Its curious how certain things show up in groups. A friend of mine sent me a batch of old photos. With them was a scanned letter:
“Thank you for your letter and kind thoughts. When you read that we are in India ‘searching’ for peace etc, it is not that we need faith in God and Jesus – we have full faith in them; it is only as if you went to stay with Billy Graham for a short time – it just so happens that our guru (‘teacher’) is Indian – ? ? [torn] is more natural then for us to come to India – his home. He also holds courses in Europe and America – and we will probably go to some of these as well – to learn – and to be near him.
Transcendental Meditation is not opposed to any religion – it is based on the basic truths of all religions – the common denominator. Jesus said ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ – and he meant just that – ‘the Kingdom of heaven is at hand‘ – not in some far distant time – or after death – but now. Meditation takes the mind down to that level of consciousness which is Absolute Bliss (Heaven) and through constant contact with that state – ‘the peace that surpasseth all understanding’ – one gradually becomes established in that state even when one is not meditating. All this gives one actual experience of God – not by detachment or renunciation – when Jesus was fasting etc in the desert 40 days and nights he would have been doing some form of meditation – not just sitting in the sand and praying – although meditating is a form of prayer. I hope what I have said makes sense to you – I sure it will to a true christian – which I try to be with all sincerity – it does not prevent me from acknowledging Budda – Mohamed – and all the great men of God. God Bless You – jai guru dev.
with Love. John Lennon”
The aerogram was undated and the postmark illegible. It was addressed to a woman in England from Rishikesh, India so would have been in the spring of 1968. Their time there was amongst their most prolific resulting in the double White Album. And later, Across the Universe. Paul Horn, Donovan, and Mike Love of the Beach Boys also wrote memorable songs there.
I’ve recently received several emails reminding me of John’s billboards declaring “War Is Over! If You Want It.” Last summer, Yoko Ono put up a single one in the same style, “Imagine Peace” as part of an exhibit of their Year of Peace. In the fall of 2007, the Imagine Peace Tower was unveiled in Iceland on what would have been John’s 67th birthday.