System of Homeopathy

Language
English
Type
Hardback
Publisher
Homoeopathic Medical Publishers
Author(s) Rajan Sankaran
Out of stock
$64.00
This book is the 4th in the series of books published by Dr Rajan Sankaran after the 'Spirit of Homoeopathy' and 'Substance of Homoeopathy' Wherein he explained his understanding of Homoeopathic principles and his approach to case taking and prescribing. This current book explains, in detail, his methods of case taking and analysis as evolved over the years in his practice.

A large number of case studies presented with actual interview records, detailed case analysis and basis of remedy selection make this book very absorbing. The follow-up seeks to demonstrate actual response. To appreciate his system we have to keep in mind, without prejudice, his concepts of disease and other approaches as explained by him. Briefly discussed in Chapter I they are: -

1. The disease is central disturbance which affects first the mental and general plane and then the organs. This is what has to be treated, if peripheral disturbances are to cease to exist.

2. The mental disposition, not merely mental symptoms, is more important; it is not discrete or separate but connected by a situation.

3. Disease are a posture adopted by the organism for which a particular posture was adopted no longer exists. Hence disease is a delusion ie a false perception of reality. The state of being of a person can stem from a situation or delusion. To remove the state one must remove the delusion.

4. In children there is a striking resemblance of the state of the infant and that of the mother during her pregnancy and sometimes of the father.

5. There are four stages of the disease:

a) The delusion or the main feeling.
b) Coping as the intensity increases.
c) Failed stage when the person is unable to cope though trying his best.
d) Given up stage, where the person makes no further effort to cope.

In (a) the feeling are uncompensated.

6. Awareness of the reality is cure anmd health is freedom.

7. Many of the symptoms of the patient may be in the compensated form (covering up by an act of will) and symptoms of the uncompensated state. Are essential to understand the state of the patient and prescribe. In dreams, the feelings expressed are raw and uncompensated; therefore they are often the key to understanding the patient and his delusion.

8.Each remedy is a state of being.

9.The delusion are also analysed in terms of the miasms. Apart from three basic miasms of Hahneman, Dr.Rajan had introduced in - between miasms like Typhoid, Sub-acute, Ringworm.Malaria, Cancer and Leprosy, with their corresponding remedies and nosodes. This approach enables better understanding of the case, while helping narrow the choice of the remedy.

After discussing the evolution of his system in the first chapter, he presents 25 case studies. Documentation of the whole interview, a detailed case analysis, the major points in the case including the central disturbance, delusion miasm, remedy kingdom, the reportorial rubrics and the final remedy selection with the follow-up, allowing proper assessment of remedy action leading to cure or relief, are presented in each case. These assorted and chronic cases (except one acute) facilitate understanding of his methods of case taking, value addition and final selection. Appropriate footnotes aid this process.

At the end of these 25 cases, the reader is fairly familiarized with the concepts. Then follows chapter 27 titled ' the system' -a packed 48 pages- in which he discusses in detail the concepts of case taking and case analysis. Thereafter 10 more cases are presented.

In his system there are four levels of case taking-

1st level- only the symptoms are gathered.
2nd level- important hints obtained at first level, are acted on, and the line of enquiry is established. Dreams are asked at the end of second level.
3rd Level-directed enquiry -going deep into these is sues and feelings, including PQRS.
4th Level - this epicentre of delusion or sensation changes the complexion of the case, as we can see through the eyes of the patient. Connections are unearthed or the common point of the deepest mental and physical sensations surface. At this point the miasm, kingdom of the remedy and other ideas, all converge to a sharp focus to facilitate remedy selection mind, especially his fears and dreams. These rubrics can be substituted for one another. Finally he asks confirmatory questions about the kingdom and the remedy.

Dr. Rajan then discusses, with brief case illustrations and cross-references to the earlier cases, each aspect of case taking. The paints he makes are:

1. The chief complaint, either alone or together with other complaints, may give an idea of the kingdom,miasm,stage of the disease and the delusion either in part or in whole.
2. The effect of the compalint on the patient is importani; eg one patient with severe pain and heaviness in the bdomen did not want to move. She could neither move out nor be with the plants and trees she loved. This feeling of being restricted, as if in prison, with a feeling of having done something wrong, led to selection of Cyclamen.
3. Pathology is nothing but an expression that coresponds to the delusion, but it serves to make the delusion real. Eg: a woman felt a tremendous performance pressure as she was severely restricted by her father. When he died, she developed eruptions on her fingertips, making it impossible to work as a dentist, point or sew. The delusion was kept alive even after the exit of the exciting factor.
4. The actuality versus perception by the patient is often startling different. Eg:in one case where Carcinosin was prescribed, the child found disorder arolund her and felt obliged to put some order into it, but felt handicapped because she was too small. Later when she helplessly warched her parents fighting and hitting each other. She developed autoimmune vasculitis with gangrene. Another patient experienced stress associated with appearing in public. Here it was not timidity; She was so tall and masculine that she felt others looked down upon her. The rubric-Delusion, diminished, short; delusion,looked down upon and disgust for self-led to prescription of Lac-can.]
5. Dreams reveal uncompensated feelings and are the most direct path to the patient's delusion. Do not ignore dreams nor interpret them. Dr Rajan Discusses, with illustrations, this topic in great detail- what to look for in dreams actual and virtual dreams. Actual dreams are those which occur in sleep while virtual dreams include other forms of uncompensated behaviour in the waking state-eg fears, fantasies, sensations as if, metaphors, interests and hobbies, hopes,religion and philosophy, Each is illustrated.

To complete the understanding of the case one should identify, apart from mental state, the physical symptoms with details of the location, sensations, modalities and concomitants and past history. Dr Rajan says that when a patient is descibing his physical compalaints, he is talking about his mental state. The doctor should explore the vocation or profession of the patient- what he chooses to do and why; recreational activities, chosen out of free will, truely indicate the uncompensated person.

CASE ANALYSIS:

Pay close attention to the exact words of the patient. Reference to attachment to an animal or flower or nature or the type of professions choses may point to the remedy. Trace the connections between all aspects of the case and give due weightage. Page No.4 For miasmatic evaluation; correlate the words, attitude, mood, pace, pathology and past history.

KINGDOM EVALUATION:

a) A history given in a structured, organized way with details and lists points to a mineral remedy.
b) If done in an emotional and sentimental tones, then to a plant remedy

In some cases he refers to the provings of the remedies conducted by himself and his colleagues.

Next Turn To Materia Medica And Repertory Software:

To select as many rubrics which express the central idea. Then take a few rubrics, which mostly cover the symptoms of the case by elimination, identify common remedies. Then consult source Materia medica books and provings to select the remedy.

All that the patient says must fit.

The final and the most important step are to answer the question- 'Is there anything which does not fit?' The very fact that it does not fit may lead to the remedy closest to the core of the case. Dr. Rajan has included three cases of this type, where Theridion was chosen insted to tarentula and selenium for Staphysagrua and Elaps instead of Staphysagria.

If one or two very strong themes run parallel and are interconnected then think of a salt; this is justified when the qualities of two ions interact with each other throughout the case. Eg: a middle-aged woman suffered from lumbar disc herniation. Her problem started when her brother -in-law refused to look after his mother who was very sick and proposed that she should be left in the streets. She was very angry at that attitude. The themes of lack of care and caring for others (Phos) and concern for the family (Kalium) and the feeling that she was not getting support from her husband led to the selection of kali-phos.

AS REGARDS THE POTENCY:

1. The potency should match the intensity of the state of the patient.
2.here the mental and general symptoms predominate use high potency.
3. Where the pathology predominates, the disturbance has reached the peripheral stage and would need a low to moderate potency.
4. The presence of characteristic symptoms indicates good vitality and so calls for moderate to high potency.
5. Potencies also relate to the age of the patient: in a child with a lot of fears and no pathology - a high potency. -Children with congenital problems or with severs pathology-low potency.

In the case of old people where there are no fears, hardly any dreams but server pathology with suppression; a low potency is needed, as the vitality is low. The coped up state represents the positive side while failed state represents the negative side of the remedy; tjhe more the negative side is expressed at the conscious level the higher the potency. LM potencies are appropriate with severs pathology and for a frail patient and in chronic slowly progressive diseases.

The Criteria For Follow-Up Are-

The general enerfgy of the patient;
Mental and emotional state;
The status of the chief complaint;
Appearance of new symptoms or recurrence of old symptoms etc

GENERAL REMARKS ABOUTCASES:

1. In most of the cases the dreams the patient had, are explored to find the uncompensated state, even in the follow-ups. Either the patient does not get the same repetitive dreams or amelioration is reflected through new dreams. In some cases. He explains how dreams led to the remedy.
2. Two cases are presented where the mother's state during pregnancy and father's mental makeup determined the choice of the remedy.
3. Dr. Rajan had administered only one remedy in varying potencies and no acute remedy was prescribed. There is no mention of prescribing the constitutional remedy in contrast to the present day practice of delineating acutes, intercurrent-nosodes and constitutional.
4. Some cases illustrate the concepts of intermediate miasms introduced in his earlier book. (He has also elaborated on the miasmatic classification with a comprehensive chart in an appendix to this book).
5. The concepts of Dr Jan Scholten in arriving at the theme of the compound remedies-eg Calcarea nitricum case are employed. He has also used the provings of remedies he had made and recorded in his book ' The Soul of Remedies'.
6. Some of the cases ion which he arrived at the remedy such as Platinum. Coffea. Staphysagria and Strontium -carb are instructive. Eg arriving at Coffea is beautiful. There was constant activity of mind and the need to innovate and create. Tremendous sensitivity to pain; feeling that he is in dirty, filthy and closed places; sleeplessness. Sense of alienation. He cannot accept anything from others unless he has been giving. His son and his son's wife surreptitiously gave hgis wige some mony which he direly needed but was reluctant top ask and this episode made him break down and weep. The feeling in this remedy is 'I will get love and consideration only when I do for others'. Coupled with rubrics - activity creative, ailments from excessive joy, sleeplessness, activity of thoughts from ideas abundant etc led to the remedy.
7. Follow-up interviews aim at ascertaining whether the delusion has disappeared.
8. Dr. Rajan makes an important point regarding treatment of acute diseases while treating a chronic complaint. 'The acute is actually a part of the chronic disease and not a new separate disease; it is usually a healing crisis and care should be taken not to disturb it During this acute exacerbation the disease state becomes more pronounced so that the characteristic and peculiar symptoms are thrown up and help find the correct remedy'.

CONCLUSION BY: Dr. Vishpala Parthasarathy

It is a remarkable book.

I Must confess that I have not read Rajan's earlier books-not to say I have not tried- but maybe desultorily without succes. May be it is true that there is a child in every one of us and mine was stisfied bu this lates book gripping and readable.

This once again proves Dr. M. L. Dhawale's theory of learning: from cases to concepts. In this instance: cases to remedy. Today this is accepted worldwide as the most comprehensive mode of learning.

Several of Rajan's Concepts have drawn criticism from many quarters. Notably from George Vithoulkas (read the latest issue of homoeopathic Links) However Dr.Rajan has defended his concepts and approaches by the best known defenceactual cured cases, without violating any fundomental principles of Homoeopathy.

After all the practice of homoeopathy is an art and to horrow a phrase from Zen 'It is a gateless gate.' There are several entrances to the temple of sinmilimum. In the past and in present times several leading Homoeopathic practitioners, such as Dr.Boenninghausen, Dr.Kent, Dr.Guernsey, Dr. Phatak Dr. Ananda Zared (Wound and Wall) Dr. Jan Scholten and Dr. Seghal of revolutionary Homoeopathy (Where the present, persistent and predominant symptoms lead to the remedy by giving imaginative interpretation to the reportorial rubrics) and Dr. Subrata Kumar Banerjee (miasmatic diagnosis ) had evolved their own art of practice.

Since Homoeopathy is the art of individualization one has to choose from several methods as to what is appropriate in a particular case. It is therefore necessary that every practitioner becomes conver sant wiht all these approaches. It is also true that he may be subconsciously following some of these or synthesize them and evolved his own art. This book will serve as a simulator ( as in the case of pilots and astronauts ) for Homoeopaths. It is important that all Homoeopaths share their vast clinical experience- the only true way to learning and the raisond' etre for the existence of Journals, Whichn play a pivotal role in bringing to you learning from every quarter - book reviews such as this seminars or direct experiences through cases. Aude sapere ( dare to be wise )As one's practice expands, maintaining records gats unwieldy due to inadequacies of space. Case Tracker is a new software useful in recording cases for homoeopathic physician and to address this problem of storage.
More Information
ISBN8190110314
AuthorRajan Sankaran
TypeHardback
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2005
Pages494
PublisherHomoeopathic Medical Publishers
Review

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians

Reviewed by Rose Nightingale RSHom

When I came to read the System of Homeopathy by Dr. Rajan Sankaran, I had mixed expectations. Dr. Sankaran is a very famous teacher and practitioner who has inspired many with his brilliant work, yet some of his recent work has received mixed reviews. He has mainly been criticized for making speculative statements, unsubstantiated by philosophy or clinical work. However, in his latest book he has addressed this criticism, and we find his method illustrated with no less than 35 detailed case studies. This means we need not only read his theories; we can read examples of his theories in practice.

The book begins with a basic overview of one of Dr. Sankaran's most famous concepts-the "central delusion." For those unfamiliar with this idea, essentially Dr. Sankaran suggests that disease is a reaction to a situation that does not exist, to a false perception of reality. Homeopathy can be used to correct this problem by treating it with a remedy that shares the same central delusion.

The next idea presented in the introduction is "compensation" and how a patient's compensations cover up elements of the case, which makes casetaking difficult. One example of the compensated state is that of an Aurum metallicum patient who may not appear to be in the state brought about by the proving of Aurum metallicum, that of great depression, suicidal tendency and hopelessness. In fact, because the Aurum metallicum patient is compensating by overachieving and conscientious behavior, the classic proving picture would never be seen. Dr. Sankaran explains that this is why the picture of a remedy brought out through clinical experience can often differ from the proving. These are extremely interesting theories that many students of Jeremy Sherr will also have been familiar with for some time.

Dr. Sankaran takes his theories even further by linking them with states of miasmatic susceptibility, studying miasms in terms of feelings and reactions, and suggesting the addition of new miasms: acute, typhoid or subacute, ringworm, malaria, cancer, and leprosy. This departs dramatically from Hahnemann's traditional three miasms (or combinations of the three) and from most established texts on the subject. Many would argue that what Sankaran terms a "new miasm" is merely a combination of factors of the original trio.

Students of Chaim Rosenthal will be familiar with the "kingdom classifications," the theory that patients present a series of characteristics that distinguish whether they need an animal, plant, mineral or nosode remedy. For example, those needing a mineral remedy would express themes of structure, relationships and performance. Dr. Sankaran uses kingdom analysis in some of his case studies, and at the end of the book gives us some of his further thoughts on some subgroups such as plant families. Many of us will be aware of this exciting new trend in Homeopathy, where themes between different plant families or animal types are studied to further our understanding of materia medica.

After the introduction, the book mainly comprises of case examples. One aspect of this which I found particularly helpful were Dr. Sankaran's footnotes to the cases where he comments on themes that are developing throughout the appointment. Much of this shows great insight and understanding of the case, making the analysis very easy to comprehend. I was generally very impressed by the clarity of understanding, case-taking and repertorization. His chosen rubrics made great sense with relation to the case, and overall, the cases chosen were excellent learning examples.

One case which did puzzle me somewhat was case number II. The patient was not prescribed a remedy at the time; instead, Dr. Sankaran prescribed a music cassette of "Raga Yaman," which apparently produced feelings of Natrum carbonicum in a number of provers who listened to it. This is Dr. Sankaran's more eclectic approach, which has drawn criticism from many in the past. In the case example, the patient did improve some-what merely from listening to the music, but later needed Natrum carbonicum anyway to complete the cure. The idea that music is a remedy is certainly relatively new, and was detailed in Sankaran's earlier book The Substance of Homeopathy.

Dr. Sankaran also introduces some surprising prescriptions, like Rose 30C and Plastic 30C. He states that he had conducted a proving of Plastic himself, but does not mention a source for Rose. I found this frustrating, because after reading the case, I wanted to study the remedy proving to understand more.

Towards the end of the book is a chapter on "The Miasmatic Classification of Diseases" which is likely to prove most controversial with practitioners who understand the miasms from the original work of Hahnemann. Dr. Sankaran introduces miasms such as ringworm, which is apparently characterized by an "alternation between periods of struggle with anxiety about success, and periods of despair and giving up." Some of the main remedies relating to this miasm are claimed to be Calcarea sulphuricum, Calcarea silicata, and Magnesium sulphuricum. Although this may prove to be ground-breaking work, it is necessary to explain further how he came by these theories, for example, what research or series of case studies are behind the concept. The impression given is that these themes and pictures are from his own observations only.

It seems that Dr. Sankaran is classifying remedies into various miasms based on their mental/emotional experiences and responses in the world. This is quite a departure from our traditional understanding of miasms. For example, in the book The Chronic Miasms by J. H. Allen, physical symptoms play an equal role in identifying the miasmatic taint. This mental/ emotional emphasis is not surprising, since Dr. Sankaran states earlier in the book that he prefers prescribing on mental and general symptoms, as these most clearly represent the central disturbance of a patient. He suggests that once a remedy is potentized beyond the 12C it contains pure energy only, with no remaining material substance present. The remedy therefore can cause only dynamic changes, which in turn lead to changes on the physical level. Most of the case examples consist of prescriptions which are strictly based on mental/general symptoms. Perhaps this final chapter would have been easier to understand if it had preceded the case examples, and if he had illustrated his ideas in the case analysis with the use of miasmatic classification, kingdom analysis, etc.

The book ends on a cautionary note, stating that data about kingdoms and miasms can help to shape an understanding of the case, but should not be the basis of the prescription. Sankaran warns against the common mistake of narrowing down the choice of a remedy through kingdoms/miasms, phrases the patient uses, the clothes the patient wears, etc. He states that the whole "totality" of the case is important, and that if we narrow our thinking too much, we could miss huge realms of possibilities. In this way, he echoes Hahnemann in paragraph six of the Organon of Medicine, where we are warned of the "futility of transcendental speculations."

Personally, I was particularly pleased to see this subject addressed, as there is a growing trend in Homeopathy to prescribe remedies with very incomplete provings, based on the fact that they are perceived to be in the correct "family" and to relate to the case through the doctrine of signatures. With so much exciting new research being developed on themes and groups of remedies, as Dr. Sankaran says, it is a mistake to let such thinking limit our understanding of the wide range of possible remedies.

It has to be said that this book is extremely expensive for the quality of print and binding, retailing at $74. However I would certainly recommend reading it, with particular attention to his casetaking and case analysis, which showed deep thought and great intelligence. Dr. Sankaran is certainly adept at assimilating ideas from many sources and developing them. One criticism I would have is that this book is not for a beginner or anyone new to Homeopathy. It is ideal for those who already have a good grounding in Hahnemannian philosophy and experience in practice, and can appreciate that these are Dr. Sankaran's own ideas, some of them still very much in an experimental stage.

Rose Nightingale is a graduate of the London College of Classical Homeopathy and Jeremy Sherr's Dynamis School. She is a writer and teacher of homeopathic philosophy, and a salsa dancer among other things. She practices in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Simillimum, Fall 2001
Volume XIV, Issue Three

 

This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath with permission from Francis Treuherz of The Society of Homoeopaths

Reviewed by Fiona Heubeck

How about The Summary of Homoeopathy? The Synopsis of Homoeopathy? The Slightly Short on Substance of Homoeopathy? This is a rather harsh, if facetious, comment on what is in many ways a fine book. Firstly, and in contrast to many homoeopathy books, it is beautifully produced, with good quality paper, lovely clear text, and the best editing and layout I have seen for a long time. There is an accurate index of remedies, excellent cross-referencing, and only a few typos (no doubt left in as proof against the Carcinosin miasm.) This is a book you can really enjoy reading, with its fluent story-telling and painstaking explanations.

The structure of the book (and it is very 'mineral kingdom') is that of a sandwich. Dr Sankaran briefly introduces his first twenty-five case histories, then there are approximately fifty pages outlining his 'system', followed by another ten cases. There is an appendix in which he clarifies his thoughts on miasm and kingdom classification, and a final summary has been written by Dr Bill Gray.

The case histories are truly admirable. Real conversations have been transcribed and annotated to allow either a 'find the remedy yourself' approach, or by following the footnotes, to understand the thought processes used by Dr Sankaran and his team to find the correct remedy. The cases are mostly written out at length, giving the reader a chance to perceive the whole case, and not just exclaim, puzzled, at the denouement. if you, like me, have ever thought, 'How come other people's patients speak in rubrics, and mine don't?', then here is the answer. With careful analysis and explanation, we see that the skilled homoeopath can hear the rubrics which are not always spoken aloud.

The real gift which Sankaran appears to have is to make hard data fit together with soft data in order to prescribe for the patient's whole state of being. He is adamant that no theorising or speculating must enter into case analysis, and yet he sees intangible patterns in speech, dreams and life events which assume such solidity of form that they become irrefutable hard data leading to successful prescriptions. He really does tie up Kent's world of causes to the world of ultimates in an accessible and effective way.

If you have struggled with Kent's philosophy, Vithoulkas' scientific abstractions or Hahnemann's old-fashioned terminology, Sankaran is the man to go for. The notion of the vital force, though not mentioned as such, rules with unbounded sway throughout his 'system'. The world of causes leads directly to the world of ultimates, and even Kent's 'reactions to the first prescription' are brought up-to-date, (though possible reactions are reduced from twelve to six [of Kent Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, p2531). Case-taking methodology traces its lineage straight from The Organon, and understanding the 'central delusion' seems synonymous with the original 'derangement of the vital force.' None of the (obsolescent?) older language has been permitted to taint a work which presents itself as new, clear and modern, but the content is actually unchanged and unchanging.

So, though exemplary in clarity of both thought and language, no real revelations in Sankaran's System. It may be a very useful book nonetheless, as it thoroughly illustrates many of the lines of inquiry and analysis needed in homeopathic practice. It also offers a welcome reiteration of the 'no speculating' rule, while promoting the art intrinsic to homoeopathy. His discussion of potency, again with updated reference to the vital force, is helpful and clearly expressed. The brief comments on kingdom and miasmatic classification are mainly conclusions developed from his previous works, The Spirit of Homeopathy and The Substance of Homoeopathy. In some cases Sankaran
feels that he has changed his mind, in others that he has refined the categories in a more concrete way. The whole book depends on these forerunners and The Soul of Remedies for its full value. Many cases end with an instruction to refer to The Soul of Remedies for a better understanding of the prescription.

In contrast to The Spirit and The Substance, this book, The System of Homoeopathy, has less which is new and original to offer. It is best seen as an illustrative collection of cases, given at greater length than previously, in order to explain more clearly that which has gone before. What stands alone, independent of his other work, is the section of around fifty pages, the elucidation of Hahnemann's case-taking instructions, and this by itself does not justify the cost of the book. if you already have Sankaran's other works, then this is a beautiful collection of cases with which to work through his thought processes. Paradoxically, he is at pains to remind us that, 'every case should be looked at without prejudice, as being something entirely new and different from what one has seen before.' See this book, then, as an insight into the mind of a master, not as 'the answer'.

Some readers will feel that this is enough: others may feel short-changed by the disproportionate number of case histories compared to the extent of the exposition of his 'system'. Look at it as an indication of your state of being! If you are in a sycotic state, you'll love the exuberant multiplicity of cases. If you're in a psoric state of struggle, you'll hope for enlightenment and understanding. If you're tubercular, you can race through this book very easily and still be gasping for more. If you're feeling syphilitic, tear it up! For further insights on Sankaran's proposed miasms of typhoid, ringworm, malaria and leprosy, you'll have to read the book.

Most encouraging of all, an a way, is the fact that Sankaran, despite his need to 'systematize and standardize knowledge and experience', is continuing to explore, refine and change his thinking, so we may all feel justified in agreeing or disagreeing with some of his conclusions. I certainly look forward to reading Dr Sankaran's next work - The Success of Homoeopathy?

The Homeopath
Number 79
Autumn 2000

Review

This book review is reprinted with the permission of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians

Reviewed by Rose Nightingale RSHom

When I came to read the System of Homeopathy by Dr. Rajan Sankaran, I had mixed expectations. Dr. Sankaran is a very famous teacher and practitioner who has inspired many with his brilliant work, yet some of his recent work has received mixed reviews. He has mainly been criticized for making speculative statements, unsubstantiated by philosophy or clinical work. However, in his latest book he has addressed this criticism, and we find his method illustrated with no less than 35 detailed case studies. This means we need not only read his theories; we can read examples of his theories in practice.

The book begins with a basic overview of one of Dr. Sankaran's most famous concepts-the "central delusion." For those unfamiliar with this idea, essentially Dr. Sankaran suggests that disease is a reaction to a situation that does not exist, to a false perception of reality. Homeopathy can be used to correct this problem by treating it with a remedy that shares the same central delusion.

The next idea presented in the introduction is "compensation" and how a patient's compensations cover up elements of the case, which makes casetaking difficult. One example of the compensated state is that of an Aurum metallicum patient who may not appear to be in the state brought about by the proving of Aurum metallicum, that of great depression, suicidal tendency and hopelessness. In fact, because the Aurum metallicum patient is compensating by overachieving and conscientious behavior, the classic proving picture would never be seen. Dr. Sankaran explains that this is why the picture of a remedy brought out through clinical experience can often differ from the proving. These are extremely interesting theories that many students of Jeremy Sherr will also have been familiar with for some time.

Dr. Sankaran takes his theories even further by linking them with states of miasmatic susceptibility, studying miasms in terms of feelings and reactions, and suggesting the addition of new miasms: acute, typhoid or subacute, ringworm, malaria, cancer, and leprosy. This departs dramatically from Hahnemann's traditional three miasms (or combinations of the three) and from most established texts on the subject. Many would argue that what Sankaran terms a "new miasm" is merely a combination of factors of the original trio.

Students of Chaim Rosenthal will be familiar with the "kingdom classifications," the theory that patients present a series of characteristics that distinguish whether they need an animal, plant, mineral or nosode remedy. For example, those needing a mineral remedy would express themes of structure, relationships and performance. Dr. Sankaran uses kingdom analysis in some of his case studies, and at the end of the book gives us some of his further thoughts on some subgroups such as plant families. Many of us will be aware of this exciting new trend in Homeopathy, where themes between different plant families or animal types are studied to further our understanding of materia medica.

After the introduction, the book mainly comprises of case examples. One aspect of this which I found particularly helpful were Dr. Sankaran's footnotes to the cases where he comments on themes that are developing throughout the appointment. Much of this shows great insight and understanding of the case, making the analysis very easy to comprehend. I was generally very impressed by the clarity of understanding, case-taking and repertorization. His chosen rubrics made great sense with relation to the case, and overall, the cases chosen were excellent learning examples.

One case which did puzzle me somewhat was case number II. The patient was not prescribed a remedy at the time; instead, Dr. Sankaran prescribed a music cassette of "Raga Yaman," which apparently produced feelings of Natrum carbonicum in a number of provers who listened to it. This is Dr. Sankaran's more eclectic approach, which has drawn criticism from many in the past. In the case example, the patient did improve some-what merely from listening to the music, but later needed Natrum carbonicum anyway to complete the cure. The idea that music is a remedy is certainly relatively new, and was detailed in Sankaran's earlier book The Substance of Homeopathy.

Dr. Sankaran also introduces some surprising prescriptions, like Rose 30C and Plastic 30C. He states that he had conducted a proving of Plastic himself, but does not mention a source for Rose. I found this frustrating, because after reading the case, I wanted to study the remedy proving to understand more.

Towards the end of the book is a chapter on "The Miasmatic Classification of Diseases" which is likely to prove most controversial with practitioners who understand the miasms from the original work of Hahnemann. Dr. Sankaran introduces miasms such as ringworm, which is apparently characterized by an "alternation between periods of struggle with anxiety about success, and periods of despair and giving up." Some of the main remedies relating to this miasm are claimed to be Calcarea sulphuricum, Calcarea silicata, and Magnesium sulphuricum. Although this may prove to be ground-breaking work, it is necessary to explain further how he came by these theories, for example, what research or series of case studies are behind the concept. The impression given is that these themes and pictures are from his own observations only.

It seems that Dr. Sankaran is classifying remedies into various miasms based on their mental/emotional experiences and responses in the world. This is quite a departure from our traditional understanding of miasms. For example, in the book The Chronic Miasms by J. H. Allen, physical symptoms play an equal role in identifying the miasmatic taint. This mental/ emotional emphasis is not surprising, since Dr. Sankaran states earlier in the book that he prefers prescribing on mental and general symptoms, as these most clearly represent the central disturbance of a patient. He suggests that once a remedy is potentized beyond the 12C it contains pure energy only, with no remaining material substance present. The remedy therefore can cause only dynamic changes, which in turn lead to changes on the physical level. Most of the case examples consist of prescriptions which are strictly based on mental/general symptoms. Perhaps this final chapter would have been easier to understand if it had preceded the case examples, and if he had illustrated his ideas in the case analysis with the use of miasmatic classification, kingdom analysis, etc.

The book ends on a cautionary note, stating that data about kingdoms and miasms can help to shape an understanding of the case, but should not be the basis of the prescription. Sankaran warns against the common mistake of narrowing down the choice of a remedy through kingdoms/miasms, phrases the patient uses, the clothes the patient wears, etc. He states that the whole "totality" of the case is important, and that if we narrow our thinking too much, we could miss huge realms of possibilities. In this way, he echoes Hahnemann in paragraph six of the Organon of Medicine, where we are warned of the "futility of transcendental speculations."

Personally, I was particularly pleased to see this subject addressed, as there is a growing trend in Homeopathy to prescribe remedies with very incomplete provings, based on the fact that they are perceived to be in the correct "family" and to relate to the case through the doctrine of signatures. With so much exciting new research being developed on themes and groups of remedies, as Dr. Sankaran says, it is a mistake to let such thinking limit our understanding of the wide range of possible remedies.

It has to be said that this book is extremely expensive for the quality of print and binding, retailing at $74. However I would certainly recommend reading it, with particular attention to his casetaking and case analysis, which showed deep thought and great intelligence. Dr. Sankaran is certainly adept at assimilating ideas from many sources and developing them. One criticism I would have is that this book is not for a beginner or anyone new to Homeopathy. It is ideal for those who already have a good grounding in Hahnemannian philosophy and experience in practice, and can appreciate that these are Dr. Sankaran's own ideas, some of them still very much in an experimental stage.

Rose Nightingale is a graduate of the London College of Classical Homeopathy and Jeremy Sherr's Dynamis School. She is a writer and teacher of homeopathic philosophy, and a salsa dancer among other things. She practices in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Simillimum, Fall 2001
Volume XIV, Issue Three

 

This book review is reprinted from The Homoeopath with permission from Francis Treuherz of The Society of Homoeopaths

Reviewed by Fiona Heubeck

How about The Summary of Homoeopathy? The Synopsis of Homoeopathy? The Slightly Short on Substance of Homoeopathy? This is a rather harsh, if facetious, comment on what is in many ways a fine book. Firstly, and in contrast to many homoeopathy books, it is beautifully produced, with good quality paper, lovely clear text, and the best editing and layout I have seen for a long time. There is an accurate index of remedies, excellent cross-referencing, and only a few typos (no doubt left in as proof against the Carcinosin miasm.) This is a book you can really enjoy reading, with its fluent story-telling and painstaking explanations.

The structure of the book (and it is very 'mineral kingdom') is that of a sandwich. Dr Sankaran briefly introduces his first twenty-five case histories, then there are approximately fifty pages outlining his 'system', followed by another ten cases. There is an appendix in which he clarifies his thoughts on miasm and kingdom classification, and a final summary has been written by Dr Bill Gray.

The case histories are truly admirable. Real conversations have been transcribed and annotated to allow either a 'find the remedy yourself' approach, or by following the footnotes, to understand the thought processes used by Dr Sankaran and his team to find the correct remedy. The cases are mostly written out at length, giving the reader a chance to perceive the whole case, and not just exclaim, puzzled, at the denouement. if you, like me, have ever thought, 'How come other people's patients speak in rubrics, and mine don't?', then here is the answer. With careful analysis and explanation, we see that the skilled homoeopath can hear the rubrics which are not always spoken aloud.

The real gift which Sankaran appears to have is to make hard data fit together with soft data in order to prescribe for the patient's whole state of being. He is adamant that no theorising or speculating must enter into case analysis, and yet he sees intangible patterns in speech, dreams and life events which assume such solidity of form that they become irrefutable hard data leading to successful prescriptions. He really does tie up Kent's world of causes to the world of ultimates in an accessible and effective way.

If you have struggled with Kent's philosophy, Vithoulkas' scientific abstractions or Hahnemann's old-fashioned terminology, Sankaran is the man to go for. The notion of the vital force, though not mentioned as such, rules with unbounded sway throughout his 'system'. The world of causes leads directly to the world of ultimates, and even Kent's 'reactions to the first prescription' are brought up-to-date, (though possible reactions are reduced from twelve to six [of Kent Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, p2531). Case-taking methodology traces its lineage straight from The Organon, and understanding the 'central delusion' seems synonymous with the original 'derangement of the vital force.' None of the (obsolescent?) older language has been permitted to taint a work which presents itself as new, clear and modern, but the content is actually unchanged and unchanging.

So, though exemplary in clarity of both thought and language, no real revelations in Sankaran's System. It may be a very useful book nonetheless, as it thoroughly illustrates many of the lines of inquiry and analysis needed in homeopathic practice. It also offers a welcome reiteration of the 'no speculating' rule, while promoting the art intrinsic to homoeopathy. His discussion of potency, again with updated reference to the vital force, is helpful and clearly expressed. The brief comments on kingdom and miasmatic classification are mainly conclusions developed from his previous works, The Spirit of Homeopathy and The Substance of Homoeopathy. In some cases Sankaran
feels that he has changed his mind, in others that he has refined the categories in a more concrete way. The whole book depends on these forerunners and The Soul of Remedies for its full value. Many cases end with an instruction to refer to The Soul of Remedies for a better understanding of the prescription.

In contrast to The Spirit and The Substance, this book, The System of Homoeopathy, has less which is new and original to offer. It is best seen as an illustrative collection of cases, given at greater length than previously, in order to explain more clearly that which has gone before. What stands alone, independent of his other work, is the section of around fifty pages, the elucidation of Hahnemann's case-taking instructions, and this by itself does not justify the cost of the book. if you already have Sankaran's other works, then this is a beautiful collection of cases with which to work through his thought processes. Paradoxically, he is at pains to remind us that, 'every case should be looked at without prejudice, as being something entirely new and different from what one has seen before.' See this book, then, as an insight into the mind of a master, not as 'the answer'.

Some readers will feel that this is enough: others may feel short-changed by the disproportionate number of case histories compared to the extent of the exposition of his 'system'. Look at it as an indication of your state of being! If you are in a sycotic state, you'll love the exuberant multiplicity of cases. If you're in a psoric state of struggle, you'll hope for enlightenment and understanding. If you're tubercular, you can race through this book very easily and still be gasping for more. If you're feeling syphilitic, tear it up! For further insights on Sankaran's proposed miasms of typhoid, ringworm, malaria and leprosy, you'll have to read the book.

Most encouraging of all, an a way, is the fact that Sankaran, despite his need to 'systematize and standardize knowledge and experience', is continuing to explore, refine and change his thinking, so we may all feel justified in agreeing or disagreeing with some of his conclusions. I certainly look forward to reading Dr Sankaran's next work - The Success of Homoeopathy?

The Homeopath
Number 79
Autumn 2000