NEW DELHI: The souring of relations between the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has always been amystery for the world.
There was a reconciliatory meeting between Maharishi and George Harrison, and TOI’s Guest Editor on Monday. Deepak Chopra was the only other person present there.
In September 1991, Harrison asked Chopra to set up a meeting with Maharishi, which he did. “We got on to a chartered plane, which had just dropped off Paul McCartney to Monte Carlo.
George wrote a note to Paul, saying, “Guess whom we’re going to meet”, and signed it ‘Jai Gurudev’. Then we flew to Vlodrop, in the Netherlands, where Maharishi was staying.”
It was an emotional meeting. As Chopra tells it, Harrison first presented Maharishi a rose. This was followed by a long silence.
Then Maharishi asked, “How have you been?” George replied, “Some good things (have happened), some bad things.”
Then he added, “You must know about John being assassinated.”
Maharishi replied, “I was very sorry to hear about it.”
After some time, Harrison spoke. “I came to apologise,” he said. “For what?” asked Maharishi. “You know for what,” replied Harrison.
“Tell Deepak the real story,” said Maharishi. Harrison said, “I don’t know about it 100%, but here’s what I know transpired.” And he narrated the incident about the Beatles being asked to leave.
Did Maharishi harbour any bitterness towards the Beatles?
Chopra smiled. “Part of the Beatles lore is that when they made their first appearance on American TV, on the Ed Sullivan show, there was no crime in the US for that one hour.
Maharishi told us, ‘When I heard this, I knew the Beatles were angels on earth. It doesn’t matter what John said or did, I could never be upset with angels’. On hearing that, George broke down and wept.”
There was another long silence. Then Harrison told Maharishi, “I love you” and Maharishi responded, “I love you too.”
The two left, and Harrison later phoned Chopra and told him, “A huge karmic baggage has been lifted from me, because I didn’t want to lie.”