So on the one hand we have The Beatles: rich, famous, restless, curious. They’ve been doing too much acid and they know it; the time is ripe for a new direction.

On the other hand we have the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a holy man on the rise. He’s been trying to promote the benefits of transcendental meditation among people in the West, especially young people, and been fairly successful at it; but he needs a hook, something to set him apart from other would-be gurus.

It’s a match made in nirvana, to coin a clumsy and somewhat illogical phrase.

According to George Harrison,

On August 24, all of us except Ringo attended the lecture, given by Maharishi at the Hilton Hotel. I got the tickets. I was actually after a mantra. I had got to the point where I thought I would like to meditate. I’d read about it and I knew I needed a mantra – a password to get through into the other world. And, as we always seemed to do everything together, John and Paul came with me.

And thus began an adventure that would last well into 1968. By the time it was over the Maharishi’s brand would be well-established and The Beatles would be…well, still mostly confused, but with a bunch of good songs to show for it if nothing else. Today, according to The Beatles Bible,

A press conference followed the lecture, after which a 90-minute private audience with Maharishi was held for Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and the rest of their party. The yogi’s words left them keen to learn more, and they made arrangements to travel to Bangor, North Wales, the next day to attend the weekend seminar being held there.

Did you know that the original Bangor was in Wales, not Maine? Me neither. You learn something new every day.

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