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How a Mind-Bending Trip to India Changed The Beatles Forever

The year was 1968, and The Beatles found themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. Having just released their eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a year prior, the Fab Four needed a different type of inspiration.

When George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, introduced the band to Transcendental Meditation, a ripple was created that would affect young people all around the world. Not only did The Beatles help bring Eastern meditation to the West, but this experience also helped the band create some of their best music to date.

From a Lord of the Rings movie pitch to stories behind their White Album, here’s the real story about The Beatles’ infamous trip to India.

A Ripple Effect

It all started on a cold February morning in 1967. George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, sat at a table with one of her girlfriends discussing how she yearned for something more spiritual in her life. Pattie and George had just spent six weeks in India following The Beatles’ final concert tour in America. It was during this trip that Pattie fell in love with the Eastern way of living.

But now that she was back in England, she felt disconnected from herself and those around her. During this conversation, the two friends noticed an advertisement for Transcendental Meditation (TM) classes, a relatively new silent meditation technique. And with that, the legendary party girl ripped out the newspaper ad.

Where It All Began

Later that spring, Pattie began attending TM classes in London. She immediately fell in love with the silent meditation technique, and, like many people who have positive results with TM, Pattie wanted to share her experience with the people she loved. So when she heard that TM guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was going to be speaking at the Hilton Hotel in London later that summer, she knew that she had to convince George to come with her.

In the end, all four members of the group joined her. This was at a time when The Beatles began questioning their reality. They needed something to ground them and a daily mantra meditation practice seemed like the perfect idea.

Finding New Inspiration

By now, The Beatles had already separated themselves from the mop-top look and sound that had skyrocketed the band to stardom. May 1967 of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a defining moment in ‘60s pop culture. Not only did the album later win four Grammy awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, it was also the face of the counterculture at the time.


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