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Ravi Shankar: Remembering George Harrison!
21 February 2011
6.04am
Inner Light
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Here is an interview with Ravi Shankar regarding George I thought I would share:

REMEMBERING GEORGE HARRISON:

FULL OF LOVE AND FUN 

[We found the following, from the Associated Press, in a newspaper and couldn't resist stealing it. We hope that neither the Associated Press nor Ravi will mind its appearance here. The Indian sitar virtuoso, whom we consider an old friend, is completing his last full-scale concert tour.]

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- I feel I have been cheated by George. Why did he have to go so soon at such a young age when I really wanted to go first?

In moments like this, it is so hard to express the feeling of emptiness and sadness within. Like a film flashing by, everything comes to my mind since I met him more than 30 years ago. His childlike quality, his shy but naughty little smile, his passion for all the music he loved and the serious quest for religion, particularly the old Vedic Hindu tradition, always amazed me as well as attracted me.

The down-to-earth quality in George was something I could relate to with such joy. He would crack up when I told him all my jokes; we had such fun! We always competed with each other in punning. When I told him that I was known as a "pundit" because of my punning, he said something hilarious, connecting the old Hindu scriptures of the four Vedas (Rigveda, Samveda, Atharvaveda and Yajurveda). He said: "Do you know the four Wether brothers? They are Ric, Sam, Arthur and George Wethers."

The only solid lessons on sitar he had from me were in the summer and autumn of 1966, which he couldn't pursue as much as we both wanted. He was very talented and would have become a great sitar player if only he could have given some time. His love, knowledge and understanding of Indian music developed immensely over the years. I gave him a copy of the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Swami Yogananda, and my brother, Rajendra, gave him a book by Swami Vivekananda. He had such thirst for the knowledge and wisdom of Indian traditions. In many ways he was more Indian than many Indians.

Though I had been performing all over the world since 1954, my association with George attracted a whole young generation to sitar and to me from the mid-1960s. Even though I didn't make any records jamming with him or any other pop or rock star, I was treated like a superstar, being the Beatle George's guru. Then came Monterey, Woodstock and finally the big Bangladesh concert, which he totally handled in producing. Because of George we had Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and other eminent musicians.

After a year or so, when he spent time with me in Varanasi at my house, he suggested we make a couple of records and perhaps tour the United States. We did the first recording in the A&M Studios for his Dark Horse label. It was then that he met dear Olivia (whom he married in 1978). In the summer of 1974 the second album was recorded ("Festival of India") at his own studio. I'll never forget those couple of months when we worked on this album. I did all the compositions on the M4 while traveling from London to his home in Henley. George created such an atmosphere with such love and regard. We would start rehearsals in a beautiful large hall with a view to his lovely garden. We would have Indian food and snack between rehearsals.

The recording was finished with simultaneous editing, which George was doing himself, always asking me to hear when he was satisfied. After this period of creative joy we went to tour the United States, giving more than 30 performances. George had a special 737 Boeing jetliner completely refurbished for us to travel in.

What touched me so much was his worry about my health and well being. He would tell me always not to travel and exert myself so much. Then from the role of disciple and friend he became more of a son to me, especially after my own son Shubho died in 1992. He would fly and be with me whenever I was in the hospital or not well with my heart problems. His love and concern touched me deeply.

I'll never forget how much love, care and time he gave to another project he did for me while staying in our house here in Encinitas. He went through all the details, right from choosing all the artwork, to writing the notes, to producing the four-CD boxed set "In Celebration," selections from my 40 years of sitar performances and compositions. The last wonderful musical experience I had with him was when we made the CD "Chants of India." We did some songs in Madras and the major part at his own studio in his mansion at Henley. His nearness and attention in producing the record always inspired me so. Even the complex compositions came out of me so spontaneously.

Another one of many funny incidents was when George, Olivia and their son, Dhani, came to India in 1995 and spent a few weeks. We went to Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. In Bombay, Delhi and Calcutta people recognized George and created a stampede, which George hated. But we had no such problem in Rajasthan and he enjoyed it so much. On our last stop, Udaipur, while we were walking in the busy main streets shopping ornaments of silver, colourful materials, dresses, turbans, having tea and snacks all of a sudden there was a big crowd which surrounded us. I was terrified thinking they had recognized George, but it was actually me they were after. Then the funniest thing happened. George, realizing the situation, immediately became my bodyguard. "Move, move. No, no. Don't bother Panditji." And cordoning me with both his hands, he brought me to our waiting car and saved me from those autograph hunters. The others were already seated, and when the car started, we burst out laughing.

My daughter Anoushka and my wife, Sukanya, also were so attached to him. He had a beautiful and loving wife in Olivia and a wonderful son in Dhani. He had a magnanimous heart and always cared so much. He was a fearless and beautiful soul always conscious of God. I loved him dearly. Though he is gone physically, he will always be alive and vibrant in my heart.

The further one travels, the less one knows
21 February 2011
11.56am
mr. Sun king coming together
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Ravi Shankar is still alive? Isn't he like a million years old? Great (and moving) interview.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
21 February 2011
5.45pm
GniknuS
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Very cool interview, thanks for sharing.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
21 February 2011
7.06pm
mithveaen
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Wow.. what beautiful memories.... thanks for sharing!!

 

And karma agrees with me... a-hard-days-night-paul-8 17!!

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
21 February 2011
7.58pm
Zig
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Thanks for the article, Inner Light.

The more I read about him, the more I understand why George was my favorite Beatle. What a beautiful person he was to those he loved.

When I lived in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon many times. Whenever I viewed Vishnu Temple, I would think of George only because the name Vishnu appeared in the song My Sweet Lord. I would always call it George's Temple. That will always be my favorite way to remember him.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

21 February 2011
10.48pm
Marcelo
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Thanks, that's a beautiful text.

I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. John Lennon
22 February 2011
12.09am
mr. Sun king coming together
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Zig said:

Beautiful picture, Zig.


I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
22 February 2011
12.47am
MotherNaturesDaughter
On the Hill with the Fool
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Thank you for sharing that wonderful article Inner Light. This just reaffirms my suspicions that George is the most personable Beatle.

 

And also thank you for sharing your memory Zig. That is really cool.

"I am definitely a mad man with a box."- Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor of Doctor Who (Episode 1 Season 5: The Eleventh Hour)
22 February 2011
1.37am
PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
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George heart

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
22 February 2011
3.33am
mithveaen
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Zig said:

Thanks for the article, Inner Light.

The more I read about him, the more I understand why George was my favorite Beatle. What a beautiful person he was to those he loved.

When I lived in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon many times. Whenever I viewed Vishnu Temple, I would think of George only because the name Vishnu appeared in the song My Sweet Lord. I would always call it George's Temple. That will always be my favorite way to remember him.


Aww that's truly sweet!!

 

My favorite memory of George is this pic. One of my sisters is a huge George fan, and she had it next to our bunk beds. When I was a kid, she  took care of me, so it was natural to say that "her" boyfriend was "my" boyfriend. Even if I didn't get the words of Something, I knew the song was magic. It's still magic to me. Now I use that room as a small studio, laudry room and the guests room. And even after so many years, I can point to the spot it was. And now, I'm tall enough to kiss him on the lips as I used to do when I was a kid standing on my bed.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
22 February 2011
12.30pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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I seriously never figured we would have this many George fans. But I've been wrong before

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
22 February 2011
2.57pm
StarWisher
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 I *barely* want to ask you what you mean by this, but hell, I'm happy to be surrounded by them now, just because I wasn't really in middle school. :)

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." — Dr. Seuss
 
 
22 February 2011
3.26pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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I only mean that there is a larger number of George fans than I figured there would be when I joined. I'm not complaining, merely mentioned.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
7 April 2011
7.24pm
Zig
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Happy Birthday, Ravi Shankar - 91 years young today.

apple01 & heart

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

7 April 2011
8.34pm
PennyLane
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Holy Crap Ravi! He's really reaching up there.

But anyways, happy birthday Ravi! May you have a peaceful and loving birthday with many more to come.

heart

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
7 April 2011
8.54pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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Happy Birthday Ravi!!!! I guess the holy really do live longer.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
7 April 2011
10.06pm
Inner Light
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Happy Birthday Ravi. Thanks so much for all the inspiration and love you have given us all not only through your music but with your heart as well. 

'Hare Krishna'

 

The further one travels, the less one knows
8 April 2011
12.17am
Inner Light
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YIP-EEE!   I'm excited. I just purchased tickets for Ravi and Anoushka Shankar for a concert on May 19th in San Francisco a-hard-days-night-george-8

The further one travels, the less one knows
8 April 2011
12.46am
PennyLane
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Inner Light said:

YIP-EEE!   I'm excited. I just purchased tickets for Ravi and Anoushka Shankar for a concert on May 19th in San Francisco a-hard-days-night-george-8

Sounds like a great concert. Have fun!

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
8 April 2011
3.45am
mithveaen
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Inner Light said:

YIP-EEE!   I'm excited. I just purchased tickets for Ravi and Anoushka Shankar for a concert on May 19th in San Francisco a-hard-days-night-george-8

Awesome Inner Light!! We would love to have a review when you watch it!

 

And Happy Birthday Ravi a-hard-days-night-george-10

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
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