President, Dist. Homoeo. Association, Dehra Dun. We have assembled here this evening to pay homage to the memory of a great man, a great thinker, a great philosopher, a great medical scientist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann of Germany, the discoverer of the Homoeopathic system of treatment. Great indeed is the debt the humanity owes to that great personage, though till now we are not fully cognisant of it.
The worth of the discoverers and propounders of new ideas is often realised with the lapse of more and more time when the ideas have been properly understood and tested. In their own life they are often treated as whimsical and outcasts fit only for ridicule, contempt, persecution and perhaps execution.
Homoeopathy was discovered in its present form by Samuel Hahnemann about 150 years ago, but it has yet to be discovered by the sick humanity and by the prejudiced medical scientists to enable it to play its due role in reconstructing the health of the peoples and nations of the world.
The problem of medical aid to the poverty stricken millions inhabiting this vast sub – continent of India and other parts of the world has since long been engaging the attention of social workers and thinkers. Can the so – called “scientific” system of medicine, with its prohibitive cost of diagnostic methods by examinations of blood, stool, urine, sputa and x-rays etc., and a still more expensive treatment, furnish the solution of this gigantic problem for decades to come? How long shall prejudice against new ideas so inherent in human nature, coupled with an anti – propaganda carried on by vested interests continue to obscure vision in relation to Homoeopathy which alone can furnish the answer to this colossal problem?
Homoeopathy has been dubbed as quackery and as being unscientific. One need not be surprised at it. Civilisations friend, philosopher and guide, the grand old Bernard shaw said: “Where there is no ventilation, fresh air is considered unwholesome; where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste; where there is no knowledge, ignorance calls itself science!” When Galileo first declared before the scientific world that it was the earth which moved round the sun and not vice versa, he was considered to be a heretic, and was persecuted, exiled and even burnt alive.
The discoverer of Homoeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann too suffered exile and had to seek shelter in a foreign land, but he was a bit more lucky inasmuch as he could secure a following in his own life time. Today Homoeopathy is recognised as a scientific art of healing practically all over the world. Its pioneers have been old school (Allopathic) medical men who investigated honestly and were converted.
Its great stronghold is in U.S.A. where there are numerous high grade medical colleges and hospitals catering to the requirement in Homoeopathic education and treatment. Lately England too has accorded official recognition to Homoeopathy by enacting the necessary legislation. On the list of physicians to the Royal family of England has been the eminent homoeopath Sir John Weir for quite a number of years.
In India where old prejudices perhaps die harder than in most other countries, there has been great opposition to the Homoeopathic system of treatment. There has been a persistent and organised opposition from the old school medical practitioners who have always anticipated great injury to their vested interests as homoeopathic treatment is very cheap besides being very rational, scientific an easy to understand and apply.
The heads of the medical and health departments in the governments in various states are allopaths, and on account of traditional prejudices they have been quite unsympathetic so fast as State recognition of Homoeopathy has been concerned. The common mans apathy towards homoeopathy has been due to fact that it involves a considerable modification of the existing ideas about disease and its treatment.
Naturally there has been more confidence in the Ayurvedic system of treatment which is more than 3500 years, old, or in the Allopathic treatment which is about 2300 years old and which, in addition, has been state patronished under the British rule and even after that. Homoeopathy is only about 150 years old. But in spite of the strong current of prejudices and opposition, homoeopathy has made headway in its sacred task of alleviating human suffering.
As there still exists lot of misconception about Homoeopathy, it may not be out of place to present a brief exposition of its principles and the way it works. Homoeopathy is only a new method of treatment and it has no opposition with the other branches of medical science. Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Surgery, Public Health and hygiene are basic or essential subjects which are and should be taught in Homoeopathic Medical Colleges. It is only as regards the outlook on disease, its causation and treatment that Homoeopathy strikes a different note.
To understand disease it is necessary to understand Health first. The human machine is an automatically functioning machine. “In the healthy condition of man”, says Hahnemann, “the spiritual VITAL FORCE, the dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable harmonious vital operation, as regards both sensations and functions, so that our indwelling, reason – gifted mind can freely employ this living healthy instrument for the higher purposes of existence.”
Thus, health is the state in which the automatic functioning of the human machinery, its parts, organs, endocrine glands, etc. is carried on by the Vital Force in perfect harmony and peace so as to ensure the maximum physical, mental and spiritual efficiency. The state of health is characterised by a feeling of comfort and ease, by the absence of any morbid sensations.
The VITAL FORCE is the Divine Spark of life or vital energy which is present from the very inception of life, bringing about growth and development in the mothers womb and after that throughout the rest of life till it is extinguished at death. It is the power house that supplies the impetus of growth for the whole economy, the whole individual.
Now what is DISEASE? It is a state of disease, a state in which the normal poise of the healthy state has been disturbed by the impact on the Vital Energy of some force inimical to health, resulting in a deranged functioning of the Vital Energy, on account of which man begins to feel morbid, painful sensations.
In fact, these morbid and painful symptoms and sensations are the earliest and the only indications which the Vital force gives to the individual about the invasion of its harmony, and if the disease cannot be removed at this earliest stage, then follow the other consequences of the disordered functioning of the Vital Energy, viz. disturbances in the functions of the organs and the endocrine glands, the various structural and tissue changes, the alternations in the functions of the organs and the endocrine glands, the various structural and tissue changes, the alternations in the normal nature of the blood, discharges and excreta, and the presence of various germs, worms, parasites, etc.
Now, it is at this stage that the old school physicians, the allopaths, recognise the advent of disease in the human body, which is quite natural in consonance with their materialistic conception of disease and the purely physical and objective methods of investigation, diagnosis and treatment.
In fact, these very conditions are considered by them to be the causes of diseases to which they direct the treatment. But, does it conform to reason and logic? The cause is always prior to the effects. We have already seen that these pathological changes come about sometimes after the man has been actually sick as evinced by the subjective symptoms and sensations, and so they cannot be the real cause of that previously existing sickness.
In fact, the cause of diseases is as subtle, dynamic and invisible as the Vital Energy itself. It is not a material entity which can be seen, touched, or handled physically, but it is a morbific influence or force belonging to the realm of dynamic energy which disturbs and perverts the healthy normal functioning of the Vital Energy, giving rise to morbid sensation and subjective symptoms first, and the germs, worms, pathological changes and objective symptoms afterwards.
If it were not so, how could sickness result from emotional causes e.g. from a fit of anger, or from the shock due to the death of some dear friend or relation? The only way in which the cause of disease can be discerned is by means of the signs & symptoms it produces.
The testtube, the microscope and the most sensitive scientific instruments have failed to demonstrate the mysterious way in which the chain of life is maintained within us and likewise the cause of disease and the mysterious way in which it operates are beyond the ken of the senses or the scientific instruments which can only examine the resultant effects of disease, wrongly considered by the old school of medicine to be the causes of disease.
It is common experience, especially in chronic diseases, to find the laboratory reports negative in cases with plenty of signs and symptoms and a history running into several pages. And now it will be easily understood and appreciated how early homoeopathy can diagnose and treat disease by properly assessing and acting upon the earliest symptomatic indications, often averting subsequent pathological and other developments.
Now as regards TREATMENT. Samuel Hahnemann, originally a highly qualified and learned medical scientist of the allopathic school, became deeply conscious of the aforesaid unphilosophical approach of the old school of medicine to the nature and causation of disease, and of the equally unsatisfactory and crude methods of treatment. Having become disgusted with vague, untenable and everyday changing theories and hypothesis, and purely speculative and lawlessly empirical methods of treatment, he set about thinking if in the realm of medicine also there were some natural laws which could guide with a reasonable certainty in the treatment of sickness.
His persistent quest and investigations led him to the discovery of the famous LAW OF SIMILARS according to which a drug can cure in the sick such symptoms as it has the power to produce in the healthy persons, provided it is administered in sufficiently small and potentised doses. This is a law of nature as true, universal and immutable as the Law of Gravity, and it has stood the test for over a hundred and fifty years. This is the solid rock on which Homoeopathy stands, firm and secure, and unshaken by millions of medical tempests and blasts which have blown away theories after theories and hypothesis after hypothesis.
Besides the Law of Similars, there are certain other natural laws to guide the homoeopathic prescriber of which we cannot take note in a general discussion like the present one. But all this is enough to show how homoeopathy emancipates us from the lawless empiricism of the old school and offers a system of treatment based on definite, precise and well – tested principles. Just as an apple detached form the tree falls to the ground and does not fly off in any other direction, so the similar remedy must bring about a cure if a cure is possible.
If the homoeopathic treatment is applied at too advanced a stage when the vitality of the patient has gone down too low to respond to the indicated remedy, or if the disease has advanced so far that an organ has become altogether useless and unable to carry on its natural functions, homoeopathy cannot be blamed for failure in the treatment. Even in incurable conditions where palliation of suffering is all that can possibly be done, Homoeopathy will bring the speediest possible relief, giving quicker and longer lasting results than Morphia, Aspirin, etc., without any injurious after – effects.
The drug so selected according to the natural laws is administered singly in a dynamised or potentised form in the smallest possible and in frequent doses. Here again we have to bow down in reverence before the mighty genius of Hahnemann for giving us the method of graduated potentisation of drugs, i.e. a method of releasing the dynamic forces residing in drugs according to a graduated scale of decimal or centesimal measurement.
The dynamic forces released from the homoeopathic remedy arouse the Vital reaction of the patient and enable the vital energy to conquer and extinguish the disease force, thereby restoring the normal functioning of the Vital Force, gently, safely, effectively, permanently, in its whole extent, in the shortest possible time and on easily comprehensible principles. This is Hahnemanns definition of a CURE which is being abundantly demonstrated by his followers every day in every part of the world.
Homoeopathy thus treats the patient and not the disease. When the patient is restored to health, then all his ailments are, as a necessary implication, cured and abnormalities removed. It is only recently that the medical science has started taking note of the mind as a causative factor in physical ailments.
Hahnemann had announced this to the medical world more than a hundred and fifty years ago, declaring emphatically that all diseases affect the mind first and the body and the organs afterwards. He gave the highest importance to mental symptoms in the selection of the remedy. While the orthodox medicine looks as a helpless spectator in the cases of most of the mental and nervous ills, homoeopathy is able to treat them effectively.
As Dr. H. A. Roberts has no nicely expressed, “Homoeopathy studies man as an individual in relation to his environment and circumstances more than any other school of medical thought, for it takes into consideration not only his immediate heritage but the more subtle and complex burden that is the heritage of long ages of struggling and developing ancestors. Homoeopathy not only seeks to relieve the individual as much as possible from the heavy burden of the hereditary tendencies he carries but also to guard against increasing this load by enabling his Vital Energy to provide its own IMMUNITY against disease.”
We have taken a passing note of the fact that homoeopathy treats patients with drugs tested on human beings. It is not rational or scientific to test drugs on animals and to expect the same results on administering them to human beings.
In a limited field this method has its own utility, for example, in regard to investigations on food, vitamins, hormones, etc. But the claims of the experimental pharmacologist that out of the results of these experimental methods an objective materia medica can be built up which can be utilised on objective indications for the control and treatment of diseased conditions, are far too excessive. The reasons are:
1. These experiments can throw light only in respect to a few human functions which are common to man and animals.
2. In experiments on animals we deal with artificially produced conditions, and it would not be logical or rational to apply the results of such investigations to the treatment of naturally excited disease phenomena.
3. The human organism, especially in diseased conditions, does not show constancy or uniformity of reaction.
4. Some of the effects of drugs on animals may be altogether different from what they are on human beings. In man adrenalin at first retards and later on furthers the gastric movements while the movements of the dogs stomach are influenced in the reverse manner. Hypophysis extracts provoke diuresis in cats and dogs but oliguria in rabbits and guinea pigs.
Homoeopathy stands unrivalled in the treatment of CHRONIC DISEASES. Hahnemann has left us a most precious gift in his discovery of the factors which give rise to and keep up the progress of chronic disease, viz., PSORA, SYPHILIS and SYCOSIS. A detailed exposition of these would be beyond the scope of this chapter, and the readers interested in this branch of study are referred to Hahnemanns Chronic Diseases and other leading works on homoeopathic philosophy.