Chapter Five - One Sunny Day the World was Waiting for a Lover

Chapter Five - One Sunny Day the World was Waiting for a Lover

A Chapter by Nick Anthony
"

Maharishi has a special request for John

"
The heat in the bedroom was becoming uncomfortable. When the Beatles and their entourage had arrived in February the weather had been pleasantly warm, especially when compared to the harsh British winter they'd left behind. Now it was spring and the temperatures in Rishikesh had sored. Many of the students were, like Prudence beginning their meditation practice at dawn to avoid the worst of the heat. The Maharishi was also suffering and unknown to John at this time, was planning to move the whole course to Kashmir and cooler weather until it was completed.

The late morning was usually set aside for meditation but this change in the weather was distracting for John. He was also loathe to meditate alone following the intensity of his experience with Prudence. She had promised to return, John hoped she would, meditating with her had been revelatory.

With the door to his room and the windows propped open John tried to get the benefit of some air circulating. Laying on the bed smoking he flicked idly through the pile of letters and telegrams he'd received. Then he remembered the telegram from Yoko. That whole business with Prudence last night and then Cynthia this morning had caused him to forget about Yoko. John sat up straight, almost apologetically giving her words the attention he believed they deserved (as if Yoko would be able to tell that he'd been neglecting her).

However, disconnected from the day to day life at the Ashram, Yoko had resorted to sending her usual event scores. John had already subscribed to her "Dance Event" and been deluged with cards on which were printed simple directions such as"Breathe" or "Watch All the Lights Until Dawn." John's reaction to these was visceral. By turns excited by her intellect and then annoyed by how pretentious it all sounded, the rewards followed by disappointments fed his addictive nature like a narcotic. Today her simple message made his hackles rise, "Smile in the Mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life." There was nothing in her words that satisfied the new found hunger he had. In just a few hours he'd been intimate in different ways with both Prudence and his wife and he'd been left frustrated by both encounters. Now Yoko added to his lack of fulfilment.

Angrily, John tossed aside the telegram, stubbed out his cigarette and in the absence of anything better to do, dozed fitfully in the rising humidity.

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Maharishi was giving a lecture that afternoon and John dutifully attended as usual, sitting in a group with Alexis and George, cross legged on the concrete floor. Pattie and Cynthia sat behind them, still in a secondary position even in this new spiritual realm.

The hall itself was a cavernous structure with a high pitched roof supported by exposed metal frame work. Maharishi gave his lecture surrounded by his most loyal followers seated on a throne-like couch in the centre of a raised stage area at one end of the room. The high ceiling and overall size of the Lecture Hall made for a more comfortable atmosphere than the humid gardens outside.

Maharishi made a point at the end of the lecture of calling John and Cynthia to join him on the podium. Grinning and giggling as was his manner, he announced to the group that today was the Birthday of John and Cynthia's son Julian. He summoned one of his higher ranking followers to bring over the gift that he had especially ordered for them. To their great delight, Maharishi presented them both with an Indian Prince's costume to take home for their son. John blushed, partly overwhelmed by the gift but also embarrassed that even Maharishi had remembered his young sons birthday when he had failed to do so himself.

Maharishi led the audience through a ramshackle version of Happy Birthday as he had done for George and Pattie who also celebrated birthday's while here. There was applause and Cynthia took the tiny outfit with her as she left the stage. As John gave his thanks to Maharishi the guru whispered that he would like to speak with him privately, after.

When the chattering group of students finally cleared the hall Maharishi beckoned John to sit beside him as two or more of his followers fussed around him, plumping his cushions and thinning out the dying flowers from the display that surrounded them both. With a dismissive gesture, flicking his fingers out rapidly from his raised hand, Maharishi ushered them away. John for his part thought this might be an important moment for him. After a helicopter flight and private audience with the guru that John had managed force himself onto, John had joked to Paul that he felt sure the Maharishi might "Slip him the answer." John, of course was only half joking, if there was a short cut to spiritual enlightenment John hoped to find it. Maybe now would be the moment.

Maharishi smiled at John all twinkling eyes and took John's hands in his. John was the first to speak, the frustrations of his day boiling over in the afternoon heat. "I think I experienced the Maharishi effect" he blurted at the giggling guru. "You Meditated in a group?" asked the Yogi feigning curiosity. "No," said John "just two of us, but something happened." Maharishi didn't look for further explanation, he simply patted the back of John's hands as he returned them to his lap and gave his affirmation. "That is such a joy" he said hoping to change the subject. John felt anxious to explain more "I've felt a change, but I don't think it's a good change." Maharishi giggled again "Don't worry," he tried to reassure John "practice every day and things will improve." The blandness of this statement reminded John of Yoko's telegram, empty words, no direction and John felt as irritated now as he had earlier.

Having thoughtlessly brushed aside John's concerns, Maharishi steered the conversation round to his real motive for this meeting. "You know John, the Beatles are the representives of culture and intelligence in today's youth." John had heard this speech many times before but it didn't hurt to be reminded of the impact his little pop group had had on the world. Maharishi continued "It is my belief that the Beatles will become ambassadors for the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and that their income will greatly help the movement become a worldwide force for peace and spiritual well-being."

Maharishi paused to allow the meaning of his statement to penetrate. John, however was in no mood to talk business with Maharishi. Of course John understood that the course he was studying didn't come for free, but he felt suddenly uneasy at the idea of paying for a whole movement. His fellow Beatles still regarded the little eastern mystic as being naive about western culture and its protocols. Paul and George had to take a flight to Sweden the previous year to meet the guru and instruct him to stop using their name to promote himself. They all still attributed this to his innocence. Perhaps the begging letter from Mr. Bulla that morning had made John more sensitive, more wary, but for the first time John began to feel that he was being manipulated and his heart sank.

"What do you mean by income?" John asked. The Maharishi giggled again "The Beatles are great wealth creators, I don't need to tell you that. The Spiritual Regeneration Movement would be able to grow into a worldwide apparatus for change with only a percentage of your income." John nodded "You mean like tithe, like 10 per cent?" Maharishi smiled "Yes, exactly like tithe but I think if the Beatles donated 25 per cent of their income to the Foundation it would help us to grow very quickly."

John was speechless for a second, he didn't pay that much attention to business but he was sure that while their manager, Brian had been alive they hadn't paid him anything like 25 per cent. When you considered how many people were taking money from the band's earnings, from the record company, to their publisher, from promoters, to the concession stands and finally the taxman taking 95 per cent of everything they earned, it was small wonder that the band were now considering handling their own affairs. Paul was already planning the launch of the new company called "Apple" which would act as a record label and a benevolent business for financing the creative arts. One thing John was certain of was that there wasn't anything in their plans to give 25 percent of their earnings to the Transcendental Meditation movement.

John was tactful, which was far from his nature. He didn't want to offend Maharishi, despite a growing realisation that this spiritual leader was a lot more worldly than he'd believed him to be. "I'm sorry" he said as politely but directly as he could "that's never going to happen. I can't commit the whole group to giving you their money without their say so and I know they won't agree to that." Before Maharishi could say anymore, John rose to his feet saying "Thank you again for the beautiful gift for Julian" and with a "Jai Guru Dev" and a "Nameste" he bid the guru goodbye.

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That evening relaxing on the roof of George's bungalow, passing around a joint from the fresh stash that Alexis had thoughtfully brought with him, John recounted his conversation with Maharishi. In between noodling phrases on his acoustic George was still firmly on the side of the mystic. "He's not really a business guy, that's all. I don't think he even understands how big a figure that would be." Alexis laying on his back staring up at the sunset took a distinctly opposing view. "I've been hearing rumours around the camp since I've been here" he said with a kind of 'I told you so' tone to his voice. John picked up his guitar and cradled it on his lap as Alex sat up to make his point, leaning back on his arms. "I've heard Maharishi takes an accountant with him to all his meetings. He's more of this world than he makes out, that's what I've heard."
"So what if he does?" replied George abruptly "That just proves he doesn't understand about money."
"That's not all I've heard" said Alex provocatively. "Have you seen how he is with the girls."
"What's that supposed to mean?" said George growing more annoyed.
"I heard he has been seeing some of the girls for private audiences" Alex winked as he said the last word to emphasise an implied sinister motive.
"You're being very negative." George passed the joint to Alex to signal both the end of the conversation and his desire that the self proclaimed genius get high and chill out with them.

John began strumming the hammered on rhythm of "Revolution" as his companions put their disagreement aside for now. A new phrase inspired by the days events took shape as he played through the song's structure. "You ask me for a contribution. Well, you know. We're all doing what we can" returning to the opening phrase of first verse he filled in the empty space "You say you want a revolution…" coming to the F# of the bridge section words tumbled out as John linked the sentiments of these two lines. "If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is you're gonna have to wait." Pleased with these lines he ploughed straight into the chorus, at this point realising that the key was too low to have the impact that he wanted. "Has anyone got a Capo?" he asked even though he knew that only George was likely to have one. George shook his head, there was a kind of stigma attached to being seen to use such a device to change keys on a guitar and there was also the inherent tuning problems they caused. So, whilst most guitarists had a capo in their cases, very few would use one unless absolutely neccesary. John was far more aware of his limitations and therefore less self conscious about using what ever he could to sound different.

Alexis was despatched, by John, down to John's room for the unenviable task of searching through the detritus of his possessions for the missing device. To kill time John busked his way through a medley of Buddy Holly songs. He was reminded that the now long dead singer had Capo'd his guitar on songs such as "That'll Be the Day" and "Think it Over" to get the distinctive chiming guitar sound that so enthralled the teenaged pre-Beatles. With George strumming along John moved seamlessly from one classic to another, "Peggy Sue Got Married" merged into "Peggy Sue" then into "Mailman Give Me No More Blues" followed by "Heartbeat" and so on. Although John typically could never remember more than a verse of each the flow of songs appeared to be limitless "Not Fade Away" became "Rave On" which in turn became "Well…Alright." The sound of the two guitars and John's almost devotional singing attracted a few of the other Ashram students to join them. John eyes closed and lost in this moment of musical bliss initially was unaware of the elfin featured girl with the bright eyes and mop of black curls taking her place on a cushion in amongst the small audience.


© 2019 Nick Anthony


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Added on April 22, 2019
Last Updated on April 22, 2019
Tags: Beatles, John, Lennon, Yoko, Ono, Prudence, Dear, Revolution, Cynthia, Meditation, india, rishikesh, McCartney, Starr, Harrison


Author

Nick Anthony
Nick Anthony

chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom



About
50 something now. Singleton, Father of 3. Musician and Beatle fanatic more..

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A Chapter by Nick Anthony