Hare Krishna followers join Beatles fans to mark George Harrison’s 80th birthday

Members of the Hare Krishna movement joined more than 100 fans at the Liverpool Beatles Museum on Saturday.

Eleanor Barlow
Saturday 25 February 2023 12:30 GMT
George Harrison at the EMI Studios in 1967 (PA)
George Harrison at the EMI Studios in 1967 (PA) (PA Archive)

George Harrison’s birthday has been marked by Hare Krishna followers at a Beatles museum where a pendant belonging to the musician went on display.

Members of the Hare Krishna movement joined more than 100 fans at the Liverpool Beatles Museum on Saturday, on what would have been the guitarist and songwriter’s 80th birthday.

Harrison, who died in 2001 at age 58, donated Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), known as the Hare Krishnas, in the 1970s.

Followers, who practise a specific form of yoga, still use the building as a spiritual sanctuary, temple and monastery.

Museum owner Roag Best said he had been contacted by the Hare Krishnas ahead of the star’s birthday.

He said: “George was massively important to the Hare Krishnas and they approached us and said they wanted to do something in Liverpool to celebrate his birthday.

“We planned this afternoon where they’re in the museum chanting, singing and putting paint on people’s heads before we have an audience with Gurudas, who was one of the first Hare Krishnas George met and who he stayed friends with throughout his life.”

To mark the occasion, the museum is putting a pendant with the sacred symbol Om, which belonged to Harrison, on display.

Mr Best said the pendant was passed on to him by his father Neil Aspinall, the road manager for the Beatles.

He said: “George had the pendant in the early 1960s to the mid-1970s.

“My dad was very into the Krishna movement as well. I remember once going to his house and finding him in the back room in semi-darkness, lava lamps going and Indian music on, wearing a kaftan, his long hair down his back and a sitar across his lap as he sat on the floor!

“He and George were at my dad’s house one day talking about religion and about Krishnas when my dad said he didn’t have an Om pendant.

“My dad’s gone ‘I must get a pendant’ and George goes ‘you can have this one’, takes it off and gives it to him.

“That was in the mid-1970s and in the mid-1990s my dad passed it on to me.

“It’s just been in storage, and with George’s 80th birthday approaching I thought it was a good time to add it to the museum collection.”

The item joins a host of other memorabilia on display at the Mathew Street museum owned by Mr Best, who is the brother of the Beatles’ original drummer Pete.

Harrison wrote Beatles hits including While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Here Comes the Sun and Something, as well as solo releases My Sweet Lord and Got My Mind Set On You.

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