SOME FACTS ABOUT GEORGE VITHOULKAS’S EARLY LIFE
George : So I will get away from this a little, and give you some of the history of my life.
The highlights are that during the German occupation during the Second World War both my parents were killed. My father was killed when I was ten years old. One year … no, two years later my mother was killed. That was 1942 and 1944. During that time, of course, we were going through great stress. We did not have anything to eat and we were starving, especially the populations in the big towns. The people in the country had some food they could prepare, but there was nothing that we could do in the towns. There was undernourishment. Due to that I believe later on I developed a disease on the vertebrae of the spine. Due to the griefs that I had been through also. My father made furniture of high quality. I remember in 1939, when I was 7 years old, he took me to the Palace of the Royal Family where he had made some furniture. He was very good and very much interested in what he was doing. During the school break – I started going to school at age 6 – I would go and help him during the summer. So I was quite attached to the work he was doing. In 1942 he was killed. The first thing I thought was, “What are we going to do with the factory?” We had a small factory. This was eventually completely lost. I saw that my mother could not find anything to feed us and so I had to work. It is an interesting story hem. I had to work, but what could I do? I was ten and a half years old. I thought that l could sell cigarettes and candy in the streets. So I had a big disc in front of me with two things here and all kinds of cigarettes and matches and candies. I would go around to sell them. But these were difficult times during the German occupation. In the streets where the water goes down into the sewers they had big metal covers with holes so that the water could go inside. But everything was taken away. Metal always was kept. Everybody was stealing everything that they could find. As l was going,’ could not see because l had this thing in front of me. So I fell in that hole. But fortunately the sewer had broken further down and the water was not coming through. It was summer time and so there was no warer in it. But l went inside and my disc hit the edge and everything was scattered. Them were a lot of people passing by but they did not think about pulling me out. So I was trying to get out to pickup whatever was left and finally I went to my mother. I was full of scratches from falling down. But I was crying – not because it was painful but because I had lost the merchandise.
Then after that episode I had a small table where I put things and I was saving things. And I was on the street selling things to passersby. I remember I was also selling little toys for other children. Sometimes they would come and we would play together. Then a customer would come and I would sell him whatever it was.
My mother finally was also killed during the last days of the war and another seven people in the house where we used to stay died while I was there in the house. So I met quite early with death.
All these were shocks. I believe that this accounted later on. At the age of 16, I started having severe pains in my back. I was preparing to go to the university as a civil engineer. I was staying with my aunt, for everybody of the family was gone now. Everybody would say that I should find what is called a profession that could make money. At that time civil engineering was the profession that was making most of the money. For after the war we rebuilt Greece and civil engineers were very much in demand. They could make money easily. So I was preparing and I had to study sitting for many hours. In the meantime I had a scholarship and I was going to the best school of Athens. They gave me a scholarship, of course, because my uncle and aunt were poor and could not pay the school to which I went And the people of the high society of Athens were there. Perhaps that accounts for my kind of aversion to high society. (Laughter) They were quite degenerated already at the age of 14 or 15. For me they were completely degenerated. Eventually I developed these severe pains. I had X-rays taken and it was found that in the fifth lumbar region there was a piece cut off like that (demonstrates). This area, right here, showed signs of degeneration.
So with every change of weather, or any exertion, and even without any reason I would have severe pains, especially when sitting. I could not sit for long time and I would have to get up and walk. I believe that this was the result of undernourishment which took place for 4-5 years during the German occupation, and the many shocks which I had during that time. I went to some doctors because it was so painful. They looked at the X-rays and said, “We don’t understand how that is”. I asked them what could be done and they said, “Nothing”. There is no medicine which you can take. If you want to do surgery, maybe something can be done.” They would fuse it I asked them the percentage of success in these cases – this was at age of 17 that all of this happened – and they said “it was good enough”, but some of the side-effects were that I might have paralysis following this. So between paralysis and their successes, T would prefer to stay with my pain. I did not do anything. They gave me painkillers and it is interesting that I never took any pain-killers — not even Aspirin, because they told me that this was not curative and was just to relieve pain. But I would prefer to have the pain rather than the side-effects. From all of these experiences I made my own conclusions that perhaps at the age of 25-27; I might die and that it was okay. I decided that in one night I had no option. But it was okay because I was going to die anyway.
MI this history is interesting for what happened later on.
It is interesting how disease actually appears. And all of these years, after the death of my mother, I was living with my aunt who was a spinster. I was not allowed to talk in front of the grown ups until the age of 17. At that time I rebelled. But until that time I was not allowed to express any opinion when grown-ups were present So I was quite suppressed. Then one day I went into a strike and I did not eat for several days.
I went to school in the morning and in the evening I would come at dinner time but I would not eat when meal time came. There was a big commotion in our house and eventually this had an effect on my aunt for about a week. Then she forgot and I started again. She was nagging after me about why I did this and then that. Now I am the opposite of fastidious because my aunt was always telling me that I did not handle this properly or I did not do that properly. I would say something and then she would say something, and we would have a quarrel. Until one day I decided that the best thing to do was not to answer her. So if she talked I said to myself, “Don’t answer.” That was the medicine actually. She started nagging on me and there was no answer. She would continue and there was no answer. She said, “Oh, you are not answering now, eh”. I kept quiet and said (to myself), “George, you must not talk. Read a book or something. Don’t talk.” It took another day before the whole argument between me and my aunt ended. From then on I was allowed to speak and express my opinion and say what I thought. But pain continued, of course, and all this time I had to work at different jobs – heavy jobs and light jobs-and I paid my aunt for staying at the house. Those were very difficult times because jobs were very scarce in Greece. Eventually one day I bought a book “The Autobiography of a Yogi”. Many of you may know that. I remember that I had just enough money for the month which was just enough money which was needed for the book. I was serving in the army as an auxilliary. They don’t take a gun.
Response : Reserves ?
George : Something like that. I don’t know. I had very little money but I got that book and I became very much interested in India and what was going on there. I decided that I MUST go to India. As soon as I got out of the army, I made plans to go to South Africa in a construction firm where the salary was about 3 times what I was getting in Greece and the cost of living was half. I thought, okay in four years I would have enough money to go to India. I wanted to stay in the Himalayas and live with the yogis and gurus. That was my original plan. So when I left Greece, I was leaving with the idea of never coming back. Another big shock. I said, “Greece, forget it! It is finished.” Of course in South Africa it was very bad.
It was absolutely desert and I was alone. That was the state of things. I was going with my car to work one morning. I had to supervise. I was alone there. I was the boss and I had no control about anybody. I had a house where I used to stay in and work. The work was not much. I had to give directions, etc. and I could stay in the house and do whatever I liked. So one morning, as I was leaving the house, it was raining very much and the situation came where I had a big accident where I had to cross the national mad. I had a BIG accident and I came out of it without a scratch. Nothing had happened. Because I could not visit a friend that I house to visit in Pretoria, it was quite far, I telephoned and asked him what the book was that he had in his toom – that black one? It was a Boericke’s Materia Medica.
He said that I could get it from Johannesburg and I was given the address. So I took the bus and went to Johannesburg and bought the Materia Medica. And there was a preface. I started reading this materia medica from the first page right through from Friday to Sunday. I had finished it and read it right through. It was like a fever. On Monday I was back in Johannesburg and I went to the same pharmacy and said, “I am a novice and I would like you to suggest to me certain good books that I should read”. He said, “Yes, we suggest the tissue salts”. I pulled the book out and looked at it and then put it back. I went through all the library they had. One by one I pulled out the books and I would read a little bit and then put them back. I would pull out another book and then put it back. Then I came out… I had just read Boericke’s Materia Medica and I did not know anything about homoeopathy … with Kent’s Philosophy, with the Or. ganon of Medicine, and with Kent’s Materia Medica and Kent’s Repertoty. I went to the pharmacy and said, “I want this.” They said, “This? Your are not going to understand.” I took the books and went home. From that day onwards, what happened? It was something like a fever. Really, it was a feverish state in which I was reading and in an exalted state where I would read it just once and I would understand and remember the whole thing. And I would go to the job, work for two hours and then while on the job.
I would read and read and read. Somebody would come and ask me something and l would give an answer, but I would keep on reading. I would go on into the night, after ten how’s of work, and I would read. The weekends I would read. That was going on until the Italian with whom I was boarding and rooming said that something was wrong. I had changed completely. I would not go out at night. I would not go anywhere. So one day he came to me and he said, “Mr. George!” I opened the door and asked, “What happened”? He says, “I see that you stay in your room too much”. I said, “Oh, is that so? I am reading.” I think I have told you this story. He said, “You know in the village where I was in Italy there was a man like you who was studying, studying and studying, and then eventually he became insane and they put him in the asylum,” He said, “Why don’t you go out a little bit?” I told him “Don’t worry, it is all right.” Just to show you the time involved in the studying.
Of course, eventually I went back through all of these books and read them very quickly from one to the other. In less than one month I had read everything and I took more and more, and eventually I was even taking any rubbish I could find to read.
And the four years which I stayed in South Africa involved a ten hour a day schedule. This was in studying. I never felt tired or that I did not like to study. The interesting thing was that after a few months of studying I started treating people. First I started treating myself. But before starting to treat myself, what happened was that this friend of mine who was working with a guru said that he had hay fever. He told me to sec his guru too and tell him that I had hay fever. He would give me medicine and the trouble would be gone.
So before I ever started looking at the books I had taken a medicine from him. The medicine was in three bottles. Each bottle had about 15 remedies in different potencies from 6x to 30. And I used to take all these bottles, and my sinuses were cleared up. I have a stiffness here (pointing) which has never left me since. I felt that there was actually a local suppression, and that is why you see me now … you see, some people in the international family where I speak sometimes feel that I am fanatic. But I have my own experiences and I know what it feels like to take these mixtures and give it just like that (snaps fingers). Of course then I started reading more books and I went to school there. Eventually I went to India, and another time I shall tell you some more.