Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life. You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
The gates of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, abandoned in 1997. The padlock can be unlocked for the right price. Inside, nature gone rampant on crumbling structures… and a whole lot of magic.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born in 1918. He is credited as the developer of the Transcendental (Deep) Meditation technique, which he began to introduce to India in 1955. He became a guru to the Beatles when they arrived to the Maharishi Mahesh Ashram in Rishikesh in 1968. South of Ram Jhula on the banks of the Ganges river, the now famous “Beatles Ashram” is a little difficult to find, as it goes beyond the paved roads of town. Follow the dirt path parallel to the Ganga, past the Last Chance Cafe, and eventually you will see the stone walls surrounding the ashram.
Peace is something beautiful to talk and think about. Living and doing is hard. Don’t leave your ideas in India, take them home with you and LIVE them.
The walls throughout the ashram grounds are covered in inspirational quotes, paintings, messages, scrawled names and dates. It seems as though everyone wants to leave a trace. The graffiti comes off almost as organic as the vines and trees enveloping and bursting through the cracks of the structures.
The Beatles Cathedral Gallery on Facebook
The Beatles Cathedral, once a lecture hall, has become something of a gallery of graffiti art. Adorning the dilapidated walls are murals, including portraits of spiritual teachers, The Beatles, experiences of transformation translated into visual art, messages, quotes, song lyrics. To perform standing bow asana where the Maharish Mahesh Yogi once sat is an experience akin to time travel. Close your eyes, breath deep, find your center and allow yourself to be transported back in time. You will leave more peaceful, inspired, and perhaps even with a feeling of connection to knowledge shared in the space years ago.
The dining hall, complete with clay bowls once used for family meals. The walls are a remarkable azure blue, and the energy within is as though it was only yesterday that the space was filled with hungry meditators quietly chatting or eating in silent contemplation.
While staying at the ashram, the Beatles lived in small meditation huts. Inside, the remnants of a modest dwelling: built in bookshelves, a desk and chair, spiral stairs leading to a loft space– presumably for sleeping. The huts are large enough to comfortably move around, with one or two windows downstairs and a window, as well as a skylight, upstairs.
Inside the Beatles Cathedral: backbends with the Greats: Dalai Lama, Prem Baba, Ananda, Amma, Yogananda, Sivananda, and of course.. The Fab Four.
Painted by artist Pan Trinity Das
On top of a meditation dome, high above the ashram grounds– the Ganges sparkles in the distance and the foothills of the Himalayas are blanketed by lush forest, home to wild elephants and ferocious tigers. Dreaming of The Jungle Book and basking in euphoria at such great heights, it is natural to connect this feeling with the experience of going deep within. The practice of meditation, in whatever form, is an exclusive and singular pathway to the Self. In the process of becoming acquainted with our true Self, we rid ourselves of everything that stands between consciousness and Truth. From this results unparalleled peace, certainty, tranquility, inspiration. It is no surprise, then, that it was during their relatively short stay at the Maharishi Mahesh Ashram, that the Beatles wrote about 40 songs, amounting to much of their notorious White Album.