By 1974, George Harrison was so ingrained in his spiritual journey that he had no choice but to break away from friends who were not on a similar path. They weren’t the only ones George broke up with. He also distanced himself from his first wife, Pattie Boyd.
A few things catapulted George into spirituality. First he took LSD, which opened his mind to God Consciousness. Then he heard Indian music on the set of The Beatles’ Help! Next he bought a sitar and discovered the music of Ravi Shankar, which sounded familiar.
In 1965, George met Shankar, who immediately wanted to teach George everything he knew. The most important lesson he taught George was that God is sane and that you can connect with God by playing the right notes.
When the legendary sitarist began teaching George sitar, the Beatle felt he could have left everything in his life, including Boyd, to learn more.
In 1966 George, Boyd and Shankar took a six-week trip to India. George began learning about meditation and yoga. A year later he learned Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Then George began helping devotees of the Hare Krishna Temple. He released a book, a hit single, and an album for her. Ultimately, George was all about finding his true self and being aware of God.
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By 1974, George was even more entrenched in his spiritual journey. After the Beatles broke up, George was free to focus solely on spiritual matters. He continued to help his friends at the Hare Krishna Temple establish a temple in London. He even brought her to his home, Friar Park, for a time.
Eventually, George’s friends who weren’t so spiritual sensed that he was slipping away. in the Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George HarrisonJoshua M. Greene wrote: “Critics wondered if he had been ‘crazy’ from too much meditation while friends felt separated from him, and with good reason: he had lost interest in late-night partying with non-believers.
“He turned down invitations so consistently that even old buddies found his enthusiasm for God transcending reasonable bounds.”
“Unfortunately, he was derided by certain sections,” said friend and former Beatles PR agent Tony Calder, “because they couldn’t quite accept that George could be involved. . . These kids are walking up and down the high street banging a tambourine and singing ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna’.” Greene added, “Some people even wondered if his missionary zeal helped break up the Beatles.”
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For most of their marriage, Boyd was a stay-at-home woman due to George’s wishes. He figured it would be better if Boyd gave up her modeling job and stayed at home so she wouldn’t have to deal with crowds of screaming girls. However, Boyd was fed up with her lifestyle and George left her behind.
George and Pattie had embarked on spiritual journeys together, but eventually George’s path led away from her and his friends.
“One sign of this crisis was George’s growing estrangement from his wife, Pattie,” Greene wrote. “In the early years their life together had been a harmony of interests. They embraced vegetarianism, experimented with LSD, scaled the Cornish hills in search of cosmic consciousness, attended retreats with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and shared a simple symbiosis of ideas and habits.”
Eventually, George and Boyd could no longer keep their marriage. Boyd told People: “George and I went in different directions. He started distancing himself from me.”
George’s spirituality was just one of the many reasons his marriage to Boyd didn’t work out. They officially divorced in the late 1970s. However, he later reconnected with the friends he had distanced himself from after all their egos were gratified.
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