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Sri Aurobindo on homeopathy

Editor's note:

Despite the fact that homeopathic medicines have been used now for over a century, there is still a hue and cry about it being a witchcraft in England. It is interesting to note that, as early as the 1930's, many questions were being posed by an allopathic doctor in Pondicherry also. We revive here some of these refreshing dialogues. With the doctor and others.

Sri Aurobindo: Homeopathy is nearer to Yoga. Allopathy is more mechanical. Homeopathy deals with the physical personality — all the symptoms put together and making up this personality. Allopathy goes by diagnosis, which does not consider the personality. The action of homeopathy is more subtle and dynamic (1).

Q. I am puzzled to think how such infinitesimal doses in dilution can act on the human system

Sri Aurobindo: That is no puzzle to me. Sometimes the infinitesimal is more powerful than the mass; it approaches more and more the subtle state and from the physical goes into a dynamic or vital state and acts vitally (2).

Sri Aurobindo: To bring out the latent illness and counteract it is a recognised principle in homeopathy and is a principle in Nature itself (3).

Q. But our allopathic medicine is a science developed by painstaking labour — experiments, researches, etc.

Sri Aurobindo: To a certain extent. The theory is imposing, but when it comes to application, there is too much fumbling and guesswork for it to rank as an exact science. There are many scientists (and others) who grunt when they hear medicine called a science. Anatomy and physiology, of course, are sciences.

Q. I don’t decry his homeopathy, and I dare say there are very potent drugs which we don’t have…

Sri Aurobindo: There are plenty of allopathic doctors who consider homeopathy, Nature-cure, Ayurveda and everything else that is not orthodox “medical science” to be quackery. Why should not homeopaths etc. return the compliment (4)?

His theory is that homeopathy first brings out the disease, then kills it. Something like Yoga, what? i.e. you have to become conscious of things inside you and then remove them. I never heard such a theory before, though from any homeopath (5).

Q. I heard that R was called to see a case outside, which had been given up as hopeless by the French doctors, including Valle.

Sri Aurobindo: By the best doctors in Pondicherry, Valle, Amaladasan and others. They dosed and injected and he was near to his last gasp when Valle ran to R as a last chance.

Q. Today R comes and tells me that the patient has gone to his office!

Sri Aurobindo: A fact.

Q. And that you have congratulated him on his success!!

Sri Aurobindo: A fact, why should I not, when an almost dead man rises full of life and energy in a few hours (6)?

Q. Again, it seems to me that he acted as an instrument or medium and nothing else.

Sri Aurobindo: What do you mean by nothing else? A human instrument without capacity can do things like that? That would be far more miraculous, impossible, incredible, surely, than a homeopath whose whole system is founded on symptomology curing people (7).

Q. This instance has proved to me that homeopaths are concerned with symptoms, not with the disease itself, of which they have not much knowledge. If relying on symptoms alone, he has cured this man, I shall be the last person to believe it.

Sri Aurobindo: Because you are tied in your own system and do not understand that Nature is not so rigid as your mental ideas.

Q. All big homeopaths I have heard of were allopaths before, i.e. they knew anatomy, physiology, pathology, etc. But R is unique and his cures are unique. So I am puzzled, puzzled about the real mystery behind…

Sri Aurobindo: Did they cure by allopathic treatment, then? Is it not the very principle of homeopathy that it cures the disease by curing the symptoms? I have always heard so. Do you deny that homeopaths acting on their own system, not on yours, have cured illnesses? If they have, is it not more logical to suppose that there is something in their system than to proclaim the sacrosanct infallibility of the sole allopathic system and its principle? For that matter I myself cure more often by attacking the symptoms than by any other way, because medical diagnosis is uncertain and fallible while the symptoms are there for everybody to see. Of course if a correct indisputable diagnosis is there, so much the better — the view can be more complete, the action easier, the result more sure. But even without infallible diagnosis one can act and get a cure (8).

Q. How does R choose the right medicine? Not by intuition; because I saw him consulting his books for the choice of medicines.

Sri Aurobindo: Of course. He learned homeopathic medicine in America and his ideas of homeopathy are the American ideas. But how does his knowledge prevent intuition? Even an allopathic doctor has often to intuit what medicine he should give or what mixture — and it is those who intuit best that succeed best. All is not done by sole rule of book or sole rule of thumb even in orthodox Science (9).

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

Sri Aurobindo: 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.

Q. If you say that homeopathy is quite different from allopathy, as regards the treatment, the pathology must be the same. [Sri Aurobindo underlines the last part of the sentence.]

Sri Aurobindo: Not necessarily in all cases or in all respects (10).

Q. 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.

Sri Aurobindo: 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 (11).

Q. 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.

Sri Aurobindo: 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 great 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 (12)?

Q. By “allopathic-homeopath”, I meant a homeopath having studied allopathy who will have a very sound basis in Medicine. All homeopathy schools are now teaching pathology, etc…

Sri Aurobindo: They may all study pathology, but I don’t think they all bind themselves to the same conclusions as the allopaths. If they did, they would not be able to have an entirely opposite system (13).

Q. If a homeopath went by symptoms only, he would perhaps cut off the leaf but I am afraid the roots would flourish as strongly as ever.

Sri Aurobindo: That is what A told G that homeopathy only gives a transient palliation followed quickly by a worse catastrophe. But after all, if it can raise up a man at the last gasp condemned by a unanimity of the whole allopathic faculty almost with the sentence “No more can be done” and send him walking about for a few more days of cheerful life, it is a rather big palliation. Moreover, in some cases I have watched, I have seen R’s drug produce not only a rapid, even an instantaneous improvement, but in the end what seems up to now a lasting one and this in cases of illnesses of ancient standing. However that does not cover K’s case which looks more like a lung affair (Mother always was apprehensive that she may be a consumptive case) than a vicarious menstruation. R however says that it is his principle to make a diagnosis and never change it or say anything more about it but just go and prove his case by a cure!! What say you to that, sir? Confidence, if you like! However what bothers me about diagnosis is that if you put 20 doctors on a case, they give 20 different diagnoses (in S’s we had three doctors with three quite different theories of the illness) — and such jokes as a doctor shouting “Appendix”, opening up a man, finding illness neither of appendix nor volume nor chapter and cheerfully stitching him are extremely common. So if a layman’s respect for allopathic pathology and diagnosis is deficient sometimes and R’s sneers at doctors’ diagnoses find occasionally an echo — well, it is not altogether without “rational” cause (14).

Q. 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.

Sri Aurobindo: Tumour, syphilis etc. are specialties, 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 psycho-physical root, one can cure even without knowing the pathological whole of the matter and working though 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 (15).

You may say what you like about the homeopathic theories, but I have seen R work them out detail by detail in cases where he had free and unhampered action and the confidence of the patients and their strict obedience and have seen the results correspond to his statements and his predication based on them fulfilled not only to the very letter but according to the exact times fixed, not according to R’s reports but according to the daily long detailed and precise reports of the allopathic doctor in attendance. After that I refuse to believe, even if all the allopaths in the world shout it in unison, that homeopathic theory or R’s interpretation and application of it are mere rubbish and nonsense. As to mistakes, all doctors make mistakes and very bad ones and kill as well as cure…. One theory is as good as another and as bad according to the application made of it in any particular case. But it is something else behind that decides the issue (16).


1. Nirodbaran. Talks with Sri Aurobindo. Calcutta; Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir, 1966, p. 64.
2. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo (Recorded by A.B. Purani). Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, p. 244.
3. Nirodbaran’s Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1984, p. 696.
4. Ibid. p. 360.
5. Ibid. p. 361.
6. Ibid. pp. 418-9.
7. Ibid. p. 419.
8. Ibid. p. 420.
9. Ibid. p. 422.
10. Ibid. p. 424.
11. Ibid. pp. 424-5.
12. Ibid. pp. 427-8.
13. Ibid. p. 431.
14. Ibid. pp. 433-4.
15. Ibid. pp. 436-7.
16. Ibid. pp. 695-6.

Sri Aurobindo (1872 - 1950) was the founder of the Integral Yoga where he proved that “All Life is Yoga“.

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An allopathic doctor






Sri Aurobindo