Posts Tagged ‘Dear Prudence’

Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

December 21, 2014

See the full article with more photos and quotes featured in the 21st issue of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation® Magazine: The “Dear Prudence” Story by Rolf Erickson. Reprinted here with permission including the video: Dear Prudence: A Portrait Of Prudence Farrow Bruns.

The “Dear Prudence” Story

BY ROLF ERICKSON

photo_prudence01Prudence Farrow Bruns, PhD, is the daughter of actress Maureen O’Sullivan and award-winning writer/director, John Farrow. She has been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for 48 years, and has been a teacher of the TM program for 46 years.

It all started so simply. It was 1966, and 18-year-old Prudence Farrow was sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at her brother’s home in Los Angeles. She was reading a book on meditation when she heard a voice say, “If you’re interested in meditation, I know just the meditation for you.”

The voice was that of Peter Wallace, a friend of her brother. Peter had spent six months traveling through India, where he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and began the Transcendental Meditation technique. He told her how simple and effortless the technique was, and yet how profound the experience and benefits could be.

“It was the simplicity of the practice that struck me most,” Prudence said. “I’d been trying different methods of meditation for some time, but they had all been complicated and difficult. When Peter described a simple, natural practice of diving deep within, I knew he was truly onto something.”

So Prudence learned the TM technique at UCLA. After experiencing the positive effects of TM for herself, Prudence wanted more. She wanted to meet Maharishi and to study with him. “At that time Maharishi had courses in India,” says Prudence. “He brought people there, and they studied for three or four months with him. You meditated for long periods under his guidance.”

On January 23, 1968, three days after her 20th birthday, Prudence traveled with Maharishi from New York to Rishikesh, India to attend her TM teacher training course. And that’s when the “Dear Prudence” story really began.

The Beatles Make the Scene

One month after Prudence arrived in Rishikesh, The Beatles showed up to study with Maharishi. While they all spent some time there, John Lennon and George Harrison stayed the longest.

“The Beatles were all very nice, humble, modest, kind, and down-to-earth people,” Prudence remembers. “I was closest to John and George, since they were my ‘course buddies’ during our studies with Maharishi. We were supposed to look out for each other during the course.”

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Prudence (left) sat next to Ringo in course photo.

Prudence soon became known for her tendency to keep to herself in her room, focused on her meditation practice. “I was deeply immersed in my studies and meditation, locked away in my quarters. John, as my course buddy, was concerned and wanted to bring me out of my room to enjoy the experience more.”

John and George would come over to her room and play their guitars, encouraging her to come out and sing with them. It was this experience that became the inspiration for their song “Dear Prudence” in which John sings, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?”

Before he left Rishikesh, George mentioned to Prudence that they had written a song about her, but she had no idea what it was. She didn’t hear the song until it came out on their 1968 album The Beatles, commonly known as the “White Album.”

Prudence’s dedication to her meditation practice did pay off. After four months, she graduated from the course and became one of the first and youngest teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique at that time.

But that was just the beginning of the “Dear Prudence” story.

Prudence Comes out to Play

Once she completed her teacher training course in India, Prudence definitely did come out to play. Over the past 46 years, she’s instructed thousands of people in the TM technique throughout the United States and Canada. She married TM teacher Al Bruns in 1969, and they have three children and four grandchildren.

She’s produced Hollywood feature films and a play in Manhattan. She was an assistant to the curator of the “Theatre Collection” of the Museum of the City of New York. She has been a magazine writer. She’s written two books.

Prudence earned a BA, an MA, and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her doctoral degree in 2007, with a major in South Asian Studies and Sanskrit. She has made presentations to conferences at numerous universities, including Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Hawaii. She’s taught courses at UC Berkeley and Rutgers University.

TM and Yoga

Prudence continues to teach the TM program in Florida. In fact, she’s the most successful teacher in the U.S. at setting up Affiliate Programs in yoga studios. Maybe that’s not so surprising, considering that she’s a lifelong yoga practitioner, and she opened a yoga institute in Boston back in 1967.

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Prudence attended India’s Kumbh Mela last year.

Maharishi Foundation created the Affiliate Program to bring TM to yoga studios and fitness centers. When a studio becomes an Affiliate, their members can learn TM at a reduced course fee, and the studio receives a share of the income. Everyone benefits—the new TM student, the yoga studio, and the local TM teachers.

Today most people think of yoga as a series of physical postures. But Maharishi has explained that in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali identifies eight limbs of yoga, and the eighth limb is Samadhi or transcendental consciousness. Maharishi said that with the practice of TM, Samadhi is actually the easiest limb of yoga to achieve, since no effort is required. We simply tap into the natural tendency of the mind to go within, to transcend, and that transcendence nourishes and supports all the other limbs.

“I do think that Transcendental Meditation is—of the meditations that are available to us—the most direct, and the simplest,” says Prudence. “When you meditate, when you transcend, it allows your heart and mind to balance. And when they’re balanced, that’s when you are really healthy. You are happy. You’re happy mentally, happy emotionally, and happy spiritually. Those three are all components of what make a human being, so that connection to transcendence is absolutely necessary for health.”

Creating a Better World

Fortunately for us all, Prudence did come out to play.

“The years of meditating have enriched my life so much,” Prudence says. “And that’s why at this point in my life, I’m giving back. We need a better world. We need people to be more conscious, to be more evolved. And expanding the mind, like TM does, is absolutely vital to bring about stronger people. If you can strengthen people inside, you’ve changed the world.”

So even today, 48 years later, the “Dear Prudence” story continues.

[In July 2018, this article was updated and published in Enjoy TM News.]

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Last year, Prudence Farrow Bruns participated in a series of Consciousness Talks at Maharishi University of Management, called Our Conscious Future. Here is a clip from her talk where she discusses a conversation she had with George Harrison about his spiritual awakening. Prudence, George and John Lennon said they felt it was happening to many in their generation, and that it would continue long after they were gone. Listen to Prudence describe The “Dear Prudence” Story. For other fascinating presentations, visit ConsciousnessTalks.org.

Years later, The Beatles released many versions of their songs on the 50th Anniversary of The White Album, now out on Spotify, which include The Esher Tapes. There are 3 versions of Dear Prudence there: the Esher version of John Lennon singing on guitar; one of just vocal, guitar, and drums; and the 2018 mix.

Another beautiful song that John Lennon wrote about his experience with Transcendental Meditation was, Across the Universe. Spotify included John Lennon on guitar singing Across The Universe–Take 6.

This article was also published in GGN: World Peace News. Here are some related videos and interviews with Prudence Farrow Bruns: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM and Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi and Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song. Listen to an interview with Prudence about the book online at Spirit Matters with Dennis Raimondi and Philip Goldberg. Read an interview about the book in Rolling Stone: The Real ‘Dear Prudence’ on Meeting Beatles in India. Read this excellent article in the Pensacola News Journal: Woman behind Beatles ‘Dear Prudence’ reads at Open Books. Here is another interview: In Conversation With: Prudence F. Bruns, Transcendental Meditation Teacher and Inspiration Behind “Dear Prudence”. Prudence Farrow Bruns | Conversations with Jeff Weeks | WSRE Pensacola PBS.

Watch the A&E biographical film, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007) and the earlier CBC documentary of Maharishi at Lake Louise. TMhome also posted the International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: How it was made: The story behind the film.

Watch this November 8, 2018 Lyndsey Parker interview for Yahoo Music: Mike Love remembers ‘beautiful, spiritual’ beginnings of the Beatles’ ‘White Album’ in India.

Read The Story Behind ‘Dear Prudence’ by Jennie McKeon, Dec 23, 2018, for wuwf 88.1, NPR for Florida’s Great Northwest.

The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM

September 6, 2013

Dear Prudence: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns

Enjoy this video portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, the inspiration for the Beatles song “Dear Prudence”. Prudence discusses her personal journey, meditating with the Beatles in India, the transformation her generation tried to bring about in the world, and the change that can only come from within through Transcendental Meditation.

Directed, shot and edited by Kryshan Randel, music by Mike Pellarin, produced by David Shaw for iTranscend TM, a concept created by Ashley Cooper. For more information on Transcendental Meditation, visit these websites: http://maharishi.ca (Canada) and http://www.tm.org (USA).

Visit the newly launched Dear Prudence Foundation and click on About Prudence to read about her journey and why she set up a foundation: http://dearprudencefoundation.org.

See these other interviews with Prudence: 1) Amitava Sanyal, Allahabad, for BBC News India: Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela, and two videos: 2) Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi, and 3) MicCameraAction: PRUDENCE FARROW BRUNS.

Other iTranscend TM Portraits

Another video portrait made by Canadian filmmaker Kryshan Randel is about Paralympian Daniel Westley. Westley had represented Canada in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. As Paralympic Games grew, Daniel went on to participate in both the summer and winter games in a wide range of sports that included everything from wheelchair racing to skiing. Read this inspiring story: Meditation key to finding balance for Paralympian Daniel Westley — special to The Vancouver Sun, which contains the video, Physical Meditation: A Portrait Of Daniel Westley.

Both videos appear on the iTranscend TM YouTube channel series along with other heartfelt testimonials from new meditators, meditators dicussing meditation, and portraits of veteran meditators — people from all walks of life telling their stories — a physiotherapist, bakery story owner, musician, students, sharing how they are realizing their potential through the profound life-changing benefits of their Transcendental Meditation practice. And this video is an edited composite of some celebrities talking about the value of meditation, TM, in their lives: iTranscend Hollywood.

See: Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song.

Read this excellent article in the Pensacola News Journal: Woman behind Beatles ‘Dear Prudence’ reads at Open Books.

Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi

June 9, 2013

This wonderful interview is also available from on Vimeo. Retired TV journalist Ted Henry conducts interviews with spiritual people for Souljourns. Last month he interviewed Prudence Bruns Farrow. You can also see the interview on their Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/67166559. Here is their introduction to the video:

From the very beginning Prudence Farrow Bruns recognized an added layer or texture to her life, a spiritual dimension that would take her deep within.

She was among the first in the West to become initiated into Transcendental Meditation and in the mid sixties she traveled to Rishikesh, India to learn to become a TM teacher. Her own teacher in India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who is credited for bringing TM to the world.

In India with her at this time, her sister and acclaimed actress, Mia Farrow, The Beatles, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Donovan and others.

Prudence and her husband, Albert Bruns who is also a TM instructor, live in Seagrove along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida.

The interview was recorded in Seagrove, Florida in May, 2013.

See this related BBC news item: Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela. And this video: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM.

Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A Thousand Mornings

March 16, 2013

I previously posted Mary Oliver’s poem, Praying, and Philip Goldberg emailed me to say that someone recently showed him the last poem in her new collection (A Thousand Mornings). He said, “It’s called ‘Varanasi,’ and it’s exquisite.” I started looking for it and found the poem posted by another poet, Bob Arnold, on his website. After reading it I agreed – it’s stunning! That’s why I’m posting it here for you to enjoy. I also came across a musical video of the poem with images from the Ganges. After you’ve read the poem, see Diane Walker’s poetic reaction to it below. But take a break from this busy introduction, and then enjoy the enlightened peaceful simplicity of Mary Oliver’s visit to Varanasi.

VARANASI

Early in the morning we crossed the ghat,

where fires were still smoldering,

and gazed, with our Western minds, into the Ganges.

A woman was standing in the river up to her waist;

she was lifting handfuls of water and spilling it

over her body, slowly and many times,

as if until there came some moment

of inner satisfaction between her own life and the river’s.

Then she dipped a vessel she had brought with her

and carried it filled with water back across the ghat,

no doubt to refresh some shrine near where she lives,

for this is the holy city of Shiva, maker

of the world, and this is his river.

I can’t say much more, except that it all happened

in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt

like that bliss of a certainty and a life lived

in accordance with that certainty.

I must remember this, I thought, as we fly back

to America.

Pray God I remember this.

_______________________

Mary Oliver
A Thousand Mornings
(Penguin, 2012)

Now read this beautiful poetic reaction to the poem, Mary Oliver’s Varanasi, that Diane Walker, a contemplative photographer, posted on her website.

Among the NPR Poetry series is this interview ‘A Thousand Mornings’ With Poet Mary Oliver. You can also read the transcript here. I especially love this remark she makes about poetry:

“One thing I do know is that poetry, to be understood, must be clear. It mustn’t be fancy. I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are – they sort of tap dance through it. I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary shouldn’t be in a poem.”

Enjoy this wonderful Maria Shriver Interview With Mary Oliver.

See this remembrance of Mary Oliver with links to more of her poems.

Speaking of another famous American visiting the Ganges, see Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela.

 

Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela

February 23, 2013

Beatles song muse visits India’s Kumbh Mela
By Amitava Sanyal, Allahabad, for BBC News India
February 21, 2013 | Last updated at 06:37 ET

Prudence Farrow at Kumbh Mela
Prudence Farrow says the Beatles were “real people”

The subject of a Beatles song is among the many foreign pilgrims visiting India’s Kumbh Mela festival.

Prudence Farrow, about whom John Lennon wrote the song Dear Prudence, is also sister of Hollywood actor Mia Farrow.

The Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years, is billed as the world’s biggest gathering of humanity.

Millions of Hindu ascetics and pilgrims take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad city.

Ms Farrow says she waited for four decades to come to the Kumbh Mela.

She had first visited India in 1968 as a student of meditation and met the Beatles at Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat in Rishikesh.

“I wanted to come to the Kumbh with the Maharishi, but that never happened,” she told the BBC. Her guru died in 2008.

This year Ms Farrow finally made it to the Kumbh Mela with her husband Albert Bruns.

‘Exotic’

“India has changed so much since I first came here,” says Ms Farrow, 65, sitting in the brightly-painted porch of her rented flat in Allahabad.

“Back then it was exotic. We were staying in the forest outside Rishikesh. Life was quite agricultural even in the cities.

“There were animals on the road, there were very few telephones and there was hardly any electricity where we were staying.”

Ms Farrow says she was in for a shock when she first arrived at the festival ground last month.

At first, she insisted on staying in one of the tens of thousands of tents that have been put up on the banks of the river.

Ms Farrow, who has a doctoral degree in South Asian studies and runs foundations to promote meditation, says she was in search of “an inner silence”.

But, ironically, the blare of three loudspeakers every morning at the festival grounds shattered her peace and she shifted into the city.

This was, she says, in sharp contrast to the peaceful times she spent with her sister Mia at her guru’s retreat in Rishikesh in 1968.

At the retreat, the Farrow sisters met the Beatles.

“Because of Mia there were too many people coming in and out of our block,” says Ms Farrow.

“And then in the evenings George Harrison would jam with John Lennon and others would join in. I wasn’t getting the silence.

“People said: ‘You are being too fanatical, you should come out.’ Yes, I was extreme because I thought it was a privileged time. I still think it was the most important time in my life.”

So while the rest of the students partied, Ms Farrow says she locked herself up in her room and practised meditation.

That is when, she says, Lennon, wrote the song Dear Prudence, which appears on the band’s White Album.

DEAR PRUDENCE

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play

Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day

The sun is up, the sky is blue

It’s beautiful and so are you

Opening verses of Dear Prudence, written by John Lennon

The song’s hand-written lyrics, lined with doodles, sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 1987 for $19,500 (£12,800).

“The reason he wrote I was beautiful – and there were much more beautiful people around – was because I was so much like George,” says Ms Farrow.

“George and I were there for very much the same reasons – we were both very spiritual and we wanted to find a solution for ourselves and the world. George would say that through his music he wanted to help people become more settled, more quiet and more sensitive.”

Ms Farrow says she did not want to meet the Beatles as “great people never lived up to their image”.

Did they disappoint her?

“What didn’t disappoint me was that they were still real people. They weren’t more important than anybody else,” says Ms Farrow.

“Fame has that quality – it corrupts you. You begin to feel that you’re separate from other people, you’re more powerful. But they didn’t have that.

“They were going through the same things as we were. That’s why they were the voice of the times.”

Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-21530477

See the Dear Prudence Foundation http://dearprudencefoundation.org

For information on Maharishi and his Transcendental Meditation technique visit: http://www.tm.org/maharishi

Also see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007)

See: Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

Here is a related post: Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A Thousand Mornings.

See Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi, and an interview with PRUDENCE FARROW BRUNS by MicCameraAction after her return from the Kumbh Mela. She talks about her time with Maharishi and the Beatles in India and her new Dear Prudence Foundation to make Transcendental Meditation available to those who want it but need a scholarship to help pay for it. And this video: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM.

This is a funny video of Prudence’s sister, Mia Farrow: Dear Prudence.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song.

Here’s a photo of Prudence and Albert getting ready to bathe in the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela. I’ve never seen them looking so happy!

Prudence and Albert getting ready to bathe in the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela


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