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What happened in India?
25 March 2016
8.36am
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O Boogie
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Keeping in mind to try and get the forum on track, and trying to ignite more Beatle related conversations, this thread is a combined effort.

In an interview, Mark Lewisohn addressed the Indian retreat has been an often overlooked period in the Beatles' history. He also said that they came back as completely different people. John on Anthology says that cracks were already there, they were there when Ringo & Paul left while John & George stayed in India. If I remember correctly, it's a special reference that he makes in his attempt to explain the break up cannot be blamed on a single factor. Also, there's the whole "Not Guilty " that George wrote about the grief that John & Paul were giving him regarding him leading them to Rishikesh.

I have seen this discussion on other sites, and sometimes the discussion has dissolved into imagination, and given how little information we have (we do have information, but it's still quite less compared to what we can have), that's a little expected. However, I hope we can make educated guesses about what could have happened in India that contributed to the White Album being the "tension album", and how it led to the break up.

I hope everyone contributes with whatever they know, and I'm of the opinion that we can learn a lot. Most of all I hope that this is a step in the right direction to re-ignite the Beatle related discussion in the forum, and I also hope that this could lead to more interesting threads and conversations if anybody has similar questions, opinions, etc about The Beatles.

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25 March 2016
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Didn't John say it all started when Brian Epstein died, shortly before they went to India? 

I also seem to remember reading somewhere (i don't remember where) about John saying that at that time, he was waking up out of his Strawberry Fields dream of the previous couple of years, and sort of re-asserting himself-- but in the intervening period, Paul had become the dominant one, and then it just happened that George as a songwriter particularly matured at this time, trying to elbow his way in edgewise between the great Lennon-McCartney egos. 

Just thinking of it, trying to sort it all out, makes me head ache a-hard-days-night-ringo-14 

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25 March 2016
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On Joe's page about India he said

I'm So Tired, meanwhile, was written during the beginning of The Beatles' stay, when Lennon - free of drugs for the first time since 1964 - found himself unable to sleep.

so maybe the lack of drugs allowed them to think more clearly about their situation than before.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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25 March 2016
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Ok, there's something interesting I did find, and I don't really know what to make of it.

First is the account that we have of George writing Not Guilty in retaliation to the grief that J & P were giving him by blaming him for leading them to Rishikesh. Then we have Paul's account in Barry Miles book where he says he thought John & George really used the whole Maharishi made sexual advances thing to get out of there, and said he found John pretty prudish for really not seeing that Maharishi is a human being and he can flirt. Sorry Paulie darling, but John wasn't being prudish, he was reacting like anyone would. People like the Maharishi take a vow to be celibate, similar to what the nuns take, and because I come from that part of the world, I can tell you that there have been accounts of people similar to the Maharishi who have kept underage girls in their ashrams. And nowadays, most people have lost their faith in them coz over the years it's been like this, unfortunately. THIS IS NOT TO SAY that Maharishi was involved in something like that, I don't think he was, and John wouldn't have been aware of all this at that time, but to call John prudish and say that they really mistook the Maharishi while laying it into George along with John for leading him astray is just ridiculous.

I think John and George were pretty hasty in their decision, and I really don't think that Maharishi was a sex maniac (like Yoko suggests on a Kenwood tape), I have no doubt that he was money minded, and John was at least right on that.

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25 March 2016
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Zig
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Great topic, thanks. This part of their story has always fascinated me. There are several home movie type videos floating around this and other sites that show what the conditions were like while they were there.

LoveUlikeGuitars said 

In an interview, Mark Lewisohn addressed the Indian retreat has been an often overlooked period in the Beatles' history. He also said that they came back as completely different people. John on Anthology says that cracks were already there, they were there when Ringo & Paul left while John & George stayed in India. If I remember correctly, it's a special reference that he makes in his attempt to explain the break up cannot be blamed on a single factor. Also, there's the whole "Not Guilty " that George wrote about the grief that John & Paul were giving him regarding him leading them to Rishikesh.

Along those same lines, I've read accounts of George getting upset with John and Paul at Rishikesh for writing the new album instead of meditating. 

Please pardon the minor tangent, but isn't it odd to think that situations designed to bring them closer together ended up being factors of the breakup? The Magical Mystery Tour film, the India trip, and the Get Back /Let It Be project are just some examples.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had thoughts of how the India trip was a positive? I think the songs that came out of that experience are one example.

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25 March 2016
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I doubt it helped that Paul pretty much went to see what was happening (and according to George because John went) and dip his feet in a little further but was never fully in. John dived in and committed but, like with most things, only lasted for a brief time and when he found it not to be what he was looking for came out really pissed off - the rumours over the Maharishi were little more than an excuse for his leaving. Ringo went because the other three went and then left after 10 days or so. George on the other hand really wanted to find out more and for the first time(?) had a major influence on the Beatles direction. 

Reading the 'Anthology' book you can tell George was pissed at how Paul treated the time there.

Paul: By saying I was only going to be there a month, I had to risk that the others would say that I wasn’t into it. And George did; he was quite strict. I remember talking about the next album and he would say: ‘We’re not here to talk music – we’re here to meditate.’ Oh yeah, all right Georgie Boy. Calm down, man. Sense of humour needed here, you know. In fact, I loved it there.

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25 March 2016
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Zig said
Great topic, thanks. This part of their story has always fascinated me. There are several home movie type videos floating around this and other sites that show what the conditions were like while they were there.

LoveUlikeGuitars said 
In an interview, Mark Lewisohn addressed the Indian retreat has been an often overlooked period in the Beatles' history. He also said that they came back as completely different people. John on Anthology says that cracks were already there, they were there when Ringo & Paul left while John & George stayed in India. If I remember correctly, it's a special reference that he makes in his attempt to explain the break up cannot be blamed on a single factor. Also, there's the whole "Not Guilty " that George wrote about the grief that John & Paul were giving him regarding him leading them to Rishikesh.

Along those same lines, I've read accounts of George getting upset with John and Paul at Rishikesh for writing the new album instead of meditating. 

Please pardon the minor tangent, but isn't it odd to think that situations designed to bring them closer together ended up being factors of the breakup? The Magical Mystery Tour film, the India trip, and the Get Back /Let It Be project are just some examples.

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had thoughts of how the India trip was a positive? I think the songs that came out of that experience are one example.

They tried to do something instead of talking thru their issues so instead of finding resolution the irritations between them only festered and grew. The 'Get Back ' project made everything come to a head as all four were together in the same space for days on end until George quit. They then had to either decide, by talking thru thing,s if the project/group continued or split. 

You could argue that they were all together in India but it appears they would go off to classes, meditate or write new material, plus there were other people for company and they weren't stuck in front of a film crew. 

Going back to India there is also booted music of the Beatles playing in India.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of 'self' to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

25 March 2016
10.12am
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 In "Not Guilty ", he says he didn't try to deter their career..that was interesting point..could it be related to how Paul was treating the time, that is, more or less by concentrating on their career instead of the meditation? 

I haven't a doubt that there is some revisionism on Paul's part here, and on all of their part for that matter. John even says that if George doubted Maharishi, he must've had a pretty good reason to do so and he trusted him on that. That's trying to partly push the blame on to George considering they both (along with Magic Alex) sat up all night discussing it.

There's also an interesting tidbit I heard about how Ringo says they were more in support of it because it got John off the drugs, and they knew he was pretty worse by then. 

 

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25 March 2016
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Above LoveUlikeGuitars said

I think John and George were pretty hasty in their decision, and I really don't think that Maharishi was a sex maniac (like Yoko suggests on a Kenwood tape), I have no doubt that he was money minded, and John was at least right on that.

Here's the song

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25 March 2016
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LoveUlikeGuitars said
 In "Not Guilty ", he says he didn't try to deter their career..that was interesting point..could it be related to how Paul was treating the time, that is, more or less by concentrating on their career instead of the meditation? 

I haven't a doubt that there is some revisionism on Paul's part here, and on all of their part for that matter. John even says that if George doubted Maharishi, he must've had a pretty good reason to do so and he trusted him on that. That's trying to partly push the blame on to George considering they both (along with Magic Alex) sat up all night discussing it.

There's also an interesting tidbit I heard about how Ringo says they were more in support of it because it got John off the drugs, and they knew he was pretty worse by then. 

Could it be that George wasn't taking the responsibility for their decisions? He was very much of the opinion of 'Think For Yourself ' so would never be willing to accept any crap from either John or Paul that he was to blame for their India trips and experiences.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

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25 March 2016
10.22am
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I'd never seen that, thanks. Great video - especially at around :55 in. a-hard-days-night-john-1

Yeah, he pretty much sums up his feelings in a sarcasm dripping way doesn't he? It's amazing how all four each saw this trip differently. Definitely an example of the "four headed monster" becoming individuals.

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25 March 2016
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But was he really to "blame", mmm? I know John had it pretty bad because Maharishi was supposed to be the next big thing in his life, and that was partly his fault that he assigned god-like characteristics to the Maharishi. However, John was majorly disappointed.

But what happened to Paul that he was giving George all that grief? He has even said that it was a pretty enjoyable experience in MYFN. That's what is interesting. John's reason for being miffed is pretty out there, while Paul's isn't.

 

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25 March 2016
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I dont think George was to blame. I meant John and Paul seem to have done, at least in George's eyes.

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25 March 2016
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Great topic! I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts so far.

I think LoveULikeGuitars is right about John. John thought that Maharishi was "the big thing", and he went in with the highest of expectations thinking him to be some Godlike character when he was really just a man, with a man's desires and a man's nature. He even stayed on with George instead of leaving because he wanted to give him that chance. When he proved that he was indeed just a man and not some Godlike being, John was sorely disappointed. Blame George? I too don't think he was to "blame" though it always appeared to me that Paul at least, the most, blamed him.

The breakup started in earnest when Brian died. They seemed aimless and didn't know what to do. Rishikesh was only one crack in a very cracked foundation.

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25 March 2016
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It would be quite telling if one of the main reasons Paul went to India was because John did. Was this Paul fearing he was losing John to George or having his place as second in command challenged? It was very soon after the Paul conceived and driven 'Magical Mystery Tour ' venture which even tho John got involved in must/may have been viewed as a Paul failure due the reaction of the press and watching public. There was the LSD experience and connection between George and John than Paul wasn't a part of and it must have irked him the idea of another adventure he wasn't part of may have pushed him to India.

Was Paul ever that into TM in the first place? John and George were and Ringo just went wherever as he wanted to be with his mates.

And Paul would never admit his insecurities were the reason why he went so he adapts his views to fit.

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25 March 2016
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I can't be certain but I'm just going by body language, tone of voice and attitude observed during interviews of Paul on the subject (Anthology and others) while being careful not to stray into the territory LoveULikeGuitars warned us about.

LoveUlikeGuitars said 

I have seen this discussion on other sites, and sometimes the discussion has dissolved into imagination...

Given what I mentioned above, I get the impression Paul went into the India trip not looking for "the next big thing", but rather to just decompress. Much has been written about George's taking TM seriously and how he dove in deeply. I don't think this was shared by Paul and why should it? It should be whatever one wants it to be. As I also stated in a previous post, George got on Paul's case for not taking it seriously and writing music instead of meditating. Paul's feathers could easily had been ruffled by George's admonitions, having the whole scene leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

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25 March 2016
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I must say that mmm's post about the podcast (Get Back sessions) was really useful, and I did learn quite a few things there, and one of the things that was on there was about Ringo saying they were in staunch support (partly) of the TM thing because it got John off the drugs. Could it be that Paul went there because of that as well? Not totally, but partly? And I definitely agree with mmm's post about Paul's insecurities.

It's also interesting to note that most of their personal relationships (with the wives/fiancée) also came out damaged. Even though it was leading to that in a way. But India was a nail on the coffin for John/Cyn at least. John makes a comment on a Kenwood tape where he is being pretty mean about the Maharishi (Yoko is also on the tape), where he says the Beatle wives went gaga over an American cowboy actor named Tom. Could he be talking about his own wife as well?

 

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25 March 2016
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LoveUlikeGuitars said
I must say that mmm's post about the podcast (Get Back sessions) was really useful, and I did learn quite a few things there, and one of the things that was on there was about Ringo saying they were in staunch support (partly) of the TM thing because it got John off the drugs. Could it be that Paul went there because of that as well? Not totally, but partly? And I definitely agree with mmm's post about Paul's insecurities.

It's also interesting to note that most of their personal relationships (with the wives/fiancée) also came out damaged. Even though it was leading to that in a way. But India was a nail on the coffin for John/Cyn at least.

I've always figured that John was going to end their marriage whether or not he had gone to India, especially since he had already met Yoko before going.

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25 March 2016
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Zig said
As I also stated in a previous post, George got on Paul's case for not taking it seriously and writing music instead of meditating. Paul's feathers could easily had been ruffled by George's admonitions, having the whole scene leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

"He is still nine months older than I" ...?

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25 March 2016
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I think Paul did take the whole TM thing seriously. Apparently, he still meditates daily, or so he says anyway. Ringo kept at it, too. Having said that, none of them took it as seriously as George did, obviously. Whilst I see how it could upset him that the others didn't find the whole thing as appealing as he did, it wasn't exactly reasonable of George to expect the others to be as into it as he was. After all: it was a private thing. It wasn't his place to tell the others how they should lead their lives, was it? I can see his POV, though. It's very easy to forget not everyone has to share your views, especially when you are convinced you figured it all out. I'm happy it turned out to be such a good thing for George. Since it continued to define the rest of his life, I think it really was the perfect way of life for him. Not so much for the others, though, and that's alright. I just think it's sad that something that was meant to be positive, ended up being one of the things that drove them apart...

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