Paul McCartney leaves Rishikesh

Paul McCartney, Jane Asher and Neil Aspinall left Rishikesh on this day for England, having spent more than a month studying meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

I came back after four or five weeks knowing that was like my allotted period, thinking, No, well, no, I won’t go out and become a monk but it was really very interesting and I will continue to meditate and certainly feel it was a very rewarding experience.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher, 26 March 1968

They touched down back in the UK the following morning, arriving at London Airport. Paul and Jane spoke briefly to reporters at the airport.

Q: Well you look very happy. Do you feel better after five weeks of meditation?

Paul McCartney: Yes, yes, I feel a lot better, except for the flight, you know. That’s quite long. I’m a bit shattered, but the meditation is great!

You sit down, you relax, and then you repeat a sound to yourself. It sounds daft, but it’s just a system of relaxation, and that’s all it is. There’s nothing more to it. We meditated for about five hours a day in all. Two hours in the morning and maybe three hours in the evening, and then, for the rest of the time, we slept, ate, sunbathed and had fun.

Q: One Indian MP accused the camp where you stayed as being an espionage centre, and you, in fact, as being a spy for the West.

Paul McCartney: Yes, it’s true. Yes, we are spies. The four of us are spies. Actually, I’m a reporter and I joined The Beatles for that very reason. The story is out next week in a paper which shall be nameless.

Q: Jane, did you go for a holiday or did you go to meditate as well?

Jane Asher: Oh, to meditate.

Q: And what effect did it have on you? This, I presume, is your first big meditation experience?

Jane Asher: Yes. I think it calms you down. It’s hard to tell because it was so different, you know, the life out there. It’d be easy to tell now that I’m back, or when we’re doing ordinary things, to see just what it does.

Q: We’ve heard about the extreme poverty that exists in India. Presumably you saw some of that?

Paul McCartney: Yes, oh yes. I don’t equate it, you know, because it’s nothing to do with it, you know. The idea is to stop poverty at its root. You see, if we just give handouts to people, it’ll just stop the problems for a day, or a week, you know. But, in India, there’s so many people, you really need all of America’s money to pour into India to solve it, you know. So, you’ve got to get to the cause of it and persuade all the Indians to start working and, you know, start doing things. Their religions, it’s very fatalistic, and they just sit down and think, ‘God said, this is it, so it’s too bad to do anything about it.’ The Maharishi’s trying to persuade them that they can do something about it.

Last updated: 25 March 2019
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