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Happy 70th birthday, George Harrison – Spiritual Rock and Roller

george harrison spiritual life

George Harrison, lead guitarist of the Beatles died of lung cancer in 2001, but his legacy as a member of music’s most popular band lives on. A longtime advocate for spiritual mysticism and a prominent member of the Hare Krishna movement, Harrison wrote a handful of popular Beatles tracks, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.”

A reporter once asked him if he thought it was possible to be spiritual in the material world?  ”Our consciousness has been so polluted with material energy,” George said, “that it is hard to see our way towards anything spiritual. But everyone has within him the same qualities as God, just as a drop of the ocean has the same qualities as the ocean. Everybody’s looking for something outside, but it’s all right there within ourselves.”

His faith was severely tested when during his Dark Horse Tour in November of  1974, when he opened each show with Ravi Shankar and a troupe of Indian musicians playing a lengthy program of Indian classical music, and asked fans to “Chant Krishna” during the show. Fans and critics revolted, and the media had a feeding frenzy.

After George’s death, his son Dhani found a letter George had written to his mom at the age of 24 which said, ‘I want to be self-realized. I want to find God. I’m not interested in material things, this world, fame–I’m going for the real goal. And I hope you don’t worry about me, mum.’  And that was basically the philosophy he lived, up until the day he died.

To be truly inspired, check out the documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Spiritual World,” directed by Martin Scorsese. Cut with beautiful archive material, friends, family and associates of the musician also tell the story of his life and how spirituality became such a major part of it.: