George Harrison Felt The Beatles’ Manager Brian Epstein Wanted to Be Spiritual

George Harrison felt that The Beatles‘ manager, Brian Epstein, wanted to be spiritual. The quiet Beatle had recently become “God-conscious” after LSD opened his mind, and Ravi Shankar filled the void with Indian music and Eastern religion. Maybe, to be closer with his band, Epstein was willing to follow them into spirituality.

However, Epstein wasn’t able to acquire his spiritual awakening. His untimely death came while his band was with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, on a retreat in Wales in 1967.

The Beatles with their manager, Brian Epstein at the premiere of 'A Hard Day's Night' in 1964.
The Beatles and George Harrison with their manager, Brian Epstein | John Rodgers/Redferns

The Beatles never did anything without asking their manager

After his lecture in London, Maharishi invited The Beatles on a 10-day course in North Wales, where they could learn Transcendental Meditation. The band agreed but had to ask Epstein first.

The Beatles never did anything without their manager’s permission. George had to ask Epstein if he could marry his first wife, Pattie Boyd.

In Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison, Joshua M. Greene wrote, “The group accepted his invitation and placed a call to Brian Epstein, hoping he would also come along. For five years the boys had never gone anywhere without their manager or someone appointed by him to look out for them.

“‘It’s like going somewhere without your trousers on,’ John [Lennon] said. Epstein declined, suggesting he might drive up toward the end of the retreat.”

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George Harrison felt The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, wanted to be spiritual

According to Greene, George talked with Epstein about India before The Beatles left for Wales. George got the sense that Epstein wanted to be spiritual.

Greene wrote, “It was their first and only serious discussion about spiritual interests. ‘I felt with Brian that he was interested in India and in what I was thinking and feeling,’ George said. ‘Maybe he would have liked to meet the Maharishi, but unfortunately it didn’t work out like that.’ George’s reflections were tinged with regret, as though admitting that he had failed to help someone he loved.”

On the first day of the retreat, news spread that Epstein died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

“George felt the irony of their friend and manager dying while they were on a retreat to explore life’s meaning,” Greene wrote.

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George went to the Maharishi and asked what they should do about Epstein

Classes stopped after news of Epstein’s death circulated. George did the only thing he could; he went to Maharishi and asked what they should do about Epstein. The guru warned that his soul would be trapped on Earth if the band didn’t let their manager go.

“You are a powerful force, he told them,” Greene wrote. “If you hold on to Brian it will stop his soul from going to its next evolution. ‘You know you have to grieve for him and love him. Now you send him on his way.’

“All Brian had ever wanted for George was his success and happiness. Brian did well for himself, too, and if he owned a Bentley, a Rolls, an Austin Mini, and enough fine clothes to be selected as one of England’s ten best-dressed men, he had earned that privilege.

“When the Beatles had been honored as MBEs, Members of the British Empire, George liked to say that MBE stood for Mr. Brian Epstein. But when the Beatles retired from live performances to work exclusively on studio recordings, Brian’s involvement in their lives dwindled.”

The Beatles were heading in a spiritual direction. Since Epstein didn’t want to lose them further, maybe he’d decided to follow them.

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