An Interview with

Dr.V.George Mathew (VGM)

By the Team

[Ajan Raghunathan(AR), Vinod Divakaran(VD), and Ajeena B.Ajan(ABA)]


The language of the interview was mostly Malayalam, our mother tongue( I thought that this would be better as all of us would be comfortable with it). The interview was recorded on audio cassettes using a Sanyo walkman set. Later, it was played back and written down and then translated into English in such a way as to not lose the style of conversation and the atmosphere there, as far as possible. The interview was a little lengthy -- about two and a half hours. These excerpts have cut short only 15-20% of the actual interview.


The interview questions which we have planned before hand are marked in blue (other questions are not colored).

Comments, notes, or additions etc. that were added by me to clarify the meaning of the content are given within brackets.








AR: Let us start with some personal questions.

Sir, when were you born? Where?

And, please tell us about your parents and siblings..

VGM: Born at Trivandrum. Both parents came (to TVM) from Kottayam... Father came here to practise in the High Court. He came here as a representative of a law firm at Kottayam.

Date of Birth is 14-01-1942.

AR: Mother got any job?

VGM: No.

AR: About siblings, please...

VGM: 2 brothers (both younger to me). One is here (at Trivandrum). The other is in the USA. He is a Psychiatrist.

AR: First brother is --?

VGM: Retired Assistant Professor of I.M.G, Trivandrum. He’s an economist.. specialized in Agricultural Economics.

AR: Sir, when did your family come to Trivandrum?

VGM: I think it was in 1940. I was born 2 years after they came here.

AR:Sir, once you told me that one of your grandfathers wrote the history of Syrian Christians (in Kerala). Was it your paternal grandfather or maternal grandfather?

VGM: Maternal grandfather. He attempted a history, but did not complete it.

AR: His name, please.

VGM:K.C. John. He was the Head Master of a school – M.D. Seminary High School, Kottayam.

AR: Would you tell us when he wrote it?

VGM: He didn’t actually publish it. He was very fond of travelling. In those days, there were no lodges at all. So, he stayed at the residences of those whom he knew. Thus, when staying with them, he would ask them about their history .... family history. Like ‘where did your family originate or come from? ... when & why ?’ etc.. Thus asking and asking, he collected a lot of information and wrote it down.. Thus, he got an idea of writing a book... continued his work for a long period... But, many people protested... because much of what he found out was not liked by many....... And one day one person, Mr.Z.M.Paret came to see grandfather. He told grandfather that he was writing a similar book and, requested grandfather to hand over all the materials collected by him if grandfather was not publishing. Grandfather gave all of them. Thus he (Paret) wrote the book, using perhaps also the material grandfather gave him.... But in that book there was nothing objectionable to anyone. He wrote in a way that everyone liked. He wrote first. After that, many others also wrote. Thus..., basically, my grandfather collected the material first... But grandfather didn’t have any strong intention to publish  the book. He collected info during his travels,... in many note books... and at last, another person benefited by these...Grandfather did not publish any book.

AR: What is your father’s name, sir?

VGM: K.V.Mathew.

AR: Full name, please...

VGM: Usually nobody says it. Kalleda Maakkal Varghese Mathew. That is, (literally) there were two rocks & a mango tree stood between them.

AR: Your mother’s name, sir?

VGM: Sosa Mathew.

AR: Sir, what is the name of your brother who is at Trivandrum?

VGM: John. B.Mathew.

AR: B means?

VGM: Babu, His pet name was made his initial...

AR: And the name of the other brother?

VGM: R.Jacob Mathew.

AR: R stands for?

VGM: Roy. That is also a pet name

AR: Ummm... but, sir, is there any reason for your not marrying?

VGM: No such one reason. I thought, marriage would be a hindrance to my total life style. To me, freedom is very important. If I marry, I have to adjust to another person... Thought this was a bondage....

AR: Now... how do you feel this life.. sir,

VGM: I’m very happy... I can go whenever I like and come back whenever I like.... I enjoy this...


AR: Sir, most of the Psychologists, I know, came to psychology MA through Psychology BA. I think, those who came from Science are rare. But you came from Physics. Sir, would you tell us why?

VGM: .. At the time I was studying, there was no graduate level Psychology course at all. So, a lot of Philosophy people came.... and... all other subjects were equal... not only me, but Dharmangadhan also came from Physics.

AR: Did your learning in Physics help learning Psychology ?.

VGM: Yes. From my childhood days .... 8-9 years onwards.... I was interested in the para normal....

AR: Would you find any particular reason for that?

VGM: I had a philosophical temparament... and.. then....,my father admitted me to a Hindi school. Oh... yes.... independence.... we got independence 5 years after I was born... after independence, everybody thought that English would be abandoned and Hindi would come. To South Indians, Hindi would become a handicap... So, to learn Hindi, father got me admission to a Hindi school. The Hindi teacher had a great interest in yoga... a friend of his ran a yoga school in the same building... Thus, I started to learn yoga also... thus... every Saturday we had meetings... in the meeting... Hindi was there... we had to make speeches in Hindi... and then there were discussions on yoga.. Thus I got interested in yoga, sidhis etc.. And these discussions often went philosophical also.

AR: This was at what age, sir?

VGM: I don’t remember correctly... but... may be it was when I was 10-12 years old... then.... this continued till I passed out my S.S.L.C. around 10 years, may be. All these 10 years, I attended the yoga meetings. Then... there were discussions and demonstations on yogabhyasa. From 10-12 years old onwards I have been practising asanas, pranayama, meditation and the like. Then, I was interested in knowing more... about these... Those days, in our group, there were highly educated and inquisitive people even those with Ph.Ds were there... Engineers were there...

AR: Like a satsang...?

VGM: Yes.... a satsang... they had scientific inquisitive minds.... and in this way my mind also was shaped... then.... when I was studying for P.D.C, I understood that there is a subject called Para Psychology and researches were going on in it... so... after my P.D.C., I inquired about where Psychology was being taught. Then I understood that therewas a M.A. level course in Psychology in Kerala University and that for admission at B.A. level any subject would do. So, in order to learn about the reality of the physical world, I took Physics... Physics & Math... and after that I came to Psychology.

AR: Sir, when did you recognize that you’ve a philosophical leaning?

VGM: That it was philosophical interest, I understood only later... when I was in the  primary classes itself, I thought...’is this object real?....if others and I didn’t see it, then..., would it still be there like this?.... ‘ and the like.

AR: In primary classes itself...

VGM: Yes... once when I was walking and intensely thinking like this, I hit my head against a  post... my attention had gone away from the road.... then... I didn’t find it unusual at all.... I thought, everybody thought like this... but later I understood that at that age nobody would think like this... So, I had a philosophical temperament from early childhood.. I understood it only later...

AR: Sir, I think that you are the first among Psychologists in Kerala who started using PCs....

VGM: No.... Actually it was not PC... actually I am one of the first persons who started using computers... because, at Trivandrum, ... or probably in South India, computers came at TERLS (Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station). It was a Russian computer....Minsk.... In 1968 or so they sent a circular asking those who are interested in using computers to attend a 3-day orientation course. Although it was circulated in all University departments, only two persons – Kalyana Raman and I – took interest. We went there and did the 3-day orientation course. Thus we understood what a computer is etc... now... it is very interesting to retrospect....

There were several large almirahs filling almost the entire hall... It (the computer) has only 6K memory ... now, we would start laughing if someone says this.. Then...... first there was a demonstration... to find the sum of all prime numbers from 1 to 100... Then.. Kalyana Raman calculated it by hand... by adding... then the computer would also calculate...Kalyana Raman said that the computer had defeated him. I remember this.... But it took a lot of time... (The programmer) showed us how to write a program to add the prime numbers from 1 to 100... I don't remember through what device they fed in data.  Puch cards perhaps... so... I started then.... We would take the calculations (for the Psychology department) there... we would write all the steps of the computational process and take it with us there... There was programmer there... We would consult with him and write the program. Then, we would give a test problem. We should know its solution... a simple problem.... If the answer was correct, we would submit our original problem... Then we would get its result.... Like that for many years we spent....after that the next machine came. and at last the PC came. In between, several generations.... we used all these...

AR: Sir, you said MINSK.... What does that mean?

VGM: It's a Russian word... Don't know its meaning...

AR: Sir... why you went to learn computers even though others didn't...? is there any particular reason for it.. or...

VGM: One thing was that I got Physics & Math background... I was considered the Research Methodology specialist in the department... Everyone came to consult me... So... having a device (for calcuation) would make matters easy.. Otherwise I had to do it by hand... Mechanical calculators were also there... this was used at first. later an electronic calculators also came..Then IBM data processing machines using card input. After some time this MinsK came. So, ... I thought, if I learned this it would be easy for me to calculate... then.... later when they first announced a course on programming, Kalyana Raman and I went to learn it.. It was FORTRAN... Now also I know only this... It is sufficient for our purposes... That is why I did n't have the motivation to learn another programming language... learned FORTRAN II, III, IV etc.

AR: By the way... when we were taking the Holigrative Walk, saw a lot of plants. Did you plant all these, sir?

VGM: A few grew by themselves...I grew others .... to look like a forest...Then this sankupushpam etc.. grew by themselves... Most of these I grew...

AR: Did you plant medicinal plants...?

VGM: Medicinal plants... most of them were given to me (by someone).... I did not throw it away..

AR: Flowering plants or ... what do you like the most...?

VGM: I like flowering plants also... then ... I also like creepers....

AR: In Kerala, there are a lot of suicides now... What is the reason for this, according to you, sir?

VGM: Um.... Keralites have a temperamental disposition.... that is,... Inertia is a little too high... so... those who have high Inertia...moderate , Activation.... and some Stability have greater chance to commit suicide, usually... Thus...... In general, the Inertia is a little high for all Keralites.... won't allow others to advance.... and... they cannot advance themselves at all...and at the same time won't allow others to prosper also.. then.... there is terrible unemployment and financial problems.... so... this situation and predisposition together.. causes greater number of suicides... this is due to the lack of a proper (political) leadership....if people's energies were channelised positively, within this time Kerala would have developed greatly... But... the energies were channelised negatively and destructively... strike etc.... our politics itself is all negative activity... to obstruct... to stop... to cut down... And there is no party to encourage anyone positively...

AR: In your opiniion, sir, what can leaders do positively...?

VGM: First, on the very first day of independence leaders should have told people that if they (people) find that the wages are not enough they should resign and go out... or.. start something on their own... or join some other company... And not sit there holding flags.... that this is an indecent thing... This was to be communicated to the workers... but... instead, the leaders are specialized in inciting strikes by these workers... asking for higher wages... this is a camouflaged begging...destroys self-respect totally... If once someone goes for this kind of collective aggressive begging, he can never do something positive... He has become negativistic then.... He has been converted to a permanent beggar...thus... these politicians have made them the tools for their selfish interests...Destructive tendency... So no economic growth here. .... What was there was destroyed.... In my childhood days, when we went to Kottayam, we saw cashew nut factories at Kollam... Then, when we go to Alleppey, through the river, you know how many boat fulls of coir going and coming... how many people lived by it... completely destroyed... like that how many industries... those were there before the Independence. Our politicians had destroyed these and they created nothing...

AR: Had we got a better politics, it would have been great...?

VGM: Of course..when we say politics.... people think that it means strike.... In no other country it is like this. Only in India it is like this... politics means strike, obstruction... then...bandh... hartal...

AR: What are the strengths and weaknesses of Kerala as a society..?

VGM: Temparamentally, our strength is that we have a mixed temparament. We have some part of all the good things. In fact it was easy to strengthen these positives. Then, we have a good climate. If it were a 5 degree lesser, it would have been the ideal. Eventhough a little hot, when we consider other parts of the world as a whole, we have a good climate. Then.... we have no extremes... no terrible cold or hot climate. And because of this, Keralites have some significant Stability. Then we are racially very mixed... this is also a very positive point..Had we got proper leadership, we would have come up as world's best people. The problem was our leadership was completely negativistic.

AR: Even though we got these strengths, why our leadership became this much negativistic? That is.... we have mixed temparament, racial mixing, ....

VGM: Two reasons are there. First, The independence movement was one that occurred in the whole of India. After independence, the first independent government should have told people not to continue with civil disobedience, strike etc. If necessary, they should have made laws preventing strikes, etc. But, instead, they did nothing. Thus, as part of India, Kerala also followed that all India policy. It was a Congress governent here also. So, they could not take a different policy here.. But... when we got independence, they took 'let people do anything' attitude. ...Second, our attitude towards work was wrong. Right attitude towards work means... give work to the one who does it the best. If he becomes lazy, fire him and hire another... at any point of time, take the one who does the work the best. Only then people give respect etc. to work. But the reservation policy.... now, we might think that it was a very good thing... But it was this that competely destroyed our work culture. Because work has become something that is being gifted to some.. This made everyone beggars.

Now a days, even for Vice Chancellorship, " 'I'm from this or that community and so I should be made the VC." they demand.Reservation for women, for the financially backward, for the handicapped. Reservation of seats in legisltive bodies.The very notion of proportionate representation is morbid. Will you have seats proportionately reserved for morons and mentally deranged people also ?

....All these destroyed the work culture here. Nobody here originally asked for this job reservation. It was simply burdened upon us. these ....upper caste people... I think that it was a move to show other castes down. And no caste is going to progress because of this. In the public sector, only a small portion got benefited by reservation... but the community as a whole becomes psychologically enslaved. When a student goes to school.... he goes with 5kg books and 20 kg caste complex.....some one said. And that is true also. Thus, ...that it didn't bring a good work culture, I think, is the main defect.

AR: Is this true with both the Centre and the state...?

VGM: The policies the Centre puts in.... the state has to go in the same line.... So,... Sree Narayana Guru had said about this very clearly... that caste consciousness would affect our intelligence negatively... He had understood it then itself... thus... instead of  'do not ask about caste, do not say caste...', this job reservation policy came just its opposite....In the university, when I joined, there was no reservation system and hence only very little caste based thinking from the part of the teachers, then...From the very day job reservation was introduced in the university, teachers started discussing the caste of students... Everyone started seeing caste as important... because, when a student passed out, he would apply there (for a position). This is how people think. thus... our thinking was totally affected by this...

AR: Did Dr. Ambedkar ask for reservation?

VGM: No. I don't think he did.

AR: Then how came this idea? Was it Nehru?

VGM: The Nehru governenment. There is no doubt about it...Perhaps a not so counscious thought and intention to put down the people considered lower caste before independence. Now that independence got, it is impossible to suppress others in other ways. So, they would have thought 'let them continue to  have this label'.... 'they are lower to us that is why they are given reservaton and then we are higher than others'... This was a method they used to continue their supremacy...That is what I think. And ... not because that they were dying to see others progress. ... At one time, may be in a discussion in the UGC subject panel or so... one old gentleman said... "the reservation was started by the British". Then, somebody asked him when they started it. He said it was in the Parliament, just before Independence. But it was a reservation for the tribals in the Lok Sabha. It is an entirely different kind of resrvation. It is for the representation in the legislative body. otherwise, they won't get representation.... This and a job reservation are not the same. ..... This man knows that there is something wrong with the reservation policy.. so it was not brought in by us... and he wanted to assign its responsibility to the British. He got a guilt feeling, it is clear, regarding the reservation policy. That means, this was not brought in with entirely pure intention.

AR: In America, the Indo-Americans have ....

VGM: No. No job reservation. But they have their own geographical area reservations. At their place many laws of other places do not apply. For example, gambling is not allowed other than at this place. So the gamblers come there to gamble. So... only such reservations only are there. No job reservation. When at one time the govt. was thinking about this, the Negroes said that they do not want this. Because they said it would hurt their self-respect. So, they themselves are against job reservation based on labelled backwardness.

AR: But here others also say they want job reservation.

VGM: Yes....they say they all want. Thus all are made beggars... So, our work culture has become like this and thus there is no economic progress here. Thus there is no job for any community at all.

AR: But..when everybody gets reservation, reservation would disappear..

VGM: (laughs..) Now they want economic reservation. Thus by claiming to be a member of some disadvantaged group, I demand a job that I do not really deserve, denying the job to a person who is capable of doing it better than me. In fact, what is required is... a job should be given to the person who can do it the best. If he becomes lazy for some reason, or if his work is not satisfactory, and if there is another who does the job better, he should be appointed in place of the first. Then work would become efficient. Why America progressed this much? Anyone from any part of the world can work there. World's best people work there. They don't say 'Here we have one (to do the work) and so you should not come here.' Best jobs were done by the best people. So, economy developed and now there one gets $ 8 as minimum wages. For one hour. This means Rs.400 approximately. Thus there is such an affluence there because of their work culture. In India, one gets only Rs.3000 per month even if he works hard from 9 am to 11 pm. But people are not even getting such jobs here. And people don't like start anything on their own. Someone else should give them job. Because here there is no proper environment to start anything. If someone starts something, all others would join together and destroy it.

AR: There is a joke among the unemployed: "I have to get an employment to take leave and stay at home."

VGM: (laughs)


AR:Usually, those who have learned Psychology turn to Clinical Practice. But sir, you turned to theory development. Is there any particular reason for this?

VGM: I came to Psychology with a research mind. I was never interested in routine practice.

AR: Sir, what are your important theoretical achievements?

VGM: Holigrative Psychology.

AR: Do you see it as the zenith of your achievement?

VGM: Yes. It is.

AR: Now... Does anyone practise based on Holigrative Psychology? Any Psychologists...?

AR: You are one of the pioneer Para Psychologists in Kerala, sir....

VGM: I don't think anybody else here has such an interest (in Para Psychology).

AR:Sir, tell us about your achievements or experiences in Para Psychology.

VGM: A lot of experiences.. But I did n't publish much. But I have given presentations in many seminars. And this, ... I know, had influenced even very well known Para Psychologists.

AR: (Have you) done any experiments?

VGM: Done many experiments.

AR: For example...?

VGM: Namboothiri of Kolenchery Medical Mission Hospital and I.... Namboothiry is very interested in this. He was here for two years.... Many days, we did many experiments together.

AR: For example...?

VGM: For example .... Then I was the resident tutor of the Hostel……

AR: Sorry. Which hostel?

VGM: The Men's Hostel. I was the resident tutor. Those days,.... most days, we would go to the terrace... then .... there were a lot of stray dogs on the ground.... So, ... we select a dog and would stare at it. Then, that dog would turn back and look up at us. This was successful many times and only very rarely it became a failure. Then, when people were walking (through the road), we stare at them.... Like this, both of us have done many experiments.

AR: ...And most of these experiments resulted in the way you thought it would be...?

VGM: Yes... Most of such experiments done by Namboothiri & I were successful. And.... both of us were often surprised by this. Then.... we have done very complicated experiments also. But these were not much successful.

AR: One example...

VGM: One example... That.... what we started then I continued for a long time. That is, . we send a message to ourselves from the future. that is... after a 10 year period, I will have more knowledge and wisdom.... After 10 years... if I send a message to myself, it would be very useful (to me now). For example, say, I've to take a decision.... In the 70's I had an idea to resign the job and start an institute -- a Psychology Institute... I discussed it with many. Then, Nambothiri was there... I discussed with many.... Then suddenly this idea came to my mind. After 10 years, I would have more information. Sometimes, the Psychology Institute would have been started... Or, I would have decided against the idea. So, ... if the I after 10 years could send a message to the I of this time, it would be very valuable. Thus Namboothiri and I decided ... that is, on every important date, say on December 31st night 11 pm, I would sit in a receptive state. If a message comes from somewhere we should receive it. So, every December 31st at 11 pm, I decide to send a message to myself. This may be to the past or to the future. I would sit in a receptive condition.... Then I could receive a message send by the me after 10 years. So, every December 31st at 11pm, I sit in a receptive condition and send a message.... first I would receive it... then I would send it... If we do like this, we would get some significant information.... I got the idea from a film -- Time Machine.

AR: Time machine by H.G.Wells?

VGM: Time machine is by H.G.Wells. But a film by the same name is there. Whether it is based entirely on H.G.Wells's Time Machine, I doubt.... And.. this film..... A scientist is making a time machine. It was completed.... but there is a certain problem with the fuel... doesn't get solved... Then he got an idea... 'This problem is solvable. So, I would solve it one day. May be I have to wait for 5 years or 10 years for this. But.... the hypothesis is that time travel is possible....Then.... if I get a message from the future.... I could solve it now itself.' So this man told his assistants 'I am going to fly on a particular date....' Then they all asked, 'how are you going to fly? The fuel problem is not yet solved.'

[A phone comes for VGM. He attends it and then returns..]

'When I have solved this problem from the future, I would send a message to this particular date or I would come by myself and solve it. So, today I've taken a decision... I would come from the future and solve this small problem.... I'm going to start time travel now by itself... ' The assistants said: 'there is some problem in this... this is not going to happen....' But, they set the experiment as he told them to. And he sat inside it. Then..... when they looked.... they saw him .... very old... with grey hairs, coming toward them. He came with something in his hands and did something. At this time, he's actually sitting inside the machine and watching all these also!.....The old man is also he himself... the same face... So....he himself came from the future and did something. Then suddenly the machine disappeared. His calculation was right. Because, he himself came from the future and solved it. After some "time" the machine reappeared again... thus he performs time travel.... when he returned... he knew all... knew the solution... everything... So, this is the story... Then .... on the assumption that we could send to ourselves messages from the future.... Thus... Namboodiri and I planned and did experiments.

AR: Can we relate intuition with this (experiment)?

VGM: Intuition is a simple term used by people for ESP . It is a layman’s term for metagnomy.... Intuition is layman’s usage...

VD: Will intuition be right all the time?

VGM: If it is ESP, it is right. But, if we include 'guess' also in the meaning (of intuition), it need not be correct.

AR: Have you written any books..?

VGM: Have written only one book: 'matham marxism manasasthram' (Religion Marxism Psychology) (Malayalam). Then ..... I wrote chapters in some books.... Wrote many articles..

AR: Who published the book, please...?

VGM: Baby got an organization; 'Society of Psychologists for Social Action' based at Kozhikkode. SPSA (for short). (He published).

AR:Any new books in the agenda?

VGM: Most probably, Publishing Holigrative Psychology soon.

AR: 10 years ago, it was very difficult to get an admission for M.A. in Psychology in Kerala University. But now it is known that many seats are left unfilled. How do you see this, sir?

VGM: (I see) 2 reasons (for this). First, now Psychology courses are there at many places... Another reason .... now people have high interest in engineering.... more IT related courses.... So, many students go for these after PDC. Those who go for Arts and Science colleges are now diminishing in number. And even they rush into subjects that are helpful to them in learning IT.... That is why there is no rush for Psychology courses.

AR: Sir, do you think that Psychology should be introduced at school level?

VGM: Yes.

AR: Do you mean that everyone should learn this or only at +2 level?

VGM: In my opinion, this concept called Personal Growth.... or what I call Holigrative Psychology.... should be taught from first standard onwards, i.e., as a part of the Personal Growth training. That is, in my opinion, instead of as a separate subject, it should be included as exercises, meditation, life style improvement etc. required for their personal growth.


VD:About your hobbies, sir..

VGM: If we set aside all these said things.... what interests me most is music.

VD: Tell us more about this...

VGM: Music.... the time I started learning Hindi, I started learning music also. Then.... my brothers & I have interest in music ..... and some aptitude also.... So... one of my uncles bought us a musical instrument, first. That day onwards, (I have been) learning music; have different musical activities.... But, my greatest interest is in music composing. Lately, I did one.. and it was a success. Daivadasakam (=[Malayalam] 10 verses on God)by Sree Narayana Guru. I composed a tune. Dr. Kurien sang it and recorded it. A lot of copies were sold out. It can be marketed in a big way, if we want to. But, the investor was not interested in marketing Daivadasakam alone. But everyone who heard the song liked it very much.

VD: Have any future plans along these lines?

VGM: Yes... We've a plan to select some other poems of Sree Narayana Guru and make it a cassette and to market it in a good way... The singer is the head of department of Psychology, S.N.College (Chempazhanthy, Trivandrum). So, he's a little busy now. So... he said he would go to Sivagiri and select some poems by consulting the Swamys there. But I am not taking any initiative for this. If he brings the poems, I'll tune them. Perhaps, this will happen soon. and.... The cassettes generally sold at the (Sivagiri) pilgrimage time .... got several poems in them. Even though in our cassette, only one poem was there, it was sold more than any other. We put it at two sales centres only. But, within a very small time, all copies were sold out. When the song was played through the mike, many people came and asked for it. Even though we said that there was only one song in the cassette, people would buy it.

AR: Now... sir... who's interested in music more -- your father or mother?

VGM: I got music from mother's side... Ma had some musical talent. Ma's sister had good musical talent. She used to sing... so, grandfather appointed a music teacher... with harmonium and all that... there's such a tradition in our community... thus... she learned Karnatic Music... But she also didn't sing in a formal setting. She used to sing in the kitchen... But I know.. because I'm in this field... that she was a good singer. But I never saw her sing formally. Neither did anyone tell like this.

AR: So... two most important trait you got, sir, are : one, travelling a lot and the other music.... Both are from maternal side.

VGM: Yes.

AR: Then.... what did you get ... like this... from paternal side, please...

VGM: Not anything in particular. To me it appears that... grand father had a dog... I often felt that I got its characteristics. Its characteristics means... it was not usually chained up, and if we did, it howled. . so, it was left free...It would disappear from home now and then. It would come back after a few days, weeks, and sometimes, after months. Then,,, when it came back after many months, all its hairs would have gone and it would be in a bad condition. Then, by staying at home and after regaining its health, it would again go for another journey.. and again it would return after a few months... Like that.... I've also a similar pattern. After months, I also go for a journey. When you go for a journey, there are  difficulties... Then a few months after returning from the journey, I would again go for another. So... more than grand father, my character is similar to grand father's dog.

AR:Some days ago, Ajeena asked me one question: 'how Mathew sir composes this music...'.. when she listened to Daivadasakam composed by yourself. I told her to ask it by herself and that is why she is also here. Now.... please answer...

VGM: This.... there are two things. First is our input. Listen to a lot of songs. When we listen, a lot of ideas would come....Once we have listened, we won't think we would imitate another composition.... When we read a poem, ... think of a poem...., we would feel that its music should be like this or that. This occurs only if we got enough input in our minds. Then there is also a practice element. If a person who has never composed a song tries to compose one, it would be very difficult. I composed a song first at my Hindi school. It was very difficult.... Hindi teacher said: 'George Mathew, you have this music talent... Why don't you compose a tune for yourself and sing it?'.... Then I worked hard for a week to compose a tune. Then.... when doing for the first time, it will be very difficult. On the other hand, once we have composed a tune,... when we hear a new tune, we will think how this occurred to the composer's mind. Then we see in this way..Then.... we need some practice like that... When we listen to a new song, we would think how the composer arrived at that....

AR: .....then we can tune into that vibration....

VGM: ...can tune into that vibration. Then.... when we get a poem, we would think that we need a very original composition and not any imitation, and we sit with such an intention... and a very original tune comes.

AR: It is said about A.R.Rahman that he takes more time to compose a song. This was said by the other Rahman –film star Rahman. These two are relatives.

VGM: Is it?

AR: Yes. I think the second Rahman married A.R.Rahman's sister...

VGM: ....But... my personal opinion is ... this is applicable to every original work..... that the one we make after hard work need not be superior to one which was created quickly.... I composed Daivadasakam within seconds.... That day, Kurian told me that he wanted the tune for students.... So, I thought I should not work hard to create a tune for students because that is not required. Thus when Kurian phoned me to ask if I composed the tune, I said I did. But actually I didn't. Actually I had forgotten about that. Then, Kurian said he was coming to collect the tune. Thus I composed the tune within the time the reached here. Later, when Kurian said we would record this, I told him that I would create a new tune. But Kurian said this was enough and that everybody liked it. Then I said that I would make at least some variation.... for each stanza... or 2-3 variations at least... But Kurian didn't even allow that also. 'This is OK. This is very good.... because if there are many variations.... people would feel it difficult...' (he said). Thus because of Kurian this was recorded as such. ..... But,instead, if a tune was put after hard work, perhaps it would not have become a hit.

AR: It seems like a time travel.... You first said you created the tune (when Kurian sir asked).

VGM: Yes... (laughs...)

VD: About film scripting.....

VGM: I've interest in it also. In that...... when Adoor Gopalakrishnan started Chithralekha Film Society, I became a member. When Adoor Gopalakrishnan screens any film, he would give a lecture on it. I attended all these and thus I've an idea of how to produce an Art Film. Because of this, it is not difficult at all for me to write screen play. I had written dramas also.... So, sometimes I would write a film script. Many people came (to me for this).... but it didn't materialise for different reasons.

VD: Acting.....

VGM: Had acted... But it was at the Hindi school. Those days... every week there were dramas and other art forms. In many weeks, I did something.... sang songs, or acted in dramas,.... drama writing....

AR: Have you ever played any musical instruments, sir?

VGM: What I've performed most is an instrument called Mandolin.

VD: Why (did you) turn to Psychology even if you had interest in music and film direction?

VGM: My main interest was and is Psychology itself. Although the name Psychology came later, I was interested in mind powers, limitations of the mind or possibilities of the mind etc. Had interest in music also. When I was at school, my ambition was to become a Film Music Director. But, my parents were against this. Because, these days, if you go for music as a profession, you cannot earn anything. All the music professionals I knew then were living a difficult life. The remuneration was very low. This, my parents also knew... So, when I passed out S.S.L.C, father prohibited strictly from going for musical performances etc. He said, it was only for leisure time and that P.D.C was important. But, had the current situation were there then, I would have gone for musical specialization. ... But I don't have any regret about this now. Because, Psychology is of high interest to me.

AR: Any other art...

VGM: I'm very interested in music. Then novel, drama.... I like comedies most. Wrote a few comedies also. And staged one of them at the University Senate Hall (Trivandrum) in the Decennial Celebration of Manasasthra Parishad.

AR: Any drama published in book form?

VGM: No.

AR: Got the script of those dramas now also?

VGM: Scripts are there.

AR: Have you put it in your PC?

VGM: No. At that time, there were no Malayalam fonts available.

AR: But, now they are available.

VGM: Now... Yes.

AR: And sir, you yourself have got it now.

VGM: Yes... Yes...

AR: Have you any achievements from the side of arts?

VGM: No such achievements... I have a lot of themes which can be made into novels, dramas or films. If I get enough time, I would write them down slowly. Have a feeling that it will be useful for people.

AR: Most of these are Psychology related?

VGM: Um. They're Psychology related. That is... I got it because of my career as a Psychologist. Many a time people would reveal to me their unusual experiences and personal problems etc. When I hear this, I think that these are more thrilling than novels... the life experiences of many.... So I noted down some of these... This has become a great volume now... Some of these are para normal... some are human dynamics... When we read novels, we think that what was said in it are improbable. We may feel these things(=experiences of people) as more improbable. But these really happened in many people's lives.


VD: Now... let us go a little spiritual ....

VGM: Um.

VD: What is Pure Consciousness?

VGM: Pure consciousness.... You can really never define it. Because, it cannot be compared with anything else. It is, in philosophy, called the absolute. Thus.... there's only one absolute. Cannot compare it with anything. All the rest are relative. What's not relative is the absolute. And that itself is pure consciousness. ..... Because, when we speak of definitions.... can only define it with something simpler than it. We've to break it into elements. Pure consciousness has no further break up. Thus, it cannot be defined at all.

VD: I watched the program in Asianet (TV channel). In that, there was a question.... It was just like a soliloquy... 'What is reality?' But nobody attended to that question (in the program). So, I am putting that again. What's reality? Is it matter or consciousness?

VGM: It is consciousness, of course.

VD: So, conscious is reality. ... Then pure consciousness? .... say, love is there... then, what we call true love ... isn't that got when we search for it...?

VGM: If spoken from the point of view of pure consciousness, love is of course unreal. (There's) no love there (=in pure consciousness). Then... there's no love in the absolute level... It's unitive. But if you want, you can say that there's (in it) a positive feeling or an absolute positivity. Sat chit anandam (Truth Pure existence Bliss). And not love, as this requires a subject and object dichotomy, etc. Once we speak about reality and then ask if there's love, then... we have to say that love is an illusion.

AR: Sir, you said that reality is consciousness. Now.... how did you arrive at such a conclusion?

VGM: Because.... Now Physics itself has reached the same conclusion. No argument (that matter is reality) exists now.... Only at Newton's time there existed an argument that matter was reality..... No need for us to reopen a conclusion reached by theoretical Physicists.

VD: But it's heard Westerners still believe that material is the reality....

VGM: But not those academic Westerners who research on the ultimate reality. Ordinary people may believe differently. It's is part of their Rajasik temperament. Because, our philosophy and our temperament are related..

AR: ...Now... If we put away the proof by the Physicists, as a Psychologist, how do you prove this?

VGM: Now, in modern science, really the concept of proving or of disproving are outdated. Now, instead, they only say 'evidence in support or evidence against.'

AR: If that's so, what's the evidence in support...

VGM: This.... A lot of arguments are there to say that consciousness is reality. One important argument is that, whatever statement we say -- even if we say that matter is reality, it is a statement. Such a statement can exist only in consciousness. Thus, if we don't have a consciousness, such a statement won't come at all. If one is to say that matter is consciousness, he can say this only if he has consciousness. But instead, if consciousness doesn't exist at all absolutely, such a statement itself would be absurd. (Suppose ) a person is saying an intelligent statement. Then he should have a consciousness. Then consciousness is the root of everything... Only when it exists, other things get validity. Otherwise we have to say that there is no truth at all.... Then we have to say that a statement is a particular configuration of electrons or matter. Then that should not be given any ultimate validity or value at all. So if the concept (called) truth, the concept rationality, the concept inference etc. are to have validity, there should be consciousness behind all these. So, we should say consciousness is reality.

AR: But.... Biologists say that we have evolved from the ape. And.... they don't think that man is the last..... i.e., we would further evolve again.... let us say into a superman. Then, what he sees.... if we think from the level he could reach .... that is, .... can we reach that level.... that is.....what he perceives will be the same pure conscious(as we perceive now) or what?

VGM: Pure consciousness is not really a perception.

AR: Yes... Not perception.... But what I meant was that...

VGM: Really, when we say pure consciousness, there is no subject-object dichotomy at all. That's, it is the total absence of the perceiver. It is independent of space-time. It doesn't change, at whatever time... One is not knowing it but he becomes it. It is 'The Reality'.

AR: What I meant was ... Can the lower order animals realize......

VGM: The truth, i.e., pure consciousness is the same any time, any where. No change comes to it. Everything is the expression of pure consciousness. Whenever the mechanical process aspect ceases, then what exists is the pure consciousness. Even if it is a frog, or a dog or a man, pure consciousness exists. Only its apparent expression changes. Now even if man apparently evolved into something else there won't be any change for pure consciousness.

AR: Is it not our thinking at this time....

VGM: No. Pure consciousness is not thinking....

AR: No... it is not... but....

VGM: may be the rational inference about it would change. Because, pure consciousness is an abstraction that comes after all our limitations have been shed.

VD: Is it an experience?

VGM: it is not an experience. But (if you want, you can say) it is the basis of all experience. When we speak of experience.... it is colored by the characteristics of the experiencer. Pure consciousness is independent of all these. That (=pure consciousness) the mind cannot know at all. It's not conceivable by the mind. In fact, pure consciousness exists also when the mind ceases to function.... Now it is based on how we define experience. When we speak about experience, there is an experiencer. Space-time is there...But in pure consciousness there is nothing. So, it's is better to say that it's not an experience.   Pure consciousness is absolute flexibility permitting every apparent creation  and mentation.

[We all now drink mango drink]

VD: About life after death ...

VGM: When we speak about life after death, there is some difficulty, because we think from inside this space-time frame-work. This space-time is applicable only to the experiences in our physical body. When the gross body is destroyed, the space-time is different. So, to say that a potentiality exists, seems to be more correct... Because..... when we dream, we function in the astral level. Then the time, space and the nature of reality are all different. In dream, if we want, we can change the dream itself. Not like waking.... So... the laws of astral experience are different. Then... after this, there is a causal reality. There, even our identities are entirely different. There even our minds is overlapped with the minds of others. Our identity itself is different. So, our total being exists through many levels like these. There are qualitative differences among the existences of the physical body, astral body, and causal body. Thus.... when we speak of life after death, we think that we have a life like that in this space-time. But this is absurd.... so... first we should define what we are... then only we can rationally discuss about this (possibility of continuance).... But we can say that the total karma or mental quality of a dying person continues to find expression...

VD: Do you believe in spirits, yakshi etc.?

VGM: People  see such apparitions. But there can be many interpretations about the nature of these. Many times, an apparitional experience occurs through the interaction of the person, the place and an emotionally significant  event that had happened there. An apparitional experience is not like the experience (we have) when we see a person. When we see an apparition, those who are with us won't necessarily see it. Many times, it is the potentiality there (=at the place) activated by our own psychic force. That is, when a clairvoyant visits a place where a significant emotional traumatic experience happened, the clairvoyant sees it by clairvoyance. This is what is seen as the apparition, most of the time. Thus, in short, that an apparitional experience like this occurs to people is a truth.

But yakshi.... if you ask whether the yakshi exists, ..... this concept of yakshi itself has many dimensions. At some places, yakshis are spirits of  dead humans. For example, Melankod yakshi was Marthanda Varma's step mother, who committed suicide by pulling her own tongue out... she became Melankode yakshi, so says the legend. That's a woman who had committed suicide... But at the same time, yakshi is the feminine gender of gandharva. These gandarvas are tribals of the Gandharadesa, i.e., modern Afganisthan. They are good singers with mongaloid features... tribals.... Their females are called yakshis...Many Himalayan tribes with Mongoloid features  (for eg. Kinnaras of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh) are good musicians.  

AR: Then this yakshan...

VGM: Yakshan, yakshi.

VD: No.... what I meant was... yakshan and gandharvan are the same...?

VGM: The same.... It is said like that...

AR: Then... what about... this yakshi harming or hurting people etc...?

VGM: That is... long ago.. prostitutes, and like women, seduced men who travelled alone, and took their money etc. There was such a thing... From this, the above said yakshi stories emerged... These women usually wait (for their preys) under the Pala tree when it flowers... The smell of pala flowers is very sexually stimulating. So... if they stood there, the men who were passing by could be easily attracted... these women understood this. In olden days, these Namboothiris usually went for long journeys with a lot of money etc. The women like these, seduced them and brought them to their houses... and may be it is the men in their houses who would kill them (the Namboothiris). Thus... this yakshi concept might have emerged from this social reality.

AR: There is evidence for this...?

VGM: Yes.

VD: Sir, did you have any para psychological experience?

VGM: To me.... I'm not that much psychic. I've seen a lot of psychic persons. What I have is their experience. A lot of people know that I'm in this field. So, many people whom I have never been introduced before, phone me and tell their experiences etc. Thus, ... I've got a lot of material in my hands. Personally I only got minimal direct personal experiences.

VD: Sir, do you believe in God?

VGM: .... That depends on what you mean by God. I told you that pure consciousness is the reality. That is my orientation. The concept of God is the symbol of pure consciousness. We can rationalize so if we want. This is because I'm a researcher and because I've interest in philosophical concepts. The question itself (whether God exists) seems irrelevant to me... Reality is not matter, but consciousness... this is what I believe. On the other hand, God is our own projection. This is what I have felt. A very immature person has an immature God concept. A tyrant sees God as another tyrant. A benevolent person sees God as very benevolent. It is our projection. We assign a symbol to the pure consciousness based on our capacity and characteristics. The original reality -- pure consciousness -- cannot be conceived by us. This is my position.

AR: I... last day, I was listening to a cassette of Osho given to me by Vinod. In it, Osho says like this... 'The God of a horse... if a horse thinks of a God, it would look like horse....

VGM: I, myself have written some where... when a buffalo thinks about God, (if it can think) it will be like another buffalo only

AR: ... and...(the cassette says...) that if the horse thinks about Satan, it would be like the shape of man....

ALL: (laugh...)

AR: ... because... man pains the horse very much. This is what Osho jokes.

VGM: Yes. Correct. That is correct.

VD: What is meditation?

VGM: We can say that meditation is a struggle for us to reach the pure consciousness.... That's, it is useful at certain steps in this personal growth. But we cannot say that it's useful for all people and at all stages (of personal growth). What I think the ultimate practice is awareness practice. But that.... is possible only to those who have passed a particular level (of personal growth).

AR: Then... can we say that there are as many practices as there are people... because... just like from any point of a circular region, one can go to the centre.... like that... from where one stands.....

VGM: Yes... my attempt in Holigrative Psychology is this: To help identify the most useful combination of practices at every point of development for a person by understanding his own personality. Because..... in my whole experience up to now, I have seen people hanging on to rigid practices. These practices may be OK for some at a certain stage or level; but not for others. But everyone thinks that it is good for him and holds on to it firmly. This results in deterioration only... they pain themselves by staying inside some trap or another .... So, what I see as the purpose of Holigrative Psychology is to help everyone find their present personality pattern and respective position (in personal growth) and to help them to find the most suitable practices for their progress at that stage.

AR: Sir, what have you done for your own spiritual growth?

VGM: I've tried a lot (of things). Chanted mantras...; (tried) a lot of meditations..; physical exercises, asanas, etc. and many more, have been tried out.

AR: And now ... at last... what're you doing?

VGM: At last.... most of what I've done was useless. Many of these were (self) torture.

AR: Or... were they necessary at those times?

VGM: No.

AR: Because... I've read somewhere that the Buddha also did a lot of things first ... what many experts told him to do... Then he understood that all thee are useless and then tried for his own method.... I've read like this...

VGM: Some say that whatever you've done is not at all a waste... that these contribute indirectly... etc... then.... it is some of my friends who misled me... They say that if a particular mantra was chanted aksharalaksha (=as many lakh times as there are letters in the mantra), you get siddhis... and that they're chanting.... Then I may think... let me also chant this... like that I've done many things. I didn't have any benefits from this... and not only that, when I retrospect, I see them as torture. So.... if any effects have been there from many practices, it seems to be a negative effect....

AR: In India, it is said that there are four main paths... Many people say the Bhakti (=devotion) is important. But... those who are at a higher level say that the most important path is Jnana ... what is your opinion, sir?

VGM: What I've clearly felt is that, this depends on the level each of us is... That's what I feel. But all these four are useful. At some point of development some of these should be given more emphasis. But, ultimately, it is the awareness practice which is the most important practice, in my opinion.

AR: But... for example.... when one concentrates on an idol or on an image, and pray... then also, he is trying to practise awareness....

VGM: But... whatever we do has a positive component and a negative component. Then what's needed is to minimize the negative component and increase the positive component. We can use a grosser thing to meditate upon if we have no other choice at all. But when do so with a gross thing, that (practice) itself reinforces us to stay in the gross level only. That's why it is said that  meditation on the formless is better than that on a form.

[Now we decided to finish the interview. And, as we promised Ajeena, she was given time to ask her questions.]

ABA: Heard that people speak to spirits using this Ouija board and all. Can we talk to spirits?

VGM: People claim to have such experiences. But whether they are really speaking to spirits or accessing the collective unconscious or using ESP is not certain.

ABA: I have a friend called Manila. She gave me a Christmas card last time. When I showed it to my father, looking at the handwriting and drawings in it, he said that she has got some emotional problems... How did he say this?

AR: This question should be asked to me....

VGM: As Psychologists, we believe that whatever a person does, his personality manifests in it. So, when one draws or writes, the personality is manifested in it and a trained intuitive person can infer it from that.