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The Religious Affiliation of Guitarist
Larry Coryell


From: Charles D. Gerard, Spirit, Soul and New Religions (excerpt), Brooklyn, New York (1995) (http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/Dave/mclaughlin/misc/yoga.html; viewed 2 November 2005):
Although Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self Realization Fellowship, had been teaching yoga in the United States since he arrived in 1920, yoga did not become popular in this country until the nineteen-sixties. Among the most famous yoga teachers were the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Sri Chinmoy. Both the Maharishi and Chinmoy were associated with famous musicians: the former with the Beatles, the latter with three guitarists, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana. Because I am examining the jazz community, I will concentrate on Chinmoy and John McLaughlin. Sri Chinmoy is a teacher of yoga meditation and the founder of Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centres. He was born in India in 1931 with the name Chinmoy Kumar Ghose (Sri is an honorific title rather than a name). Chinmoy reached the highest level in the yoga philosophy, nirvikalpa samadhi, while still a youth. He spent the next twenty years in an ashram. Acting upon what he believed was a diving message, Chinmoy moved to New York in 1964. Within a few years, he had opened meditation centers in New York, Puerto Rico and Florida. In 1970 he began conducting meditations for peace at the United Nations. Chinmoy is a musician and has performed flute at a number of free concerts sponsored by his centers.

Around the same time that Chick Corea discovered Scientology, John McLaughlin moved from England to the United States. McLaughlin had learned to do yoga exercises and he started doing these exercises in New York with greater concentration. After a year of a daily hour and-a-half regimen of yoga, he felt great physically, but he began to feel the need to improve himself through meditation. One day Larry Coryell's manager introduced him to Sri Chinmoy. [McLaughlin became a long-term devout follower.]

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Webpage created 2 November 2005. Last modified 2 November 2005.
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