THE SAVILIAN, BEATLES AND THE MAHARISHI

This is the 50th years of the Beatles having travelled to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram for spiritual sustenance or, more likely, a new image – Holy Singers from The Hermitage.

Following a pattern set by their late manager Brian Epstein, the Beatles kept the media at an arms’ length. Hundreds of journalists who crossed the Ganga in the holy city of Rishikesh were not allowed into the Maharishi’s ashram. There was only one exception. Savilian Saeed Naqvi, then a cub reporter with India’s most powerful national daily The Statesman. He was the only journalist allowed in and given a regular accommodation in the ashram along with Beatles and scores of other celebrities. How did this Savilian find access where the best known names in world journalism were stopped at the ashram gate? Thereby hangs a tale. What explains so much literature on the Beatles’ sojourn in the holy city when no writer or journalist was allowed in. Were there among the numerous celebrities, writers disguised as avid mediators?

Savilian David Oldroyd-Bolt will be in discussion with Saeed Naqvi, a Savilian of over 25 years standing who has agreed to share his experiences with fellow club members. The talk will be accompanied by an audio and video of the Beatles learning the sitar from maestro Ravi Shankar. The origins of George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Menuhin, involved in Indian classical music turning to Maharishi– some of them ending up in Rishikesh. First hand descriptions of the spiritual, psychedelic drama choreographed by Maharishi.