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What John Lennon Told Maharishi While Leaving His Ashram After Fallout

14/08/2018
What John Lennon Told Maharishi While Leaving His Ashram After Fallout

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram, where the world's most famous group sought refuge and spirituality in 1968 and wrote much of their seminal "White Album", fell into disuse in the early 2000s.

Rishikesh:

Fifty years after the Beatles came to India, the bungalows where the Fab Four lived, the post office where John Lennon sent Yoko Ono postcards and the giggling guru's house are all ruins.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram, where the world's most famous group sought refuge and spirituality in 1968 and wrote much of their seminal "White Album", fell into disuse in the early 2000s.

But thanks to the efforts of a group of locals, the site has been reclaimed from the jungle and tourists now roam where tigers and snakes were until recently the most common day trippers.

"Before, people used to sneak in, which could be dangerous," said local journalist Raju Gusain, instrumental in rescuing the area overlooking Rishikesh in northern India.

"There used to be leopard paw marks and elephant dung," he told AFP on a tour of the site. "Now we have erected a fence to stop animals getting in from the tiger reserve next door."

By 1968, following the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein the year before, fissures were beginning to show between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

But the group found a new mentor: the magnetic Maharishi who promised them happiness and enlightenment without drugs, through transcendental meditation.

The bushy-bearded sage persuaded them to travel to his spiritual retreat in Rishikesh, and so in February 1968 they fetched up with their partners, not knowing quite what to expect.

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