Here’s What ‘Jai Guru Deva Om’ Means in The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’

The Beatles included “Across the Universe” on Let It Be, with some themes of meditation present in their lyrics. “Jai Guru Dev” was even imprinted on a set of brass bracelets purchased by John Lennon.

The Beatles released their song ‘Across the Universe’

Rock and roll band 'The Beatles' perform in a still from their movie 'A Hard Day's Night,' Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon
Rock and roll band ‘The Beatles’ perform in a still from their movie ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Beatles are known for songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Hey Jude.” Comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, this band released the song “Across the Universe,” with some intentional lyrics referencing their meditation practices. 

Most members of this rock band practiced transcendental meditation, a form of silent mantra meditation led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. That influence bled into the Beatles’ music. “Across the Universe,” written by McCartney and Lennon, even features lyrics in Sanskrit. 

According to Song Facts, “Jai Guru Deva Om” means “I give thanks to Guru Dev”  — the teacher of The Maharishi. The “Om” at the end is the drawn-out “oooohm” which is primarily “used in meditation to relate to the natural vibration of the universe.” 

“While visiting the Maharishi in Rishikesh, John purchased a set of brass bracelets with the words ‘Jai Guru Dev’ imprinted on them,” the website continues. “The bracelets are now in the possession of Julian Lennon and were on display at the ‘White Feather-The Spirit Of John Lennon’ exhibit at the Beatles Story in Liverpool.”

‘Across the Universe’ is included in The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’

This song first appeared in the charity album for the World Wildlife Foundation, No One’s Gonna Change Our World. It was later added to the Beatles’ Let It Be, along with “Let It Be” and “Get Back.” In 2007, a romantic comedy of the same title was released starring Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood.

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

Even the lyrics of “Revolution” were somewhat inspired by the group’s meditation practices. According to MPR News, “it’s gonna be alright,” a phrase repeated in this song, was a learned phrase from a course in India.

Which Beatles songs are in other languages 

The Beatles sometimes sing in other languages, particularly for the original “Michelle,” which had French lyrics thanks to the wife of a friend of McCartney. The group created their cover of “Bésame Mucho” by Consuelo Velazquez.

Some lyrics of The Beatles’ “Sun King” are in Spanish, with the artists singing, “Cuando para mucho mi amore de felice corazón / Mundo paparazzi mi amore chicka ferdy parasol / Questo obrigado tanta mucho que can eat it carousel.”

Music by The Beatles is available on most major streaming platforms. 

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