The theme that emerges from this dog’s breakfast involves Harrison’s split personality—or as he might prefer to put it, his dual nature, the yin and yang—as a religious seeker on the one side and a decadent, heedless rock star on the other. If you had even a passing acquaintance with Harrison’s career you know about the religion part, but nobody in the movie or book ever gets specific enough to fill us in on the other half.
“He had two personalities,” Ringo says. “One was this bag of [prayer] beads, the other was this big bag of anger.” Yoko Ono seconds that emotion: “He had two aspects,” she says. “Sometimes he was very nice. Sometimes he was [long pause] too honest.” Paul McCartney, coy as ever, says, “He was my mate, so I can’t say too much. But he was a guy, a red-blooded guy, and he liked what guys like.”
I read such things, and I guess I'm always surprised at the surprise. Whether it's George Harrison or St. Augustine, the fact remains that all human beings have such split personalities. Some of us make lean more heavily on one dimension or the other, but both -- hedonist and spiritual seaker -- are always there.
Sullivan, though, has trouble grasping a different aspect of Harrison's spiritual life. In light of his early rejection of Christianity, where did "My Sweet Lord" come from?:
So why, one wonders, the explicitly Christian - and ecumenical - lyrics of the song? I have been able to relate to this song both when I was far more tradition-bound in my faith and since. Harrison may not have been an "orthodox" believer - but neither was Jesus.
On the one hand, let me second that final sentiment, but Sullivan makes a mistake in assuming that the "Sweet Lord" Harrison is singing about is Jesus. The Lord being addressed (quite explicitly in fact) in the song is Lord Krishna. That said, I'm always happy as a Christian to appropriate the sentiment for my own religious purposes, and often do so while singing along in the car.