Homœopathic Links 2018; 31(01): 083
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1629884
Book Review
Thieme Medical and Scientific Publishers Private Ltd.

Dog, Yogi, Banyan Tree

Reviewed by
Ruy Madsen
1  Brazil
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
30 March 2018 (online)

Veritas filia temporis (Truth is the daughter of time)

It was St. Augustine who initiated the tradition of autobiographies. Much more than telling the story of a lifetime, the aim is to make a confession. The story of a soul that presents itself fully and honestly before God. ‘Dog, Yogi, Banyan Tree’ by Rajan Sankaran is a confession.

A man with high goals, thirst for knowledge and therefore open to knowledge, wherever it comes from. A man who early in life learned that the secret to seeing further is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Sankaran reveals to us, one by one, his guides, his role models, his examples, men of high moral and intellectual stature, who contributed to the timid boy, hidden under the shadow of an admirable father, to become one of the greatest names in the history of homeopathy.

The short chapters of this book, like small poems in prose, reveal a human being with the strength, steadiness and greatness of an elephant. In the words of the Indian poet Kabir: ‘the elephant walks at its own pace, not bothered about the dogs that bark’.

Today, the dogs that bark along the straight path are invited to recognise the invaluable contributions of Sankaran. Contributions that stand the test of time and have done immense good to the profession.

Contrary to what critics say, the new methods of the great contemporary authors retained all Hahnemannian foundations. We do not witness a revolution, but a reform. In epistemological language: the hard core of classical homeopathy (vitalism, proving, similitude, totality, individualisation, single medicine, minimal dose) has been preserved and Sankaran has added many useful tools to the defense belt (auxiliary theories).

History shows us that there is no such thing as collective discoveries; the subject of knowledge is the individual. The history of homeopathy could not be different. The real engines that make the profession move forward are the forces of individual consciousness, in search of truth, above any other authority. The recognition as being part of a tradition—a lineage of giants—forces us to conserve and, on the other hand, to explore. We should not go down, but we can always add.

How many of Hahnemann's disciples did not feel the reborn of the flame of the true art of healing when faced with the so-called method of sensation? How many colleagues who had given up or who were about to give up saw this lighthouse that Sankaran lit with his new approaches and navigated back to the port of classical homeopathy? How many homeopaths did not find themselves full of courage trying to imitate this master in their case-taking and analysis? How many patients around the world were not benefited by having their suitable homeopathic medicines elucidated by the new methods of this young Indian who wanted to be the best in the world?

Sankaran confesses his ambitions, his needs, his contradictions. In confessing the anguish generated by the conflict between selfishness and altruism, he shows with his own life the tension between these forces and, finally, recognises the importance of their balance. He has pursued his own interests as a free individual, and we homeopaths and our patients have gained a lot from this. It is a living proof of the classic idea of Adam Smith: ‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest…’.

As Hahnemann taught, the doctor's only mission is to heal. So, doctor Sankaran after so many cures, books and contributions seems to want to achieve an even higher cure with this work. He wants to take us, with or without simillimum, to the highest purpose of our existence. Knowing the sensibilities and weaknesses of the homeopaths of the four corners of the world, he discovered that he could do much more than teach. By sharing his experiences he contributes to healing the sick homeopathic community.

This book is the testimony of the journey of a homeopath, an invitation to confess our ambitions, our interests, to rethink our journey and, most of all, the honesty and integrity with which we adhere to the path of truth.