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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 14, 1968

Leaving India... While waiting for their taxis to arrive, Lennon wrote the song "Maharishi", which was later renamed "Sexy Sadie" because Harrison advised Lennon that was potentially libellous. In a 1974 interview, Lennon said that they were convinced that the delay in the taxis' arrival was orchestrated by locals loyal to the Maharishi, and this paranoia was exacerbated by the presence of "the mad Greek". According to Cynthia Lennon, when the group walked past the Maharishi on the way to their taxis, he looked "very biblical and isolated in his faith". Jenny Boyd later wrote: "Poor Maharishi. I remember him standing at the gate of the ashram, under an aide's umbrella, as the Beatles filed by, out of his life. 'Wait,' he cried. 'Talk to me.' But no one listened.

After leaving the ashram, the taxis kept breaking down, leading the Beatles to wonder if the Maharishi had placed a curse on them. The car that the Lennons were in suffered a flat tyre and the driver left them, apparently to find a replacement tyre, but did not return for hours. After it grew dark, the Lennons hitched a ride to Delhi. They then took the first available flight back to London, during which John drunkenly recounted a litany of his numerous infidelities to Cynthia. Harrison was not ready to return to London and face running Apple and the band's other commitments. In her autobiography, Boyd writes: "Instead, we went to see Ravi Shankar and lost ourselves in his music." Harrison said when he got dysentery in Madras that he thought it might have been due to a spell cast by the Maharishi, but he recovered after Shankar gave him some amulets.

Cooke de Herrera, who remained a lifelong devotee to TM and an instructor to many celebrities, felt the contract with Four Star and presence of the film crew was the reason for the sudden departure of Harrison and Lennon. According to Chopra, the departure was at the request of the Maharishi, due to his disapproval of the Beatles and their entourage taking drugs: "[The Maharishi] lost his temper with them. He asked them to leave, and they did in a huff."

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