Aug 18, 2018

Letter on Beatles, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi connection to be auctioned in UK

Press Trust of India
Business Standard
August 17 2018

A letter from ex-Beatle musician John Lennon's aunt to a fan questioning the famous 1960s band's trip to India to spend time at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh is among a series of memorabilia to be auctioned in Liverpool next week.

Lennon's aunt, Mimi Smith, who brought up Lennon and remained close to him until his death in 1980, expressed her doubts about the Maharishi long before the Beatle himself was to question his methods of transcendental meditation in the song 'Sexy Sadie'.

I don't understand why they need an Indian, or India to meditate. That can be done here without any fuss. The basic teachings of their church will give them all they seem to be looking for, Smith wrote on September 7, 1967, to a fan she regularly corresponded Eileen Read.

The Beatles had been lured by the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and had joined him at a conference in Bangor, north Wales, in August 1967, along with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. After listening to a lecture on the form of silent mantra meditation, the Beatles held a press conference in which they renounced the use of drugs.

It came in the wake of the death of the group's 32-year-old manager, Brian Epstein, who was found in his London home after overdosing on sleeping pills.

Smith adds in her letter, "The boys have not 'given up drugs' simply because they have never been drug takers. They tried LSD because there was so much talk about it. They, at least John, will not do so again. I'm sure they have decided against any form of stimulant".

The Beatles travelled to India in February 1968 in search of a kind of spiritual reawakening through meditation but became disenchanted following allegations of sexual misconduct against the Maharishi.

Lennon's aunt's letter, which has an estimated guide price between 500-600 pounds, is set to go under the hammer at the Unity Theatre in Liverpool next Saturday.

The other lots in the 'Liverpool Beatles Auction' include handwritten notes by Lennon and wife Yoko Ono, with estimated guide prices of up to 2,000 pounds and a rare signed Beatles Scottish tour programme, expected to fetch up to 4,500 pounds.

No comments: