Friday, 15 May 2015


“The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."William Fulbright
"When shall it be said in any country of the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance or distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes not oppressive; the rational world is my friend because I am friend of its happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and government ." Thomas Paine


Plagiarized with Pleasure

Forest swallows the Beatles' Indian retreat

  • 7 hours ago
  • From the section Magazine

Beatles ashram

The ruins of an Indian spiritual retreat in northern India have become a place of pilgrimage - but not because of the guru who once lived there. It's all about the Beatles, and the time they spent there meditating and writing songs in 1968.
In the wooded hills near India's holy city of Rishikesh, a 67-year-old British man trudges gingerly through a forest. He is on his way to a derelict ashram where his musical idols once stayed.
He first saw the Beatles in the summer of 1963, he says, when he was one of about 200 people in the audience at a seaside resort. The ticket cost 7d (3p).
Half a century later, he has brought his family from Wales to the ashram on the banks of the Ganges once run by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - one of the most flamboyant of the self-styled gurus to emerge from the era of hippiedom.
The Fab Four were there, according to a newspaper report, for an course in "transcendental meditation, which the guru promises can cure anything that ails the Beatles or the world".
"This place is a pilgrimage for Beatles fans," says the British tourist. "They come from all over the world. I had to bring my family here."

Beatles ashram

The Beatles had planned a three-month-retreat at the sprawling 18-acre estate. According to some accounts, it descended into a fiasco.
Ringo Starr went home after 10 days complaining about the spicy food - even though he had packed a suitcase full of baked beans. His wife, Maureen, also had a phobia of flies, and both missed their children.
Paul McCartney stayed for a month, while John Lennon and George Harrison left abruptly after six weeks - there were financial disagreements, apparently, and there have long been unverified reports of the Maharishi groping another guest, the actress Mia Farrow. Lennon later wrote a scornful song, Sexy Sadie, about the guru. "Sexy Sadie, what have you done? You made a fool of everyone," goes one line.

The Beatles at Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968.
From left to right: Unknown, Lennon, McCartney, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Harrison, Farrow, Unknown, Donovan
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The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968.
The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968.

Other accounts are more upbeat. Paul Saltzman, author of The Beatles in Rishikesh, says the band wrote some 48 songs in fantastic burst of creativity, many of which made it on to the White Album.
"I was there when they were working on Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," says Saltzman, who spent two weeks at the ashram.
"Then it was grass and gardens. There were monkeys and emerald green parakeets in the trees."
Today the ashram is a ghostly relic of those days.
Mildewed and grotty stone and concrete buildings peep out of overgrown bushes and thick forests in a national park where some 1,700 elephants live, alongside tigers and leopards.
But the place remains a big draw with Beatles fans. A dilapidated meditation hall christened The Beatles Cathedral Gallery, by fans has become the beating heart of the ruins. Its walls are ablaze with colourful graffiti, many of them riffing on Beatles songs, "And life flows on with you and without you," says one.

Beatles ashram
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Beatles ashram

The roof is peeling off and sunlight streams through the cracks.
Fans sing and play guitar, and a cow lazily ambles out of the woods and across the hall.
A bunch of teenagers in low-slung jeans and tight T-shirts, practise hip-hop dance moves. "We know this place is about the Beatles, but it is good for us too," one of them says. Outside, in another tumbledown building, a yoga teacher shoots a promotional video.
A Russian fan talks about the Beatles' "positive energy", while an Australian student admires the graffiti and hails the band as "rebels".
Legends about the Beatles' time here abound.
One has it that Lennon used to live in an orb-shaped stone-floored hut. In reality, the ashram was pretty comfortable, with "ultramodern apartments tastefully furnished with hot and cold water" according to one account - and the Maharishi's residence was rumoured to have cost £35,000 ($55,000 at today's exchange rate).

Meditation caves at Rishikesh
Meditation caves at Rishikesh, photographed in 2008

A helicopter flew guests in and out and a special European kitchen served up vegetarian meals three times a day. Among other star guests were singer Donovan and Beach Boy, Mike Love.
According to Donovan, the Beatles wore "embroidered overblouses, fanciful brass pendants, cotton pyjama trousers broadly striped in bright colours, robes for all occasions". He adds: "They looked like gypsies."
The Maharishi had promised to turn the pop stars into "fully qualified teachers or semi-gurus of Hindu meditation". One journalist reported that Lennon and Harrison were on a course of instant mysticism, and being "fed high-level philosophy in simple words".
The ashram itself - leased to Maharishi by the government in 1957 - was abandoned by the guru and his followers in the mid-1970s and gradually reclaimed by nature. The yogi himself died in 2008.
"The gods have left the place," says the guard at the main gate, "but the devotees keep on coming."

Beatles ashram
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Beatles ashram

The Beatles fly in

The Beatles received a tumultuous reception when they landed in Delhi on their way to Rishikesh, in February 1968.
A "hysterical mob of Delhi's teenagers gave the mop-headed, lovable Beatles a tumultuous welcome", reported the Times of India.
"As soon as the announcement of their arrival came over the amplifier system, the teenagers ran helter-skelter, yelling and shouting: 'They are here, they are here.'"
The Beatles were dressed in their "fancy shirts, their hair as shaggy as ever," The Statesman noted.
In a Delhi hotel, the Beatles registered under the name of Brown and party. Reporters later found a Sikh sitar player giving lessons to George Harrison, while John Lennon was found trying to play a snake-charmer's flute.
"Women are just beautiful here," said Lennon. "In what way?" the reporter asked. "Oh their saris and they just glide. And they are so different," Lennon replied.

The Statesman

The Times of India reporter asked Lennon whether the Beatles would perform in Delhi.
"Our instruments are not with us," he said.
"Would you have given a performance if you had your instruments with you?" the reporter persisted.
"We don't give performances just like that. They have to be arranged beforehand," Lennon said.
Reaching the end of that line of questioning, the reporter asked about Beatles' ambitions.
"We don't have any ambitions," said Lennon. "We are not a missionary group."

Our Right to be Marxist-Leninists

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution expresses his profound admiration for the heroic soviet people who provided an enormous service to humanity

By Fidel Castro Ruz

May 14, 2015 "
Information Clearing House" - The 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War will be commemorated the day after tomorrow, May 9. Given the time difference, while I write these lines, the soldiers and officials of the Army of the Russian Federation, full of pride, will be parading through Moscow’s Red Square with their characteristic quick, military steps.

Lenin was a brilliant revolutionary strategist who did not hesitate in assuming the ideas of Marx and implementing them in an immense and only partly industrialized country, whose proletariat party became the most radical and courageous on the planet in the wake of the greatest slaughter that capitalism had caused in the world, where for the first time tanks, automatic weapons, aviation and poison gases made an appearance in wars, and even a legendary cannon capable of launching a heavy projectile more than 100 kilometers made its presence felt in the bloody conflict.

From that carnage emerged the League of Nations, an institution that should have preserved peace but which did not even manage to stop the rapid advance of colonialism in Africa, a great part of Asia, Oceana, the Caribbean, Canada and a contemptuous neo-colonialism in Latin America. Barely 20 years later, another atrocious world war broke out in Europe, the preamble to which was the Spanish Civil War, beginning in 1936.

After the crushing defeat of the Nazis, world nations placed their hopes in the United Nations, which strives to generate cooperation in order to put an end to aggressions and wars, such that countries can preserve the peace, development and peaceful cooperation of the big and small, rich or poor States of the world. Millions of scientists could, among other tasks, increase the chances of the survival of the human species, with billions of people already threatened by food and water shortages within a short period of time. We are already 7.3 billion people on the planet. In 1800 there were only 978 million; this figure rose to 6.07 billion in 2000; and according to conservative estimates by the year 2050 there will be 10 billion.

Of course, scarcely is the arrival to Western Europe of boats full of migrants mentioned, traveling in any object that floats; a river of African migrants, from the continent colonized by the Europeans over hundreds of years. 23 years ago, in a United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development I stated: “An important biological species is in danger of disappearing given the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural life-sustaining conditions¬: man.” I did not know at that time, how close we were to this.

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, I wish to put on record our profound admiration for the heroic Soviet people, who provided humankind an enormous service. Today we are seeing the solid alliance between the people of the Russian Federation and the State with the fastest growing economy in the world: The People’s Republic of China; both countries, with their close cooperation, modern science and powerful armies and brave soldiers constitute a powerful shield of world peace and security, so that the life of our species may be preserved.

Physical and mental health, and the spirit of solidarity are norms which must prevail, or the future of humankind, as we know it, will be lost forever. The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War, also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.

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