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Sri Aurobindo

Letters of Sri Aurobindo

Volume 1. 1935

Letter ID: 1506

Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran Talukdar

December 24, 1935

You have shown me my fallacy, but I am afraid, the fundamental points of perplexity remain unsolved...

I don’t deny G’s resuscitation, nor do I object to your congratulating R. I don’t even say that homeopathy is all bosh and allopathy is heaven’s reward. Well, there were evidently three factors at work in this case: Mother’s Force; R’s mediumship which was constituted of faith, confidence, vital power, intuition, etc. and his drug treatment.

Now what I am puzzled about is the exact contribution of R’s medicines in this case

Exact? How can one measure exactly where vital and mental and spiritual factors come in? In dealing with a star and atom you may (though it appears you can’t with an electron), but not with a man and his living mind, soul and body.

If R were an allopathic homeopath, with a difference only in treatment and not in pathology, I wouldn’t doubt his explanations.

Why on earth? What is an allopathic homeopath? Homeopathic principles are just the opposite of the allopathic. So why must the dealings be fundamentally the same with only a difference of drugs? In spite of what you say you have the solid belief that allopathy alone is true. I suppose allopathic homeopathy is something like a biped with four feet.

If you say that homeopathy is quite different from allopathy, as regards the treatment, the pathology must be the same.

[Sri Aurobindo underlined the last part of the sentence.]

Not necessarily in all cases or in all respects.

How can a homeopath ask a high blood-pressure man who has just risen from the grave, to attend to his duties in the old way and give him the usual food?

Why can’t he, if he has some other means of combating the possible bad results? I have not heard that R asked G to resume his duties. He represents it as if he remained neutral and it was G’s own choice with which he did not interfere. That may have been imprudent; but R is daring in everything and that means a stiff dose of imprudence. Besides he has his theories also which may or may not be true, but I cannot say they are prima facie impossible if I can judge by the daring one he put forward for making S eat the full Ashram meals. If S’s accounts of his condition are true, they seem to have been justified by a considerable amount of success.

A symptomatic treatment can’t be applied in cases where the same symptom is produced by two or three different diseases because the symptoms will always recur so long as one doesn’t go to the root.

Why can’t it? There is a possibility that you can strike at the cure, whatever it be, through the symptoms and you can kill the root through the stalk and leaves and not start by searching for the roots and digging them out. That at any rate is what I do.

Don’t speak of your own cures, please; I can’t fight you there!

Why should I not speak of my cures? When they are perfectly apposite and a proof that you can cure by symptomatic treatment?

You mean you don’t want to give me the lie or say I am under a delusion?

If you say R is led by intuition I’ll stop my argument and give you a chance of a hearty laugh. But then how did he ignore so important a factor as albumin in G’s case?

He has intuition but not always the right intuition to fit the case. It is a mental intuition he uses, and mental intuition is a mixed movement.

I have answered all that already. I do not say R was right; but he did not act at random; he gave his reasons for neglecting the albumin which I am not medical enough to understand. I would have preferred if he had dealt with and had kept G under observation, before letting him loose, but it is not my funeral. I don’t expect G to live long and I don’t think R expects it either. But in the case of S he has for the time being at least proved his case. He is by the way dealing with G’s kidneys today and admits it is a ticklish job; but the first effects he says were successful and he is waiting for the night to pass to see what will be the sequel. For the drug, he says, is highly potentised, (that is American language), but may produce an upheaval. Well, there you are, that is the man. Right or wrong? God he knows. I put a force behind him and also await the results.

He had by the way hesitated to act at once on the kidneys because the body needed to be accustomed to renewed vigour (so far as I understand) before risking the coup. Contrary to allopathic pathology? Maybe. But it has some similarity to what I have seen in my experience of action by Yoga.

His faith, hope, self-confidence, I suppose, help to produce a favourable nidus in the patient’s mental atmosphere.

Certainly, if you are dejected, diffident, despairing, full of doubt, you can’t produce a favourable nidus in the atmosphere.

Self-confidence necessarily presupposes knowledge and experience; though the converse may not be true.

What an absurd statement! Self-confidence is an inborn thing; it does not rest on knowledge and experience.

If Napoleon had been a little less self-confident, he might have been a victor at Waterloo.

Who says that? I never heard that Napoleon failed at Waterloo for want of self-confidence. I have always read that he failed because he was, owing to his recent malady, no longer so quick and self-confident in decision and so supple in mental resource as before. Please don’t rewrite history unless you have data for your novel version.

About Kemal Pasha, well, I hear you pumped into him a lot of force.

Napoleon had a lot of force pumped into him also.

Even then these personalities had the stratagems of war and current politics at their finger-tips, like Japan which is reaping a golden harvest out of European tangles. If I could say that about R in his field, then all my doubts regarding his drug-effect wouldn’t arise...

Please remember that R has studied homeopathy and he has knowledge of homeopathic medicines if not of allopathic pathology. He took a degree in America and the Mother tells me that many of his ideas of which we were so impatient and thought them his own inventions are the ideas of the American school of homeopathy which is more meticulous, intolerant, intransigent, dead against allopathy, particular about the subtle properties of homeopathic drugs and their evanescence by wrong contacts (quite Yogic that) than others.

His self-confidence and intuition may produce some striking results at the time of crisis, but it must blend with knowledge to give permanent results.

How do you know he has no knowledge of homeopathic drugs?

His lack of sufficient knowledge of things makes me doubt and throw almost the whole balance on the side of your Force. If he had been as successful outside with such a scanty knowledge, I would have said then, all luck! or now that I know, action of some greater Power behind.

He was successful outside. While he was outside the Ashram, not yet accepted, he was making remarkable cures and already getting a name. I had to stop him as soon as he became an accepted disciple, even before he came into the Ashram, because his practice was illegal. But I had to refuse applications from the town for allowing him to treat patients because he had succeeded so remarkably with them that they wanted to continue. I was not concerning myself in the least with his cures and knew nothing at all about them. And you say all that was luck because his ideas differ from yours? Are you not reasoning like Molière’s doctors who declared that a patient’s audacity in living contrary to the rules of Science was intolerable or like the British Medical Council which refused any validity to Sir Herbert Barker’s cures because he was an osteopath and had no qualified medical knowledge?

I wonder, then, whether our mode of looking at things is altogether wrong. And if there are really such drugs in homeopathy which can give results in cases in which we have almost none, then it would be worth trying to study it and combine both systems.

Certainly there are – the universe is not shut up in the four walls of allopathic medicine. There are plenty of cases of illnesses being cured by other systems (not homeopathy alone) when they had defied the allopaths. My experience is not wide but I have come across a good number of such cases. And if it is not so, why then did Dr. V come to R for help surprisingly when he and A had failed with all their capacity and experience? V has known and practised homeopathy to some extent. May we not infer that he knew there were cases in which homeopathy (not allopathic homeopathy but pure) might be successful?

Or is it only a question of personality apart from Yoga-force? If R had taken up allopathy, could he not have done big miracles like these, where Valle and others failed? And if I were asked to administer the same drug to this dying man, could it have produced such a striking effect?

It is not a question of drugs alone. The drug is only a support. If you had not intuition and self-confidence and the same thoroughgoing belief in your own action and the Yoga-force behind you, you might have done some good but not had the same rapid effect. R believes in his medicines, but he does not believe that they are infallible in their effect or rely on them alone. He believes in the man behind them and in the Force behind the man.

You can try to logicise me but do try to satisfy me, also!

How can I “satisfy” you when my point of view and basis of knowledge is quite different from yours or R’s either?

I could go on writing and writing and multiplying, but I have tried to squeeze my thesis into this space. You said you would try to make it clear. Please do so...

I haven’t cleared up anything, I suppose, only logicised and not satisfied you. To clear up things it would be necessary to go to first principles as well as my own experience and view of things (to which you object because you can’t fight me there), and that would be going into country foreign to the allopathic and scientific reason.

Let me say however about R: He is a man who seems genuinely to believe in the Force – even when he was not an accepted disciple and was treating cases in town, he was attributing his cures to the Force (ours), although we did not consciously preside at all over his cases or send him any particular help. So he has the first requisite for being a “medium” of Force. Next, he is a man of great vital push, self-confidence, abounding enthusiasm and energy; such men are the best instruments, not for knowledge, but for successful action. Second requisite there. Next, he is a man with a great power of suggestion and also of inducing auto-suggestions in his patients, and these become remarkably effective, provided they do not resist too much. He is the kind of man who can give pure water, saying, “This is a potent medicine”, and the patient would immediately feel better after taking it. (By the way, many allopathic doctors do that, when they think it necessary, according to their own confession). Third help (though the trick would be unYogic); the power of conveying one’s own thought-formations, vital energy, will – decisions etc. to others being an element in Yogic action: he has that. Fourth, a knowledge of homeopathic medicines and what seems to me a very supple and daring use of them. Dangerous? perhaps or rather, no doubt; he himself admits that with his more potent medicines a great disturbance occurs before the cure or can do so and a great disturbance means a great risk; but a daring man is a man who takes risks in the hope of great results. He might have killed S? Certainly, but so might an allopathic doctor. My grandfather and cousin were patently killed by the medicine administered by one of the most famous and successful allopathic doctors of Calcutta. An allopathic doctor also takes risks and those who are the most successful are also the most adventurous and decisive in their methods. All that does not militate against his capacity as a healer. They are points in his favour.

On the other hand there are big defects. He is a bluffer; he makes big mistakes and does not admit them even when he knows he has made them – he covers it up by an absurd statement which he thinks the others will swallow. But he does not persist in his mistakes he sets them right without admitting them. He is not truthful and truthfulness is a great help for the Force, while the opposite induces a wrong vibration. He is vain, arrogant etc. – and men with such defects can easily fall into great blunders. He pretends to have knowledge where he has none. He is ignorant of many things a healer ought to know.

Well, in spite of all he has done remarkably with S. Whether he will carry G through remains to be seen; but that for the time being he raised him up from the half-dead is beyond question. The man has parts – whether his parts will become a whole is a matter of the future. A man being a man can be neither perfect nor worthless. One has to see what can be made of him or what he allows himself to be made or to become. Let us Asquitheanly, for him as for others, wait and see. Why either condemn wholly as a fraud or boost up as a miracle?

There would be much else necessary to say, about allopathy, homeopathy and the elasticity of Nature, about the place of medicine, Force and the medium, about spiritual force, intermediate occult forces and material forces, about the complexity and relativity of “truths” that are only convenient formulas and the inadvisability of turning them into absolute and all-covering truths, etc., etc. – but all that would be long, would carry us into too deep depths and can be postponed till the blue moon rises in your heavens.