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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 17:46 GMT
Ganges vigil for Harrison over
The River Ganges is sacred to Hindus
The River Ganges is sacred to Hindus
Fans of George Harrison, who hoped to see his ashes scattered into the River Ganges in India, have ended their vigil.

Orthodox Hindus believe that ashes must be sprinkled in one of India's holy rivers within 13 days of death and the deadline is Wednesday.

The Hari Krishna moment still say the ashes will be scattered in the river, but now admit they do not know when.

The former Beatle died from lung cancer on 29 November.

Harrison, a long-time devotee of Hare Krishna, died aged 58 and was cremated in a cardboard coffin hours after his death, in keeping with his adopted Eastern faith.

Harrison had a long relationship with India
Harrison had a long relationship with India
Media and fans from around the world flocked to Varanasi, Allahabad, Rishikesh and other holy cities.

A senior official at the International Society for Hare Krishna claimed Harrison's wife and son would eventually come, but said it would probably be a private ceremony.

It was reported in the Sunday Times newspaper that his family had asked for a licence to bring his ashes to Lugano, Switzerland, where he had moved into a new house in the summer.

Influence

Harrison had a long and intimate relationship with Indian music, religion and culture.

In 1966, after the Beatles had stopped touring, Harrison came to India to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar.

As a strong believer in the Krishna sect Harrison would have been familiar with the ritual of immersion.

But he also had an older, more profound link with the Ganges.

It runs through the retreat of a Hindu spiritual guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in the Himalayan town of Rishikesh, where Harrison had his first brush with Hinduism in the 1960s.

People are rediscovering Harrison's music
People are rediscovering Harrison's music
It was here that he began his spiritual discovery of Eastern mysticism, which eventually led him to his involvement with the Krishna movement.

Record company bosses are still deciding when to re-release his number one hit, My Sweet Lord.

The song was originally a hit in 1971, making him the first former Beatle to have a solo number one.

EMI said they were going to honour Harrison by bringing out the song after pressure from a British tabloid newspaper.

It hit the top spot on both sides of the Atlantic in January 1971, and appeared on Harrison's most successful solo album, All Things Must Pass.

See also:

17 Mar 00 | C-D
Lung Cancer
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