February 5, 2008

R.I.P. "Sexy Sadie"

"Maharishi Mahesh Yogi dies"

The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Wales, late '67 or early '68

What did The Beatles do in 1968, at the very pinnacle of their popularity and fame? They packed up and headed to Rishikesh, India, for a few weeks of a Transcendental Meditation teacher-training course. Luxury it was not. They were focused on the spiritual, not the material. And they did it together. They were a real "group"! And although the Rishikesh experience ended on a sour note*, they did write a ton of great songs, many of which ended up on my favorite Beatles album, The Beatles ("The White Album").

*From the Wikipedia entry:

Controversy surrounded the Beatles and their relationship with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during a 1968 TM teacher-training course they attended in Rishikesh, India. John Lennon (who left the course with a "bad taste", and described his "partings" as "not always as nice as I'd like them to be,") was inspired to write the song "Sexy Sadie" about the Maharishi, with the refrain "what have you done? You made a fool of everyone".

A popular rumor of the time involved Mia Farrow, although her autobiography is ambiguous on the matter. According to several authors, Alexis Mardas
(Magic Alex) deliberately engineered these rumors because he was bent on undermining the Maharishi's influence on the Beatles.

George Harrison's statement, "Now, historically, there's the story that something went on that shouldn't have done—but nothing did," is supported by comments made by Sir Paul McCartney in his approved biography. In a recent article carried by the Telegraph.co.uk, Deepak Chopra, cited in the article as a confidant of both Maharishi and George Harrison, addresses the rumors surrounding Maharishi and the Beatles, saying that there was no truth in the theory that Maharishi was womanizing.

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