I’m mildly interested in visiting the now-abandoned Indian ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (aka “Sexy Sadie”) and the specific areas where the Beatles, the Farrow sisters, Mike Love and other transcendental meditation followers visited between February and April, 1968. Meditating, relaxing, writing songs, smiling cosmic smiles and considering inappropriate sexual behaviors. Why not, right?
“The book ‘Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles’ Guru‘ cites witnesses saying Mia Farrow told them he made a pass at her, and stroked her hair. She even came up with a memorable line — ‘Listen, I know a pass from a puja.’
“By the time John Lennon remembered it for ‘Lennon Remembers‘, the hullabaloo turned into a game of telephone with stories of Maharishi “trying to rape Mia Farrow or trying to get off with Mia Farrow and a few other women, things like that.’ The Beatles were happy writing songs in spiritual solitude. ‘Then everything went horribly wrong,’ Pattie Boyd wrote in her memoirs ‘Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me‘. “Mia Farrow told John she thought Maharishi had been behaving inappropriately,” Boyd wrote. ‘I think he made a pass at her.’
The incident with the Rosemary’s Baby star happened on her birthday — February 9, 1968. The Maharishi would always do Puja for people who were close to him. (The Puja is a ceremonial invocation of the spiritual lineage.) After the Puja, he stroked her hair — or so Farrow reported. In Farrow’s autobiography ‘What Falls Away‘, she writes that the Maharishi also put his ‘hairy arms‘ around her.
“According to ‘Lennon Remembers‘, John and his fellow meditators ‘stayed up all night discussing [if it was] true or not true. And when George started thinking it might be true, I thought, ‘Well it must be true, ’cause if George is doubting it, there must be something in it.’
“John threw a hissy fit. ‘Come on, we’re leaving,’ Boyd wrote in her memoir. ‘Then Magic Alex claimed that Maharishi had tried something with a girl he had befriended.
“’So we went to see Maharishi, the whole gang of us the next day charged down to his hut, his very rich-looking bungalow in the mountains,’ Lennon told Jann Wenner in Rolling Stone. ‘And I was the spokesman — as usual, when the dirty work came, I had to be the leader, whatever the scene was, when it came to the nitty gritty I had to do the leading. And I said, ‘We’re leaving.’
“The guru stopped giggling. ‘He said, ‘I don’t know why, you must tell me,’” Lennon recalled. ‘And I just kept saying, ‘You know why’ — and he gave me a look like, ‘I’ll kill you, you bastard.’ He gave me such a look, and I knew then when he looked at me, because I’d called his bluff. And I was a bit rough to him.’
“Poor Maharishi. I remember him standing at the gate of the ashram, under an aide’s umbrella, as the Beatles filed by, out of his life,” Boyd wrote in her book. “‘Wait,’ he cried. ‘Talk to me.’ But no one listened.”