Pradheep Chhalliyil was interviewed
by Ian PhroG Taylor (matrix.stratics.com) about the book (Jul 30th 2004)
First off, tell us a bit about your background.
I work as a Senior Scientist at a food testing company. I received my Doctoral Degree in Cancer Biology & Biochemistry for identifying a novel patented anti-cancer compound from the plant, Cleistanthus collinus. I was the first recipient of Anna Gold Award for the best cancer research in India for the year 1997. I worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY and then moved to Fairfield where I live with my wife Priya and son Pranav.
What inspired you to sit down and write a book about The Matrix films?
I am a big matrix fan and after I saw revolutions I found many fans disappointed about the lack of clear ending. Since I almost understood the movie and enjoyed the hidden meanings I thought of sharing it to the matrix fans by writing articles. At that time I visited an orphan center and was deeply moved by the fact that orphan kids cannot continue college education due to lack of support. I decided to convert the articles into a book and sell it to support the orphan kids through the non-profit organization www.sakthifoundation.org
How did you go about writing the book? Did you end up re-watching the films quite a bit?
I watched the first movie four times, reloaded two times and revolutions three times. Then I started to write, and writing was as thrilling as watching the movies because I had to think and interpret a lot and make sense with the movies. I was re-discovering my own self.
Which Matrix film is your favorite, and why?
All the three are my favorites. I simply love the last few fight scenes of Neo meeting Smith in revolutions.
Tell us a bit about the philosophy of your book. Many different people have interpreted the films in different ways.
When I understood the movies, I wanted to make sure that was in tune with the movie makers. In the internet I came across Don Davis (Music composer of matrix) interview, where he mentioned that he asked them (Wachowski’s) if they would look for something in literature that represented some of the ideological themes that had influenced them when they were writing The Matrix. They eventually came up with about six passages from the Vedic scriptures called the Upanishads. And these texts are amazingly apropos to the whole ontological concept of The Matrix. It refers to “The One.” (see the complete interview in http://music.ign.com/articles/458/458007p1.html.)
This gave me confidence in what I was writing and the book made sense when interpreted in the light of Upanishads. The Upanishads are a collection of approximately 120 literary works written mostly in the form of dialogues between a spiritual master and his students. Responding to a series of inquiries about the nature of reality, the master leads his students to a state of enlightenment or realization, like Morpheus and Neo. To those students who found it difficult to understand the discussions, the masters explained the Upanishads through mythological stories called Puranas. I find Matrix as modern mythology through which the Wachowski’s have lighted the path for mankind to find answers about the mystery of life. I strongly recommend spiritual aspirants to watch Matrix movies and understand the Neo’s simple computer simulated myth to understand the complexity of life.
I think my book is more spiritual than being just philosophical or theological.
Being spiritual is to have an enquiring mind like Neo rather being imprisoned in a belief system. Matrix movies like Upanishads are spiritual and brings out the universal truth that is common in all religious and spiritual traditions of the world and so I felt it was very appropriate to be used in interpreting the matrix movies. Understanding Upanishads one finds unity in the message of Jesus Christ, Buddha, or that in Judaism, Islam, Zorastrianism, Zen and all other isms. Sometimes people in Religious organizations can interpret things far away from truth and create havoc. I have tired to keep away myself from religion and be focused only on spiritual path, the path of enquiry into reality.
Journey to the Source, Decoding matrix Trilogy is the journey of every one of us, the inner quest to find the Reality and solve the mystery of one own existence.
What do you think of the concept of The Matrix Online? How does such a game fit in with your overall philosophical view of the Matrix story? (Note: The game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Essentially thousands of people can plug-in and help continue the story, which now features the Machines, Exiled programs and Zionists locked in a tense cold war. More can be found here:
I find the concept of Matrix online very appropriate and lots of fun. The key feature of Upanishad philosophy that I have explained in the matrix book is that, life in matrix is fun only when we unplug ourselves. Until we are unplugged we take everything as real. Taking the red pill (knowledge) we are free to plug in and out of matrix. When we unplug ourselves we understand that we are “Consciousness” and not just this body (residual image of the digital self). Upanishads like Matrix movies say there is one single consciousness which directs all this play like the computer main frame machine. Science is finding hard to understand Consciousness and so confuses with awareness, which is the phenomenon of brain (I have made explained these aspects in the book).
Having known this theme of Matrix (unplugged) we all can have lot of fun in Matrix online by playing roles in it. This is a clue that I can give to the fans. Create your own character based on your mind set in the matrix online. Interact with other characters and try to free yourself and help others too. This is real fun and I already can see how deep the fun goes. What is important is interaction with others , else it would be just a messy war. Understand the words of Oracle, we are all here to do what we are supposed to do.
I see Don Davis has commented and endorsed your book on your site, http://www.matrixjourney.com/ . How did that come about?
I simply love listening to Matrix music especially the credit song, the blend of eastern and western music. I was one among the thousands of fans of Don Davis who wrote to him appreciating his work. I did not expect a Hollywood celebrity responding to a fan and when he wrote one word “Thanks”, I felt he was different and great. When I read the IGN interview while writing the book, I wrote to him asking whether he can read the book script and see whether it made sense. He was very kind hearted to spend his valuable busy schedule in reading the book and commenting it. It was such a great inspiration to read his comments. When he finished reading, I asked him whether he can write a foreword and It was a pleasant surprise not only he was willing to but also wrote a wonderful foreword. I am thankful to him and also to Waschowski who has inspired thousands of people to wake up and unplug themselves.
Tell us about the Sakthi Foundation which you and your friends and family run.
It is a free healing service that we do over internet using the ancient natural medicinal system. Being trained in biochemistry I understand the depth of scientific value in it, which is reflected by the huge success in the health of many people throughout the globe following it. The practice is simple ,holistic and no costs and no side effects. Without my wife priya’s support it would be impossible to find time to respond to the numerous e-mail requests asking for suggestions. The foundation is now a tax exempted nonprofit organization and with the help of my friends and family (mani, madesh, muthu, dilip, pari) we work as a team to make it happen.
And lastly, how can people interested in buying your book get a hold of a copy? Can they order it from a local bookstore, or just through your site? If they order it directly from you, can they get it signed?
We are in the process of getting to nation wide book stores. Currently it is available form our site and also at amazon.com. Yes if they want a signed copy I would be glad to do that.