December 19, 2007
The Beatles' Ashram
Posted by Gordon Smith

Today's WaPo has an article about the dilapidated state of the ashram in northern India where the Beatles studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and wrote a slew of songs, including "Dear Prudence," which you can hear and see on this very clever flash site. According to the story, "Maggie O'Hara, a former Hollywood actress who has lived in India running schools for the poor for the past 30 years, has submitted a plan to the government to turn the ashram into a home and school for 2,500 street children from New Delhi, about 115 miles away."

Of course, this wouldn't be on the front page of WaPo's website without the Maharishi connection. And that reminded me of my 9th-grade Biology class, in which our teacher ("Mr. Smith" ... no relation) taught the entire class Transcendental Meditation. Each of us had a mantra, which we were supposed to repeat in our heads for an entire class period. This was biology class!

Mr. Smith was one of the cool teachers -- we both liked "Hotel California," which had been released earlier in the year -- but the TM episode was a bit much. A few years later, Mr. Smith was fired for using the coach's office in the girl's locker room during shower time. Which provides some symmetry to this post, at least if you believe the disputed story that the Beatles became disillusioned with the Maharishi after he propositioned a young woman who was part of the Beatles' entourage.

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