Dr. Srinivasan Kalpathi has been practicing Homeopathy for the last 57 years. At his ripe age of 86 years he gives his heart out in this interview. One can clearly identify his love for this science, his eagerness to bring out the best in homeopathic students and his desire for an integration among the homeopaths for a bright future.
Dr. Rina: Welcome Dr. Srinivasan, it is an honor to have you here on Hpathy, you must have witnessed a lot in this homeopathic journey of 50-60 years. How did you begin your journey?
Dr. Srinivasan: It was almost 57 years ago when I was in Andra Pradesh, that time my father had a Hernia and we took him to a homeopathic doctor and it helped him very much, so I began to study Homeopathy. I then started reading about Homeopathy. I actually got introduced to homeopathy by a lay practitioner and I was with him for 6 months.
Dr. Rina: How did you train yourself in Homeopathy?
Dr. Srinivasan: By self study only. I was very lucky to have a connection with Bengali people and people from Orissa and the Chattisgarh area. Homeopaths were around me and I read and learnt from them.
Dr. Rina: In the initial days of practice sir, how would you handle cases since you hadn’t had professional training in homeopathy at that time?
Dr. Srinivasan: I feel great that I have not had a professional training in homeopathy, so my mind was completely unprejudiced, although reading books like Dunham, Wright, Murray showed me the way, I had no gurus, only friends and colleagues, I did not follow any person’s methodology.
I thoroughly read and learnt from the books. I studied the German language and read the Organon which was written in German.
You know in the 70’s and 80’s we had a very small number of books. We had Allen’s Keynotes, Neidhard’s, Bell’s Diarrhoea, a very small number of books were there. We read these books again and again, till we knew the keynotes by heart.
We would examine the patient, thoroughly record the symptoms and by reading books we understood what are the differentiating factors of Ipecac and Antimonium tart in asthmatic children. For example if cyanosis is present or not, if there is vomiting sensation then Ipecac, if abdominal breathing is there, then Antim Tart. This is how we would differentiate remedies.
We were handling mostly acute cases in those days, not chronic ones like diabetics and hypertension and lumber cases we are getting nowa days. In those places and at that time we were handling day to day conditions, bacillary dysentery, cholera, insect bites like we use to get.
Dr. Rina: How would you handle those acute cases?
Dr. Srinivasan: Yes we had coughs and colds, bronchitis, high fevers, and these books would definitely help, like Bells’s Diarrhea, Neidhard’s, Allen’s for fevers, Allen’s Keynotes and Nash, and of course there was K.C. Bhanja’s Materia Medica and The Prescriber.
Rina, I want to tell you one thing before I forget. Today’s homeopath doesn’t read at all, nothing is new, everything is there in the books but they don’t read at all. They don’t spent 2 hours a day in reading. At least the new practitioner should spend 2 hours in a day and those senior homeopaths with 15-20 yrs of practice should spend 3 hours a day reading.
Dr. Rina: Very true sir, because we are busy doing other things. But we find the information in different ways, rather than reading from the original sources.
Dr. Srinivasan: You can’t follow just any way, because one shows us the east and other shows us the west. We don’t know which way we will go. I decided to go the way of Hahnemann and his colleagues and followed the classical Hahnemannian way. I know all the modern gurus very well but I don’t follow them. They are personally very good and great practitioners but I follow the Sanatan way
As I said, I never went to bed without reading. One should read one remedy at least daily and on a holiday we should read 2 remedies…!
Dr. Rina: So how would you go about treating those Acute cases?
Dr. Srinivasan: What was written in the Boenninghausen and Herring guiding symptoms, location, sensation, concomitant, modality, 3 legged stool, when you get these cardinal principles, and of course Boger his materia medica can be learnt by heart, his generalities and mentals you read it and memorize it. Whenever I go to the bank I used to carry a book with me. I would be sitting and reading it and I would memorize it.
The colleges are the worse concept of this health system, because the teachers have no experience at all. Last year BHMS students are becoming teachers the next year, when they have no experience at all. The colleges don’t teach anything. So many of the students I talk to have not seen the Guiding Symptoms. They haven’t even heard of Dunham, what a great man, and they have never read Farrington’s comparative materia medica. How do you expect them to work? So the colleges have to be changed. Especially in any given state for example if there are 40-45 colleges, then maybe out 30-35 are useless.
The fault is in ourselves, when I asked senior doctors of the central council why do you not speak up when you are in the central council, they said “sab chalta hain” (It’s alright, this is how it is). What can we do if nobody listens to us. When nobody is listening to the big people who is going to listen to us?
Dr. Rina: How would you apply the 3 legged stool in practice? Hering followed the Puritan way of symptoms, that is to take a symptom as it is without breaking it, using the patient’s language as much as possible. So how difficult was it to find these 3 symptoms?
Dr. Srinivasan: We have to ask for it. The patient will say “every day I get giddiness”, but if we ask them what time of the day it is worse, then he says “As soon as I get up in the morning I have giddiness”. Rina I want to tell you it’s not difficult. You have to carefully inquire, even in acutes give them 15-20 minutes and see how beautifully you get PQRS symptoms.
But after 50-55 years I am now finding it difficult because of operative phases, allopathic phases, chronic diseases especially, and young girls getting PCOD and chocolate cysts etc. What do we do? You have to know much more than materia medica; you have to keep updated even with the modern medicine, modern day findings and apply in day-to-day practice. There is no pathological prescription but you understand the pathology and try to see the cause of the pathology.
Dr. Rina: So finding the cause is also important?
Dr. Srinivasan: Yes the cause is also important in chronic cases; continuous evaluation, what happened 15 yrs ago. If they don’t remember leave it and wait for them to come for the next visit, then again ask till you get it. It will come, nothing will lie hidden.
Dr. Rina: So you believe in these pathological cases. We have to be updated about the modern day practices also, and we have to have patience to find out the symptoms.
Dr. Srinivasan: If you know what are the preemptive symptoms, the cause of the symptoms or what was the state of the patient before the pathology, then you will understand the patient better, because the book clearly states that it takes a cause to trigger the disease and sometime after that the pathology shows. You should know the pre-pathological stage…even the old books and materia medica’s say that.
You know if the person is constantly having spicy food, where it will lead to, or business worries, financial losses. Not only spicy food is the cause behind the present pathology, the other factors, the state before the pathology developed is most important to find the correct remedy in chronic cases especially.
Dr. Rina: These symptoms should be an important part forming the totality and for the prescription?
Dr. Srinivasan: Yes, and we always give the remedy after reading the materia medica, not because the repertory shows it. So prescription of the medicine can be based not only on materia medica or on repertory but both should match. Verification from both sides is important.
I don’t use the modern day repertories like Shroyen’s synthesis. I got mostly Kent repertory, Boger’s Synoptic key, Phatak’s of course and Chandravardhan’s.
Dr. Rina: I think this will be a lot of help to the student’s…
Dr. Srinivasan: How it is in Maharashtra now I don’t know, but when I saw once in Mumbai, in Sankaran’s seminar, the number of women were greater, 70:30 was the proportion; here also 80 women students and 20 men students; those who do better are the girls, there is no doubt about it. Their minds don’t wander, they don’t spend their time in other activities also, but within 2 years their life changes, they get married, they go here and there so they don’t practice, hence they are of no use to homeopathy. Most of them are like that.