Harrison's Ashes to Be Spread in India

The Associated Press/December 3, 2001

New Delhi, India -- The ashes of George Harrison, long a devotee of India's Hindu faith, were to be sprinkled in the holy Ganges River, religious authorities said Monday.

Harrison's widow, Olivia, and his 23-year-old son, Dhani, would be accompanied by two Hare Krishna devotees who performed Hindu rites on Harrison's ashes with the family in London, said Maha Mantra Das, New Delhi spokesman for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.

The ashes were scheduled to arrive in India on Monday and be scattered in the Ganges River in the northern city of Varnasi, Das said. The ashes would also be sprinkled off Allahabad, where Hindu's three holiest rivers -- the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati -- converge.

His widow asked fans for a minute of meditation as a tribute to the musician. Britain's Press Association reported that Harrison's family was to scatter his ashes in India to coincide with that minute, which would take place 3 a.m. Tuesday in India.

Das said that this was likely.

"Early morning is a very auspicious time for Hindus,'' he said.

Harrison, 58, died of cancer in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Britain's Press Association reported that Harrison was cremated only hours after losing his long battle against cancer and that his widow and son left for India with his ashes.

Harrison, known as the "quiet Beatle,'' had a long, intensely intimate relationship with Indian mysticism and music.

In 1966, after the Beatles had ceased touring, Harrison came to India to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar. Shankar, whom Harrison helped make famous during the Beatles visits to India, was present during Harrison's final hours in California.

"We spent the day before with him, and even then he looked so peaceful, surrounded by love,'' Shankar said in a statement Friday.

In 1967, Harrison introduced the other Beatles to the teaching of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and all four took up transcendental meditation. Harrison and fellow Beatle John Lennon traveled to Rishikesh, a holy city in northern India on the Ganges River, to study with the Maharishi.

Harrison was the only one who remained a follower.

Harrison was also a devotee of India's Hare Krishna sect. In one of Harrison's most popular songs, "My Sweet Lord,'' the musician himself chants Hare Krishna.

Note: George Harrison ultimately left nothing to the Krishna organization ISKCON.

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