Homoeopathy is Elegance
NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HOMOEOPATHY 1993 Jan / Feb Vol II No 1.
Dr Vishpala Parthasarathy. Interviews.
"A Face to Face Interview with Karl Robinson".
Dr Karl Robinson, past editor of the Journal of American Institute of Homoeopathy was in Bombay for 4-6 weeks to learn more about Homoeopathy. Clearly here was an academically inclined homoeopath who has imbibed and lives with the value of continual fresh inputs into Homoeopathy. We felt that here was a man from whose life we could learn. Dr Vishpala Parthasarathy talks to him in Bombay.
VP: We understand you have embraced Homoeopathy
quite late. As you know, in India we choose a career very early and then stick
to it all our lives. So your change would be very interesting for our readers.
Could you please tell us about it?
KR: I have had a chequered career. I spent two years in Africa as a school teacher and then joined the US Military. But I always cherished a dream to go back to Africa. So I took up Journalism. Since all of us love stories, I started writing about Americans working in Nigeria. At that point I burnt my leg in a motorcycle accident and as a result I landed up in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in a small town called Gabon. While at the hospital I had this overwhelming message, a conversion experience, not religious you understand, but something within, that said I should become a doctor. For a few days I went in a cocoon to think and meditate : "should I, should I not ?" I was a very good Journalist, why should I not continue ? Yes, no yes, no, pros and the cons.... From journalism to medicine was quite a change,. Finally after 4-5 days of intense thinking I was filled with energy and I decided that I would give myself two years to get in a medical college. That is my karma with medicine.
VP: That was the first step : From journalism to medicine. But how did that progress to Homoeopathy ?
KR: When I took up medicine, I went to the Hahnemann college of medicine, Philadelphia. At that time it was no longer a Homoeopathic medical college but instead or regular medical college. But my room mates father who was a psychiatrist had studied Homoeopathy in this very college in 1968. He said "Homoeopathy works. My father has been using it for years". So I tucked away this piece of information at the back of my mind. Later, I became a resident in Harlem at New York city, where all the black people live. That was a very frustrating experience with a lot of crimes gunshot wounds, strokes, tuberculosis etc. It was very discouraging since we could do so little. So I started looking towards other forms of medical therapy viz Vitamins, Nutrition,....... and finally Homoeopathy took its seed. I took up my first course in 1978 which was sponsored by the National Centre for Homoeopathy. And thats how I got started. Thats the story.
VP: Since then it has been Homoeopathy all the
KR: I have been practising Homoeopathy since 1978 thats 14 years. I am now 55 years young!
The Eternal Learner
VP: Has it been smooth sailing or have there been any obstacles?
KR: As we all know Homoeopathy is not easy, nor is there only one way to practice. I am basically a learner. I have studied at a lot many places. I have studied with Vithoulkas for 4 years, with Ezigaya, with Prakash Vakil, Dilip Dixit of India, with Sheila Creisy in the UK. I have also studied with Geukens, Ananda Zalen, Bill Gray, Roger Morrison and others.
VP: Thats amazing! How on earth did you manage
all that time ?
KR: Till today I continue to devote part of the year learning with someone. In fact I came here in Bombay for that purpose.
In India, be Indian, eat Indian
VP: How has your trip to India been?
KR: I have been to India many times before. Everywhere in India people have been pushing food at me. They are so hospitable. I feel stuffed at times. Yet I can tolerate the food well. Even the road side stuff.
VP: What is your opinion about Homoeopathy in
KR: I must say, I think in Bombay you have some of the best Homoeopaths in the world. I am very impressed by what I see here.
VP: What do you think about the future of
Homoeopathy here ?
KR: I think it is good. Most people usually resort to polypharmacy. Classical Homoeopathy is the only thing that interests me. There seems to be temperamently few people in any country who have firstly the aptitude, secondly the willingness and thirdly the perseverance. It takes a lot many years to get a grasp for Classical Homoeopathy. Here I was sitting with a fellow Homoeopath, young enough to be my son, yet he knows more than I do. So its all like that. The future may be bright. More and more people have recognised the fact that the emotion and psyche play an important role.
Homoeopathy obviously speaks the same. Now if somebody just wants a shot to feel better and their whole mind is on that materialistic level then I do not think that they are ready for homoeopathy, unless a terribly incredible thing happens. One also needs a lot of highly skilled practice and training which is difficult. Homoeopathy is a code. Break the code and get results. e.g. Belladonna has jumping on and off the bed continuously, meaning over and over again. Repeated motions. Therefore a time has come for a dream and a delusion state. Homoeopathy is growing. Even in America it is growing but we still have nothing much brag about. In America there are three states that have laws which allow to practice Homoeopathy, unfortunately they are abused.
All roads lead to Rome?
VP: It is fascinating that you have studied all over the world. Could you tell us you experiences and results?
KR: The interesting thing is that everybody gets results. The question is what percentage? The other question is, when one helps a patient, one usually loses track in 2-3 months. So one is not sure. The teaching however is based on that case. One needs at least a full year of follow up before any comment. Even a dramatic illness, though acute if cured would be sufficient. One gets good results to convince himself, but teaching somebody it might be a little false because that is an onerous responsibility.
VP: Different homoeopaths approach the case in
different ways. Could you tell us as to how you get with all the different types
of approaches ?
KR: As a matter of fact I have never done that well. With me its like whoever I am with at a given time, I practise accordingly and then I move to someone else. Along the way, some things stick. However I cannot say that I have integrated everybody's approaches beautifully. I do not have that kind of mind to do so.
The Best Approach
VP: What do you think is the best kind of approach ?
KR: I am always on the lookout for the most elegant manner. Elegance has a very interesting definition i.e. for a minimum input you get the maximum output. Its like a scientific experiment which has been elegantly set up. You just add a drop and lo! you get a beautiful reaction. In Homoeopathy - to watch a patient walk, shake hands and you name the remedy or you watch a child play for 2-3 minutes and you name the remedy. Now, that is elegance.
VP: What is your opinion about the different
remedies viz acute, rare, polycrest etc ?
KR: Ah! there is quite a funny thing about drugs. Say Naja. I had never used Naja till I saw a few Naja cases and follow ups.. I now know Naja very well. So now I say, how could I practice for so many years without using Naja? There is no Naja in the US. India is however the land of the cobra. Lachesis too is not native to US, it is native to Brazil. But then Lachesis we use all the time. It is always like this : everytime I learn about a new remedy I know that I am going to use it. Slowly my Materia Medica broadens. Also there are drugs you learn as adult pictures and a couple of years later you could prescribe it to a child. One could learn a drug which has been used in a chronic case but you could use it as an acute. Then the constitutional remedies say Hyoscyamus, Stramonium etc. Now, these can also be used in acute conditions. I have had a case of Maniac Depressive Psychosis and I gave her a dose of Stramonium. She was better and I had her follow up for 6 months. When one reads about Stramonium, it says raging and frothing at the mouth. This woman had nothing of that sort.
Case taking is of import
VP: So it all beats down to how to take a case ?
KR: What is never taught in a medical school is how to percieve the story behind the patients story. The strange thing is that we listen to the patients story, then we lengthen it together, understand it and finally we find the remedy that covers the story behind the patients story. One can spend an hour and a half with a patient listening to a lot of things, but what really counts is the way a person reacts i.e. Idiosyncrasy, if I may use the word to give stress which usually shows the way out. Say five of us get bitten by a dog, not all of us would develop a fear of dogs. Homoeopathy is a vast vast ocean! Every persons idiosyncratic reaction is peculiar to him and that is the fun of it. This is what we call perception. It is tricky and is very difficult to be taught.
VP: How have you brought your journalist
expertise to fruit in the Homoeopathic field ?
KR: I was an editor on the JAIH for 4 years. But it was not a very pleasant or rewarding experience. It was very frustrating as Homoeopaths just do not seem keen to write articles. Annoying because Allopaths vie with each other to write.
Homoeopathy gives him a wife
VP: What do you think about you as a person yourself and Homoeopathy ?
KR: I feel Homoeopathy was my destiny and I think, I have created my destiny. I sort of decided to pursue Homoeopathy.
VP: How do you balance Homoeopathy with your
personal life ?
KR: I am married since five years. My wife is an economist. She testifies trails in courts. She has to decide how much money should be paid to persons in accidents, debts etc. She came to me as a patient. She had recurrent respiratory problems and Homoeopathy turned her around.... So there is my balance!
Homoeopathy: spread thru greater awareness
VP: What is the best way to spread Homoeopathy ?
KR: I think we have to work together to raise the consciousness of the class of people so that they demand it. People must learn about it. There must be a turning to this sort of subtle medicine. It is not just a matter of getting a talk on radio or TV. All humanity must change towards not wanting this materialistic (Allopathic) medicine. People must realise that the Psyche and the body are interconnected and has to do so in a meaningful way.