Letters of Sri Aurobindo
Volume 1. 1935
Letter ID: 1509
Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran Talukdar
December 28, 1935
While crushing my rigid mind, do you want to establish the long-neglected and much-maligned merits of homeopathy as beyond all dispute and harangue by allopaths?
Not at all. I don’t care a penny for homeopathy (or allopathy). I only wanted to poke some jokes at your allopathic mind.
My attack is against two things: R’s efficiency and capacity as a doctor; and the rationale of homeopathy on symptomatology alone.
If you question that, you destroy homeopathy altogether.
I asked R about his patient G: “Is there no thickening of the blood vessels, high blood-pressure, no dyspnoea, etc.?” He said, “None at all.” Yet Dr. Prasad Rao found all these and signs of heart-failure.
You went when G had a setback. R had written to me about headache, liver and some other difficulties before you went.
Dr. Rao further said that the patient was still in the danger zone. Any exertion, indiscretion might bring about another attack.
But it seems Valle has different ideas; he does not find G in a dangerous state or on the point of death, as he was before. Admitting P.R.’s infallibility, is Valle then a fool? Why does he give credit to R or keep him there? If R is such an incompetent ass, why does V support him, cover him, keep him there? This is a thing which seems to me a little unintelligible. Doctors differ? Why so much in this case? Valle who does not believe in Divine Force, is I think, the only doctor here who has a practical knowledge of homeopathy – he was struck with the justice of R’s treatment from the first in S’s case; he approves of his treatment in G’s. Would he do so if R were merely a blundering ignoramus?
R gives a high blood-pressure patient on the verge of heart-failure “moderate” licence in eating, drinking, etc. He calls it “leaving to Nature”!
Well, I have followed that system with myself and others and gone on the basis that Nature is very largely what you make of her – or can make of her.
Since his heart, kidney cannot be regenerated, his habits have therefore to be adjusted accordingly. He can’t remain a “bon vivant” any more.
In that case isn’t it better that G should die? What’s the use of life under such conditions?
If R is concerned only with symptoms, why does he ask me to find out the significance of high blood-pressure etc. or ask Valle to build up a diet for G?
Because he found you very competent at it. As for the diet he had to cede something to Valle so that the family might see there was a necessary collaboration.
... People will acclaim that allopathy has failed and homeopathy has succeeded. But my point is that Valle, an allopath, would have been as successful as R if he had the backing of your Force.
The Force needs an instrument and an instrumentation also sometimes. The instrument was R, the instrumentation partly at least his drugs. I don’t believe in the story of the inefficiency of homeopathic drugs only because they are homeopathic. Also, I don’t believe that R knows nothing about them and can’t properly apply them. I have noted almost constantly that they have a surprising effect, sometimes instantaneous, sometimes rapid, and this not in R’s evidence alone, but in the statement of his patients and the visible results. Not being an allopathic doctor, I can’t ignore a fact like that.
I quote to you an instance of the symptomatic riddle. Some symptoms like headache, vomiting etc. may be caused by many diseases such as brain-tumour, syphilis, blood-pressure and others. If you tell me that a homeopathic medicine for headache and other symptoms will be a panacea for all of them then I am afraid it will be difficult for me to accept it.
Tumour, syphilis etc. are specialities, but what I have found in my psycho-physical experience is that most disorders of the body are connected, though they go by families,– but there is also connection between the families. If one can strike at their psychophysical root, one can cure even without knowing the pathological whole of the matter and working through the symptoms is a possibility. Some medicines invented by demi-mystics have this power. What I am now considering is whether homeopathy has any psycho-physical basis. Was the founder a demi-mystic? I don’t understand otherwise certain peculiarities of the way R’s medicines act.
Now the diagnosis, about which you have joked. Why take a muddle as an instance and ignore other cases? I should say that a mistaken diagnosis of the appendix, for example, is very rare.
Good heavens! It happened in scores and scores of cases when there was the appendicitis mania among doctors in France – and they have other manias also.
Why ignore wonderful things due to thousands of right diagnoses and let sporadic cases of error loom large in your eyes?
Sporadic cases! I have heard of any number of them; they are as plentiful as blackberries in Europe. And as for difference of diagnosis it is almost the rule except when doctors consult together and give concessions to each other. Don’t try to throw allopathic dust in my eyes, sir! I have lived a fairly long time and seen something of the world before my retirement and much more after it.
We know only a few big cases of success of R, but how many of his failures do we know? In the Ashram itself Rajangam is one. I saw R’s most furious letter to you, on Rajangam’s lack of faith.
But I have Rajangam’s letters also. He seems to have had a curious mixture of superstitious hope and strong doubt, especially as R bungled badly at one point. However the body of an allopathic doctor can’t be expected to respond to a homeopathic fellow, can it?
Then I hear he has failed in L’s case also.
If L’s case failed, then L in her letters lied to me. She related a complete cure of all that she had been suffering from for dreary months and years in which she was writing blood-curdling letters to me relating all her symptoms and miseries in voluminous detail. Once feeling well, she declared she did not believe in treatment but in Divine Force only, gave R a kick and sent him away. He was of course furious. For some time I had no letters, then little by little they began again, but as yet they are not so blood-curdling as before. Question: If D.F. alone does it without drugs, why is not L cured now as she was then under R?
I don’t know of the other miraculous cures, nor do I know what rational grounds he has put forward for S’s taking Ashram food.
Rational, from the point of view of his experience only – not from allopathic pathology.
I think an allopath like M would be able to cure many people just as R has done – and also without some of Rs mistakes.
M has an admirable knowledge and masterful movement in his treatments, but Mother finds that he is an overdrugger. He pours drugs on his patients as some painters overload their canvas with colour. He almost killed himself in this way, and we had all the trouble in the world to tone him down. He admitted it frankly, but since professional bias was too strong for him, when he fell ill, he could not help drugging and drugging.
Now about K’s case. R boasts that it is not his principle to make a diagnosis, but to prove a cure and you ask me what I say to that. Well, R proclaimed after hearing the symptoms that it was a case of vicarious menstruation, even after seeing the blood-vomit which is characteristic of T.B. I call it bluff, Sir. Let him stick to his sacred principle and not bluff us with his queer vicarious animal! Dr. Valle who has a big experience to his credit has clearly pronounced it to be T.B. And why vicarious, pray? because she was having some menstrual troubles? But her last period was quite normal. And what about her past history of cough, pain in the chest, blood-vomit?
K’s case may be T.B., though Valle dragged in a “vraisemblablement”1 and X-Ray is required – very probably it is, though I am not quite sure. R swears that ordinary doctors who have not had sufficient gynaecological experience can and do take V.M. for T.B. It does not follow that it is so in this case and his statement may be all bluff... Now if we look beyond pathology to what I may call psycho-pathology (non-allopathic, non-homeopathic), this hysteria is usually accompanied with some disorder of the genital parts; wrong menstruation is itself often due to sexual trouble. T.B. again is always (psychologically) due to a psychic depression – I use psychic in the ordinary, not the Yogic sense; this psychic depression may arise from sex-frustration of one kind or another or from some reaction of the sexual order. So if R is wrong in suspecting V.M., psychologically he may be right – there may be, not vicarious menstruation, but its psychological equivalent. All that may no doubt be Greek (not medical Greek) to you, but I know what I mean – and so long as that is there, the cure of the T.B. by D.F.2 is rather problematical. In X’s case I saw at once that nothing could be done. That is why R got his chance. The allopaths could have cured the T.B., but it would have come back worse than before. However he is so disgusted with the storm of opposition raised against him that he seems inclined to throw up the cases and even (other things aiding) to leave the Ashram. If so, all will be peace in Jerusalem, S will go back with his liver into orthodox hands, G fulfil his allopathic destiny and an interesting phase will be over.
“I don’t care about all that,” he will say. “I will prove by my cure.” If one is dealing with a case of T.B. or of heart-disease, I assert that some knowledge of pathology is necessary so that one can understand how far other organs have been involved. R would be quite ignorant of it and therefore can’t treat the case effectively whereas an allopathic-homeopath would be in a better position...
But the allopaths can? Then how the devil do non-allopathic homeopaths (R is not the only example) succeed at all in their pathological cases? They do, you know, and that needs some explaining.
Actually, apart from anti-allopathic jokes and speculations, I don’t say anything. I am not in the habit of jumping at conclusions when there are many possibles without a complete certitude, but wait till knowledge comes. I do not believe that D.F. has done everything in all these cases and they would have been ameliorated equally well if anybody else had been there. I count R for a remarkable though too resonant instrument. I see there is something in his treatment and medical ideas which is out of the ordinary and cannot be gauged by traditional standards. I am trying to see what it is. Is it that he has an intuition into psycho-physical forces and throws his drugs at them in a successful way, partly intuitional, partly experimental, while his physical renderings of them (attempts at diagnoses) are mere façade or error – except when they happen to be right? It may be, but that sounds too easy and plausible an explanation to be true.
2 Divine Force.