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George's interview with the International Times (1969)
18 January 2014
11.46pm
bewareofchairs
Royal Command Performance
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18 December 2012
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I haven't finished typing this up yet but am curious to get people's opinions on this interview as it's the most in-depth one I've seen George do on his beliefs. I personally found it very interesting. Enjoy!

Interview with the International Times 

Aug.- Sep. Issue (1969)

YOU CAN’T EVEN SAY WHAT IT IS

-GEORGE HARRISON

IT: George, in 1967 you did an interview with International Times - and you talked about meditation - was that in fact before the meeting with the Maharishi?

GEORGE: The interview with IT was in May ‘66 - no, May ‘67 and the Maharishi came in about September or October ‘67, so it was before that. I had been in India in ‘66, in September and October - in India, to learn Sitar.

IT: So in fact when you were there you - 

G: I went there to learn music and also to find out a few things. And I found out a few things…Around that time I just really wanted a mantra. Somebody had given me a picture of Maharishi a year before that and then somebody sent me in the mail a thing saying he was going to be there - that Million Dollar Bash - and so I got some tickets - and went, and then we went with him to get a mantra and we got a mantra, and we meditated. It was very nice and, in fact, we still meditate now, at least I do. I can’t speak for any of the others.

IT: There was a feeling created by the way it was told that - like it had all come to an end. Is that a true picture of what happened?

G: Personally, I wanted all that scene as a personal thing. It goes back to the Beatle days, you know, we were always in the public eye, always being photographed and written about, and even if you went to the bog it was in the papers. And I thought, well at least when I find me yogi it’s going to be quiet and in a cave - and it’s going to be a personal thing. Because the press always misinterpret things anyway, and they have done right down the line. They never really know what we are or what we think, they give their own image of how they see us. People can only see each other from their own state of consciousness, and the press’s state of consciousness is virtually nil. So, they never get the true essence of anything they write about. The Maharishi was right, because the whole thing is - the physical world is relative, that means right is half of wrong, and yes is half of no, so you can’t say what is right and what is wrong. The only thing which Maharishi said which determined what was right and what was wrong was that right or good is something that’s life-creating - and something bad is something that’s life-destroying. And so you can’t say that going on the television and speaking to the press and doing things like that is a bad way to tell people about meditation. On the other hand, after being through all that, it was part of our everyday life. I wanted it to be quieter, much quieter. Anyway, the main thing was you asked whether it had ended or not - it’s just that we physically left Maharishi’s camp - but spiritually never moved an inch. In fact, probably I’ve got even closer now. 

IT: Also, in your own development, there’s been a very intimate relationship between your inner development and your music, hasn’t there?

G: Yeah, but again, I’m at the point with music where I don’t really - you know, I LIKE to play music. The first thing in my life is music, but now I just want to sing songs that give me some benefit, which is like - your cosmic chants! I’ve come to understand that music should be employed really for the benefit of God-perception, like chanting, that sort of thing. And it’s not just an entertainment. I mean, I don’t want to put it down like that, but I’ve got to the point where I personally would like to stop singing all those things about - you know. In the 1967 interview with IT, it started by saying - if you could get a few words that just say everything and get them together in one sentence, and just say that all the time - it’s like the Hare Krishna mantra, that’s setting up - just saying words of God, and just repeating them over and over and over - the repetition in itself has great effect, and by saying the words of God then you build up those vibrations to try and identify with that - and with him. But, you know, just to be singing, ‘It’s a lovely day today’, and all that - it’s like, it’s a waste of energy.

IT: And so have you continued practising meditation?

G: Yes, and on top of that now I’ve more understanding of things and it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you’re doing, you know, the point of it is to conjure up that peace in the middle of Vietnam. You should be able to get in tune, or tune into the flow of peace. Because it’s all inside your head anyway.

IT: The situation today - I mean if you think of someone who might become drawn to that now, as opposed to then, because of what’s happening politically, there’s a very tense situation where people feel, talk about things being relevant. How would you express the importance of spiritual development to someone who feels that their real duty is to change the society - change the structure?

G: Well, again I’ll quote Maharishi, which is as good as quoting anybody else, and he says ‘For a forest to be green, each tree must be green’, and so if people want revolutions, and you want to change the world and you want to make it better, it’s the same. They can only make it good if they themselves have made it - and if each individual makes it himself then automatically everything’s alright. There is no problem if each individual doesn’t have any problems. ‘Cause we create the problems - Christ said ‘Put your own house in order’, and Elvis said ‘Clean-up your own backyard’, so that’s the thing. If everybody just fixes themselves up first, instead of everybody going around trying to fix everybody else up like the Lone Ranger, then there isn’t any problem. The problems are created more, sometimes, by people going around trying to fix up the government, or trying to do something - I mean most of the revolutionaries, who try to change the outward physical structure when really that automatically changes if the internal structure is straight. Time is relative. Everything to do with this life, from birth to death, this physical world or physical universe - the moon and everything is bound by the laws of nature, which are relativity. What goes up must come down. It’s the whole yin-yang thing, left-right, up-down, black-white, wrong-right - all these things are just equal and opposite. It’s like you can’t have the north pole if you don’t have the south pole. You only measure goodness by badness, so in actual fact you can only have good if you have bad. So bad and good are equal and opposite - it’s the law of duality, so really it’s silly to say that’s bad - let’s make it good, because then you know good becomes bad as well. The whole thing is to try and appreciate that it’s changing all the time - that the physical universe is good and bad - and that, surely, is one of the reasons why people turn to religion or philosophy or something - to try and find some underlying Absolute to all this relativity. Personally, I’d like the world to be Utopia right at this minute, or even last week, but it doesn’t do that. The Utopia you find is an inner thing. And the Revolution, well, it can only be important if it is unimportant. The cycle’s so big, each cycle upon another cycle. If you think of all those Iron Ages and Golden Ages and Stone Ages - they all eventually get back to where they started and go into another cycle, and we just happen to be in one of those cycles! So if you can just step away from it mentally - just see that even if it’s getting better or worse, whichever way it’s going - it’s still not Absolute.

IT: In other words, from what you’re saying, it would be false to imagine that any real inner satisfaction could be achieved by outward action in the relative world?

G: Yeah, you change it by the internal thing. And I don’t believe the physical world is able to be perfect - because…it’s relative! Perfect must have imperfect to measure it. 

IT: In the light of what you’ve been saying, how is it possible for someone in - say, in England - I mean it’s very difficult for someone unless he’s turned on to this, to know where to find it - it’s not really available, this kind of knowledge in the set-up in which we live, is it?

G: I know it’s very difficult, because - to me it’s so obvious, it’s like - I don’t know if you heard Lord Buckley when he said on his ‘God’s Own Drunk’, about the bear, and it’s doing a dance, and he tried to do it and he says, ‘It was just like a jitterbug dance - it was so simple it evaded me’. - And it’s like that, the whole thing of God, and the relative world being the effect of the absolute, which is the cause. It’s like Maharishi said - The flower is - you know, you look at a flower, and its petals, leaves and stem - and, the petal’s made out of sap, the leaf’s made out of sap, and the stem’s made out of sap - so - it’s sap sap sap! So, the sap is the Cause, which is the Subtle, and the petals and leaves and all that are the Effect, which are the gross, outer manifestations of that. But people chase around the physical world thinking that’s the cause. They don’t realise that all this is going around and round, but it’s only based on that sap, that is within every fibre of the physical world. 

IT: But wouldn’t it be easier for people if there was some kind of shared experience out of which they could discover things, because at the minute everybody’s on their own, trying different things, and some people are getting into Black Magic and all kinds of things…

G: Yeah, a lot of different scenes, but I don’t know, you see, because for me, now, at this point of my life, just that understanding of inner and outer, and the inner being the cause, and the outer being the effect, it seems so obvious, it’s so simple, but I know that if somebody said that to me six years ago - seven years ago, then I probably wouldn’t have got it at all. I don’t know, there’s a lot of different scenes, and I don’t think any one scene is The Way. The Great Karmic Design is - again what Christ said - ‘What you sow, so shall you reap’, which is Karma, the law of action-reaction, what you sow you reap, so it means - what we are NOW is what we did in the past, for we did it, - look out, kid, something you did, God knows when but you’re doing it again!…Karma! The thing is everybody’s got their own Karma, what they did, and what they’ve got to fulfill and they have the Karma…look, there’s a grasshopper!

IT: Where?

G: Jumping in the speaker - it’s just gone in the Leslie (speaker).

IT: Oh wow!

G: It’s like Lenny Bruce said about morals. He said, ‘There isn’t one set of morals. There’s each one has his own morals’, and, what did he call them - morae; so - (laughter) - so that’s where you get back round the cycle to - you know, so you can’t say, ‘This is it, this is the Way, and I want you all to do this’, and you all do it. You know, because it depends on the situation each person’s got himself into, and it’s up to him to find his own Way. All you can do is try to assist people without being heavy on them, which is one reason now why I don’t like to do interviews, because it gets to that one - ‘He who knows doesn’t speak, he who speaks doesn’t know’, so you go round in a circle, and then you think you know so much. The more you know, the more difficult it becomes to try and say something because you know there’s such diversity it’s ridiculous - in fact, have we got that big book? There’s an AMAZING thing. This is the diversity of Creation, which is like - we’re all one, we’re all part of one big thing, but we all retain our individuality - and, you know, one man’s meat is another man’s…whatever the saying is. But there’s this thing which is a fantastic example of diversity. There it is - okay, so - the problem of diversity - they’ve got 18 objects in 2 vertical columns, so there’s 18 points there and 18 points there, and they connect - all these 18 points to all those 18 points, and the number of arrangements which - to determine the number of arrangements in which they can be combined - that 36 objects may be arranged in - this is the number - 1,273,726,838,815,420,339,851,343,083,767,005,515,293,749,454,795,473,408,000,000,000,000 combinations! So how can you hope to say, ‘Now that is, WHAT IT IS’? That’s from 36, that one, that figure - but you wanna print that figure, just ‘cause it’s so - I mean you can’t even say what it is. So you’ve got to end up being a little humbled, by a little understanding of the world, or the set-up, because it is - it’s so phenomenal, and the more you’re able to understand it, the more phenomenal it is. Because this is one thing that happened with acid - for me. I mean all those years ago - the main thing I remembered - the thing I enjoyed most of all, after acid, was trees and grass, and I thought, ‘I’ve seen trees & grass, like for say, 20 years, and yet I’ve only just seen trees and grass!’ Because on acid it becomes - YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS - you can see it from a different point of view - but that stayed on after. Now I can still appreciate nature and flowers and things like that. I can just see it so much better than I could, but if I get cosmic-conscious, I’m going to see that same bit of grass - but I’m really going to see it aren’t I! And then there’s all the states of consciousness above that, so you know it’s silly to try and say, ‘This is this, this is that,’ you know, because - create and preserve the image of your choice…da da da da.

IT: So, in fact, this activity that you do - this work on yourself, changes your outward living?

G: Yes - but again you don’t suddenly one day wake up and have cosmic consciousness. The change - over years and years is very slow, but it’s changing all the time.

1 August 2014
7.35am
Oudis
Royal Command Performance
Forum Posts: 122
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15 May 2014
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Hey Bewareofchairs, hey everybody,

Well man, it seems I’ll be the first one to post something in reply to the interview you posted. In principle what George says (“Personally, I wanted all that scene as a personal thing. It goes back to the Beatle days, you know, we were always in the public eye, always being photographed and written about, and even if you went to the bog it was in the papers. And I thought, well at least when I find me yogi it’s going to be quiet and in a cave – and it’s going to be a personal thing.”) reminded me of the “George Harrison: Loner?” post and what was discussed there. It seems to me he just wanted to be left alone, to have some privacy.

Aside from that, some of the Maharishi’s teachings (“It’s the whole yin-yang thing, left-right, up-down, black-white, wrong-right – all these things are just equal and opposite. It’s like you can’t have the North Pole if you don’t have the South Pole. You only measure goodness by badness, so in actual fact you can only have good if you have bad… Perfect must have imperfect to measure it.”) sound to me more like Taoist than Yogi stuff –and Taoism is the only Asian philosophy/religion/mysticism that I like and share (and I lived in Asia for ten years). I really dig it, I’m into Good Old Lao Tzu (“‘He who knows doesn’t speak, he who speaks doesn’t know’”). It’s good that he was into that –I didn’t really know– and not into a more, um, Mahatma Gandhi approach (though I think he probably mixed both, and mixed them both with Buddhist Karma). A very ’60’s approach to mysticism, Timothy Leary and LSD and Lenny Bruce with Lao Tzu and the Maharishi –everything mixed.

Thanks for posting the interview, cheers,

Oudis.

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