The Sensation in Homeopathy
18 December 2017 (online)
Rajan Sankaran Homeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai, India, 2004 Price not stated: www.thespiritofhomoeopathy.com, ISBN: 81 901103 6 5.
Rajan Sankaran's latest book ‘The Sensation in Homeopathy’ represents the next stage in his epic journey of discovery and understanding of homeopathy; the journey which started in his first book ‘The Spirit of Homeopathy’ and has progressed through ‘The Substance of Homeopathy’, ‘The System of Homeopathy’ and ‘An Insight into Plants’ He describes the process thus:
‘When I started as a homeopath, the state of the profession could be likened to a man with an air gun standing in a field shooting up in the air randomly. Once in a while a bird flew into his aim and was shot. And the homeopath would say, “What a great shot that was!” Patients had to struggle to get into the line of fire! There was a lack of consistency. Each of us had some brilliant results but not consistently… I realized that consistency was a necessity if we were to have any credibility as a system of treatment… My effort all along has been to find a method …that is consistent and reproducible.’
The aim of this book is to revise and enlarge upon concepts which he has developed to systematize homeopathy. The concepts of kingdoms, miasms, sensation and levels, as he is at pains to point out on several occasions, are based on the very solid foundation of knowledge of homeopathic philosophy, materia medica and repertory. This is not a new method of homeopathy which disregards traditional teaching but rather leads to a deeper understanding of the case and the remedy.
For those who have not read his earlier books, I suggest that, because Sankaran gives an excellent review of his thinking to date, it is quite possible to start with this book and gain a clear understanding of the system which he is developing. The layout of the book—if a little muddled and repetitive in places—is easily accessible, either to dip into or to sit down and read in one long session. The excellent Foreword and Introduction could have been written as one section; somewhat bizarrely, Acknowledgment and Note to the Reader are sandwiched between these two. However, this is a small point and does not detract from their content which sets the scene beautifully. This for me was like a spring board from which to jump into the main sections of the text. He has divided the book into three parts with the aim of following the evolution of the current concepts. Each stage of the method is illustrated with clinical cases.
Part I: ‘The Spirit of Homeopathy’ introduces the ideas of The Central Disturbance, Miasms and Kingdom Classification. Hahnemann's definition of disease as a ‘dynamic derangement of the dynamic vital force’ is explained by Sankaran as ‘The Central Disturbance’—the mental and general symptoms together. These come first and local and pathological changes follow later.
‘…as if pathology grows on the Central Disturbance as a creeper on a stick. To remove the pathology, it is the Central Disturbance that needs to be corrected and the physical pathology will have nothing to sustain it.’
He expands on these ideas and their practical application and then moves on to introduce miasms, kingdom classification and the system of case taking and analysis. Six cases with follow-up and analysis complete the section.
Part II: ‘The Vital Sensation’ is an extract from Volume I of ‘An Insight into Plants’ At first sight, it seems strange to have not only part of another book reproduced but also some of the material from other chapters of this book. As he explains in the Foreword, repetition of the ideas is done with the intent of clarifying them in different ways, I found this to work well. These ideas are new and fascinating and coming across them throughout the whole text useful way of absorbing the information. A further four cases illustrate this section.
Part III: This is the largest section of the book and is split, somewhat arbitrarily, into two parts. The reader is taken to a deeper level of understanding of the patient, looking beyond the delusion to the level of sensation and energy. Sankaran then introduces us to his most recent thinking on the Seven Levels of Experience. His observations in clinical practice have led him to a realisation that patients experience pathology at varying levels and his current thinking is that there are seven identifiable. These are: Name, Fact, Feeling, Delusion, Sensation, Energy, The space that supports the energy level. This is the most difficult section of the book but one well worth revisiting; the summary on pages 252–253 is particularly helpful.
The next stage of the journey takes us to the complex subject of miasms. Starting with Hahnemann's theory, Sankaran has come to understand the miasm as the depth to which the Vital Sensation is perceived. He now describes ten miasms: Acute, Typhoid, Psora, Malaria, Ringworm, Sycosis, Tubercular, Cancer, Leprosy, Syphilis.
He says ‘…the sensation is the “what” of the case, the miasm is the “how” or “how much” or to put it another way, the sensation is the verb, the miasm the adverb.’
The idea of remedies belonging to and having properties related to its natural kingdom has been discussed increasingly in the last decade. Rajan Sankaran and Jan Scholten, (through his work on the Periodic Table), have contributed hugely to this debate. In the section on The Kingdoms, Sankaran again takes us through his thinking on the subject, explaining how each of the three kingdoms has its own special song—the structure of the mineral kingdom, the sensitivity of the plant kingdom and the survival of the animal kingdom. Case taking itself is the next subject to be described in depth and illustrated with further clinical cases. The chapter on The Sensation is a revision of the concepts already discussed elsewhere—a very welcome stopping off point for the reader to take a breath and regroup.
I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter on the ‘Realm of Nonsense (the world of the source)’ ‘Often the most fascinating point in a case is the passage into the sensation level…this is the inner world of the patient…this inner reality has no reason to be; it is illogical, unreasonable, unexplainable and therefore incredible. This is what I call the world of complete nonsense…… the inner world is the world of the source and serves as the ultimate confirmation of the remedy.’ If only we could all get to the source! Part III concludes with sections on Follow-up, Acute Situations, Children's cases and Clarifying Doubts (a question and answer session). The Conclusion comes from feedback and comments of homeopaths from around the world who are studying and using this new approach.
This is a giant of a book and a wonderful read. It takes us on a journey of discovery in which we can dare to share, dare to put these methods into practice and dare to be amazed at the results. I have little doubt that this is by no means the final part of the epic; Rajan's thirst for knowledge and understanding of homeopathy is boundless. He quotes an old Tamil saying: ‘What is known is a handful, what is unknown is an earthful.’