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.