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Apr 16, 2013

The "disease" and the "patient"

Copy rights of the content in this article are with the respectable Author.

- BENERJEE.P,

The "disease" and the "patient" 
All other methods of treatment than Homœopathy treat the particular "disease", no matter how the condition of the "patient" may be. If one has got Pneumonia, then the treatment will be the same as in the case of another Pneumonia patient. There may be only some difference in the dose due to the difference in the ages of the two,-and that is all. If the name of the disease is once ascertained, there is no difficulty. There is a definite method for the treatment of that disease, and that method will be rigidly followed. Of the two Pneumonia patients, if one is unable to tolerate the hot antiphlogistine on his chest due to an inherent burning sensation in his body, and if the other finds relief on application of hot poultice on account of a feeling of chilliness in his case, and if both the patients are being treated by the same physician, then he will prescribe this hot poultice for both. Because, he will dogmatically assert that the tough mucus in the lung cannot be made loose, except by such poultice. Look here, one of the patients has a craving for heat, while the other has a craving for cold, but this difference in the patients will make no difference in the course of the treatment; because both the patients have the same disease, Pneumonia, and his business is to cure the Pneumonia. Far from making any difference in the course of the treatment to be followed in the two cases different by their nature, he will say, "Even if the patient does not want the hot poultice, it must be applied." Suppose there are three patients having intermittent fever. One has the paroxysm between 9 and 10 in the morning with shivering and violent thirst during fever, and severe headache; another has the attack at 3 or 4 in the afternoon with burning in the hands and feet and no thirst; while in the third man's case, the onset is in the evening, the fever lasts for the whole night with restlessness and thirst for small but frequent drinks. In all the three cases, all other pathies than Homœopathy will be in a position to take up the treatment at once, as the disease will be diagnosed straight as "fever", and Allopathy will push in Quinine in all the three cases during remission. There is absolutely no necessity of looking to the individual peculiarities in the different cases, because "fever" is the object of treatment. Instances may be multiplied to show that the "disease" is the only object which they want to remove, and they are not going to worry about curing the "patient". If a physician of this class is unable to find out what the "disease" is, it is all over with him. He will at once say, "Diagnosis is absolutely necessary for the treatment of the case; how can there be any sensible treatment at all unless the disease is diagnosed? It would be all throwing stones in the dark, and that is altogether unscientific." Some more physicians will at once be called in at this stage and every possible endeavour made to ascertain the name of the disease. If, however, it so happens unfortunately that the several physicians called in do not agree, there is danger ahead. The "disease" is not being diagnosed, though all the physicians are straining their brains to the utmost, and the patient is perhaps fast marching to his grave. I remember a case. In September, 1916, I had been to a particular place (Barabazar, Dt. Manbhum) to act as an arbitrator in a civil suit of one Babu Chandi Charan Modak. The poor fellow was in great trouble. An eight year old boy of his was at death's door. High fever, 50 to 60 fetid stools, thirst, restlessness etc., and a number of doctors were attending the boy, but they were not being able to ascertain to their satisfaction what the real "disease" was-whether the diarrhœa was the cause of the fever, or the fever was the cause of the diarrhœa. As this was not being decided, no medicine was being administered, while the patient's condition was growing hopeless. In the meantime, I was introduced by my companion as a Homœopathic doctor and was allowed to cure the boy with a few doses of Ars. 30. All classes of doctors, except Homœopaths, are anxious to make a diagnosis of the "disease", because with their methods, there can be no treatment unless the "disease" is ascertained.

 But this is not the case with Homœopaths. With them it is the patient that is all. They have the humility to admit that it is never possible to know the disease-human knowledge will never go so far. The Homœopaths can only understand from a study of the physical and mental symptoms that the man is not in normal condition (or there would not have been those symptoms)-that he is ill; and they endeavour to bring that man back to his normal condition of health, and that means the cure of the patient. It is, however, not so easy to understand the above, as it is to say; and it is, therefore, necessary to explain it at some length. Let me give a few examples first, and it will be convenient to elucidate the principle afterwards.
 A man walks into your office and says, "Sir, I have been badly suffering from constipation for the last 8 or 9 years. I have consulted many doctors so far, and they have advised me to take purgatives occassionally, and have also told me that my liver is at fault. But some of them have examined my liver too and found nothing wrong with it." The above shows that the man has got no "disease" yet. If after some time they find the liver enlarged, they will say-"Oh! Yes, you have got an enlargement of the liver." So long as the patient only feels and experiences some inconveniences and uneasinesses, they cannot admit the existence of any "disease", but as soon as there is some organic abnormality that can be felt out with the hand, touched with the finger or ascertained with their scientific instruments, some "disease" is hit upon. If a lady is suffering from a pain in the lower abdomen for some months, without the formation of a tumour yet, it is no "disease" with them, and perhaps a purgative is the only thing prescribed. But as soon as the tumour is felt there, they will say, "Oh! you have got a tumour, and it will have to be removed by operation." Again, suppose a man has reached such a stage of susceptibility to cold that he cannot stand the least exposure to the elements. The slightest cold brings on a cough, and the Allopathic doctor will say, "Oh! That's nothing, only take care to avoid exposure." Why this man catches cold so easily and why others in the same circumstances do not, are facts that they will never investigate. When, however, at 30 or 32, the man reaches a critical condition, the doctor is there to tell him, "You have got Phthisis; it is incurable. Avoid cold and take cod liver oil." etc., etc.

 From the above examples it is abundantly clear that these doctors give a "name" to the disease only when they can perceive with their senses, some palpable physical abnormality, and after giving the "disease" a name-which is "diagnosis"-they use the medicines that have been used by previous doctors in that disease.

 You are a Homœopath, and if you are a true Homœopath, you of course know that the man who is dying today of Phthisis has been sick for a long time and not all at once, when the doctors perceived some palpable abnormality in his physical system. He has been sick since when he has been catching cold so easily, and perhaps even before that. And if he could have been cured then, he would not have been dying today. One who is diagnosed to have a tumour today must have been developing it long ago, and should have been treated then. If the "sick man" had been cured, if the "patient" had been brought back to the normal condition of his health, the life-force in him would have performed its functions normally and supplied the losses of the system, but as this could not happen, it has performed its functions in an abnormal manner and instead of normal formation of tissues, it has formed abnormalities like tumour. It, therefore, comes to this, that what is diagnosed as "disease" today is really no "disease", but its "effect". When the bodily functions growing abnormal result in some such thing as they can perceive with their senses, they call it a "disease", and it is past their comprehension that these come long after as effects of the disease, which began its course long ago. Why one man developes these abnormal changes in the body, while others do not, is a matter that will never draw their attention. If, however, you are a true Homœopath, then by a particular "disease" you must understand that the whole man is sick, and not that any particular part of his body (organ) is sick. It is only this, that when the man is sick the sickness is expressed in the particular physical organs like liver, heart and kidney; and as a matter of fact, the man was sick long before these expressions of diseases came. And if he could have been cured then, there would have been no such expression of abnormalities in the parts of the physical body, so as to be perceived by the physical senses and "diagnosed" as "disease."

 From the above, we must understand that it is the patient, the sick man, that is to be treated and not the disease, because the so-called disease is not the disease really, but only an expression of it. If we can treat the sick man and bring him back to health, that is to say, if we can make him perform the normal functions and processes of life, the above so-called diseases, which are only expressions and effects of the real disease and are the only objects of treatment and removal according to the Allopathic and other systems of medicine, will automatically disappear. Because, having been enabled to perform the normal functions and processes of life, the man will no longer be sick to develop abnormalities in any direction.

 But, who is sick? If we are to treat the sick, we must understand clearly who it is that is sick, as otherwise we cannot possibly treat him. We have already said before that "man" is sick and not his body, but who is this "man"? Is it not his body?-No. If the body were the man, then the body could not be the man's. As a matter of fact, the body is the man's but not the man himself. We commonly say, the man's hand, the man's liver, the man's head, the man's body. Now, the man cannot, therefore, be the hand, the head, the liver or even the whole of them, the whole body taken together. All these different parts of the body and even the whole body belong to the man,-they are the property of the man, and as such, they are different from the man, and the man is also different from them. If I say, "I am ill", it means that this "I", who is different from my body and who is not my body, is ill. It often happens that a man walks into your office and says, "I am ill." You examine him, i.e.  his body part by part, in all possible ways, and you find nothing wrong in them,-nothing wrong in the spleen and heart, nothing in any part of the body. And yet the man complains, he is ill. What does this mean? Is he telling a lie?-No. It is a fact that "he" is really ill, but the illness has not yet been expressed in his body, in the different parts of it, and if you allow "him" to be ill like this for some time, you will then find that the illness that was so long confined in "him" only, has gradually travelled down to the physical body and has come to be expressed in the liver, as enlargement, in the heart as dilatation and so forth. It is therefore a mistake, a criminal mistake, to suppose that the man is not ill. If he is not ill, how is it that he has no sound sleep, how is it that he has no appetite, how is it that he is peevish, finds no pleasure in company, has no love for his friends and relations? Why these peculiarities in him, which you do not find in others? If we enter deep into the problem, we must find that the man is really ill and that he is not telling a lie; he is ill in the interior, in the centre of himself, only that the illness has not yet come to be expressed in the external material body. The disease has commenced in the interior, in the centre of his "being", in his "mind"-in his thought, feeling and will, and it will gradually spread to the external body. The disease has commenced in the centre, and it will come to the circumference,-from the mind to the body,-from the spirit to the matter. Because the matter, the body is only a reflection of the mind; the "subtlety" of the mind has been expressed in the "materiality" of the body. What lies in the mind as "thought" is expressed in matter as body. * The body is the creation of the mind. Do you doubt this truth? Have not you found differences in the physical body in correspondence with differences in mind? Is it not a fact that the physical body, the appearance and expressions etc. of a saint are different from those of a villain and murderer?-Certainly; and the explanation is that the good thoughts and noble sentiments in a saint shape his body in one way, giving it a beauty all its own, while the evil thoughts and propensities of the murderer shape his in another, making it ugly and ferocious. If you study the world on this line, you will not have the least doubt and you will be convinced that it is the mind that creates the body and shapes it, makes it what it is and not otherwise. It is in this way that disease begins first in the mind, in thought, feeling and will, and is then expressed in the physical body-liver, spleen and kidney. It is the thought, feeling and will that shape the body and the different parts in it giving them diseased conditions. Disease thus begins in the interior and then comes to the exterior, from the centre to the circumference, from the mind to the body. If this is the course of disease, then the course of cure also must be the same, ie., from the centre to the circumference, from the mind to the body; because, unless that is done, i.e. , if the cure begins from the circumference to the centre, from the body to the mind, the effect of the disease will only be removed, and the cause, which is in the centre, in the mind, will continue to work on and produce effects eternally. By removing the effect, you cannot remove the cause. The destruction of the effect, is not the destruction of the cause. A Phthisic comes up to you, and by an examination, you find out some degeneration in the lung and some tuberculous bacilli, but you ought to know that the degenerated condition of the lung and the bacilli are only the effects and expressions of the disease. The bacilli are quite inocuous. If you watch carefully, you will find when they appear. They appear when the lung has degenerated to a certain degree, just as the small microbes appear in a rotten mangoe. The mangoe rots first and the microbes come afterwards, only to eat up the rotten portion of it and thereby to stop it rotting further. It is not that the mangoe rots because of the microbes, or the microbes would have been there before the process of rotting began, but no bacteriological examination has yet discovered microbes in mangoes before the process of rotting. Similarly, tuberculous germs come after the rotting of the tissues in the lung, and they come perhaps to eat up the rotten mass and to free the lung from further degeneration. These germs are therefore by no means the cause of the Phthisis from which the man is suffering. The cause of Phthisis is far beyond, and you have not the eye to look so far back, and you take these germs to be the cause,-these germs which you find in front of you and which you perceive with your senses, and you then devise means for their destruction. The cause of Phthisis or of any disease is subtler than that, and you can see it only with the eye of Reason.

 We now understand that disease first begins in the mind and then travels out to the parts of the physical body, and that cure also has, therefore, to begin in the mind and gradually appear in the body. The mind is, therefore, the beginning of disease as also of cure, and Samuel Hahnemann, the father of the True art of cure has advised that in selecting a medicine for a given case, according to the totality of symptoms, the greatest attention should be paid to the symptoms of the mind. The "I" in the expression, "I am ill", which we say while expressing our diseased condition to the physician, points to the mind, for our purpose, though in fact this "I" is even subtler than the mind. But we need not go further than that. If by "I" we can learn to understand the mind, and if we pay special attention to the mental symptoms while selecting a medicine, our object will have been realised.

 We have already had some discussion regarding "disease" and its "diagnosis", but we have yet to clear up these things further. You are a Homœopath, and in your business of curing the patient, the "disease" or the "name" of the disease will be of no use. You have to look to the patient only and understand him thoroughly. Take for example, there are four patients that have come to you. According to allopathic diagnosis, one has dysentery, the second has fever and toothache, the third has a severe diarrhœa and the fourth one typhoid fever. If all these four patients have a mental restlessness, unquenchable thirst for small quantities of frequent drinks, and craving for warmth, then Arsenicum will be the medicine for all the four. Again suppose, for example, that all the four patients have "cholera" (as diagnosed by Allopaths), and suppose that the symptoms in each case are different; then one may require Arsenicum, another Veratrum, the third Camphor and the fourth Aconite. Thus, you may see that your prescriptions are not on the basis of the "name" of the disease-but on the basis of the peculiarity of the "patient"-the peculiarity that marks out that particular patient from others. It is the personal differences in the different cases that call for different medicines, though all the four patients may be suffering from the same "disease"; and again it is the personal similarity in the four cases that calls for the same medicine, though the "disease" may be different. Thus, you see that you have nothing to do with the name of the disease; it does not help you in any way. Not only that it does not help you, but also that it often interferes with your prescribing, as the knowledge of the name of a disease may create a bias in you and lead you only to choose one particular medicine out of a number of medicines tht are used in that particular disease. The "patient" is, therefore, all that you have to take into account. Study him up thoroughly, and write it down in the book of your memory that you will treat the patient, the sick man, and not the sickness. For a Homœopath, it is a maxim that you cannot overlearn.

 It is not unoften that we find people in malarious places, even during an epidemic, who are not at all attacked with malaria, and again there are people, who are never freed from it inspite of all possible treatment. We say, malaria is a dangerous thing. This is finding fault with the external object at once-and we never seek to explain the above difference. Why one does not get malaria, and why another is never freed from it, is a fact that should engage our attention, but instead of doing that, one who has been attacked with malaria and is not being freed from it, is being stuffed with quinine in ever increasing doses until at last when there is no hope, the unfortunate victim is told to go on a change of climate. This amounts to a confession that there is no more art for trial on him, and he should, therefore, leave the place and relieve the doctor of his responsibilities. If we think on the right line, we shall see that it is a mistake to say that malaria does not leave the patient, but it is the patient that does not leave the malaria. What benefit can then change of climate do? If the patient does not leave the malaria he will not leave it even while going on a change. The life-force in him has reached such a stage that it is unable to reach back the normal condition and make the man healthy again. There is one whose life-force is such as no disease can attack him, and even if it attacks, he recovers from its clutches in no time, while there is another again whose life-force is such as is attacked easily by any disease, and once it is attacked, it cannot recover so quickly. What is the cause of this difference between the two life-forces? Is it that it is God, Great and Good who has given us life-forces of different degrees of strength and power? Is it that it is God who has made one ill and another healthy?-No. It is we ourselves that spoil our life-forces and make them weak, by our actions-how or by what action, I will explain. In fact, it is our action alone that is responsible for all these differences.

 If, however, it is true that it is we ourselves that affect our life-force and weaken it in all sorts of ways and thus subject it to the external influences, then how far can we expect to cure the patient, by treating the disease? It is the treatment of the patient that is necessary, and the treatment of the "patient" means the treatment of the mind, because the mind-and not the body-is the "patient". He is what he is today, i. e., in diseased condition, only because of his mind. If his mind was not like this, he would not have been what he is, i. e., "patient"-diseased. The disease began in the mind and then came to be expressed in the body-from the centre to the circumference. Cutting down the branches is not cutting down the tree, and similarly the disease cannot be demolished by removing the bodily expression of it. The difference between individual and individual means a difference between their respective minds, and this again means a difference between their actions and physical body, which means difference in their diseases. This suggests the necessity of a difference in the medicines to be used for curing them, and the physician's task is to fit the drug to the disease in this way, because the above is curative. We are fools. We ourselves by our own actions subject ourselves to the influences of external nature. We catch cold when the east wind is blowing and then complain, "The east wind is very injurious." How very fine to find fault with the east wind! We know that everybody does not catch cold on it, and yet we find fault with the east wind! The fault, the defect is really in certain systems. All winds and all weathers should be equally pleasant for one who is healthy, i.e.  whose system is in normal condition. "I do not tolerate milk-it gives me wind and acidity." Does the fault lie with milk, or with me? There are others again who cannot go without milk-they get constipation. Why?-They too must be as ill as I, who cannot tolerate milk. One who is really healthy must have the same liking for all kinds of food and the same capacity for tolerating them. The child has a fall, due to his own carelessness, and he kicks the place where he fell! And we too do exactly the same thing. We are ourselves at fault. Evil thinking has given shape and character to our body and made it a slave to the influences of external nature, and we now complain-"The east wind is very injurious!"

 Now, the question is, "How can we cure the sick?" How are we to know that this medicine is necessary for this patient and that for that?-The very simple reply to this question is that it is the condition of the patient that will suggest the medicine. The condition of the patient means the totality of the symptoms which differentiate him from a healthy man and from other patients. Thus, it is the totality of the symptoms, and not the name of the disease, that will help you to find out the medicine for bringing him back to health.

 In curing the patient, you have, therefore, to study up and understand-(1) the patient, the personality of the sick man, and not the disease which is only an expression of the personality and is not, therefore, identifiable with it and (2) the totality of the symptoms, and not the name of the disease which is only a conventional technicality, and is, therefore, not sufficiently comprehensive and intelligible.

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