New AmErykah and the death of the Maharishi

Album cover courtesy of Okayplayer.com

When I found out Erykah Badu has a new album entitled New AmErykah being released this month, I got so excited I think I posted the YouTube link to the video of her new single "Honey" on any Facebook wall or away message I could think of. It's the only song I've heard off the album so far, but if I know anything about Ms. Badu is that she never ceases to amaze me. I don't know how many other artists can really pull off the whole neo-soul/hip-hop thing, plus the new video makes me want to quit my job and work at a record store where all the album covers have Erykah Badu on them.

"Honey" is a real upbeat, fun track that right now I can't seem to get enough of.


When I was in India this past semester on a pseudo-study-abroad trip, I encountered the Maharishi's teachings while in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala (the site of the Tibetan Government in exile), and again in Rishikesh, one of the many famous spiritual havens in India. Both Rishikesh and Dharamsala are higher in elevation than most of India, as they are in the Himalayan foothills, but Rishikesh is located on the banks of the Northern Ganges, the holiest river in Hindu tradition. There, as opposed to Varanasi (Benares), the Ganges isn't so dirty, as dead bodies aren't burned on pyres and then swept into the river.

While in Rishikesh, I spent a lot of time doing yoga, meditations, &c. Your typical Westerner-seeking-enlightenment stuff, I guess. The whole time I kept asking myself WHY the West was so infatuated with Eastern spirituality during the height of Beatlemania. Though most ashrams and gurus don't have much celebrity support these days (except maybe Richard Gere if he's ever allowed back into the country), Westerners and Israelis alike flock to these places to relax and revitalize for a nominal fee (though the Rupee isn't the world's strongest currency). I have no explanation as to why, but I think a lot of Eastern philosophers and gurus may have caught onto something when they started sitting still instead of leading inquisitions. 

With the death of the Maharishi, it's possible a more publicized revival will come about, making celebrities flock again to India to fill their spiritual void. But who these days has the same success the Beatles had that might go over there? Can you imagine The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Wilco in orange homespuns?

BBC - Indian guru Maharishi Yogi dies

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