I originally wrote this article long time back for some journal in 2002, when the debate about classical homeopathy and modern approaches was steaming hot. I have now decided to publish it here for a wider audience.
Since past two years, I have read the ongoing debate about the way Homeopathy is practiced, in many Journals and at many web sites. I have seen the way the greatest homeopaths of today are engaged in a battle of words. Everyone seems to be either trying to prove something or to disprove something else. Some are speaking about classical Homeopathy and some are talking about its variations. Some are talking about physics and some about the metaphysics. Some are pondering over the science and some are wondering about the art that is Homeopathy. I am no Sankaran, I am no Vithoulkas, I am no Naumann, and I am no Scholten. So I have nothing to prove and nothing to disprove. Yet, I have something to share with you. Things that have been part of my life, experiences that probably many of you might have experienced.
My journey to the world of Homeopathy started when I was seventeen and a half years old. The first book that I took in my hands was Organon of Medicine by Hahnemann. With every aphorism that I read, I jumped with joy as if I had made a very big discovery. Personally, it was a big discovery for me, into the world of medicine, and in my own understanding of this world and myself too. My journey into the larger truth did not stop there. I read Kent, Close, Roberts, Boenninghausen, Farrington etc. and every time I could not help myself appreciating the work these men have done. These people differ in their understanding and approach of Homeopathy at many points and yet their individual contribution is so great that it cannot be dismissed. Then I read Vithoulkas and I said ‘great!’; I read Sankaran and I said ‘wow!’; I read Scholten and I said ‘Innovative!’; I read Eileen and I said ‘It’s different!”. These and many other contemporary homeopaths have helped me become a better homeopath. I have learned from each of them and I keep wondering why these people cannot learn from each other? Why all of them stick to their own idea of similimum? Where is the flexibility that a homeopath should have?
Our Narrow World
How many of us can give a standard definition of ‘life’? I think there can be no standard definition of life. Life has so many perspectives, so many variations that you cannot summarize it in a few lines of text. As life cannot have a rigid definition, the variations in the state of life viz. disease, cure etc. cannot have bound definitions either. Our differences arise from our basic difference in the way in which we perceive life, disease, cure, and treatment. We become too bound by the works that we read and the experiences that we have. Every one of us has his/her own view of this cosmos. Each one of us lives in his/her own ‘world’. The problem arises because we start believing that every one sees the world the same way as we see it. All of us have prejudices and most of us believe we have none!
A Different Stroke
My personal experience with life so far has been that ‘truth’ is a relative term. What is true for me can be false for someone else. What is an absolute truth for me today may become a relative one tomorrow. This is what has happened to my understanding of the way healing occurs. At seventeen, after reading Organon, the ‘law of similia’ and its application with potentised medicines seemed to me the only way in which healing can occur. I still feel it is probably the best way. But now I know it is not the ‘only‘ way.
I remember a day when my sister came from office with a splitting headache. I was still a student then. I had no medicines to offer. I just placed my hand on her head and sang a beautiful ghazal (an Indian form of music/poetry) for her. By the time the ghazal ended, the headache was not just relieved, it had disappeared! I do not know if it was my touch or the music or both that worked. And yet she must have received her ‘similimum’ in some way for that headache to disappear in ten minutes or so.
At another time, my one-week-old niece developed severe pyoderma. The fourth generation broad-spectrum antibiotics given in the hospital had failed. She used to cry like hell due to the irritation. At such moments, I often used to take her in my arms and play some very soulful music (bhajans) that I used to play for her mother when she was pregnant. In a couple of moments the crying would stop and in some more minutes I used to have a four kg cuddle in my arms, sleeping like a baby! I do not know what similimum she got but her irritation must have definitely gone down for her to become comfortable and sleep.
These are not isolated incidents. My mother often says that she feels better and her complaints are less when I am around. Scientific research has shown that neonates that receive mother’s touch during their stay in ICU have much lower mortality. What kind of healing is this? A couple of days back a person, stranger to me, sent me a mail enquiring about certain approach in Homeopathy. After two replies, he sent me a mail – “Dr. B, …Just talking to you has a therapeutic effect on me. If you do not mind can I send you an occasional mail? ….”. I do not know this person and he does not know me. He is not my patient and he was a couple of continents away. Why did he felt better just by telling me something that he had already told his homeopath? I do not know.
These are some excerpts from my life but I have seen these things in general too. Homeopathy and our idea of similimum is just one way of bringing back harmony to our systems. It is not the only way. At times I have seen patients who do not need medicine. They come with lot of psychological problems and all they need is someone who can listen to them and work with them with their problems. Yes! The psychologists do help some times. Even the emotional healing that occurs during a detail case taking, works in a similar way. I believe in what I see. I have seen people recovering from their illness with Ayurveda, Praan Chikitsa, Yoga, Meditation, Music, Touch therapy, Reiki etc. All these approaches have their own scope and their own set of limitations. When judiciously used any one of them can bring back the harmony and balance in our body that we try to attain through our law of similia.
The Wider Question
The question that comes to my mind is that if ‘healing’ itself can have so many modalities and ways to restore harmony, then why Homeopathy cannot be flexible enough to encompass more than one modality of practice to restore the vital harmony?
I do not disbelieve anything until I see it and experience it. When I read a new approach or new work, I do not throw it in the dustbin because the work is non-confirmatory with my existing views. Be it Vithoulkas’s essences, Sankaran’s idea of basic delusion, Sholten’s innovative approach towards periodic table – I went through the books and tested the ideas in practice before setting opinions about them. Even today if someone tells me that you can see 300 patients a day using Vijyakar’s approach and still practice classical Homeopathy, I do not say it cannot be possible. I say, “I will read, I will see, and I will try”. Only then will I say yes or no.
If each one of us develops that flexibility in our approach and starts giving enough space to him/herself and others too, then I hope we will be able to grow together and this struggle for the dominance of ideas will end for good.