John Lennon Said Watching the Mystery Inside George Harrison Reveal Itself Was ‘so Damn Interesting’

John Lennon and George Harrison spent an unmeasurable amount of time together during their time with The Beatles. However, that doesn’t mean they knew everything about each other.

In the band’s early days, it was hard to tell which Beatle was who; they operated as one entity. Then, toward the mid-1960s, they started breaking out of the press’s stereotypes. George might have seemed quiet, but he was bursting with the desire to learn and find the meaning of life.

Before George began his spiritual journey, his bandmates didn’t honestly know him. He was an enigma. Once the mystery inside George started to emerge, it was fascinating.

John Lennon and George Harrison coming home from a Wales
George Harrison and John Lennon | Stephen Shakeshaft/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Ravi Shankar plugged the Beatle into spirituality

On the set of Help! in 1965, George was intrigued by the Indian music played in one scene. He bought a sitar after, and his friends told him to listen to legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar. In June 1965, George received his first sitar lesson from Shankar. His life changed.

“Nothing was giving me a buzz anymore,” George told CBS This Morning (per Joshua M. Greene’s Here Comes The Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison). 

George continued, “I just thought, well, I’m looking for something really, really beyond just the ordinary, the mundane… I wanted somebody to impress me. I didn’t expect it to be this little Indian man. But, you know, good things come in small packages.”

Indian music came with spirituality.

“Ravi embodied something new for the young musician, something that went far beyond fame and wealth,” Greene wrote. “Ravi was inviting George to examine life through a lens that revealed something extraordinary: that the talent behind his unprecedented success had a higher purpose.

“God is all around us but hidden. If George made the right sound, he could bring God out of hiding.”

After Shankar gave George some religious texts and the Beatle traveled to India to see the culture for himself, he dove head-first into his spiritual journey. Later, George said Shankar gave him a patch-chord that plugged him into God-consciousness.

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John Lennon said it was interesting watching the mystery of George Harrison come out

George’s bandmates saw his spiritual transformation. He started adding spiritual themes and Indian music to his songs. It became clear his new enlightenment wasn’t a passing phase.

After his first meeting with Shankar, George and his first wife, Pattie Boyd, traveled to India. “I believe much more in the religions of India than in anything I ever learned from Christianity,” George announced to a BBC correspondent who found out about his trip and asked for an interview.

“The difference over here is that their religion is every second and every minute of their lives—and it is them, how they act, how they conduct themselves, and how they think.”

In 1968, George invited his bandmates on a retreat to guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh. They all agreed. Maybe they’d learn more about the kind of spirituality George couldn’t stop talking about.

“George himself is no mystery,” Greene quoted John saying at the time. “But the mystery inside George is im- mense. It’s watching him uncover it all little by little that’s so damn interesting.”

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John liked meditating just as much as George

George’s commitment to spirituality impressed John.

“The way George is going,” John said with wonder (per Greene), “he’ll be flying a magic carpet by the time he’s forty.”

When The Beatles were in India, John followed George’s lead. They were the only two Beatles who took the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi seriously. John grew to love meditating thanks to George.

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