Ex-Beatles Ashes To Be Scattered In India's River Ganges

July 7, 2008 - 8:03 PM

New Delhi (CNSNews.com) - Last rites for former Beatle George Harrison will be carried out in India with the immersion of his ashes in the Ganges River, a spokesman for the Hare Krishna movement said here on Monday.

"Our London office has informed us that George Harrison's family along with two devotees of the Hare Krishna movement would be flying to India for the immersion of his ashes in Varanasi," the spokesman said.

Harrison, who discovered eastern mysticism in the 1960s, died of cancer in Los Angeles last week, at the age of 58. Known as "the quiet Beatle," he was the youngest of the members of the most famous rock band in history.

A crazed fan gunned down John Lennon in 1980. The surviving two former band members are Ringo Star and Paul McCartney.

Baluji (ONE NAME), a devotee of the Hare Krishna Movement, said by phone from Varanasi, a pilgrim town in northern Uttar Pradesh state, that Harrison wished his ashes be scattered at the confluence of the Ganges and two other rivers, considered the holiest spot for Hindus.

Hindus believe having one's ashes scattered there washes away all sins and frees the body from the chain of life.

A Hare Krishna devotee in New Delhi, Swami Haridas said Harrison had visited Varanasi for a dip in the Ganges three months ago when he realized that his death was not far off.

Members of the group are planning to set up a memorial for Harrison in Vrindavan, the birthplace of Krishna, a Hindu deity.

Vrindavan is celebrated in Rising Son, one of the songs Harrison had been working on before his death.

Saeed Naqvi, an Indian journalist, recalled Harrison as "very earnest and serious" about meditation.

Ratnottama Sengupta, arts editor of The Times of India, described him as "one of the first important musicians from the West recognized by Indians."

A few years back, the ashes of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia were also scattered in the Ganges.