Radha Krsna Temple
||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (October 2013)|
The Radha Krsna Temple, or now more commonly Radha Krishna Temple, was the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in London from the late 1960s. The Temple came to prominence when the Beatles, and especially George Harrison, started to publicly express their interest in Eastern philosophy and Krishna consciousness. The Radha Krsna Temple is also the name of an album of devotional music issued by the Temple on the Beatles' Apple Records label, produced by Harrison.
The Radha Krishna Temple
The Temple at 7 Bury Place, London WC1, close to the British Museum in Bloomsbury, was the initial headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in the UK from 1969 onwards, for which Harrison was a co-signee on the lease. Before then, however, they had been given temporary accommodation in an outbuilding at Tittenhurst Park, John Lennon's mansion near Ascot.
George Harrison's involvement
George Harrison became interested in Eastern religion when he played sitar on the set of the Beatles' 1965 film Help!, and when he received a book on Hinduism on a beach in the Bahamas. This interest led to a number of visits to India and a lifelong friendship with sitar master Ravi Shankar. In 1967, Harrison and his fellow Beatles met with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and, early the following year, they all headed off to Rishikesh to study with the Transcendental Meditation guru.
Harrison was already aware of the devotees of Krishna before meeting the movement's leader, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and had purchased 20 copies of the Happening album, the first recording by Swami Prabhupada and his disciples. But it wasn’t until 1969 that George met Shyamasundara dasa in the London offices of Apple Records, the Beatles’ record company. “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting two years to meet you fellas" was how he greeted the devotee. Shyamasundara and five others had come to London to start a branch of ISKCON and they had sent apple pies and clockwork apples with the Hare Krishna mantra written on them to the Apple headquarters. This initial meeting led to the recording of "Hare Krishna Mantra", credited to Radha Krishna Temple (London), with George and apparently Paul and Linda McCartney and Ginger Baker all in the studio helping. George produced the song and further recordings, as well as attending an Apple-organised press conference for the Temple in a park at Sydenham, south London, and their appearance on BBC-TV's Top of the Pops, where they performed "Hare Krishna Mantra" (although he did not appear in front of the cameras). The single reached the charts in twenty countries, doing particularly well in Czechoslovakia and Germany, and was sung one afternoon by 40,000 people at Wembley. Author Peter Lavezzoli has described the Harrison-assisted success of "Hare Krishna Mantra" as "an astonishing feat".
Swami Prabhupada made a deep impression on Harrison: “Most of these yogis say ‘Look at me, I am the divine incarnation, let me help you,’” he explained. “Prabhupada said: ‘I am the servant of the servant of the servant.’” When George once asked Srila Prabhupada if he should also shave his head and join the temple, Prabhupada replied that he could do more for Krishna through his music. Many years previously, the great-grandfather of the Hare Krishna movement, Bhaktivinode Thakur, had predicted a day when the Maha Mantra and songs of Krishna would be sung throughout the world in the local musical style and in the local language. George would be one of the first to help towards making that prediction come true. When Prabhupada heard George's orchestrated version of the Govindam prayers for the first time, he was moved to tears and asked for it to be played every morning in each of the movement's temples, which still happens to this day.
"My Sweet Lord"
After helping the devotees at the Temple make their debut single, George started writing his own songs about Krishna and the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita. In November 1970 came the album All Things Must Pass, which included the classic song "My Sweet Lord', and two-and-a-half years later, Living in the Material World, which featured "The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord)" and the title track. Both these works are said to have been inspired by George's meetings with Prabhupada and by the Krishna Consciousness philosophy.
In 1967 Prabhupada had experienced a severe heart attack and wondered whether he would live to present his disciples and the world with a translated version of the 'divine pastimes’ of Krishna on earth. He had translated the second canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but knew that many years of translating remained before he would reach the tenth canto, where these accounts are contained. So he decided to write Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When he was finished, he requested Shyamasundara to ask Harrison if he could help to publish it. Shyamasundara tells that he wished to be careful in making the request, as he didn’t want to give George the impression that the devotees in the Temple were after his money. But Srila Prabhupada had asked him and the spiritual master’s desire was the life and soul of the disciple, so he found himself sitting in a restaurant with George one evening. A thunderstorm raged outside, and just as he discreetly asked the question, lightning flashed, there was a loud clap of thunder, and all the lights went out. The two sat in complete darkness without saying anything for a minute or two. When the lights came on, George was smiling and said: “I suppose that means yes!”
Due to George’s celebrity endorsement, his songs, and the help he’d given the devotees in meeting other famous people who passed on the word, the little temple at Bury Place was becoming too small for the number of devotees who lived there and others who wanted to join. Again, George offered his help. He told the Temple devotees that if they found a suitable building then he would purchase it. In 1972, devotees found Piggots Manor, a former nursing home with 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land, in the Hertfordshire countryside. George could not spare the time to come and see it, but said if they liked it, he would make the arrangements immediately. And so it was that "Bhaktivedanta Manor" was purchased for £230,000. Since that time, the Manor has gone on to become one of the most famous Krishna temples outside India.
Over the years, George became a very private person. But it was apparent that he still remained a devotee of Krishna; he visited the Mayapura temple, ISKCON’s international headquarters in West Bengal. After touring the complex and taking prasadam, he spent the remainder of his time talking to the gardener about the many varieties of flowers and fruits growing there. He stayed for a few days in Vrindavan, unrecognised by everyone except the westerners there. He also kept friendships with a number of the devotees he had met in his earlier days such as Mukunda Goswami.
|The Radha Krsna Temple|
|Studio album by Radha Krishna Temple (London)|
|Released||21 May 1971 (US)
28 May 1971 (UK)
|Recorded||July 1969, January 1970, early 1971|
|Genre||Indian devotional music|
In May 1971 an eponymously titled album was released by Radha Krishna Temple (London) on Apple Records produced by George Harrison, featuring devotional music. The album sleeve pictures the deities situated in the original temple from whom the Temple name derives; these have now been moved to the ISKCON temple on Soho Square in London, where they are known as 'Radha-Londonishvara'.
Both "Hare Krishna Mantra" and "Govinda" had previously been released as singles. "Hare Krishna Mantra" backed by "Prayer to the Spiritual Masters" was issued on 22 August 1969 in the United States, and 29 August in Britain. After the single's surprise success in the UK (where it peaked at number 12), "Govinda" was released as a follow-up on 6 March 1970 (24 March in the United States), with "Govinda Jai Jai" – often spelled as "Govinda Jaya Jaya" – on the B-side. This second single likewise made the British top 30, peaking at number 23.
The band on the recordings consisted of Harrison on harmonium, guitar and bass; Tamal Krishna Goswami on flute; Harivilas, Yamuna, Jivananda, Lilavati and Yogesvara on lead vocals; and assembled Hare Krishna devotees on backing vocals, mridanga and kartals. In addition, Alan White played drums on the debut single, while John Barham supplied the orchestral arrangement for "Govinda". Mukunda Goswami (credited as Mukunda Das Adhikary), a musician, wrote the rest of the musical arrangements for the album.
The track "Govinda" is played every morning at all of the ISKCON temples around the world, to greet the deities. This was at the request of Srila Prabhupada. The album was later reissued as Goddess of Fortune on the Spiritual Sky record label. All royalties went to ISKCON. After an initial release on CD in 1993, The Radha Krsna Temple album was remastered and reissued in October 2010 as part of Apple's ongoing reissue campaign, and features in the box set Fresh from Apple Records. There have been six versions of Radha Krsna Temple, ten versions of the single, Hare Krsna Mantra, and six versions of the single, Govinda.
All songs were traditional, and arranged by Mukunda Das Adhikary.
- "Govinda" – 4:43
- "Sri Guruvastakam" – 3:12
- "Bhaja Bhakata-Arati" – 8:24
- "Hare Krsna Mantra" – 3:33
- "Sri Ishopanishad" – 4:03
- "Bhajahu Re Mana" – 8:53
- "Govinda Jaya Jaya" – 5:57
- Compact disc
- "Govinda" – 4:43
- "Sri Guruvastak" – 3:12
- "Bhaja Bhakata-Arotrika" – 8:24
- "Hare Krsna Mantra" – 3:33
- "Sri Ishopanishad" – 4:03
- "Bhajahu Re Mana" – 8:53
- "Govinda Jai Jai" – 5:57
- "Prayer to the Spiritual Masters" – 3:59 (bonus track on 1993 and 2010 releases)
- "Namaste Saraswati Devi" – 4:59 (bonus track on 2010 release)
- Cole & Dwayer 2007, p. 23
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), p. 267.
- "The Radha Krishna Temple", Apple Records (retrieved 6 March 2012).
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), p. 269.
- Beatles timeline, Mojo Special Limited Edition: Days of Revolution, February 2003, p. 114.
- Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, Continuum (New York, NY, 2006), p. 195.
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), pp. 267–68.
- This is recorded by Kulasekhara das in the interview on the link
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), p. 306.
- Radha Krsna Temple at AllMusic
- "Temple | Radha Krishna Temple ISKCON London". Iskcon-london.org. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 79.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 86.
- Harry Castleman & Walter J. Podrazik, All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975, Ballantine Books (New York, NY, 1976), p. 202.
- The Radha-Krishna Temple Album [Produced by George Harrison], Hare Krishna Store ()
- For full discography of Radha Krsna Temple, see: "Radha Krsna Temple, the Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- Goswami, Satsvarupa dasa (2002), Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Vol 1-2, Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, pp. vol.1 1133 pages vol.2 1191 pages, ISBN 0-89213-357-0
- Ekstrand, Maria; Bryant, Edwin H. (2004), The Hare Krishna movement: the postcharismatic fate of a religious transplant, New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-12256-X
- Cole, Richard; Dwayer, Graham (2007), The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change, London: I. B. Tauris, ISBN 1-84511-407-8
- Warwick, Neil; Brown, Tony; Kutner, Jon (2004), The complete book of the British charts: singles & albums (3 ed.), Omnibus Press, ISBN 1-84449-058-0
- Purchase the Radha-Krishna Temple Album
- Radha Krsna Temple London (from Cosmic Empire)
- Radha Krishna Temple Discography
- George Harrison & Srila Prabhupada
- George Harrison at Bhaktivedanta Manor
- Apple Records website