owned by YogaWorks. White went on to
found the White Lotus Foundation in Santa
Barbara, and Swami Vishnudevananda’s
lineage was reestablished as the Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta Center, which is now located
in Marina Del Rey.
The watershed moment in the West’s
embrace of India’s spiritual heritage came
when the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh
Yogi, studied his Transcendental Meditation (TM) and, in early 1968, famously
retreated to the banks of the Ganges River.
Overnight, words like mantra, guru, and
ashram entered the collective vocabulary,
and it became acceptable, even fashionable,
to start the day in silent meditation. The
locus of that phenomenon was London,
but the sparks were lit years earlier in L.A.
when clean-cut citizens of Ozzie and Harriet’s America were drawn to the Maharishi.
When college students looking for ways
to expand their awareness without dangerous drugs turned to TM, the Students
International Meditation Society (SIMS)
was created at UCLA. By 1966, SIMS had
branches at several major campuses, and
after the Beatles’ media explosion its office
on Gayley Avenue became the administrative engine of a massive movement. One of
the UCLA meditators, Keith Wallace, wrote
his doctoral dissertation on the physiology
of TM, and his findings, published in 1970,
would jumpstart a research juggernaut that
moved meditation into the mainstream.
The chain reaction that led directly to the
Beatles began with an L.A. record producer
named Richard Bock. The head of World
Pacific Records, Bock started promoting
the music of Ravi Shankar soon after the
great sitarist’s first visit to the West in 1956.
He produced some of Shankar’s early al-
bums and connected him to L.A. based jazz
artists like flutist Paul Horn, who became
one of the first American TM teachers
and later recorded the seminal “Inside the
Taj Mahal” album. Bock also introduced
Shankar to John Coltrane, who infused his
music with Indian sounds and themes, and
to Alice Coltrane, who went on to become
a Swami with an ashram of her own in
the Malibu hills. It was also through Bock
that David Crosby, then a member of the
Byrds, first heard Shankar’s music. Crosby
shared his discovery with George Harrison
in 1965, at a Benedict Canyon party. The
rest is musical and spiritual history. While
studying sitar with Shankar in India, the
quiet Beatle’s spiritual longing found direc-
tion, and his path led to the historic Bea-
Philip Goldberg, is leading a workshop at Loyola
Marymount’s Yoga Studies program on October 15th.
Living in the Material World
By Vanessa Harris
As a Beatle, Harrison was responsible for
writing some of the group's most beloved and
timeless songs. But it was Harrison's spiritual
quest that led him to India, which inspired
a large part of his music and profoundly
influenced the introduction of classical Indian
music into his music.
This exhibit will not only highlight his work
with the Beatles, but also his highly successful
solo career. It will reveal the “quiet one” like
we have never seem him before.
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
will feature dozens of items from the private
collection of the Harrison Estate, including
handwritten lyrics, photographs shot by Har-
rison, personal journals and sketches, stage
outfits, and several guitars played by George
Harrison. Bringing together a collection of rare
artifacts, “Living in the Material World” pro-
vides an in-depth look at Harrison throughout
the years, while his guitar gently wept.
Living in the Material World will be on
display October 11, 2011 through February
12, 2012 at The GRAMMY Museum,
800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
(213) 765-6800. Grammymuseum.org