QUOTE(betal_nut @ May 20 2004, 02:39 PM)
Krishna is sweet and kind?
"My Sweet Lord"
Mukunda Goswami: I don't think it's possible to calculate just how many people were turned on to Krishna consciousness by your song "My Sweet Lord." But you went through quite a personal thing before you decided to do that song. In your book you said, "I thought a lot about whether to do 'My Sweet Lord' or not because I would be committing myself publicly ... Many people fear the words Lord and God ... I was sticking my neck out on the chopping block ... but at the same time I thought 'Nobody's saying it ... why should I be untrue to myself?' I came to believe in the importance that if you feel something strong enough, then you should say it.
"I wanted to show that Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing. I did the voices singing 'Hallelujah' and then the change to 'Hare Krishna' so that people would be chanting the maha-mantra -- before they knew what was going on! I had been chanting Hare Krishna for a long time, and this song was a simple idea of how to do a Western pop equivalent of a mantra which repeats over and over again the holy names. I don't feel guilty or bad about it; in fact it saved many a heroin addict's life."
Why did you feel you wanted to put Hare Krishna on the album at all? Wouldn't "Hallelujah" alone have been good enough?
George Harrison: Well, first of all "Hallelujah" is a joyous expression the Christians have, but "Hare Krishna" has a mystical side to it. It's more than just glorifying God; it's asking to become His servant. And because of the way the mantra is put together, with the mystic spiritual energy contained in those syllables, it's much closer to God than the way Christianity currently seems to be representing Him. Although Christ in my mind is an absolute yogi, I think many Christian teachers today are misrepresenting Christ. They're supposed to be representing Jesus, but they're not doing it very well. They're letting him down very badly, and that's a big turn off.
My idea in "My Sweet Lord," because it sounded like a "pop song," was to sneak up on them a bit. The point was to have the people not offended by "Hallelujah," and by the time it gets to "Hare Krishna," they're already hooked, and their foot's tapping, and they're already singing along "Hallelujah," to kind of lull them into a sense of false security. And then suddenly it turns into "Hare Krishna," and they will all be singing that before they know what's happened, and they will think, "Hey, I thought I wasn't supposed to like Hare Krishna!"
People write to me even now asking what style that was. Ten years later they're still trying to figure out what the words mean. It was just a little trick really. And it didn't offend. For some reason I never got any offensive feedback from Christians who said "We like it up to a point, but what's all this about Hare Krishna?"
Hallelujah may have originally been some mantric thing that got watered down, but I'm not sure what it really means. The Greek word for Christ is Kristos, which is, let's face it, Krishna, and Kristos is the same name actually.
Mukunda Goswami: What would you say is the difference between the Christian view of God, and Krishna as represented in the Bhagavad-gita?
George Harrison: When I first came to this house, it was occupied by nuns. I brought in this poster of Visnu [a four-armed form of Krishna]. You just see His head and shoulders and His four arms holding a conchshell and various other symbols, and it has a big om written above it. He has a nice aura around Him. I left it by the fireplace and went out into the garden. When we came back in the house, they all pounced on me, saying, "Who is that? What is it?" as if it were some pagan god. So I said, "Well, if God is unlimited, then He can appear in any form, whichever way He likes to appear. That's one way. He's called Visnu." It sort of freaked them out a bit, but the point is, why should God be limited? Even if you get Him as Krishna, He is not limited to that picture of Krishna. He can be the baby form, He can be Govinda and manifest in so many other well-known forms. You can see Krishna as a little boy, which is how I like to see Krishna. It's a joyful relationship. But there's this morbid side to the way many represent Christianity today, where you don't smile, because it's too serious, and you can't expect to see God -- that kind of stuff. If there is God, we must see Him, and I don't believe in the idea you find in most churches, where they say, "No, you're not going to see Him. He's way up above you. Just believe what we tell you and shut up."
I mean, the knowledge that's given in Prabhupada's books -- the Vedic stuff -- that's the world's oldest scriptures. They say that man can become purified, and with divine vision he can see God. You get pure by chanting, then you see Him. And Sanskrit, the language they're written in, is the world's first recorded language. Devanagari [the alphabet of the Sanskrit language] actually means "language of the gods."
Mukunda Goswami: Anyone who is sincere about making spiritual advancement, whatever one's religion may be, can usually see the value of chanting. I mean if that person was really trying to be God conscious and trying to chant sincerely.
George Harrison: That's right. It's a matter of being open. Anyone who's open can do it. You just have to be open and not prejudiced. You just have to try it. There's no loss, you know. But the "intellectuals" will always have problems, because they always need to "know." They're often the most spiritually bankrupt people, because they never let go; they don't understand the meaning of "to transcend" the intellect. But an ordinary person's more willing to say, "Okay. Let me try it and see if it works." Chanting Hare Krishna can make a person a better Christian, too.