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George Harrison: The rockstar devotee of Lord Krishna

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Fifty years ago, George Harrison released his debut album that became the best album of 1970. What’s so special about this album? Perhaps, it’s the only time in music history when an artist released an album dedicated to Lord Krishna. During the mid-60s (when George was in The Beatles, the greatest rock band of all-time), he developed an interest in Vedic philosophy; and shortly became a lifelong devotee of Lord Krishna.

Such was his devotion to Lord Krishna, he wrote a few indirect songs dedicated to Lord Krishna when he was still in The Beatles. Here Comes The Sun, Something, and Long, Long Long; these songs have got classic rock status now.

This entire album, however, was his public declaration of his devotion to Lord Krishna. In one of his interviews, he said he risked his career by writing songs about Krishna. It’s because no artist writes songs on God or spirituality; these songs are not commercial. Most of the rock songs were/are about mundane love, sex, drugs, etc.

George Harrison said in an interview, he felt if he’s not doing it, no one else will do it. So, he took this chance for Krishna, and Krishna reciprocated with him by making this album a huge success.

All Things Must Pass is one of the best albums of all-time and the best solo Beatle album by an ex-member of The Beatles. The single from this album, My Sweet Lord, became a massive worldwide hit. It became one of the best-selling singles of all-time, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. It was #1 in fourteen countries, number one on Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks.

For the first time, perhaps, in western music, someone wrote a song for Lord Krishna. George Harrison added Hallelujah and Hare Krishna Mahamantra in this song, conveying the message of religious harmony. This song, in one sense, fulfilled Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction that in every town and village, Krishna’s names will be heard.

Today in many western countries, there are yoga studios, meditation centers, and Indian restaurants on every street corner, especially in the US and Great Britain. Ever wondered how come yoga and meditation became an everyday thing in the west? Of course, many Indian gurus have made this possible through their service. But without George Harrison, this wouldn’t have been possible at all. It was him who made Indian culture mainstream through his music and lifestyle.

His love for Lord Krishna was visible throughout his career. More than his unparalleled success and influence as a legendary Beatle and solo artist. George achieved something only a handful of people accomplish in their lifetime.

He left his mortal body amidst the chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra. After his death, his family released a statement saying: “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, ‘Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait and love one another.'”

I want to echo Tom Hanks’ speech at George Harrison’s Hollywood Walk Of Fame ceremony. “All things must pass, sure. But George is going to live forever.”No wonder George Harrison is still serving his Sweet Lord through his timeless music.

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