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    Sale 5397

    Popular Culture: Rock & Pop Memorabilia

    10 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 239

    John Lennon

    Price Realised  

    John Lennon
    A rare hand-written letter from John Lennon giving a scarce in-depth insight into his views on the Maharishi and meditation in circa 1967-1968, the letter written in black ink on two pieces of paper, one half on the reverse of typescript lecture notes from the Students International Meditation Society entitled Student Leadership Course, Santa Barbara, October, 1967, Lecture #II (Condensed from Maharishi's Lectures 2,3 & 4, the letter beginning with some advice The only way to answer your questions is to meditate yourself and experience it - you can only find out so much reading... and he continues with some thoughts about poverty and politics: ...A guru is a teacher - that's what the word means - he's certainly a teacher. His idea of helping the world is to help everyone - it's no good feeding people who are just going to be hungry again in a few months - the point is change the situation which causes starvation, disease etc - the cause is people - government, politics, you, me - everything must be changed so that the less fortunate aren't. There's enough food for everyone in the world - so where is it? People destroy it for 'economical reasons'... Lennon continues with his opinion of the Maharishi: I believe Maharishi wants publicity - why shouldn't he? The only way to get a message over to everyone is to publicise it - that is the 20th Century. If Jesus was here now, don't you think he'd be on TV?.. Lennon then goes on to talk about his beliefs about meditation and religion: You ask me to try God - that's what meditation is about - experiencing God. 'The Kingdom of heaven is within' said Jesus - and he meant within which is where the mantra takes your mind. Sure the system is scorned in India and elsewhere so is God, so is everything scorned by someone or other. It doesn't mean it's bad, does it? Lennon then finishes by telling 'Christine' to whom this letter is addressed, Anyway, as I said - try it - it can't harm you - you do not have to be rich to do it - you do not have to go to India to do it - you just DO IT, signed With love, John Lennon and with a postscript added P.S. excuse paper I don't seem to have anything else, the letter in a custom-made perspex frame with stand


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    When The Beatles were introduced to Meditation and the Maharishi, Lennon, along with the rest of the band, was an eager participant. Their first introduction to the Maharishi was at the London Hilton Hotel on 24 August, 1967 where John and Cynthia Lennon, George and Pattie Harrison and Paul McCartney and Jane Asher attended a lecture. The following day, they all hurriedly departed for a weekend of meditation in Bangor, North Wales, during which they learnt of the death of Brian Epstein. A few days later, in the aftermath of the shock of Epstein's death, Lennon told biographer Ray Coleman that the band were all about to go to India for two months to study transcendental meditation ...we want to learn the meditation thing properly so we can propogate it and sell the whole idea to everyone...we want to set up an Academy in London...it's no gospel, Bible-thumping, singalong thing and it needn't be religion if people don't want to connect it with religion...This is the biggest thing in my life now... From the enthusiastic tone of the letter, it seems likely that Lennon wrote this letter in the intervening period between the date of this document, October, 1967 and the trip to Rishikesh, Spring, 1968. Lennon flew to India with George and Pattie Harrison in February, 1968 to spend two months at the Maharishi's academy in Rishikesh. Lennon reportedly spent many hours at the academy in deep meditation and in consultation with the Maharishi but he grew disaffected with the Maharishi's behaviour and decided to leave Rishikesh two weeks ahead of schedule. During the final days of his stay in India, Lennon penned Sexy Sadie, a direct and explicit insult to the guru, making reference to the reasons behind Lennon's dissastisfaction: apparently, the Maharishi had been giving special tuition to some of the female members of the entourage. Later, in May, 1968, Lennon publicly denounced the Maharishi when he appeared with McCartney on the Tonight Show on U.S. television.

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