Working Class Mystic - a Book Review

by Ragtimelil

I love biographies. I love to see inside someone’s life. Most of the time I am surprised. They are not at all who I thought they were

"Working Class Mystic - A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison." By Gary Tillery

I was not a Beatle fan when they first hit the US music scene. I looked down on rock and roll. I was a budding hippy who happened to love folk music and blues. My kid sister was the Beatle fan. I couldn’t help being aware of them though. Once I entered college, the Beatles began to change. I listened to them with a new appreciation and understanding.

Like so many others, I heard of their break up. I heard on the radio about Lennon’s murder. I vaguely remember something about George Harrison being stabbed by an intruder in his house and finally I heard about his death due to cancer.

The Beginning

The word “mystic” caught my eye in the title of this book. I knew that the Beatles had been to India and hung around with gurus and the like. I thought it might make interesting reading. I was spared the details of the band’s success. It has been the subject of way too many articles and books. I learned a bit about George’s early life that I didn’t know. He really was of working class background but he saw the working life as drudgery. Music changed all that. After a tumultuous beginning, the band became successful. He then had the time and money to spare but he found that being rich didn’t by itself bring peace and happiness.

Books and Gurus

George Harrison became enthralled by the sitar and was introduced to Ravi Shankar who agreed to teach him to play it. Shankar told him that he needed to visit India to get a greater understanding of the instrument. He was given books including, Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Harrison became a student of Eastern beliefs, especially Hinduism. He was influenced by Swami Prabhupada who founded the Hare Krishna movement. Harrison was so strongly attracted to chanting that he encouraged some Hare Krishna devotees to live on his estate so that they could chant together.

George Harrison wasn’t without his faults, but he did his best to change his life and help others. He was instrumental in producing the concerts to benefit Bangladesh. He was generous when he thought it was for a good cause

Reading the details of his attack in his home was horrifying. It was amazing that he or his wife weren’t’ killed by the deranged man who had gotten through the security system.

The most touching part of the book, however, was his death. He was totally at peace in his beliefs. We should all be so peaceful at the end of our lives

It was fascinating to see the hidden life of one of the world’s most well-known personalities. He rose from working class to wealthy, but didn’t fall prey to conceit and self-importance. He really believed in the simple things and his new-found spirituality. I was very glad that I had the chance to know the “quiet” Beatle a bit better.

Updated: 11/11/2012, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 12/16/2012

It was interesting - a real "behind the scene" kind of book.

sheilamarie on 12/16/2012

Sounds like a good book.

Ragtimelil on 11/12/2012

Ha, You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

RubyHRose on 11/12/2012

Yep, ya got me hooked, now I want to go read the book, thanks.

Ragtimelil on 11/12/2012

Thanks. Hope you like it. I did.

BrendaReeves on 11/12/2012

I also love reading about other people. I've got to read this one. Thank you for turning me on to it.

JoHarrington on 11/12/2012

That does sound like an interesting book. I'll add it to the wish list. Thanks for the review!

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