Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Part 4 – BEATLES - George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher -1982 (Concluding Part) September 18,2012

The Hare Krishna Mantra by George Harrison and London Radha-Krishna Temple devotees was featured four times on England’s most popular television program, Top of the Pops, after rising to the Top 10 throughout England, Europe, and parts of Asia.
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been polluted so long
But here’s a way for you to get clean
By chanting the names of the Lord and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
–"Awaiting On You All"
from the album All things Must Pass

God Is a Person
Mukunda: Yes, I like it. If people can understand the Lord’s message in Bhagavad-gita, they can become truly happy.
A lot of people, when they just get started in spiritual life, worship God as impersonal. What’s the difference between worshiping Krishna, or God, in His personal form and worshiping His impersonal nature as energy or light?
George: It’s like the difference between hanging out with a computer or hanging out with a person. Like I said earlier, "If there is a God, I want to see Him," not only His energy or His light, but Him.
Mukunda: What do you think is the goal of human life?
George: Each individual has to burn out his own karma and escape from the chains of maya (illusion), reincarnation, and all that. The best thing anyone can give to humanity is God consciousness. Then you can really give them something. But first you have to concentrate on your own spiritual advancement; so in a sense we have to become selfish to become selfless.
Mukunda: What about trying to solve the problems of life without employing the spiritual process?
George: Life is like a piece of string with a lot of knots tied in it. The knots are the karma you’re born with from all your past lives, and the object of human life is to try and undo all those knots. That’s what chanting and meditation in God consciousness can do. Otherwise you simply tie another ten knots each time you try to undo one knot. That’s how karma works. I mean, we’re now the results of our past actions, and in the future we’ll be the results of the actions we’re performing now. A little understanding of "As you sow, so shall you reap" is important, because then you can’t blame the condition you’re in on anyone else. You know that it’s by your own actions you’re able to get more in a mess or out of one. It’s your own actions that relieve or bind you.
Mukunda: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the crest jewel of all the Vedic literatures, it’s described how those pure souls who live in the spiritual world with God have different types of rasas, or relationships, with Him. Is there any special way you like to think of Krishna?
George: I like the idea of seeing Krishna as a baby, the way He’s often depicted in India. And also Govinda, the cowherd boy. I like the idea that you can have Krishna as a baby and feel protective to Him, or as your friend, or as the guru or master–type figure.

"My Sweet Lord"
Mukunda: I don’t think it’s possible to calculate just how many people were turned on to Krishna consciousness by your song "My Sweet Lord." But you went through quite a personal thing before you decided to do that song. In your book you said, "I thought a lot about whether to do ‘My Sweet Lord’ or not because I would be committing myself publicly … Many people fear the words Lord and God … I was sticking my neck out on the chopping block … but at the same time I thought ‘Nobody’s saying it … why should I be untrue to myself?’ I came to believe in the importance that if you feel something strong enough, then you should say it.
"I wanted to show that Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing. I did the voices singing ‘Hallelujah’ and then the change to ‘Hare Krishna’ so that people would be chanting the maha-mantra-before they knew what was going on! I had been chanting Hare Krishna for a long time, and this song was a simple idea of how to do a Western pop equivalent of a mantra which repeats over and over again the holy names. I don’t feel guilty or bad about it; in fact it saved many a heroin addict’s life."
Why did you feel you wanted to put Hare Krishna on the album at all? Wouldn’t "Hallelujah" alone have been good enough?
George: Well, first of all "Hallelujah" is a joyous expression the Christians have, but "Hare Krishna" has a mystical side to it. It’s more than just glorifying God; it’s asking to become His servant. And because of the way the mantra is put together, with the mystic spiritual energy contained in those syllables, it’s much closer to God than the way Christianity currently seems to be representing Him. Although Christ in my mind is an absolute yogi, I think many Christian teachers today are misrepresenting Christ. They’re supposed to be representing Jesus, but they’re not doing it very well. They’re letting him down very badly, and that’s a big turn off.
My idea in "My Sweet Lord," because it sounded like a "pop song," was to sneak up on them a bit. The point was to have the people not offended by "Hallelujah," and by the time it gets to "Hare Krishna," they’re already hooked, and their foot’s tapping, and they’re already singing along "Hallelujah," to kind of lull them into a sense of false security. And then suddenly it turns into "Hare Krishna," and they will all be singing that before they know what’s happened, and they will think, "Hey, I thought I wasn’t supposed to like Hare Krishna!"
People write to me even now asking what style that was. Ten years later they’re still trying to figure out what the words mean. It was just a little trick really. And it didn’t offend. For some reason I never got any offensive feedback from Christians who said "We like it up to a point, but what’s all this about Hare Krishna?"
Hallelujah may have originally been some mantric thing that got watered down, but I’m not sure what it really means. The Greek word for Christ is Kristos, which is, let’s face it, Krishna, and Kristos is the same name actually.
Mukunda: What would you say is the difference between the Christian view of God, and Krishna as represented in the Bhagavad-gita?
George: When I first came to this house, it was occupied by nuns. I brought in this poster of Visnu [a four-armed form of Krishna]. You just see His head and shoulders and His four arms holding a conchshell and various other symbols, and it has a big om. This transcendental syllable, which represents Krishna, has been chanted by many persons throughout history for spiritual perfection.* written above it. He has a nice aura around Him. I left it by the fireplace and went out into the garden. When we came back in thc house, they all pounced on me, saying, "Who is that? What is it?" as if it were some pagan god. So I said, "Well, if God is unlimited, then He can appear in any form, whichever way He likes to appear. That’s one way. He’s called Visnu." It sort of freaked them out a bit, but the point is, why should God be limited? Even if you get Him as Krishna, He is not limited to that picture of Krishna. He can be the baby form, He can be Govinda and manifest in so many other well-known forms. You can see Krishna as a little boy, which is how I like to see Krishna. It’s a joyful relationship. But there’s this morbid side to the way many represent Christianity today, where you don’t smile, because it’s too serious, and you can’t expect to see God–that kind of stuff. If there is God, we must see Him, and I don’t believe in the idea you find in most churches, where they say, "No, you’re not going to see Him. He’s way up above you. Just believe what we tell you and shut up."
I mean, the knowledge that’s given in Prabhupada’s books–the Vedic stuff–that’s the world’s oldest scriptures. They say that man can become purified, and with divine vision he can see God. You get pure by chanting, then you see Him. And Sanskrit, the language they’re written in, is the world’s first recorded language. Devanagari [the alphabet of the Sanskrit language] actually means "language of the gods."
Mukunda: Anyone who is sincere about making spiritual advancement, whatever one’s religion may be, can usually see the value of chanting. I mean if that person was really trying to be God conscious and trying to chant sincerely.
George: That’s right. It’s a matter of being open. Anyone who’s open can do it. You just have to be open and not prejudiced. You just have to try it. There’s no loss, you know. But the "intellectuals" will always have problems, because they always need to "know." They’re often the most spiritually bankrupt people, because they never let go; they don’t understand the meaning of "to transcend" the intellect. But an ordinary person’s more willing to say, "Okay. Let me try it and see if it works." Chanting Hare Krishna can make a person a better Christian, too.

Karma and Reincarnation
Mukunda: In I, Me, Mine, you speak about karma and reincarnation, and how the only way to get out of the cycle is to take up a bona fide spiritual process. You said at one point, "Everybody is worried about dying, but the cause of death is birth, so if you don’t want to die, you don’t get born!" Did any of the other Beatles believe in reincarnation?
George: I’m sure John does! And I wouldn’t want to underestimate Paul and Ringo. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re hoping it’s true, you know what I mean? For all I know, Ringo might be a yogi disguised as a drummer!
Mukunda: Paul has our latest book, Coming Back: The Science of Reincarnation. Where do you think John’s soul is now?
George: I should hope that he’s in a good place. He had the understanding, though, that each soul reincarnates until it becomes completely pure, and that each soul finds its own level, designated by reactions to its actions in this and previous lives.
Mukunda: Bob Dylan did a lot of chanting at one time. He used to come to the Los Angeles temple and came to the Denver and Chicago temples as well. In fact he drove across the United States with two devotees once and wrote several songs about Krishna. They spent a lot of time chanting.
George: That’s right. He said he enjoyed the chanting and being with them. Also Stevie Wonder had you on one of his records, you know. And it was great the song he put the chanting in–"Pastimes Paradise."
Mukunda: When you were in Vrndavana, India, where Lord Krishna appeared, and you saw thousands of people chanting Hare Krishna, did it strengthen your faith in the idea of chanting to see a whole city living Hare Krishna?
George: Yeah, it fortifies you. It definitely helps. It’s fantastic to be in a place where the whole town is doing it. And I also had the idea that they were all knocked out at the idea of seeing some white person chanting on beads. Vrndavana is one of the holiest cities in India. Everyone, everywhere, chants Hare Krishna. It was my most fantastic experience.
Mukunda: You wrote in your book: "Most of the world is fooling about, especially the people who think they control the world and the community. The presidents, the politicians, the military, etc., are all jerking about, acting as if they are Lord over their own domains. That’s basically Problem One on the planet."
George: That’s right. Unless you’re doing some kind of God conscious thing and you know that He’s the one who’s really in charge, you’re just building up a lot of karma and not really helping yourself or anybody else. There’s a point in me where it’s beyond sad, seeing the state of the world today. It’s so screwed up. It’s terrible, and it will be getting worse and worse. More concrete everywhere, more pollution, more radioactivity. There’s no wilderness left, no pure air. They’re chopping the forests down. They’re polluting all the oceans. In one sense, I’m pessimistic about the future of the planet. These big guys don’t realize for everything they do, there’s a reaction. You have to pay. That’s karma.
Mukunda: Do you think there’s any hope?
George: Yes. One by one, everybody’s got to escape maya. Everybody has to burn out his karma and escape reincarnation and all that. Stop thinking that if Britain or America or Russia or the West or whatever becomes superior, then we’ll beat them, and then we’ll all have a rest and live happily ever after. That doesn’t work. The best thing you can give is God consciousness. Manifest your own divinity first. The truth is there. It’s right within us all. Understand what you are. If people would just wake up to what’s real, there would be no misery in the world. I guess chanting’s a pretty good place to start.
Mukunda: Thanks so much, George.
George: All right. Hare Krishna!

No comments:

Post a Comment