Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison, Gary Tillery, Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 2011, Pages 201, $15.95
I'm sure that many people did not know that Quest had published a book on a member of the Beatles! Since this is the 50th anniversary of the White Album, it only seemed appropriate to review this book. Also, some of you will be surprised (as I was) that our editor-in-chief of Theosophy Forward, Jan Nicolaas Kind, spent some years in the music industry and in that capacity also worked with the 5th Beatle, Billy Preston during a period Billy spent in Europe. He was the keyboard man on their later albums, and a close friend of George! He is mentioned five times in the book. Check Billy out on Wikipedia and be amazed. Since Billy was a close friend of George, Jan passed along a link that also fits nicely with the book under review. George Harrison: http://www.georgeharrison.com
Because most of the readers of this review will be familiar with The Beatles, you probably at least have an idea of how his life evolved. The beginning of the book focuses on George's life in the ‘Material World.’ We move quickly into the working title of the book; the making of a mystic. Taking the Hindu view, we cover rather large areas such as Enlightenment, Ravi Shankar, Maharishi, and Krishna.
The last half of the book tells us of the success, conflicts, and the difficulties George has as he attempts to relate to the spiritual life he wants. For those of you who know this story, the author brings it together in an epilogue and chronology that is good and concise.
On good books that I like to read more than once, I'll take copious notes. I've selected several items that mean something to me. Read the book, and I'm sure you will find your own.
• “I came to understand what Christ really was through Hinduism.”
• Harrison as a child had mystical experiences.
• George kept up his daily yoga.
• Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi was one of George Harrison's most treasured books; one he read again and again.
• George was a keen gardener.
• George was friends with Eric Idle and other members of Monty Python.
The Boyhood of J. Krishnamurti, Russell Balfour-Clarke, Chetana Pvt. LTD, 34 Rampart Row, Bombay-400 023, 1977, Pages 90.Various used copies.
I'm reviewing this book on a whim. To begin with, you may only find a copy at your local Theosophical Library. Joy Mills gave a talk at the American National Headquarters (Olcott) in 1986 and made reference to this book. I immediately bought a copy at the Quest Bookstore for only $3.50! It is a fascinating little book written by a person who knew Krishnamurti both as a young boy and later served as his tutor (and companion) for a few years. I love these kind of books as they give insights that no other texts can give.
The first half of the book is the story of many of us are familiar with: the discovery, the initiation, the transcendental event, and My Balfour-Clarke's adding his personal observations. The second half is something that many Theosophists will find of more interest if you follow its early history. This includes among other things the horoscope of Krishnaji and many of the names we come across in Krishnaji's life.
Notable books is a series compiled by Dr, Ralph Hannon