George Harrison: What Did the Hindu Beatle Think of Jesus?

Many fans of The Beatles know that George Harrison was a devout Hindu. During interviews, the quiet Beatle also had a lot to say about Jesus. For example, George believed Jesus spent lots of time in India and that there’s one crucial difference between the average person and Christ. Notably, George produced a famous film that some Christians find offensive.

The quiet Beatle felt believed a theory about Jesus that goes back to the 1800s

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, George said he subscribed to an old theory that Jesus went to India. “The West always had this problem about the East, but Christ was from the East,” George noted. “[I believe] Christ spent ages in India, and even after, when he was wherever he was — Jerusalem or wherever — it’s still more East than Paris.”

The idea that Jesus spent ages in India originated in the 1894 book Life of Saint Issa by Nicolas Notovitch. The book said Jesus learned spiritual concepts from Hindus and Buddhists before returning to Israel. This theory was subsequently explored in media such as the film In Search of Historic Jesus and Christopher Moore’s humorous novel Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal.

What The Beatles’ George Harrison felt made Jesus different from others

According to the book George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters, George also discussed Jesus’ divinity. Christians often believe that Jesus was divine while other religions, such as Islam and the Baháʼí faith, teach that he was a very important prophet. George believed Jesus stood out from others because he was able to recognize the divinity in himself that we all share. 

“Christ was the one washing the leper’s feet so he was very, very humble, but it’s not the way they’re putting it down now,” George opined. “They feel as though God is that up there and they are that down there and they don’t realize that they are God and that Christ was exactly the same as us but he realizes that he was God. That’s all it is, we’re God too but we don’t realize it.”

George Harrison produced a film that offended some Christians

George’s relationship to Jesus extended into his art. George produced the satirical film Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The movie satirizes elements of the gospels. Some Christians took offense to the film. According to the book Mystical One: George Harrison After the Break-Up of The Beatles, George said he had great respect for Christ and that the film was meant to poke fun at religious folks who misinterpret their faiths.

Regardless of whether Monty Python’s Life of Brian is offensive or not, the movie found an audience. According to Box Office Mojo, Monty Python’s Life of Brian earned over $140,000 during the opening weekend. It ultimately made over $19 million. George had great respect for Jesus and he helped create a classic religious satire.

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