The Beatles

A transcript from the "The Beatles Anthology," about their time with Maharishi.

Many of the comments from Paul, George, and Ringo were recorded recently for the documentary. John's voice-over contributions from earlier interviews were not dated. Material in square brackets describes the video portion when the Beatles are speaking voice-over, or is a comment. Enjoy!

[black and white film of the Himalayas and Rishikesh]
JOHN: I was influenced by acid and got psychedelic, you know, like the whole generation. But really, I like rock and roll, you know.

RINGO: Just one of those things that happened, you know, as life went on.
PAUL: We'd been into drugs, and we were -- there's the next step, then, is -- then you've got to try and find a meaning, then.
GEORGE: That's where I really went for the meditation.

[On-the-street interview with Maharishi, who holds an armful of flowers]
REPORTER: The Beatles seem to be among your supporters now. How do you feel about that?
MAHARISHI: I feel a great promise for the younger generation, because if the Beatles take up this Transcendental Meditation, they are the ideal of energy and intelligence in the younger generation, and that will really bring up the youth on a very good level of understanding and intelligence. I'm very happy about it, that they heard my lecture last evening, and they talked to me for about an hour after the lecture. They seem to me very intelligent and alert.

[on camera]
GEORGE: And after the lecture, we went-- because, you know, that was one of the privileges of the Beatles, we could get in anywhere. So we got backstage, met Maharishi, and, you know, I said to him, ``Got any mantras? Give us a mantra.'' And he said, ``Well, we're going to Bangor tomorrow. You should come and get initiated.''

[black and white newsfilm of Maharishi and the Beatles at Bangor, August 25, 1967]
PAUL: Yes, we got up there. There was a big crowd up there at the train station, there was a crowd to meet us. And we all sort of wandered through in our psychedelic gear and spent, like, a sort of-- it was like a summer camp. And you spend all your first few days just trying to stop your mind dealing with your social calendar, you know, whatever's coming up. But it was good. I eventually got the hang of it, we all got the hang of it.

[newsfilm of interview]
JOHN: You know, you just sort of sit there, and you let your mind go, wherever it's going. Doesn't matter what you're thinking about, just let your mind go. And then you just introduce the mantra, or the vibration, just to take over from the thought. You don't will it or use your willpower.
GEORGE: If you find yourself thinking, then the moment you realize you've been thinking about things again, then you replace that thought with the mantra again.

[newsfilm of Beatles and Maharishi at Bangor]
RINGO: I was really impressed with the Maharishi, and was impressed because he was laughing all the time. He was just having a ball. You know, it was another point of view. It was the first time we're getting into sort of Eastern philosophies now.

[shot of newspaper headline about Brian Epstein's death]
[newsfilm of interview, August 27, 1967]
JOHN: I don't know what to say, you know. We've only just heard, and it's hard to think of things to say. But he was just a beautiful fellow, you know. And it's terrible.
REPORTER: What are your plans now?
JOHN: Well, we haven't made any, you know. I mean, it's only just-- we only just heard, isn't it?
RINGO: Yes, it's-- you know, it's as much news to us as it is to everybody else.

[on camera]
GEORGE: I seem to recall it was a phone call, that somebody came to us in this place in Bangor and said -- I don't know who took it, I think it might have been John took the call. And it was, just-- you know, blood drained from the face, you know, saying, ``Brian's dead.'' And there was very little we knew other than that he'd been found dead.

[newsfilm of same interview]
GEORGE: I spoke to him Wednesday evening, the evening before we first saw Maharishi's lecture, and he was in great spirits.
REPORTER: I understand that this afternoon Maharishi conferred with you all. Could I ask you what he-- what advice he offered you?
JOHN: He told us not to get overwhelmed by grief, and to -- whatever thoughts we have of Brian, to keep them happy, because any thoughts we have of him will travel to him wherever he is.

[Later in the same programme the Beatles go to India to be with Maharishi.]

[black and white newsfilm of Rishikesh]
NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: Far from the noise and pace of city life, in the cool, clear air of Rishikesh, North India, Pathe News reports from the meditation retreat of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who, through Transcendental Meditation, is currently bringing peace of mind to the Beatles.

[color home movies of Rishikesh]
GEORGE: Rishikesh is an incredible place. It's, like, 99 percent of the population of Rishikesh are all renunciates. And it's right in the foothills of the Himalayas. It's where the Ganges flows out of the Himalayas into the plains of Kurukshetra, it's called, the plains between Delhi and the Himalayas.
RINGO: I mean, we were really away from everything. It was like a sort of recluse holiday camp, you know, right at the foot of the Himalayas. It was like being up a mountain, even though they call it the foothills, hanging over the Ganges.

[color homes movies of the Beatles with Maharishi at Rishikesh]
[voice-over] JOHN [singing "Across the Universe"]:
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.
They sit awhile before they slip away across the universe.
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind,
Possessing and caressing me across the universe.

Jai Guru Deva.
Nothing's going to change my world,
Nothing's going to change my world.
Nothing's going to change my world,
Nothing's going to change my world.

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and off across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox.
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.

Jai Guru Deva.
Nothing's going to change my world,
Nothing's going to change my world.
Nothing's going to change my world,
Nothing's going to change my world.

[more home movies of Rishikesh]
RINGO: Oh, it was pretty exciting, you know. We were in this really spiritual place, and we were meditating a lot, having seminars by Maharishi. [wistfully] It was pretty far out.
PAUL: It was very much like a kind of summer camp. You would get up in the morning, you would go down to a little communal breakfast. Food was veggie, which is kind of good for me now, but thinking back on it, it was -- I was still meat-eating then, so it was all right, there were sort of curries and stuff, you know.
RINGO: The food was impossible for me because, you know, I'm allergic to so many different things that I took two suitcases with me, one of clothes and one of Heinz beans. There's a plug for you.

JOHN: [voice-over] And we sat in the mountains eating lousy vegetarian food and writing all those songs, you know. We wrote tons of songs in India.

[Paul, George, and Ringo sit together on a blanket in the grass; George is strumming a ukelele.]
PAUL: No, it was good, it was very nice stuff.
RINGO: But Paul, did you write a lot of songs there?
PAUL: I wrote a couple, [unintelligible], ``I Will.''
RINGO: ``I Will.''
PAUL: ``I Will,'' you know, [humming], that one. And ``Obla-di, Obla-da.'' Surprising things to write out there. I remember -- you remember going down to -- [humming to George playing "I Will" on the ukelele] Remember going down to a film show in the village?
RINGO: Did you write anything, George?
PAUL: Obviously not.
RINGO: Did you write anything when you were [unintelligible]?
GEORGE: I wrote ``[unintelligible],'' I wrote a number of songs --
PAUL: Did you?
GEORGE: -- which I've never recorded to this day. I wrote one called ``Derradoon.''
RINGO: Why don't you play it for us?
GEORGE: Ah, I don't know if I know it. [singing] Derra-derra doon, derra doon doon, derra derra doon--
PAUL: Oh, I remember that.
GEORGE: [singing] -- derra doon doon --
PAUL and GEORGE: [singing] -- derra doon doon, derra derra doon, derra doon doon.
GEORGE: [singing] Many roads can take you there, many different ways. One direction takes you years, another one takes you days.
PAUL: Something like that, I don't remember.

[on camera by himself]
GEORGE: There was a lot of things that was actually stuff the Maharishi had said, like that song, ``Come On, Come On,'' you know, ``Come on, it's such a joy,'' whatever that song -- ``Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.'' Well, apart from the bit about the monkey, that was just what Maharishi used to always say, you know.

[Home movies of Rishikesh, helicopter landing on banks of the Ganges, Maharishi getting in]
THE BEATLES [voice-over, singing "Come On"]:
Come on, come on, come on, come on.
Come on and take your joy, come on and take your joy.
Come on and take it easy, come on and take it easy.
Take it easy, take it easy!
Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

PAUL: Somehow, [unintelligible] the helicopter came. It landed down by the Ganges. This was on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.
[on camera] And it was, like, one of this-- ``One of you can go up for a quick ride with Maharishi. Who's going to --'' [waving hand in the air] ``Me, sir, me, sir. Sir, sir!'' And, of course, it was John. John always would -- he was good at that, you know. So it got to be him, anyway. And I was saying, `Why -- [unintelligible], why were you so keen, like, to get up with Maharishi?'' He said, ``Tell you the truth,'' he said, ``I thought he might slip me The Answer.'' [laughing] It was very John.

[Maharishi takes off in the helicopter]
THE BEATLES [voice-over, singing]:
Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

[on camera]
PAUL: You know, I gave myself a set period, and then if it was going to be something we really had to go back [to England] for, I was thinking of going back, you know. But at the end of my month, I was quite happy, and I thought, This'll do me, this is fine. If I want to get into it heavy, I can do it anywhere. That's one of the nice things about it. It's, like, you don't have to go to church to do it, do it in your own room.
GEORGE: I didn't come back with the others anyway. I don't recall, I think Ringo probably came back quickly. He just went for a couple of weeks, just like-- just to put his toe in the water and see what it was like, maybe.

[news interview]
JOHN: We were there four months, or George and I were. We lost 13 pounds, and we looked a day older.
REPORTER: Did you -- do you think this man's on the level?
JOHN: I don't know what level he's on --
PAUL or GEORGE: He's on the level.
JOHN: -- but we had a nice holiday in India and came back rested to play businessman.

Transcripted material copyright 1995 by American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

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