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Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 11:20 GMT
Confusion over Harrison ceremony
The River Ganges is sacred to Hindus
The River Ganges is sacred to Hindus
Vigils have been held for a third day for George Harrison on the banks of India's River Ganges, but there is still uncertainty over where the former Beatle's ashes will be scattered.

Officials of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) said that Harrison's widow Olivia and son Dhani were to arrive in India on Tuesday or Wednesday.

They have not been seen in the area yet and local police officials say they have been told nothing about any ceremony.

The former Beatle lost his battle against cancer last Thursday and news of his death prompted worldwide mourning.

Harrison had a long relationship with India
Harrison had a long relationship with India
India's Varanasi city police Inspector-General Vikram Singh said he thought the ceremony was a "creation of the media".

"As far as the administration is concerned, I don't think there's anything happening because normally any important people would seek official assistance even for a private ritual," he said.

Hare Krishna official Arajit Das said that despite an earlier suggestion the ashes would be scattered from Allahabad, where the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers converge, he was unaware of plans to hold any ceremony.

"Whatever I can tell you is on the basis of newspaper reports because there's no communication either from our offices in Delhi or London, who are equally clueless about any plans to bring Harrison's ashes to Varanasi for immersion," he said.

People are rediscovering Harrison's music
People are rediscovering Harrison's music
Elsewhere in the world, fans, friends and the family paid tribute to Harrison by taking part in a minute's meditation.

His family had requested that people gathered at 1330 Pacific Standard Time (2130GMT) to observe the silence on Monday.

Liverpool and London provided centres for fans in the UK to pay their respects, with vigils held outside St George's Hall and outside Abbey Road recording studios on Monday.

At Central Park's Strawberry Fields in New York, more than 200 people gathered to take part in the meditation and afterwards sang songs.

Sitar

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

He had a long and intimate relationship with Indian music, religion and culture, and had donated one of his studios, spread over 14 acres (5.5 hectares) in London, to the Hare Krishnas.

candles at Strawberry Fields
Candles were lit at New York's Strawberry Fields
In 1966, after the Beatles had stopped touring, Harrison came to India to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar.

Shankar was present during Harrison's final hours in California.

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.

Success

It was here that he began his spiritual discovery of Eastern mysticism, which eventually led him to his involvement with the Krishna movement.

His acclaimed album All Things Must Pass, from 1970, was heavily influenced by his time in India.

Harrison was the first Beatle after the band's split to have a number one single, with My Sweet Lord.

The album looks set to enter the top 40 on Sunday and British newspapers are calling for a re-release of the single in time for Christmas.

See also:

17 Mar 00 | C-D
Lung Cancer
03 Dec 01 | Music
Harrison set for UK top 40
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