Tuesday, December 05, 2006

At least it's not another American Zen story...

Veteran readers of this blog should remember my passing interest in American Zen stories, as reflected in these two posts. In that spirit I'd like to offer this story, from Geoffrey Giuliano's Dark Horse: The Life and Art of George Harrison. The Hindu (and especially Hare Krishna) spirituality which so enthralled Harrison is about as far from Zen as is possible, but this story is interesting and entertaining nonetheless, a fact which reminds me that the less seriously we take ourselves, the more we realize just how much we have in common.

... [T]he teachings of Srila Prabhupada remain close to George's heart. "Create and preserve the reality of your choice" goes one of his favorite quotations. To Harrison, that ideal image is one in which he is free to be what he wants, which is definitely not an ex-Beatle, a rock superstar or even a wealthy film executive.

Late in 1985, while visiting Olivia's parents in California, Harrison decided on the spur of the moment to stop by at a Krishna temple in Los Angelos and say hello to his old friend Mukunda. Rolling up in front of the massive pink stucco building in his gleaming silver BMW, George quietly hailed a young female devotee who was crossing the street. "Excuse me," Harrison called out shyly, "but I wanted to nip into the temple room for a sec and see if Mukunda is around. You don't think anyone will freak out, do you? The last thing in the world I want this afternoon is to be recognized by anyone."

"I'm sorry," said the confused and embarrassed teen, "but just who are you supposed to be, anyway?"

It was just what the world-weary Beatle had been waiting to hear for the last twenty years. "Create and preserve the image of your choice," he muttered to himself. "Hare Krishna!"

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