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Mathilde



Inscrit le: 14 Nov 2002
Messages: 3201

MessagePosté le: Ven Oct 26, 2007 11:04 pm    Sujet du message: COSMIQUE ... Répondre en citant



With the Beatles in India

by Paul Saltzman, Photographer, filmmaker, author of The Beatles In India


These are excerpts from the new, Deluxe Limited Edition, box-set book, The Beatles in India. The time that John, Paul, George and Ringo spent at the Ashram in India, in 1968, was the single most creative period in their illustrious careers--they were inspired to write 48 songs in the few weeks they were there. But the real reason they went to India was to find inner peace: George Harrison shared this with me in one of the many intimate times I was fortunate to spend with the Fab Four.

Meeting The Beatles

The ashram sat on a small plateau among wooded hills. A narrow dirt road ran from the front gate to the back of the property, and a barbed-wire fence surrounded the property, ensuring the ashram's privacy. Along the road, away from the cliff, behind a low chain link fence were six long, whitewashed bungalows each with five or six double rooms. Flowerbeds filled with large red hibiscus blossoms garlanded the ashram and several vegetable gardens, tended by a turbaned old gardener, supplied some of the fresh vegetables we ate. Peacocks inhabited the surrounding woods and occasionally one would wander onto the ashram grounds.

I was walking through the ashram the next morning when I saw John, Paul, George, and Ringo sitting with their partners-Cynthia Lennon, actress Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd Harrison and Maureen Starkey-as well as Donovan and Mal Evans at a long table by the edge of the cliff that overlooked the Ganges and Rishikesh. Somewhat nervously, I walked over.

"May I join you?" I asked. "Sure, mate." said John, "Pull up a chair." Then Paul said, "Come and sit here." and pulled a chair over next to him. As soon as I sat down, to my surprise, I heard this voice in my head scream, "Eek! It's the Beatles!" Before I even had time to think, I was surprised by a second voice within me. This one was calm, deep and resonant: "Hey, Paul," it said, "They're just ordinary people like you. Everyone farts, and is afraid in the night." And from that moment on, I never thought of them as the Beatles again, but rather, as four individual human beings.

At a pause in their conversation, John turned to me and said, "So, you're from the States, then?" "No, Canada," I answered. He playfully turned to the others, "Ah! He's from one of the Colonies, then." I said, "Yes," as we all laughed. "You're still worshipping Her Highness, then?" "Not personally," I quipped, as we all laughed again, "but we still have her on our money." "Lucky you," joked Ringo, and Paul joined in with another tease. I came back with, "Well, we may have her on our money, but she lives with you." As we continued to roll with the laughter, Cynthia good-humouredly interceded: "Leave the poor chap alone. After all, he's just arrived." "No problem," I responded, and John turned to the others with a final, "Ah! You see, mates, they still have a sense of humour in the Colonies!" and we all laughed again. After that, they just took me into their small family. Later, someone got up and said they were going to meditate. Within moments all were gone except Mal and me. I asked him if they were really as cool as they seemed. "Not always," he answered, "but pretty much."

Over the following days Mal and I became buddies. He had been with the Beatles from the beginning of their success. He was a big teddy bear of a man who had been a part-time bouncer at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when the Beatles played there. He was hired in 1963 by their manager, Brian Epstein, to be one of their 'roadies'. Now, he was a personal assistant to all four of them, taking care of their needs both in England and on the road, as he was doing in Rishikesh. He called them, "the boys."

I first became aware of the Beatles dancing to their early rock and roll songs, like Twist and Shout, Roll over Beethoven, and Please, Mr. Postman. By the time Can't Buy Me Love hit number one on the pop charts, in April 1964, I was a fan. Beatlemania was already exploding, worldwide, and they first toured Canada that year. On September 7 they came to Toronto. I was then twenty-one and will never forget the feeling of electricity crackling in the air as they sang twelve songs and eighteen thousand of us, packed to the rafters in Maple Leaf Gardens, yelled and screamed and set off so many flash bulbs that it seemed like fireworks popping all over the arena. It was a matinee performance, and after it was over we all made our way out of the Gardens into the late-afternoon summer sunlight, onto Carlton and Church streets. The police had blocked traffic from the area, and as the huge crowd of fans filled the deserted streets you could almost hear a pin drop. Electricity still tingled in the air. There was no jostling, yelling or calling to friends, just silence, parted by the odd hushed voice, everyone still transported by the magic of the Beatles.

On August 8, 1966, the Beatles released their album Revolver in North America. I remember it vividly. Word was that the album would sell out on that first day and I rushed to buy a copy. Back at my house, my girlfriend and I smoked a joint, stretched a long yellow extension cord out the front window into the warm sun and set up my hi-fi on a large multicolored Indian bedspread on the front lawn. I put the vinyl LP disc on the turntable and we lay down, cuddled up next to each other, my arm under her head, and closed our eyes. From the first note to the last I was transported. That day, the Beatles opened a door in my psyche. I can't think of any other way to say it. It was a key moment in my life, and the song that actually did this was Tomorrow Never Knows. Lying there on the grass, eyes closed, the sun on my face, gently stoned and super focused, the lyrics sank into me. I knew the Beatles were telling me of a journey I had not yet made, of an internal place that held great love and knowing.

The Beatles and their group ate at the table by the cliff, shaded by a flat thatched roof covered with vines and held up by white wooden poles. Breakfasts were cereal, toast, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinners were soup, plain basmati rice and bland but nutritious vegetarian dishes with almost no spices. Occasionally, I ate with them. Crows settled in the trees nearby and silver-gray, long-tailed langur monkeys gathered on the flat roof of the nearby kitchen, both waiting for an opportunity to grab a scrap of food someone might leave behind. Perhaps this is where John wrote Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey. Occasionally, a vulture circled lazily overhead, hanging in the updraft, pausing on its way back across the river to the non-vegetarian side of the Ganges, beyond Rishikesh-itself a designated vegetarian area. George and Pattie, Ringo and Mal all had cameras with them and, as we sat around the table by the cliff, they took snap shots of the group. It felt like we were all on a family picnic. The day after I met them, I asked each of John, Paul, George and Ringo, individually, if they minded my taking the odd snap shot. Nobody minded at all. I had my inexpensive Pentax camera with 50mm and 135mm lenses and although I had never been a photographer, I liked taking pictures.

People on the meditation course were off on their own, meditating ten to twelve hours a day, including Prudence Farrow. The Beatles spent their time meditating, resting, writing songs and attending the Maharishi's lectures, or having private, group sessions with him on the roof of his bungalow. My days were free to meditate, relax and hang out with the Beatles, their partners, Mal, Mia Farrow, Donovan and Mike Love, usually in small groups at the table by the cliff.

The next afternoon, Donovan, Mal, John, Paul, George, Cynthia, Jane, Pattie and her sister Jennie and I were sitting around chatting about meditation, agreeing that more than one voice would play in one's thoughts and the key was to simply go back to one's mantra. John said, "Not so easy, really. I often have music playing in me head." George seemed the most serious about meditation, followed by John. Paul seemed less serious, but he'd had several profound experiences, he said, enjoying the time he dropped away from busy, worldly thoughts. Ringo was the least interested. John did say, though, that there was a friendly competition amongst the four of them to see who was really getting the best results.

The ashram food was a major topic. It was good but bland. Someone said that the Maharishi didn't want any of our meditations interrupted by upset stomachs from hot Indian spices. Mal quickly cracked everyone up with "Well, Ringo definitely won't have that problem!" One of Mal's responsibilities was descending to town each morning to buy fresh eggs and cooking them for Ringo, to go with his baked beans. Ringo had arrived in India with two suitcases: One filled with clothes and the other with cans of baked beans. Mal later told me that Ringo, as a child, had been in and out of hospitals with stomach problems and now always watched his food carefully when he traveled. George and John, already vegetarians when they arrived at the ashram, said they had no problems, but Paul was missing meat.

As we sat together, John, Paul, Ringo and George exuded a truly down to earth decency and warm-heartedness, without any airs. As a couple, George and Pattie were self-contained and quiet. They seemed very much in love. Pattie's sister Jennie was young, about eighteen, always happy, and very beautiful-she was a model at the time. Ringo and Maureen had just had their second child together and seemed so comfortable, like an old married couple.

As I spent time with the Beatles, together or individually, Paul was the most overtly warm and friendly. Jane Asher was a lovely-hearted woman whose striking red hair framed a freckle-filled face of beauty and intelligence. Unlike the other Beatles and their partners, Jane and Paul were openly tactile and affectionate. John and Cynthia were different. They were both bright and friendly with me but distinctly distant and cool with each other.

It was getting towards evening, the sky turning a lovely pale pink, and across the Ganges the sounds of Rishikesh were fading into dusk. A flight of forty or fifty beautiful emerald-green parrots landed dramatically in a nearby tree and glimmered like jewels in the evening light. Gradually, people got up to leave our gathering spot near the cliff's edge until everyone had left, except John and me. He was quiet, even a bit sullen, and I got the sense he wasn't happy. I asked him how long he was staying.

"We're all taking the Maharishi's course for three months, including Mal, and who knows after that." He looked at me very warmly and smiled, "What about you?"

I told him about my trip, the heartbreak and how I felt about the miracle of meditation. That I'd probably hang around for just a few more days. He picked up a glass of water and, after almost finishing it, said that meditation had certainly been good for him, so far. After a moment he looked at me and gently added, "Yeah, love can be pretty tough on us sometimes, can't it?" We both sat quietly. It felt like a moment suspended in time. A lone hawk circled in the sky just above us and out over the river, so close we could see its talons. I looked at John and our eyes met. He smiled and said, almost mischievously, "But then, the good thing is, eventually, you always get another chance, don't you?" "For sure," I said. We were silent again, and after a while John said, "Off to write me music, then."

It was an important moment for me. John was reminding me to maintain perspective; in the words of Aldous Huxley, "maintaining fair witness". We got up and walked together to the bungalow where he was staying. I continued on to my tent. It wasn't until some months later that I read all about John and Yoko and realized that, that night, he had been talking not only about me, but also about himself.

The Inner Light

In the morning, as I finished meditating, Raghvendra came and said it was time for me to meet the Maharishi. I followed him out into the intense Indian sun and walked to the Maharishi's whitewashed bungalow. His house sat in a grove of trees at the edge of the cliff. We walked up the stone path, crossing the well-kept lawn between two small fountains, past flowerbeds filled with yellow and orange marigolds. Several steps led up to a wide porch where we left our sandals. We entered a small, bright meditation room, separate from his private quarters, in back. There was a low dais for the Maharishi and the floor was covered with white futons.

We sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the dais and waited. A few minutes later, voices approached from outside. The door swung open and, after removing their shoes and sandals, John, Paul, Ringo, George, Cynthia, Pattie, Maureen, and Jane all came in.

"Hi, Paul, how are you?" asked Ringo.

"Excellent," I said.

"That's what happens here," said George, smiling, as everyone sat cross-legged around us.

After a moment the Maharishi came in from his room and sat on the dais. He put his palms together and said, "Namaste." with a giggle of joy. We returned the greeting. After some general words of welcome, hoping we were all getting along well, he asked George about the small black tape recorder he'd brought with him. "Is it a new song, George, or shall I recite the Vedas?" the Maharishi giggled again. "A new song," George answered, "I just recorded it in Bombay last month."

George pressed the play button and began to sing along with his recorded voice and music, smiling shyly like a new father as his song, The Inner Light, filled the room. The Maharishi, rolling his prayer beads between his fingers, laughed approvingly.

The Maharishi never did notice me but I didn't mind at all. Sitting right beside George, listening to him sing, I felt blessed.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

A couple of days later, late in the afternoon, I heard guitars and the sound of Paul's and John's voices. They were sitting with Ringo among the potted plants on the steps of their bungalow. I got my camera and after taking a few pictures through the chain link fence, opened the gate and joined them. They were strumming their Martin D-28 acoustic guitars, singing fragments of songs, musically meandering through some of my favorites: Michelle, All You Need Is Love, Norwegian Wood, Eleanor Rigby and others.

Ringo was dressed in his favorite heavy, gold-brocade Nehru jacket and jeans, with his ever-present black bag over his shoulder and his silver 16mm camera case nearby. He was calm, quiet, almost motionless. Of the four Beatles, he appeared the most serene, the most grounded, the most at ease with who he was. Late in his life, John said, "People think Ringo was the least of the Beatles. Actually, he was the heart and soul of the group."

Having been photographed so often, and in the completely informal ashram setting, they paid no particular attention to the camera. Paul started strumming again and John joined in. Paul had a slip of paper sitting on the step beneath him and he started to sing the words that he had scribbled down. It was the refrain to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. They repeated it over and over again--working with it, playing with it--and when they paused for a moment Paul looked up at me with a twinkle in his eyes and said, "That's all there is so far. We don't have any of the words yet."

John chuckled with pleasure at his new folk-guitar picking technique he said Donovan had been teaching him. Some time later Ringo mentioned dinner was ready but as John got up, Paul started to sing and play Ob-La-Di again. John couldn't resist and fell in with him, playing and singing very upbeat. Then Ringo joined in, finger-snapping the rhythms. By then the sun had dropped behind the hills. A gentle aroma of evening jasmine drifted over the grounds, a peacock shrilled off in the woods, and after a while we all headed off to eat.

Dear Prudence


Walking toward Raghvendra's quarters, I met Prudence and Mia Farrow out for a stroll. We greeted each other. Prudence stopped. Then Mia.

"You're the fellow from the hotel in Delhi, aren't you? You came to our room." Prudence turned to her sister. "Mia, this is the guy who brought you that lovely, big yellow mum." Mia brightened. "That was so good of you." Mia took my hand for a moment and smiled. "That was such a horrible day. We'd just arrived from New York, exhausted from the long flight, and then that press thing happened. But your generosity made a difference." I said I was glad, and after a few more warm words we parted. Later that day, I learned that Mia and I had something in common, and that was the reason we'd both come to Rishikesh. We had each gone to hear the Maharishi lecture, she in Boston just a month beforehand, hoping to find a salve for the pain of heartbreak, searching for a new self-respect by going within, irrespective of the love of others.

It was Prudence who had actually introduced Mia to meditation. At the ashram, Prudence immersed herself in meditation for such long hours that she didn't come out for her meals, having a tray set outside her door. After a while she stayed in her room around the clock. She was either blissed-out or, as one of the Beatles later voiced, flipping out. Either way, it became a cause of great concern and George, followed by John and Paul, tried to get her to come out. Prudence wouldn't even answer the door. I would be gone by then, but eventually, after three weeks of Prudence's staying in her room, John and Paul took their guitars and serenaded her through her locked door and drawn curtains, singing a little ditty John wrote for the occasion. It worked. The drapes moved slightly and Prudence looked out. After a moment, a slight smile animated her face and eventually she emerged. The little ditty was Dear Prudence and it became part of the Beatles' next album--The Beatles--widely known as The White Album.

Within You, Without You

The next day, I sat with the Beatles overlooking the Ganges. After chai, everyone left except George and me. Sitting alone with him I felt shy, awkward. George was quiet and intense, but friendly. He was then just a few days away from his twenty-fifth birthday. I told him I loved Norwegian Wood and asked him how long he had played the sitar.

"A little over two years," he answered. "It was when we made Help. We were filming and there was a sitar around. I was curious and fooled around with it on the set. But, the first time I really listened to sitar music was off a Ravi Shankar album. Later, I met him in London and asked him to teach me. He agreed, but it wasn't until I came here with Pattie, to Bombay where Ravi lives, and studied with him that I really got deeply into it. And into India and all it has to offer, spiritually and otherwise."

A baby monkey dropped down onto the far end of our table from the thatched roof above, scampered four or five feet towards us, grabbed a crust of bread lying there and chattered off, noisily. We both laughed at its apparent pleasure. "I'm going to practice for a while. Would you like to come and have a listen?" George asked.

We walked over to his bungalow and into a small meditation room, about eight feet by ten feet, with only a white futon on the floor and his sitar. George sat cross-legged near the center of the room and I sat facing him a few feet away, my back resting against the wall. He gently nestled the large gourd at the base of the sitar against the sole of his left foot, as soft sunlight filtered through the slightly dusty windowpanes. Everything was glowing. I could smell the faint aroma of sandalwood incense from somewhere outside as George closed his eyes and began to play. As the multilayered music, like a kaleidoscope of exquisite colours, filled the small room my eyes closed and I drifted dreamily on the waves of sound. Time shifted. It seemed to slow down. He played an Indian raga for fifteen minutes, or maybe it was forty. As he finished, the musical reverberations slowly fading into silence, I felt a soft, delicious feeling of peace. When I opened my eyes, he was gently laying his sitar back down. The sunlight had shifted across the futons and there was an vibrant, soothing aura in the room.

In the relaxed conversation that followed, he told me that his wife Pattie had learned transcendental meditation first and then got him interested. The Beatles' interest in meditation and spirituality had begun several years before Rishikesh. George was influenced by the writings of the Indian scholar and sage Vivekananda and had been exploring the spiritual aspects of life for some time. As he found exciting books or passages, he would share them with John, Ringo, and Paul. As they delved into deeper spiritual questions they found drugs less capable of helping them find the inner answers they were looking for. Earlier, smoking marijuana and hashish, and taking LSD for fun and for exploring consciousness, had brought some positive results manifested in their songs. In time, though, drugs became somewhat of a dead end. I had experienced this as well.

On August 24, 1967, the Maharishi was giving an introductory lecture at the Hilton Hotel in London and Pattie and George took the other Beatles along to hear him speak. Afterward, they went backstage for a private meeting. They were drawn to his message and the Maharishi invited them to leave with him the next morning by train for a ten-day meditation retreat in Wales. But, after only one day at the retreat, they learned of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, and returned to London. When the Maharishi returned to the city they continued to study with him and he invited them to Rishikesh for the three-month intensive meditation course.

I asked him what meditation was like for him. He was quiet for awhile, and thoughtful: "Meditation and Maharishi have helped make the inner life rich for me. The meditation buzz is incredible. I get higher than I ever did with drugs. It's simple, the vibration is on the astral plane, and it's my way of connecting with God." He was silent for a moment, and with a profound modesty he added, "Like, we're the Beatles after all, aren't we? We have all the money you could ever dream of. We have all the fame you could ever wish for. But, isn't love. It isn't health. It isn't peace inside. Is it?" He gave me a dear, even loving smile. Neither of us spoke for several minutes.

Sometimes, it's only much later that we realize the impact another person has had on us. I've never forgotten his words. Only years later would I realize that, in that moment, George changed my life. He was one of my heroes and he was pointing the way, telling me where to 'find myself'. Not outside myself, in money or fame or anything else external, but within myself. He was also telling me that that's also why he and the other Beatles were there--to find something deeper within themselves. In time, I would come to understand that it's a universal journey: To know ourselves, to like ourselves, profoundly, to be self-realized, we must journey within. George and I sat quietly a while longer, and then we went out into the warm winter sun.

There will be more from Paul Saltzman's The Beatles In India, Deluxe Limited Edition box-set book, in the next edition of Beatles Today.

Paul Saltzman is a photographer, filmmaker and author of The Beatles In Rishikesh and The Beatles In India. The Beatles In India project is an opportunity for fans to come together in discussion and community, in acknowledgement of the Beatles in India experience. Through the sharing of our feelings and through the photographs and music, the Beatles in India experience comes alive in the hearts of everyone.




Wink

CLIC-CLIC !!! <== sans dec' ça vaut le coup !
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Sébastien



Inscrit le: 14 Nov 2002
Messages: 2281
Localisation: Abbey Road

MessagePosté le: Sam Oct 27, 2007 7:23 pm    Sujet du message: Répondre en citant

Merci Mathilde !

Tiens, pour compléter, voici une autre série tout en couleurs :

http://lucyintheweb.net/lucy/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2931

@+. Cool
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Joni Dalimood



Inscrit le: 17 Mai 2003
Messages: 2551

MessagePosté le: Sam Oct 27, 2007 8:41 pm    Sujet du message: Répondre en citant

jai guru deva om
il est temps de revenir aux sources
tonton a un guru hindou depuis
que les tles se sont separés
fallait bien que je fasse comme eux... Razz Cool Laughing Rolling Eyes Wink
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