Working-Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison

Gary Tillery, Author
Gary Tillery. Quest, $15.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-8356-0900-5
Ebook - 217 pages - 978-0-8356-3035-1
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Often called “the quiet Beatle” because of his silence both on and off stage, Harrison spoke forcefully and eloquently in the later years of the band and during his solo career about the power of the divine and our own capacities to embrace it within. In a meditation on Harrison’s music that is alternately repetitious and frustratingly superficial, Tillery (The Cynical Idealist) traces Harrison’s mystical journey back to an acid trip in April 1965 in which Harrison realized that he had embraced, and been embraced by, the divine. From that moment, he discovered an affinity with Hinduism. Tillery dutifully treads well-worn territory in narrating Harrison’s relationships with sitarist Ravi Shankar, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Prabhupada, as well as Harrison’s deep engagement with the writings of Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi) and other Hindu spiritual teachers. Harrison’s songs, Tillery points out, strive to awaken us to the truths that he saw quite clearly: “to burn out our past karma, to become aware of our divinity, and to break free of eternal return.” Because it doesn’t engage Harrison’s song lyrics in detail, Tillery’s study lacks the depth of Dale Allison’s finely tuned The Love There That’s Sleeping: The Art and Spirituality of George Harrison (2006). (Nov.)
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