As the minority hold to it because they have tested its claims and found them valid and whereas the majority decry it because, in almost every case, they have little or not knowledge even of its aims and fundamental tenets and still less experience of its practical application Hahnemanns ideas and practices still fail to secure universal recognition.
Great is truth indeed and will prevail in the long run! We can assert to-day on the Bicentennial Birthday Anniversary of our great Master that within a century and a half of his discovery of Homoeopathy, he has claimed followers from all quarters of the globe, his system is practised in the remotest corners of the earth, the number of his followers is ever on the increase and his system of treatment is claiming state recognition and equal rights, privileges and facilities for its followers in all civilised countries of present time.
It is gratifying to note that the claims of Homoeopathy is being hotly discussed in the Parliament of India and different State Assemblies, in the Press and amongst the laity and professionals all over the country.
Hahnemanns life is an open book to many of you. On this auspicious occasion I would be failing in my duty if I do not present before you, some salient features of his personality which does often eclipse Hahnemann the physician. His was an integrated personality with myriads of facets each of which was as brilliant as the other, and any one of which would have made one immortal in the history of man. His personality and character can be summed up in one word a genius who is composed of 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration as Edison puts it.
But he was no mere a genius a strong streak of saintliness ran as a red strand in the fibres of his stuff. A profound faith in the omnipotence, omnipresence and all – mercifulness of God, a profound love for his fellow – beings and an extremely conscientious spirit deeply coloured his whole being and these were the secret sources from which he drew his indomitable will, indefatigable energy and philosophic outlook of life; and as such neither adversity nor prosperity could deviate him an inch from the path of rectitude, intellectual morality and complete integrity of purpose.
His long space of life has been aptly divided by Albrecht into several periods, viz. Lehrjahre period (1757-1792), Prafungs jahre period (trial years 1792-1811) and Kampjahre period (the battle years, the life of conflict in Lepsic from 1811-1812); and it is during his later periods of life – we find him struggling for making a synthesis out of all his analytical researches – the period of Mejsterjahre or Master years, the quiet life at Coethen from 1821 – 1835 and the Gauzi die Alters or the splendid years of old, the brilliant life in Paris and the peaceful end.
To talk in the language of the India system of Philosophy he seemed to have started as a student of Nyaya – Vaisesika School (when individualities in the universe impressed him) and passed through Sankhyan stage (when he could classify diseases into a few limited groups) and attained the final synthesis of a Vedantist when he could proclaims the unitary cause of multifarious diseases of protean manifestations, when he would perceive the unity in the midst of diversity and pronounced Psora as the mother of all diseases even including other types of chronic miasmatic infections.
Hahnemann was born of a poor family. From his boy hood he was of studious habit and used to burn his midnight lamp. His father objecting to the extravagant consumption of oil, he burned, when preparing his lesson, stopped his use of family lamp except at stated hours. But the boy circumvented this difficulty. He contrived to make a lamp of his own out of clay and persuaded his mother to supply him with oil out of her stores; and so with “Stolen flames” he persued his course.
Child is the father of the man – this spirit of ingenuity which manifested in young Hahnemann stood him well in his later life when he had to face terrible vicissitudes of fortune. Chill penury instead of repressing his noble rage, acted like “precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice; but adversity doth best discover virtue” (Bacon).
Hahnemann has been described as a double – headed prodigy of philosophy and erudition. Jean Paul Richter, a contemporary of Hahnemann at Lepsic, prophesised that the latters system must eventually lead to the ruin of the common recipe – crammed brains but which was then more detested and rejected than examined and accepted by his colleagues. Hahnemanns Intellectual achievements were phenomenal. Nearly every branch of human knowledge claimed his attention. He was a reputed chemist before he earned his fame as a physician. The discovery of a method of preparing soluble Mercury which was named as “Mercurius solubilis Hahnemannii” is to be noted.
An eminent chemist of his time remarked that Hahnemann would have died as a great chemist if he did not choose to be a great quack! He was a walking Encyclopedia of his time. That Hahnemann was a master in linguistics, in the knowledge of many European languages is shown by numerous translations from the English, French, Italian, Latin etc. He was conversant with Astronomy and even Entomology. Though we do not find any direct reference of the philosophers of his country in his writings there are many hints in his private letters that he was thoroughly conversant with the works of Kant and others e.g. in one of his letters he writes: “Philosophy represents the highest ideal to wards which the human mind is imbued with a desire to struggle.
Philosophy is not only the highest of sciences, it is also the basis and the fundamentals of all others. No science can exist without philosophy for without its help it falls to the level of a handicraft or at any rate of a subsidiary subject. This is true above all of medicine. Is it not an anticipation of Prof. A.N. white – heads remarks. “If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc hypothesis, it must become philosophical and must enter upon a thorough criticism of its own foundations.”
The prominent feature in Hahnemanns character was his extreme conscientiousness of spirit. He was absolutely sincere in thoughts, words and deeds. As early as 1808 when Hahnemann already acquired reputation as a good physician he wrote to Hufeland “For eighteen years I have departed from the beaten track in medicine. It was painful to me to grope in the dark, guided only by our books in the treatment of the sick to prescribe, according to this or that (fanciful) view of the nature of disease, substances that only owed to mere opinion their place in the materia medica.
I had conscientious scruples about treating unknown morbid states in my suffering fellow – creatures with these unknown medicines, which being powerful substances, may, if they were not exactly suitable, easily change life into death or produce new affections and chronic aliments, which are often much more difficult to remove than the original disease. To become in this way a murderer or aggravator of the sufferings of my brethren of mankind, was to me a fearful thought – so fearful and distressing was it, that shortly after my marriage I completely abandoned practice and scarcely treated any one for fear of doing him harm and – as you know – occupied myself solely with Chemistry and literary labours.
With this conscientious spirit what a profound faith in God is expressed through these lines in the same letter: No, there is a God, a good God, who is all goodness and wisdom and as surely as this is the case must there be a way of his creation whereby diseases may be seen in the right point of view, and be cured with certainty a way not hidden in endless abstractions and fantastic speculations,” And lo! the Law of similars was revealed to him, which made therapeutics scientific basing itself on factual observations.
Plain living and high thinking was Hahnemanns motto in life. It is evident in his letter to a Prince on the choice of a family physician. “Search for some plain man of sound common sense who takes great pains to ascertain the truth of all he hears and says and does not merely look to its passing muster, who knows how to give clear and condensed information respecting every thing that that belongs to his art and never obtrudes his opinions unasked or at an improper time, and who is no stranger to every thing else important for man as a citizen for the world to know.
More especially let the man you choose be one who does not show temper nor get angry except when he beholds injustice, who never turns unmoved from any except flatters, who has but few friends but those men of sterling principle – who is not silent respecting the merits of his colleagues, but does not praise himself, a friend to order, quiet and beneficence – Before you finally fix on him, see how he behaves to the poor and if he occupies himself at home unseen with some useful work.”
Hahnemanns humility before God and and profound faith in His justice rank him easily with the saints of every age and clime. During his last illness when his wife said “Providence surely owes you exemption from all suffering, as you have relieved so many others and have suffered so many hardships in your arduous life;” Hahnemann answered “why should I except exemption from suffering? Every one in this world works according to the gifts and power which he has received from providence, and more or less are words used only before the judgment seat of man, not before that of providence.
Providence owes me nothing. I owe Him much. Yes, everything”. It is only a saint of a high order who can thus give vent to his feelings when death stares him at his face! And the following remarks of him to a friend are worthy of being noted here: “It is perhaps time that I quite this earth but I leave it all and always in the hands of my God. My head is full of truth for the good of mankind, and I have to wish to live but in so far as I can serve my fellowmen”. These are memorable words indeed.
Hahnemann ever had an exalted opinion of the dignity of medical profession. He believed that his discovery was a gift to him from God in trust for the benefit of the fellow men. We may from some idea of Hahnemanns immense industry when we find that he proved about 90 Drugs, that he wrote upwards of 70 original works on chemistry and Medicine, some of which were in several thick volumes and translated about 24 works from the English, French, Italian and Latin, on Agriculture and General literature, many of which were in more than one volumes (Dudgeons remarks).
As a philosopher he was an integralist i.e., he accepted fundamental varities of mind, life matter though in temperament and development, both as man and as physician, he was a strong opponent of materialism, a doctrine which refuses to acknowledge reality of anything but Matter. Hahnemann anticipated the latest ideas of convertibility of matter and energy and developed the dynamisation theory of drugs and perfected a technique of preparation of potentized remedies. Of course he did not try to solve the problem of body – life – mind puzzle from an intellectual point of view but succeeded in discovering a technique by which both man and medicines can be studied as a whole.
As a physician his contributions in the field of Medicine stands unique. It was he who pointed out why the Art of Medicine did not progress on scientific lines whereas phenomenal progress was marked in other branches of human knowledge, scientific and philosophical. It was he who revolutionised the concepts of life, health and disease and assessed the right place of surgery in the practice of medicine. It was he who looked upon the insane as mentally defectives and chalked out a humane method of treatment.
It was he who built his system of therapeutics on such a solid rock of factual observations and experimental verifications that his works are as fresh and up – to – date as they were a century and a half ago. Inspired Hahnemann has left to the world a sacred message of truth – Homoeopathy – the science and art of Medicine as embodied in his immortal work Organon and Materia Medica pura and his book on “Chronic Disease” Evidents from the recent trends of thought in so – called modern scientific medicine, are not wanting to prove that the allopaths outlook is covering towards Homoeopathy and accepting unconsciously and indirectly the fundamental tenets of the latter.
The line of thought diverted by Pasteurs discovery of pathogenetic bacteria and Kochs bacteriological postulates is not curving back and will, if it continues on its present course, eventually merge into that of the Homoeopath and thus discover the unity of scientific thought which, for so long, has lain hid behind a scientific thought which, for so long, has lain hid behind a seemingly perpetual war of school against school, of system against system to the great detriment of the profession and misfortune of the suffering humanity.
Such was our Master, the benefactor of humankind. The life which started with privation, trial and calumny, which enjoyed a few years peace at Coethen and culminated with rich honours of Paris for his achievements came to a close, calm and dignified, worthy in every way of his life, on the morning of Sunday, July 2, 1843. Let me close with the tributes paid by Albrecht to the great departed “No splendid monument is required for Hahnemann. Over his tomb, like the angel with the leaf of eternal peace, lingers with heaven – born consciousness of a life devoted to duty, science, art, the welfare of mankind and the service of God.
By the side of this angel stands another, the certainty that nothing really good, really beneficial, can ever perish, but defies death and the grave, continuing in everlasting activity, and thus identifying itself with the highest order of things and the government of the universe. A third agel hovers there revealing to our gaze the name of Hahnemann and the significant words “Non inutilis Vixi” (I have not lived in vain) are graven there as with a sunbeam”.
On this auspicious day we should think about the place that Homoeopathy will occupy in future in the field of Medicine. I can not pretend to prophesy with certitude on the subject as with the passage of time advancing human knowledge may bring about unexpected changes in our fundamental notions about Matter, Life and Mind and something beyond it.
So far as I can see at present, however, there is no reason to suppose that homoeopathy, if for no other reason than its immensely wide field of application, should assume a position of special importance and become acknowledged by all as one the chief weapons in the conquest of disease. And sooner our national leaders, politicians and state officials realise this truth better chances will be there for us, for the medicine of future, and for the suffering humanity.
If we live up to the ideals set up by Hahnemann there is no power in the earth which can overweigh us or exterminate us as a professional entity.
In the name of Hahnemann and Homoeopathy I thank you all once again from the bottom of my heart for the rare honour and privilege offered to me on this occasion of celebrating the two – hundredth birth – day of our Master Hahnemann.
Dr. Big was seriously ill. He called in Dr. Great, who took his seat beside his patient. Dr. Big lay in his bed, completely covered by a thick rug, only his clean – shaved face popping out.
Dr. Big. Good morning, Dr. Great.
Dr. Great. Good morning. How do you do?
Dr. Big. Quite well, thanks! I am sorry, I mean I am very ill. Thats why I have called you in. By the way our fees, Sir?
Dr. Great. Rupees two hundred and one.
Dr. Good took out a cheque – book from under his pillow, somehow wrote out a page and handed it over to Dr. Great.
Dr. Great. many thanks! Now to business. May I know if you have any trouble in your head?
B. It was bell and then glon and now it seems to be heading towards hyoscyamus.
G. Thats fine. Any trouble in the eyes?.
B. Not much. Just cinerarian opacity, euphrasian lachrymation and staphysagrian styes.
G. Very good. Any trouble in the ears?
B. Nothing particular. It started with puls, passed through sil and is now lach.
G. Fine! Any trouble in the nose?
B. Nothing except some old Kali-bi chunks.
G. Whats your mouth like?
B. Just mercurian, sore and flabby and imprint of teeth and furrows and saliva, etcetera.
G. Thats lovely. Any pain in shoulders or arms?
B. Occasionally bell, usually rhus, sanguin to the right and nux – mosch to the left.
G. Thats good, but how do you know?
B. Vide Lilienthal. I never speak without authority.
G. Thats very nice of you. Any trouble in chest?
B. Nothing very serious. Usually tub, occasionally spong and ranuncul and phos.
G. Good. Any trouble in liver or spleen?
B. Slightly chionanthic liver and ceanothic spleen.
G. Thats fine. Any trouble with biles?
B. Usually chinese and calcarean and occasionally berb and card.
G. Very good. Any dyspepsia?
B. Oh no, just slight arg – nit flatulence.
G. Right. Any pain in the sacral region?
B. Usually rhus, and occasionally lyc and berb.
G. Thats fine. Any pain in the ovaries?
B. O doctor, I should like to inform you that I am a male person.
G. Oh! Many thanks for your information. Our books rafer so often to she and her that I am often inclined to call it she – pathy rather than homoeopathy. Now, any trouble in the urinary system?
B. Very slight, just cantheric urethra, sabalian prostate and terebinthian bladder.
G. Very good. Any trouble down below?
B. A perfect rhododendron.
G. Thats good. Any pain in knees?
B. Just slightly colchic.
G. Any pain like sciatica?
B. Seems to be gnaphalium and rhus.
G. Any pain in tendo – achilles?
B. Slightly acid – murian.
G. Thats fine. Any further symptoms?
B. The finger – joints are act – spic and the rough scales are anagallian. And a few ant – crudian corns and hepatic boils. I think thats all. Now, may I have your prescription.?
G. Oh yes.
Dr. Great wrote:
For Dr. Big.
Re. Phytum – one dose.
To be taken once and only once.
Dr. Big read the prescription and asked Dr. Great meekly how he repertorised the case.
You see said Dr. Great, my principle is, when in doubt, give phytum. And I am always in doubt.