Listening to Maharishi's speech on August 24 at the London Hilton:
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is an interesting character of the 1960's. Another man full of paradox, he died just last year after spreading his teachings of peace and meditation for decades - and requiring quite a lot of money for it, too. He was introduced to the Beatles in 1967; Patti Boyd Harrison heard he was giving lectures in London in late August and told George and the guys about it, thinking they would fancy attending given their interest in the Eastern world. She was right. The Beatles were very impressed with the Maharishi and were thrilled when he invited them up to North Wales for further study. Even Mick and Marianne accompanied them on the train to Bangor (on their August 25 trip to the station, Marianne is carrying incense). They were met with screaming fans when they arrived, and Maharishi assumed they were for him. On August 27, Brian Epstein, the Bealtes infamous and influential manager and friend, died of an overdose.
On February 15, 1968, the Beatles and their ladies--Jane Asher, Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Boyd and Maureen Cox--as well as Mike Love, Donovan, Pattie's little sister Jenny Boyd, and Mia and Prudence Farrow, made for Rishikesh, India to study meditation with Maharishi. Ringo and Maureen left after only a day, supposedly longing for "egg and chips". Paul and Jane lasted longer, but eventually left as well. The Harrisons and Lennons stayed until April 16.
It was during this trip, however, that the Beatles became disillusioned with their great guru. It was alleged that Maharishi had made a pass at Mia Farrow (some reports say "made a pass" and others claim attempted rape, so who really knows?). An allegation came years later from another young woman who says she and Maharishi had a sexual relationship. Feeling betrayed, they all left India. It wasn't all bad, thouh, as the Beatles wrote most of the White Album from this experience, especially the tunes "Sexy Sadie" (inspired by the carnal allegations of Maharishi) and "Dear Prudence", for Prudence Farrow who apparently would stay in her room quite a lot during their trip.
Maharishi Yogi died in February of 2008, at 91 years old (?), at an estimated worth of 2 billion euros and a following of over 5 million people. His association with the Beatles, though brief, in '67-'68 was the catalyst for his worldwide fame and eventual fortune (he would charge roughly 1,300 euros per person for a standard introduction to transcendental meditation course). He stayed in the finest hotels, and lived in a 200-room mansion (!!!!). For a man that advertised the denouncement of worldly posessions and materialism, he sure lived the good life.
Despite his questionable ethics, an interview with Yoko Ono in March, 2008 reads (following info from Wikipedia): "If Lennon were alive today, says Yoko Ono, he probably would have reconciled with Maharishi. "John would have been the first one now, if he had been here, to recognize and acknowledge what Maharishi has done for the world and appreciate it," she says. Cynthia Lennon believed that Alex Mardas invented a story about sexual impropriety to undermine the Maharishi's influence on the Beatles. George Harrison, years later, commented on the contretemps, saying, "Now, historically, there's the story that something went on that shouldn't have done—but nothing did." Paul McCartney, in his biography, likewise says that he does not believe the allegations and also attributes them to Mardas. Farrow's autobiography is ambiguous about the incident: she describes "panicking" and fleeing after the Maharishi put his arms around her in a dark cave, immediately after a private meditation session, and that "at my level of consciousness, if Jesus Christ Himself had embraced me, I would have misinterpreted it."