In 1967, Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation, and in early 1968 for varying lengths of time attended a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course in Rishikesh, India, under Maharishi’s supervision.
The Beatles left the course before the end for various reasons, with much media attention given to John Lennon’s statement that he left because he came to believe rumors that Maharishi had made sexual advances toward a young woman.
According to several John Lennon biographies, the singer/songwriter felt "disappointed and betrayed" by Maharishi, to the extent that when Maharishi asked him why he was leaving the Rishikesh camp, Lennon reportedly snapped, "if you're so bloody enlightened, you should already know why."
Paul McCartney and George Harrison disputed the rumors in subsequent interviews. Also rumored was an incident related to actress Mia Farrow, who was on the course, but her account in her autobiography is ambiguous. She states: "Furthermore, at my level of consciousness, if Jesus Christ Himself had embraced me, I would have misinterpreted it."
According to several authors (Brown and Gaines, 1983; Miles, 1998; Spitz, 2005; Cynthia Lennon, 1978), Alexis Mardas deliberately engineered these rumors in a devious way, because he was bent on undermining the Maharishi's influence on the Beatles. The following statement made by George Harrison is supported by comments made by Sir Paul McCartney in his approved biography.
Someone started the nasty rumour about Maharishi, a rumor that swept the media for years. There were many stories about how Maharishi was not on the level or whatever, but that was just jealousy about Maharishi. We'd need analysts to get into it. I don't know what goes through these people's minds, but this whole piece was invented. . . . The story was put around about our leaving and, of course, the newspapers jumped on that. As it says in The Rutles, 'The press got hold of the wrong end of the stick and started beating about the bush with it.' Now, historically, there's the story that something went on that shouldn't have done—but nothing did.