your beads. One of the main differences between silent meditation and chanting is that silent meditation is rather dependent on concentration, but when you chant, it’s more of a direct connection with God.
In the following conversation, taped at George’s home in England on September 4, 1982, George reveals some memorable experiences he has had chanting Hare Krishna and describes in detail his deep personal realizations about the chanting. He reveals what factors led him to produce “The Hare Krishna Mantra” record, “My Sweet Lord,” and the LPs All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, which were all influenced to a great extent by the Hare Krishna chanting and philosophy. He speaks lovingly and openly about his association with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya (spiritual master) of the Hare Krishna movement. In the following interview George speaks frankly about his personal philosophy regarding the Hare Krishna movement, music, yoga, reincarnation, karma, the soul, God, and Christianity. The conversation concludes with his fond remembrances of a visit to the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Vrndavana, India, home of the Hare Krishna mantra, and with George discussing some of his celebrity friends’ involvement with the mantra now heard and chanted around the world.
We were discussing the other night with some friends, that the mood of Lord Caitanya was love in separation, and that this should also be our mood as devotees. George Harrison understood this mood, and in his song “My Sweet Lord” we find in his lyrics:
My sweet Lord
Hmm, my Lord
Hmm, my Lord
I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you, Lord, but it takes so long, my Lord …
I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you, Lord, that it won’t take long, my Lord …
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Srila Prabhupada has described this very nicely throughout all his writings, and in the Caitanya-caritmrta we find:
“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.” This is the perfectional stage of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and eating the fruit of love of Godhead, as exhibited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not artificially imitate this stage, but if one is serious and sincerely follows the regulative principles and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the time will come when these symptoms will appear. Tears will fill his eyes, he will be unable to chant distinctly the mahā-mantra, and his heart will throb in ecstasy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that one should not imitate this, but a devotee should long for the day to come when such symptoms of trance will automatically appear in his body. (Purport Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 9.51)
This is all but and introduction to one of the very best, sweetest, chapters in the KRSNA Book “The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation” which we have posted here in its entirety.
This is Part 3, or the conclusion, of the very informative article by Sriman Brahmananda Prabhu as it appeared in Back to Godhead Magazine in 1975, which gives not only some of the History of Lord Caitanya’s Mission, but on the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the Hare Krishna Movement here in the West.
How the Teachings of Lord Caitanya Came to the Western World (Part 3)
Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol.10, No. 1, 1975
by His Holiness Brahmananda Swami
After the disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, his son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, a great scholar and pure devotee, continued to expand the mission of Lord Caitanya. He wrote many books and established printing presses and sixty-four temples dedicated to preaching the message of Krsna consciousness.
The following is the third of three articles depicting the pioneering efforts of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, and those who have followed them in spreading the benediction of Krsna consciousness throughout the world.)
Srila Prabhupada’s England Visit
by Kulashekara Das
The journey with Swami Prabhupada has been the most satisfying aspect of my life. His values of life has given a new dimension to the world and has helped people in all the facets of life.
In the late 1960’s I first came in contact with practitioners of the Vaishnava tradition. Several American disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had arrived in the UK to establish a Radha Krishna Temple.
I was quite impressed with the depth of Vedic philosophy and especially with the chanting of the Holy Names of God. Almost overnight I quit my entire Rock n Roll lifestyle and my job and began my life as a Brahmachari. I soon found myself living at John & Yoko Lennon’s eighty plus acre estate – “Tittenhurst” and ended up staying there for six months.
The verses 30 and 32 from the Brahma-samita are sung in the morning Srngara Arati in all ISKCON temples, while the first track of the 1970 album “Radha Krsna Temple” is played. Srila Prabhupada enjoyed this track very much and was so moved that he said that this track will play at all ISKCON temples for the Srngara Arati. As a result, no one ever leads kirtan for this song, as it is played through that track.
The Radha Krsna Temple Album
Sung by Yamuna devi
Produced by George Harrison
veṇum—the flute; kvaṇantam—playing; aravinda-dala—(like) lotus petals; āyata—blooming; akṣam—whose eyes; barha—a peacock’s feather; avataṁsam—whose ornament on the head; asita-ambuda—(tinged with the hue of) blue clouds; sundara—beautiful; aṅgam—whose figure; kandarpa—of Cupids; koṭi—millions; kamanīya—charming; viśeṣa—unique; śobham—whose loveliness; govindam—Govinda; ādi-puruṣam—the original person; tam—Him; aham—I; bhajāmi—worship.
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock’s feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids.
aṅgāni—the limbs; yasya—of whom; sakala-indriya—of all the organs; vṛtti-manti—possessing the functions; paśyanti—see; pānti—maintain; kalayanti—manifest; ciram—eternally,; jaganti—the universes; ānanda—bliss; cit—truth; maya—full of; sat—substantiality; ujjvala—full of dazzling splendor; vigrahasya—whose form; govindam—Govinda; ādi-puruṣam—the original person; tam—Him; aham—I; bhajāmi—worship.
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.
“The Inner Light” is a song written by George Harrison that was first released by The Beatles as a B-side to “Lady Madonna”. It was the first Harrison composition to be featured on a Beatles single. The lyrics are a rendering of the 47th chapter (sometimes titled “Viewing the Distant” in translations) of the Taoist Tao Te Ching. The Beatles’ recording of this song features lead vocals from George Harrison and brief backing vocals from John Lennon and Paul
…I loved being a devotee. I would look forward to going to the park or college campus, and putting on a festival. We set up the stage, brought on our musical instruments and chanted, while others arranged the distribution of prasadam and books. After the chanting when we went to mingle with the students or guests gathered there, I would enjoy preaching to new people and answering all sorts of questions like “why do you guys shave your head? And why do you put mud on your foreheads, etc., etc.? But sometimes the preaching was so sweet and people wanted to know who is Krishna? Who is Srila Prabhupada? And my joy knew no bounds. I hardly knew the philosophy myself, but when my desire to preach was unmotivated by false ego, Srila Prabhupada would give me the intelligence. I would be amazed how the words would just flow out of my mouth. By Srila Prabhupada’s great mercy, to one who has taken to this process of sharing with others, he gives the intelligence. I was gaining an understanding of the process of Krishna Consciousness, simply by acting in Krishna Consciousness. It was so sublime. So simple!
Radha Damadara Traveling Sankirtan Party
by Vyasasan das
First let me begin by offering my respectful obesiences to all the vaisnave devotee’s of the Lord, who are so merciful to the fallen conditioned souls that they put themselves in perilous and austere conditions of life voluntarily, in order to help others. And as always, let me offer my most humble obeisances to my beloved spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, haven taken shelter at his Lotus feet.