Recently, ISKCON spiritual master Mukunda Goswami was featured in the documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World. The film was directed by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, and was premiered on the HBO TV channel on the 5th and 6th of October. The documentary follows the ex-Beatle on his spiritual quest, shedding light on many things, including his relationship with the Hare Krishna devotees. In the film Mukunda Goswami, one of George`s devotee friends, shares his memories about the ex-Beatle and the devotees recording the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, which later became a hit in the UK and all over the world.
Following is ISKCON News` exclusive interview with Mukunda Goswami about the filming and his relationship with ex-Beatle George Harrison.
ISKCON News: Please tell us about the filming. Who suggested that you should be included?
Mukunda Goswami: It was George`s wife, Olivia Harrison who suggested I be interviewed in the film. George`s family has kept in contact with me, even after George left this planet in 2001. The shooting took place in May 2009 in Australia, and it lasted for about an hour. Martin Scorsese himself was not there, but the production team had sent a crew of seven. They were friendly, and seemed to like prasadam very much. The married couple from New York went to Govinda`s Restaurant in Burleigh Heads, New South Wales, Australia. That restaurant is owned by ISKCON New Govardhana.
George and the devotees, Mukunda Goswami is on George`s right
ISKCON News: What is your fondest moment of your friendship with George?
Mukunda Goswami: When he did the interview for the BBT publication called “Chant, and Be Happy.” I remember, Ramesvara prabhu "twisted my arm" to do this. George did not want to do it at first. I talked with him for half an hour on the telephone, finally convincing him to do the interview. The interview was conducted at his home -- Friar Park -- in Henley-on-Thames, England in about September of 1982. He seemed quite relaxed. It was special to me because I think we both knew it was going to be flung out to the public and I found myself saying things I'd thought I'd never be saying to him. I had my journalist's hat on, such that our personal friendship was sort of being temporarily set aside.
ISKCON News: Did you two keep contact since the Hare Krishna recording?
Mukunda Goswami: Yes, but it was quite sporadic. It was more in the realm of checking in than discussing specifics. One time I was there when he went to Vrindavana. He seemed to really like it there.
ISKCON News: When was the last time you two were in touch?
Mukunda Goswami: I last saw him in 2001, when he was dying of cancer in a secret location.
ISKCON News: How did Prabhupada interact with George?
Mukunda Goswami: As a father to a son. George said Prabhupada was a “lovely man,” and Prabhupada sometimes referred to George as a "very nice boy". Prabhupada seemed to have a very high opinion of George. They met several times.
ISKCON News: It seems, George was obviously sincere about his spiritual practice but was intentionally not exclusive in his allegiance to teachers or paths. Why do you think he chose to be like that?
Mukunda Goswami: He liked eastern philosophy, but seemed more philosophically convinced about Sankarite-ism --impersonalism as opposed to Mayavadism. Also, he was dedicated to Maharishi. Despite all that, he was attracted to Krishna and His devotees, most probably, because we were about his age, so he could easily relate to us. He seemed to have had really good karma and/or devotee association in previous lives.
George and the devotees in Vrindavan
ISKCON News: What do you think George`s main contribution to ISKCON`s mission was?
Mukunda Goswami: I think his main contribution can be seen as twofold. First, having the singing of “Hare Krishna” as part of the “My Sweet Lord” recording; and second, maintaining a connection with the Krishna-conscious Movement up until his death.
ISKCON News: What do you think George`s main contribution to the world was?
Mukunda Goswami: Making it a bit more Krishna-conscious.
The interview with Mukunda Goswami in the Scorsese-film can be viewed here: