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George Harrison (1943-2001)

George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter, author and sitarist best known as the lead guitarist for The Beatles.

photo right from 1974

the chronology below is from various conflicting sources about the origins of George's vegetarianism:

  • 1965, February 25, George's 22nd birthday, filming Help in the Bahamas, Swami Vishnu Devananda 'walked up' and 'gave us a book'. It was not opened until 2 years later.
  • dentist friend puts LSD in coffee, beginning George's spiritual awakening
  • bought sitar in London - or found it among Help props - and played on Norwegian Wood (Kinks and Rolling Stones also using sitar)
  • 'after first visit to India (1966) became a friend of Ravi Shankar' - next chapter 'first met Shankar in 1965' - otherwise 'late spring' 1966 -dinner at the home of Mr. Angbadi who ran the Asian Music Circle in London.
  • 1966 stopped in Delhi on the way back from Philippines and bought new sitar
  • later Ravi to Esher with Allah Rakha, tabla - sitar lesson for George; John and Ringo watching.
  • mid-september 1966, 2nd visit to India, with Pattie, six or seven weeks. Yoga and holding sitar. Bombay then Kashmir for individual tuition, meditation. (or Benares as one of 200 pupils)
  • acquired Paramhansa Yogananda's 'Autobiography of a Yogi' - either from the Indica bookshop or from Ravi Shankar.
  • Clayson: 'George and Pattie had both embraced vegetarianism, and George had even gone through a phase of eating with his hands, Indian style. As well as the expected nut roasts and meatless curries, the Kinfauns kitchen also served dishes that, while common in Banares (sic), were exotic in Esher.On the menu might be pakoras (pasties stuffed with cauliflower and peas, deep fried in ghee), samosas or the consecrated prasadam. For dessert you could tunnel into a rasamlai (a milk sweet) and wash this down with lassi (yoghurt diluted with rose water). [Clayson gives no sources for any of this]
  • used sitar on Love to You on Revolver
  • back to India in 1967
  • to Bangor with the Maharishi
  • sitar on 'Within you without you' on Sgt Pepper
  • February 1968 to Rishikesh with Maharishi - all vegetarian while there
  • 1968 stopped learning the sitar

    from an interview on (undated but possibly 1989):
    Mukunda: You've been a vegetarian for years, George. Have you had any difficulties maintaining it?
    George: No. Actually, I wised up and made sure I had dal bean soup or something every day. Actually, lentils are one of the cheapest things, but they give you A-l protein. People are simply screwing up when they go out and buy beef steak, which is killing them with cancer and heart troubles. The stuff costs a fortune too. You could feed a thousand people with lentil soup for the cost of half a dozen filets. Does that make sense?

    from :
    Joshua Green, the author of "Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison", attended several recording sessions with George. He said there would always be 'huge trays of vegetarian food' in the studio.

    "The thing that repelled me about eating meat was the idea of killing animals. But the main issue is that it's not healthy and not natural." - George Harrison

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