How a lonely backpacker met The Beatles in India

THE BEATLES famously spent time in India, studying under yogis who helped them on various spiritual journeys. One man, on meeting them, told the story of his time with The Beatles.

PUBLISHED: 15:09, Wed, Oct 7, 2020 | UPDATED: 15:09, Wed, Oct 7, 2020

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The Beatles are known for their love of Indian music, especially George Harrison who collaborated with Ravi Shankar on a number of occasions. John Lennon also studied under yogis, with his bandmates, to help them find spiritual guidance and enlightenment. One man, Paul Saltzman, told the story of how he met The Beatles as a heartbroken man, struggling with loss.


The Beatles famously spent time studying in India, attempting to find spiritual enlightenment or further spiritual connection.

However, this journey was not for them something which they enjoyed, and later the members spoke out about their feelings about the course.

In February 1968, the group left the UK to travel to Rishikesh, India, to meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

He ran an ashram in the city, and The Beatles arrived to take part in his three-month meditation course.

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The Beatles in IndiaThe Beatles in India (Image: Getty)

The Beatles learning sitarThe Beatles learning sitar (Image: Getty)

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Spiritually, the band members spoke of their feelings fairly openly after the retreat, which Sir Paul McCartney later named a ‘mistake.’

However, despite this, their time in India was very creative and they wrote a huge number of songs, many of which appeared on The White Album which was released in November 1968.

However, there was one man who marked this time as a very important one in his own life, director Paul Saltzman.

Paul was 23-years-old when he arrived in India, at which point he discovered his girlfriend had died, leaving him devastated and in mourning.

His backpacking excursion took him to the ashram, as his pain led him to seek refuge in spirituality.

The Beatles and entourage with the yogiThe Beatles and entourage with

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