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By 1974, George Harrison was so entrenched in his spiritual journey that he had no choice but to detach himself from friends who weren’t on a similar path. They weren’t the only ones that George separated himself from. He also distanced himself from his first wife, Pattie Boyd.

George Harrison and Ravi Shankar in London, 1974.
George Harrison and Ravi Shankar | Les Lee/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

George Harrison engrossed himself in his spiritual journey

A few things catapulted George into spirituality. First, he took LSD, which opened his mind up to God-consciousness. Then, he heard Indian music on the set of The Beatles’ Help! Next, he bought a sitar and discovered Ravi Shankar’s music, which he felt sounded familiar.

In 1965, George met Shankar, who immediately wanted to teach George everything he knew. The most important lesson he taught George was that God is sound and that by playing the right notes, one can connect to God.

Once the legendary sitarist began teaching George sitar, the Beatle felt he could’ve left everything in his life behind, including Boyd, to learn more.

In 1966, George, Boyd, and Shankar took a six-week trip to India. George began learning about meditating and yoga. A year later, he learned Transcendental Meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Then, George started helping devotees of the Hare Krishna Temple. He published a book, a hit single, and an album for them. Eventually, all George cared about was finding his true self and being God-conscious.

George detached himself from his friends who weren’t as spiritual as him

By 1974, George was even more entrenched in his spiritual journey. Once The Beatles split, George could solely focus on spiritual matters. He continued helping his friends at the Hare Krishna Temple establish a temple in London. He even brought them to live with him at his home, Friar Park, for a time.

Eventually, George’s friends, who weren’t as spiritual, felt him slipping away. In Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote, “Critics wondered if he had ‘gone crackers’ from too much meditation while friends felt disconnected from him, and with good reason: he had lost interest in all-night parties with nonbelievers.

“He declined invitations so consistently that even old chums viewed his enthusiasm for God as wandering beyond reasonable boundaries.”

“Unfortunately he was derided by certain sections,” said friend and former Beatles PR agent Tony Calder, “because they couldn’t quite accept that George could be involved with . . . these kids walking up and down High Street banging a tambourine and singing ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.'” Greene added, “Some people even wondered if his missionary zeal had contributed to the breakup of the Beatles.”


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The former Beatle left his wife behind too

For most of their marriage, Boyd was a stay-at-home wife due to George’s wishes. He thought it’d be better if Boyd quit her job as a model and stayed home so she wouldn’t have to deal with crowds of screaming girls. However, Boyd grew sick of her lifestyle and George leaving her behind.

George and Pattie had embarked on spiritual journeys together, but eventually, George’s path diverged away from her and his friends.

“One sign of that crisis was George’s growing estrangement from his wife, Pattie,” Greene wrote. “For the first few years, their life together had been a harmony of interests. They embraced vegetarianism, experimented with LSD, climbed the hills of Cornwall looking for cosmic consciousness, attended retreats with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and shared an easy symbiosis of ideas and habits.”

Eventually, George and Boyd couldn’t hold on to their marriage anymore. Boyd told People, “George and I were going in different directions. He was starting to distance himself from me.”

George’s spirituality was only one of the many reasons his marriage to Boyd didn’t work. They officially divorced in the late 1970s. However, he reacquainted himself with the friends he’d distanced himself from later on after all their egos were satisfied.