LONDON (AFP) — Surviving ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr paid tribute Thursday to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the band’s one-time spiritual advisor, who died this week.
British pop legends The Beatles — bassist McCartney, drummer Starr, rhythm guitarist John Lennon and lead guitarist George Harrison — visited the Maharishi’s ashram in India in 1968 and studied transcendental meditation.
The Maharishi died Tuesday at his home in the Netherlands. He was thought to be 91 years old.
“Whilst I am deeply saddened by his passing, my memories of him will only be joyful ones,” said McCartney, 65.
“He was a great man who worked tirelessly for the people of the world and the cause of unity.
“I will never forget the dedication that he wrote inside a book he once gave me, which read ‘radiate, bliss, consciousness’, and that to me says it all. I will miss him but will always think of him with a smile.”
The Beatles fell out with the Maharishi during their visit, with Starr reportedly objecting to the vegetarian diet.
“One of the wise men I met in my life was the Maharishi,” Starr, 67, said in a statement. “I always was impressed by his joy and I truly believe he knows where he is going.”
The Maharishi’s other celebrity followers included actresses Mia Farrow and Shirley MacLaine.
His worldwide Transcendental Meditation movement became a major international business and his 1964 book “Science of Being and Art of Living” sold over a million copies in 15 languages.