Guest post: Treadmarkz is my brother-in-law, a Human Beatles Encyclopedia and the author of the weblog Treadmarkz.wordpress.com.
Regarding why the Beatles broke up, for years, I was a member of the “Yoko Is Evil” sect. Then for a while I converted to Paul-is-an-Egomaniac-ism. I took it for granted that the truth lay somewhere within these two camps. Eventually I realized the many other factors: John Lennon’s addiction to heroin; the death of the Beatles manager Brian Epstein; their music and individual talents getting too big to be contained within one album; George Harrison’s waning interest in traditional western pop music.
Part of the reason for Harrison’s change of direction was his growing passion for Indian music, philosophy and eventually religion. Recently I have myself become immersed in a faith which relies heavily on the Hindu worldview regarding reincarnation, karma, “Hell” as distance from God rather than a literal lake of fire. I feel my years of Beatles fandom was just a way to get me across that spiritual bridge.
Whenever I meditate on a worldly desire and make a vow to do, or not do any given thing, if I later fall back on that vow, I find that I do face consequences of my action. It’s Karma, its Natural Law, the Law of Truth, whatever you want to call it. A dharma (religious duty) of Hinduism, Christianity and all major religions really is “Do not bear false witness” with an implied “or else…” involved. Mohandas Gandhi wrote of this concept in depth in his “Autobiography.”
In 1967, the rest of the Beatles willingly accompanied Harrison to Wales for a weekend seminar on Transcendental Meditation, and to India the following spring for an extended course. Though the course did not make religious faith a priority, there is always an aspect of spirituality with meditation, and where there is spirituality, there is a connection with God on one level or another. Whether one accepts it or not, that door is opened at that time. The importance of the Law of Truth is, hence, heightened.
Before the Wales seminar, the Beatles were on top of the world having just released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the single “All You Need Is Love” that summer. They were the voice of the youth movement. What happened?
Two of the Beatles’ best-known songs are “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “All You Need Is Love”. Could the Beatles have written, recorded and performed these songs for profit, all the while living the lavish and, lets face it, decadent lifestyles they did without Karma rearing its ugly head?
While they were at the Wales seminar, their manager died. But things still seemed good six months later when they left for India. While in India, John Lennon flirted with the idea that their next move as a band should be to become “spiritual leaders.” For the course, they were to give up all non-prescription drugs for mental clarity. But none of them gave up smoking pot and once they got back from India John went back to LSD and soon started using heroin. Even George never gave up his rock star lifestyle while scolding other rich people in a song called “Piggies.”
Even though they wrote about 40 songs in India the following spring and seemed to be very together, as soon as they got back from India, everything seemed to fall apart rapidly. From the beginning of the White Album sessions in May 1968 there were bitter arguments. This was followed by Yoko entering the picture, a bitter struggle for power in the band, and a very bitter court battle which eventually tore the band asunder.
Was Yoko’s presence a catalyst to bring on the negative Karma the Beatles collected through their non-adherence to the law of Truth? What about the death of Brian Epstein? Another example of Karmic retribution on the band? Surely not as their Karma should not have dragged Brian and his very life into it. It may have been Karma from past incarnations that caused them to have to go through such a tragedy together, but that is a different story. The disaster of Apple Corps., and the resulting lawsuits over money which ended the Beatles, however, seem like fitting Karmic retribution for years of singing about love being more important than money, all the while making money and lifestyle the most important thing in reality. And Lennon must have known it, as one of his first solo singles was “Instant Karma, where he sang “Instant Karma’s gonna get you” and “we all shine on”, meaning “we all have to live with the consequences of our actions, so be careful.” Indeed, his band had fallen mightily from grace.
I have been doing TM for years and have nothing but good effect from the twice-daily practice. It reduces stress, keeps me healthy and happy. And it is completely effortless to do, and so simple to learn. And what I also like about TM is that there are over 600 studies showing how good it is for my mind and body. Have a look at the web site http://www.TM.org for all scoop on the Transcendental Meditation program.
So, thanks to Paul, Ringo, George and John for traveling the path to Transcendental Meditation before me, for making it such a well know thing, for continuing to do it all these years, and, especially, now for coming out to support the teaching of TM in schools. God bless you all.
I had a spiritual awakening seven years ago with a famous American rock band that was heavily influenced by The Beatles. The experience was so profound that I wrote a book entitled I Found All the Parts: Healing the Soul through Rock ‘n’ Roll about my journey, and I explore the possibility of group reincarnation and other esoteric subjects including the healing power of music. (if you’d like a copy, please let me know…happy to share).
The book The Gospel According to The Beatles by Steve Turner focuses primarily on George and John’s spiritual paths and influences. Turner delves into John’s emotional struggles and Yoko’s influence on him, but it’s an interesting read.
Bloggabix I think you get it, that is what I meant when I said that I felt that my being a fan was a bridge to something bigger. Thanks for the insight into your experiences. I’ll check out the TM site.
Laura if you like the Turner book I would STRONGLY recommend “Here Comes the Sun” by Joshua M. Greene. It is all about George Harrison’s personal journey of faith. The timeline and dates are rather faulty at times but that is of little importance in comparison with the rest of its content.
And in relation to the Beatles and the concept of Karma, when John Lennon won his case saving him from deportation, on the steps of the courthouse he was asked if he was bitter toward the US Gov. for the ordeal, and he said “No, because I feel time wounds all heels (villains)” — Absolutely brilliant, I think.
While many blamed Yoko, I think Linda may have had more influence on the rift. After Brian Epstein’s death, the Fab Four went shopping for a new manager. As I understood, John, George and Ringo favored Allen Klein, while Paul insisted on Linda’s brother, John Eastman. Majority ruled, and Klein got the job, but Paul hired Eastman to manage his interests.
This is true, but I don’t know if you can really “blame” Linda for that, can you?
I love the Beatles. It’s a family tradition for us to sing their stuff on the holidays. I love this exciting (and funny) recent Ringo Starr Video too! http://bit.ly/WIuNW
No offense, but I think that the concepts of karma and reincarnation are cruel. A Hindu walks past a wretched beggar, or a suffering member of a lower caste, and thinks, “You’re just being punished for your sins in your past lives.” However, a Christian who believes in original sin is more likely to recognize the person in need as someone who’s in the same boat, and have compassion for the poor soul.
I appreciate your comment and respect your opinions/beliefs.
I think that we could make a case for the concept of Original Sin as being cruel. Essentially you are using fear as a way to coerce people into believing.
ie – you are bad and going to hell if you don’t believe or convert and there is no thing you can do about it.
Kinda shady don’t you think?
A God worthy of being a God would not have to resort to such tactics.
And is karma really that different than Christian teachings? Jesus himself said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Sounds like karma to me!
Thanks for commenting on my post, Sanity, and thanks for the insight Corey. Yes, there is karma all over the Bible, and I do feel that looking at anyone and thinking that they would be fit for an eternity in Hell is kind of cruel. Because since we are all children of God, then anyone who is doing anything warranting an eternity in Hell is just a soul that is very troubled but essentially the same as anyone else. How can it be any different?
I don’t feel the idea of karma is cruel because a true Hindu would not pass that kind of judgment on a beggar in the street. They would know that we all have gone through or will go through the same troubles in order to reach spiritual enlightenment because we are all imperfect and need to experience soul-perfecting hardships. It is perfect justice. It is each soul taking responsibility for his own destiny. Believing in Jesus to wipe away all sin sounds like a much better way, but its not about what sounds easier. The path you follow has to be about what you really believe to be true.
And to many Hindus, believing in the Holy spirit represented by Jesus is not the “wrong path” and it is not the “wrong path” to me either. When all souls are enlightened enough they will see that the Holy Spirit is “The Way” as Jesus said he was. But it is a struggle. And sure the Bible says you cant get to the Kingdom of God through your own efforts but that is because the world you live in is created by God and every chance you have to take a step toward Him was given to you by God. And Hinduism is all about being humble (see the Sermon on the Mount) and realizing that this is all an illusion and God is real.
Sanity, I hope this helps you see that we are not on two opposing sides. We are not that different, you and me and I wish you well.