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Word on George
by Kenneth Rowe
I’ve been reading with interest the many messages written over the passing of Sriman George Harrison. His life’s work touched the hearts and minds of so many, many people, as is evidenced by the outpouring of sentiment expressed on CHAKRA and the myriad of Vaisnava websites.
Unlike other contributors, I have always been reluctant to attribute my connection with Krishna Consciousness to George Harrison. Initially I came to Krsna through attraction to the Krsna Book in 1970. (Although Bhakta George’s foreword didn’t hurt matters as I, like so many other devotees back then, was an ardent Beatles fan.) Ultimately, I was taken in by "My Sweet Lord" and many others of his spiritually tinged songs. My reluctance to admit this stems from a concern that I be criticized for practicing Krishna Consciousness simply because I was a George Harrison fan. After all, if that were truly accurate, it would appear to be an immature and transparent means to get closer to, or become more like, one’s teenage idol. And what an incredibly shallow basis by which to adopt a spiritual philosophy!
Not a great start to higher thinking, but hey, it’s a start.
As it happened, over time my interest in improving sadhana eclipsed my interest in Harrison, yet I continued to admire him enormously. I am certain this is true for others. By no means am I suggesting that others, simply because they have admitted being influenced by Harrison in the past, are now engaging in insincere bhakti due to this connection. Nor do I aim to negate or diminish the importance of Harrison’s contributions to furthering Krishna Consciousness. I do not wish to commit offenses to anyone.
There is a realization within my admission that I find worth sharing. That is, while legions of popular music fans may have taken to bhakti-yoga thanks to Beatle George, he took to it on his own – with no mentor or influence other than that of Srila Prabhupada! No pop culture icon led the way for George the way he did for us.
Think about it! It puts Bhakta George in the same ranks with Srila Prabhupada’s seniormost disciples – all of whom graced the way for the rest of us. The only difference between those other first disciples and George Prabhu is that he risked immeasurable international fame, fortune, and reputation to follow his heart’s desire. Krishna and His infinite mercy took care of the balance.
And for that, many of us owe a great deal. I give thanks to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, for lending us Sriman George Harrison and allowing George to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada, such that the world could really get to see and know Them All.
Vartmana Pradarshaka Guru George Harrison ki jaya!
© CHAKRA 30 December 2001
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