Paul Horn, Maharishi, and Taj Mahal
July 15, 2013
In an interview to The Snapshots Music and Art Foundation, the late Paul Horn shed light on the origin of his famous album Inside. That landmark project of New Age music – a series of recordings undertaken at places of spiritual importance – was born one night in 1968 under the enormous dome of Taj Mahal.
And the practice of Transcendental Meditation played no small role in the events…
Paul Horn: “To make a long story short I met Maharishi, I began meditating because I read books about it– I’ve always been interested in philosophy, especially Eastern Philosophy, and it always mentioned meditation. But I didn’t know how to meditate, the books didn’t tell you how to meditate, and I was sitting down trying to meditate and it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t comfortable, and I would say, “Well this isn’t for me, I can’t sit still.” Well then I met this man, who had a reproach that it was simple. So I said I’d like to hear about that and learn it, which I did, and it was simple and it is simple, and I did begin to feel a change in my life, an inner change starting to happen. I was lighter, less angry, less frustrated, and less unhappy. So I started to notice things in my daily life that reflected my meditating and I wound up going to India, and being on a teacher-training course about a year after I started meditating, and that was the year before the Beatles came on the scene. I became a teacher of TM, or Transcendental Meditation, and my whole life changed.
I just felt entirely different, I was happy, I wasn’t involved in my career, in fact I hardly played my flute! I brought it to India with me, but I hardly touched it. I really didn’t feel like playing music too much anymore. And I rather not worry about that, I was just happy to be happy. And then the next year, well it was a little bit later that year, I went back to Los Angeles and the Beatles happened to come on the scene and that whole world knew about Maharishi and meditating, and the Beatles were going to India. I had already put into motion a documentary idea I had about filming Maharishi and doing a documentary on meditation, and his presentation and going back to India, I had a film crew and everything going over there, and it just happened to coincide with when the Beatles were there.
A famous night in Taj Mahal
So that’s when everything changed, and during that filming, I went to the Taj Mahal to film, that was part of the documentary, some background shots of India, and obviously the Taj Mahal was going to be one of those places that’s the most famous. Of all the wonderful places in India, that’s one of the known wonders of the world. So I went in there and it was an unbelievable reverberation in there—I had a sound-man with me, he was part of the crew and I was the producer of this film. And we went in there one night just to see if we could play some notes and the guard at first wasn’t very receptive and didn’t want me to play in there, but it was getting late at night and he didn’t stop me, so I started to play a couple notes and stopped and the sound went up in there and just hung there forever, in what seemed to be that big marble dome, which is 90 feet high and 60 feet wide, and all solid marble and so the sound is unbelievable.”
To listen to the audio file of the interview, visit the website of Snapshots Music and Art Foundation