“THE GANGS ALL HERE”

By editor - 16.6 2022


George Harrison visited Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1994 when Shyamsundar, Mukunda and I were invited for aa reunion of the state of the manor.
George talked shyly about how nice the Manor was looking, and how the devotees were busy in so many activities. " "And So many children and cows."
George asked what Shyamsundar and I had been doing all these years. " I have still been mining, on Mt. Baldy in California for Lapis Lusili, and Mozambique as well.
George asked about me.
I answered telling about him my two films, and writing, and my healing andnhypnotherapy practice .”
The conversation went on to Aryuvedic medicine. " I have been trying some Aryuvedic remedies, and I like it quite well.", George recounted.
Then George said " I would like you, Mukunda, Gurudas, and Shyamsundar to come to my house the day after tomorrow."
" About Twelve O:Clock?" "Is that all right?"
I said " The official activities for the reunion are over tomorrow, the day after is fine." I looked at Shyamsundar and Mukunda, we were used to communication with our eyes. They shook their heads in unison, yes yes, O.K.
Trivikram Maharaj, sometimes blunt asked " Can I come too.?" There was an awkward silence.
George was known for his candor and honesty, like when he and the other Beatles were at the premier of the cinema * "Hard Day's Night." Princess Margaret was attended the opening. She was enjoying herself after the viewing and chatted amiably. As the night wore on George was hungry and asked the director " When can we eat?" The director whispered into George's ear "We all can eat after Princess Margaret leaves.." George then went up to the Princess and said " Mum We can't eat until you leave, and I'm hungry." She laughed and then excused herself, and left the gathering
After the silence George diplomatically answered Trivakram's question 


"If it is all right with the others."


This reunion between George, myself; Shyamsundar; and Mukunda was very special, and any other outsider would have diluted our mutual chemistry, even Prabhupad.
The next morning Shyamsundar borrowed JalaKara's motor car, and with our map, three Krishna Art books, and two boxes of prasadam1, we set out on the M 1with all those roundabouts. And if you take the wrong one, will take you many kilometers out of the way. Maybe Jackson Pollock, or Lewis Carol planned them?
We stopped and looked at the map, and exited at the right place, passing many a large school, private house, society, all with quaint English names, surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside; well kept country gardens, covered lanes, ancient footpaths, and small ponds.
We rode abreast of the Thames river for a ways, and passed many small river cottages, with yards over looking the waterway.
I thought of Mr. Moles place in the "Wind And The Willows", by Kenneth Graham, a childhood favorite of mine.
As we entered the small town of Henley On Thames, a regatta was occurring. We saw men in long row boats, dressed in striped jackets, boat club ties, and straw hats racing, each other.
Tradition and pageantry took over George's town that weekend, and flags festoons, banners, small stages, food tables, crafts and ancient dress were everywhere.
We rode slowly through the small town, winding our way through the festivities.
After a little ride past Henley town, we saw the large gate with the sign "FRIARS PARK".
The gate was locked, but had a intercom box on one post. We pushed the button, and a woman's voice answered. " Yes"
"It is Gurudas, Mukunda, and Shyamsundar here."
"Yes we are expecting you, George is out picking up Derek, at the train station, he will be back soon." "Come right in."
The gate automatically unlocked, opened, and re shut, after we rode inside. The journey fro the gate to the great "Cracker Jack Palace", house took seven minutes. We passed lush forests, with many old trees.
The same view unfolded, as when we came here many times years before, but it always was magical and majestic.
We parked the car to one side of the enormous front circle, and knocked on the wooden door, that immediately opened.
A young blond helper around the house invited us in and reiterated where George was, in case we didn't understand the intercom message.


"Make yourself at home"


We stood in the front hall. The ceilings rode two flights up. The carved heavy, wooden staircase, was at the far end. Multi colored specks embraced it from them stain glass windows. Friars, and mythological animals were curved in wood. A light switch was one of the friars tongues.
The room was huge enough to have a piano dwarfed in one corner, a juke box with George's favorite music from Chuck Berry to Ravi Shankar was under the stairs.
Tasteful rugs, couches, and tables, about the size of a regular living room was straight ahead. A ukulele rested in a nook.
Some wooden chairs around, a circular table was near the door.
On the table, in many piles were papers, articles, books, adverts; tapes, etc.
We added the three Krishna Art books, the prasadam, a copy of the video, on homelessness I worked on, called
" Out Of The Rain."
We sat down around the table and waited.
A very short time later, George came bounding in, and embraced us each separately.
Derek Taylor, followed behind. He wasn't a touchy feely type of guy, he always seemed controlled, and proper, in a hip smart way. I hugged him anyway, and he sort of hugged me back. At least he didn't recoil abruptly.
Shyamsundar, and Mukunda laughed softly to them selves, as they had done for years at my spontaneity., and they shook hands with Derek.
George asked Shyamsundar what he has been up to, and Shyamsundar told him about his mining operations first in Hyderabad, India; and other parts of the world; then in Mt. Baldy, U.S.A: and presently in Montana.
Shyamsundar was soft spoken, and understated and modest, as always.
George turned to me, with the same inquiry.
I told him of two films I worked on, and handed him "Out of the Rain", and " Who Cares", My award winning Video Poem. I told him of writing a thank you to srila prabhupad called " By His Example" The Wit And Wisdom Of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
and I told of my counseling, healing and Hypnotherapy practice.
Then He turned to Mukunda and repeated the question.
Mukunda had some videos of "The ISKCON food program feeding people in the war torn countries of Bosnia, etc. Mukunda also handed George the
ISKCON World News, the newsletter he edits every week.
We handed him the three Art books, and George asked "how much do I owe for these?" We told him, the cost price, and he fished out a check book from under one of the piles, and wrote out a larger amount.
George then excitedly told us about a new "Anthology" film that he was collaborating with Paul, and Ringo on.
"It is our story from our perspective, not others"
He thought for a moment "There is a lot of music on it, plus two new songs that John started, that we completed with George Martin."
He continued "The book, Dark Horse, and others did not tell the truth, and were just sensationalistic."
'So We decided to tell our own story, It is almost done, I will show you some of it later."
We could tell, he was very happy about this project.
We handed him the box of prasadam, and we walked into the kitchen. It all came back to me, the view out the lead paneled windows and double doors. The old refrigerator behind the door, with so many colorful, stickers, decals, hand bills, names of bands, snap shots, a few pictures of Lord Krishna, magnets etc.
It looked like a refrigerator in any commune in San Francisco, during the searching sixties.
My computer memory looked over to the mantle place, and there it was the George Washington Radio, whose mouth went up and down in a rectangular, open and shutting motion, when the radio played.
George saw my delight , and switched it on. George Washington's mouth was singing Lonny Donnigan.
George escorted us back into the huge front hall., and took us to the old mint condition "Wurlitzer" juke box. He showed the selections which ranged from Early Rock and Roll; Classical' World Beat; Jazz; and East Indian.
He pressed a selection,, and the arm pulled out Ravi Shankar's " Peace"
The soothing sound filled the Hall.
I was talking to George about the Brooklyn Paramount Rock and Roll shows I went to, with Allen Freed, Fats Domino, Jo-Ann Campbell; Little Richard; The Everly Brothers; Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly.
We were almost all talking at once, when Olivia, George's beautiful wife came in.
She was bright and smiling when she saw how animated we all were together and said " The gang's all here."
" George was really looking forward to this meeting," she said.
"As we were too". we said
Will you please come into the kitchen, We have some prasadam to add to yours, so let's eat ."
We went back into the kitchen, and Olivia started pulling hot dishes out of a large oven.
As we were relishing the feast, (I had been feasting since arriving in England).
Dhani, George and Olivia's son, came in wearing his school uniform. He talked about his rowing crew in the regatta, for his school. He was coxswain, and practised his rowing calls.
He talked about his band having a practice that evening. He was very intelligent, and confident, a combo of good genes. He asked me if I would help him with his band equipment, so we went up stairs to his room.
Wooden carved pillars stood like sentinels from the walls. Ancient tapestries blended with his teen age poster of Raquel Welsh in cave girl clothes. Tapes, C-Ds and computer games mixed with a small stone griffin.
Guitars, Basses, Speakers, and amplifiers held up a Ganesha image.
I carried the large speaker down stairs, near the front entrance awaiting Dhani's mates to knock him up, to trundle off to their gig.
Olivia was in the kitchen, and I went in to specifically to see her, as I wanted to get to know her also. We talked of Dhani's school, and she was proud of him, and they were going to their house in Hawaii, as soon as school was out. She was pleasant and easy to get along with. She told me again how happy George was to see us.
George came in and said "We are going to walk around the grounds, please come." We went out of the front door and walked past the Tennis courts.
George softly said "John MacEnroe and I played Tennis here."
I joked "Who won?" We all laughed.
George stopped on a strip of driveway.
He turned to Shyamsundar and said "Do you remember when you sent me those rubies?" Shyamsundar said "they were low quality industrial type" George said that is why I scattered them on this foot path." I bent down and saw ruby nuggets mixed with yellow stones. We passed a green house, and George showed us the variety of small and large plants inside.
Across the path was a field, with one person working there. George went up to him and discussed some horticultural stuff. Then we went inside a two room cottage, empty except for some building materials.
George said "I am not sure what we will do in here." We walked on and came to the Garages behind the main house. George took us to one of the garages, wherein was a shiny silver racing car. George put on an old world war ll. leather pilots cap, and asked us " Do you want a ride?"
He handed me a pilots cap too. I put it in. We whizzed down the front drive that took seven minutes to traverse in two minutes. We passed the Japanese Gardens. This time I felt like the passenger of Mr. Toad, in his racing car, from the Wind In The Willows.
We returned to the others, and got out of the low racer.
The rock replica of Mount Mattahorn was now over grown with plant life.
The last time we were here the stones were bare. It seemed taller. I commented on this phenomena, and George just agreed yes. We talked about the indigenous plants in the region, and came upon the lakes, small bridges, and eventually the Japanese lake garden spot.
On one of the small bridges George did his Monty Python bits, and I did my Goons Red Fort imitation of Peter Sellers Indian accent saying " With A tantamount of patience we will be able to transverse this barrier."
We laughed and looked at our reflections in the water as we looked over the railing of the red bridge. Two friends side by side sometimes speaking sometimes being. Three of us had cameras, and we passed them around to each other. Derek took the four of us.
I photographed George in the car and near the Mattahorn.
Mukunda snapped George and me on the bridge, where George and I hung out for 20 minutes, just the 2 of us.
We saw a trees reflection in the water, and I talked about the material and spiritual worlds, between illusion and spiritual reality, about temporary and eternal sat chid ananda.
I mentioned the verse about the banyan tree in the Bhagavad Gita
George was lapping it up like an eager cat.
The others joined us
George directed a photo of all of us except Derek walking on some stones in the middle of the lake that appeared in the photo, as if we were walking on the water. Rhododendron bushes splashed color at us, more photos,. I spied a piece of petrified woof, and a nail sticking out, and showed everyone pointing.
George said to me " Put your face near it" I lay down smiling and laughing to myself about George's mind, and he snapped two photos of my face near the wood. We went down into the caves.
Sun peeked through here and there bouncing off the stalactites. We re emerged to see the Shiva Fountain spurting water like the Ganges out of the Himalayan mountains.
George kept on bending down and picking a weed out of the grounds. He did a lot of the gardening himself, because he loved it, and only had minimal hired help. George then picked up the hose and watered a few areas that accepted his drink. ( see photo)
Refreshed from our walk George invited us to tea. It was tea time, but this tea was from Dr. Deepak Chopra, Ayurvedic tea instead of Earl Gray.
George was busy making three different Ayurvedic teas, a different one for each of our Kalpa, body weights.
" Makunda gets this one, Shyamsundar gets this one, and Gurudas you get this one." he smiled, as he administered the teas, like Dr. Swietzer in Africa.
We went back to the main hall. Mukunda was talking to George about a possible yoga retreat time in New Zealand. We all would meet there. I went to the grand piano, and was doodling Spanish Flamenco riffs, and blues. George came over and jammed on his ukulele.
Then we went over to the couches. George started out doing jazz improvisations on a four string banjo and then the ukulele again. I was listening to his marvelous musician ship. Suddenly he started playing the introduction that he played on our Govindham recording but this time on the ukulele. We all gathered around him and sang out the tune.
The memories, the Sanskrit the meaning shot to my soul. I sang and cried, and felt whole. We sang verse after verse. Then we slumped into the couches. Again we handed the cameras around taking the official portraits of the days happening( See photo).
Music jams made me feel so good, especially celestial ones. I was tired but a good tired, like after a hard days night of righteous work.
George then took us into a large living room television viewing room. He showed us upcoming footage of the "Beatles Anthology.
Sitting here in the dark near George watching a preview reminded me of the time we saw the rushes of Yellow Submarine together.
The Anthology" was definitely the best representation of their music. The lower end of the human gene pool likes to build up heroes and tear them down, which leads me to continue to believe that an artist's life can contribute to the art, but the manifestation, the art is self is what the artist wants to convey. Although interesting an artists life should be private. After the artist dies, then the life can be studied. At that time it won't bother the artist. Why is it that honor and pay the artists after they die(posthumously Post humorously), and degrade or ignore them during their life time?
Back to "The Anthology". Besides setting the story straight, from the Beatles view, the Anthology gave us an intelligent look into their great musical achievements. Rather then emphasizing some titillating story, vanishing into the wood work, a peek into George Martin's role, and how
the songs came about was spectacular. The visuals were like characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed the hour and a half we saw with George. Thirteen hours had passed since we arrived at George's. Plus we were on Monk time, resting for four hours the night before, we were all falling over in our seats. Except for George who was pulling out more Videos.
Reluctantly we had to part. Olivia had gone to bed awhile ago. We all walked to the front drive together. George was taking Derek to the station. We all hugged Derek and George warmly, and waved our good byes till next time.
We had talked about a reunion in Vrindavan, India, but nothing was finalized. We drove down the drive in a caravan of two, with George leading in a smart car of some sort, and he opened the gate himself, waited for us to exit, and closed the gate. They went one way, we the other, as the cars got smaller, and distant, we disappeared from each others lives, but not our hearts. Shyamsundar, Mukunda and I were peaking, as we recounted the visit.
We got lost on the M-1 going home, as usual, but we didn't mind. We got back to our quarters when everyone was leaving for the early morning kirtan, about four A.M. I fell into an easy sleep dreaming of our own anthology of good times.
* A Hard Day's Night was the forerunner of all Rock cinema and Videos. The Beatles movie set the genre for many copy cat films freed the form and was innovate for later visuals break through special effects and surrealism, just as Man Ray and Tzanza and Jean Cocteau. did for the Dada and surrealistic art and film in the Paris of the twenties.