SOME REMINISCENCES OF Dr. WILL KLUNKER
I came to know Dr. Will KLUNKER in 1981 through personal correspondence. At that time I was already using the Synthetic Repertory (BARTHEL and KLUNKER - trilingual edition - Haug, 1973) and I wanted certain clarifications. So began our close friendship of over 20 years – until his passing away. I have filed almost all the correspondence. At the same time (1981) I had started studying the Zeitschrift für klassische Homöopathie (ZKH)
In my letter in 1984 I suggested to him that the ZKH could well give a brief English abstract of the articles, and he agreed; from the next year 1985 this was adopted. He was carefully studying the Kent Repertory at this time so as to bring out a new Kent. I had furnished him with several corrections in the Kent Rep. (Indian Edn. vis-à-vis American VI Edn.) However, in early 1986 he informed that the project was dropped by the publishers.
During these years, 1985-87, one of the things we discussed about was the location of the manuscript of the Organon VI edn. For quite some time before this, during the 1960s to 80s several persons (homœopaths) were doubting whether the 50 millesimal methodology was HAHNEMANN’s or MELANIE’s! Many did not know that the HAHNEMANN hand-corrected manuscript was in San Francisco. Dr. Hans RITTER who was the Director of the Robert Bosch Institute IGM published a biography “Samuel Hahnemann, Sein Leben und Werk in neuer Sicht” in which he too criticized the high potencies. There was also in the USA a Dr. John RENNER, M.D. who was arguing very strongly against the high potencies that they were not at all medicines, he also said that FINCKE, SKINNER, SWAN, KORSAKOFF, et al., all used regular tap water, rain water, snow water, distilled water, etc., and therefore their preparations of “Potencies” were only “potencies” of the different minerals contained in those waters. Dr. Hans RITTER also said similarly in his article ‘Das alte Leid’ in the KH. 17, 1/1973, I pointed out. Therefore there was urgency in tracing the original manuscript of the Organon and bringing out a genuine critical edition. The need for publication of the Case Registers of HAHNEMANN was also thought of. All these were discussed in our letters. Dr. RENNER had also said that the actual potencies HAHNEMANN used “were not known” thereby indirectly accusing that HAHNEMANN used low potencies! Dr. RENNER lived 99 years and died before his 100th birthday. We were in regular correspondence during the last 5 - 6 years of his life. Some times he wrote long letters in his own hand and in fact a letter written by him even at 99 years was in his own hand including the envelope and the address on that! He sincerely believed that what he said were true and was not a malingerer certainly. About Hahnemanns Krankenjournale, KLUNKER wrote “Die jorunale sind schwer entzifferbar und es werden dazu wirkliche Wissenschaftler benötigt, wenn eine gute Edition zustandekommen kann. Welche Potenzen Hahnemann verwendete, kann durch die Überlieferung von Bönninghausens schon, wenigstens teilweise, erfahren werden.” [The journals – Case Records are difficult to decipher and a good Scientist is needed to produce a good edition what potencies Hahnemann used can be known from Boenninghausen’s writings, atleast in parts = KSS]
I continued to write to everyone known to me in Germany to publish HAHNEMANN’s journals. At last in 1991 began the publication and DF 1 appeared - the first.
KLUNKER was interested in the Philosophy of J. Krishnamurthy, Bhagavad Geetha and some other Indological literature in Sanskrit. I had sent him cassettes of these. He was very happy that he could hear for the first time in his life the intonation of Sanskrit.
In 1990 he said that “he used only the Q potencies in cases like Asthma, Neurodermaitis, Hypertension, etc. when the patients are at first under no medicaments.” “On the contrary, chronic cases without other medication I treat with high potencies of Skinner. Generally said this method has proved useful.”
While reading a bunch of letters of HAHNEMANN (9 bisher nicht veröffentlichte Briefe (I hitherto unpublished letters of HAHNEMANN) – AHZ, 1/1954 S. 16-19 and again in AHZ 1/1991 – 18-24, I came across the word “Staubbad” and wanted to know what it exactly meant, since I could not find it in the Wörterbücher (idio..) with me. I wrote to KLUNKER about this “heute nicht mehr gebräuchlichen Worte”; he replied: “das wort selbst nicht einmal in Deutschen Wörterbuch (33 Bände!)finden könnten” (these words are not in use in now and could not be found in the 33 volume Dictionary.) However, later he found it in an old Wörterbuch (18thcentury) and the meaning was “Duschbad”. Somedays later while I was reading Vol. I of the Chronische Krankheiten, I found the word “Staub-Bäder” (S.176); I looked into Louis H. TAFEL’s English translation and found that he had given it as “douchebath”! I am mentioning these only to point out how sincere he was in responding to my letters.
In our discussion over the “Rediscovery of Homœopathy” of SEHGAL, we agreed that SEHGAL “scheint völlig abwegig”. (Completely out of way)
We had seversl books exchanged between us - on Indology, General Philosophy, Homœopathy, Journals, etc. over the years. He was a regular reader of my own ‘Rundbrief’ journal Quarterly Homœopathic Digest (QHD) and liked it very much. He wrote (25 Nov. 1995) “….noch lieber…wäre es wenn Sie mir das QHD regelmäzig zusenden können..”
We were of the same thinking daß man heute mehr als von den Jet-set Homöopathen durch Studium der alter Literatur, der deutschen Klassiker und vor allem auch der Hering-Kent Zeit in den USA lernen kann. (One should study the literature of HERING, KENT times)
In the Homœopathy Today, Nov. 1991 (p.2) there was an extract from a letter received by the National Center wherein a woman had narrated that she was given several doses (55 doses) of Psorinum 30c and 30x for a back problem; she soon developed troublesome symptoms. When she contacted the prescriber he asked her to stay with the remedy. She became “more and more ill”, “lost her job and was too ill to work”, she became poor financially too. All these, she said, was ‘proving’ of Psorinum. The Homœopaths whom she contacted did not help her. The question was raised by the patient “who is going to protect us?” The debate on this included mainly whether such continued repetition of homœopathic medicine would cause such “devastating illness”, even financial (HT. 12, 4/1992). Amongst those who wrote on this was Dr. Will KLUNKER who was of the opinion that the complaint cannot be a case of poisoning. He also said that there were several instances of such long-term doses which did not produce severe symptoms. Moreover the potency-caused symptoms will pass away after the medicine in-take is stopped. Even the provers of raw substances did not develop pathologies. I fully agreed. But Jeremy SHERR felt that remedies would indeed cause such pathologies! In reality, however, I said that no such damages occurred, since here in India we have seen homoeopathy doctors prescribing several remedies at one time and administering M, XM and more potencies for several days and there has been no great damage known. In fact these prescribers point this fact and thus justify. However this justification is ridiculous to say the least. HAHNEMANN had indeed cautioned that the prescriber should be circumspectual.
In the meanwhile Hahnemann’s Krankenjournale began to appear. It was seen that in his Practice HAHNEMANN did not wait long but as soon as new symptoms came up he prescribed for that. In our discussion, my opinion was that HAHNEMANN’s aim was to bring about a rapid recovery and therefore he did not wait long as KENT et al later admonished us to. KLUNKER wrote (10 July 1995) “was Sie über die Journale Hahnemanns sagen, hat mich interessiert. Sie haben auf den widerspruch zwischen Hahnemanns Rat, bzw. Befehl das Mittel immer auswirken zu lassen, und seine schnellen Mittelwechsel hingewiesen. Dasselbe findet sich auch bei BÖNNINGHAUSEN. Wahrscheinlich hängt es mit Verordnungsweise zusammen: sobald sich die Symptomatik etwas ändert, kommt das neue Mittel; Man wartet mehr auf die schnellen Änderungen, als die langen wirkumgszeiten mit Besserung; obwohl sich dabei ja auch Änderungen vollziehen. …. Ich finde auch, daß sich die homöopathische Anamnese, wie sie heute von gewissen “Meistern” betrieben wird, absurde Ausmaße annimmt und dabei, was mir das Entscheidende ist, das Prinzip der Homöopathie verfehlt. Wenn man bedenkt, wie einfach das alles bei Bönninghausen, und offenbar auch bei Hahnemann geht, frage ich mich selbst, ob ich schon dabei nicht zu weit gehe. Ich bin eben mehr mit KENT bzw. P.SCHMIDT bestimmt. Aber nie verlasse ich den Phänomene, sie zum Mittel führen, indem ich nach der neuen Mode, die gegebenen Mind Symptoms in willkürliche theoretische Psychologien zurückdenke. Das muß notwendig schiefgehen.”
Again on 9.8.1996 “….Ich finde, Sie haben dem Quarterly eine praktische und auch aussprechende äußer Form gegeben. Dazu ist auch der Inhalt außerordentlich interessaant, besonders für mich, denn ich so etwas abseits der Welt lebe. Ich wäre Ihnen wirklich dankbar, wenn Sie mir die weitern Hefte senden würden.” (I see that you have given an excellent outer Form to the Quarterly. The inner contents also are extremely interesting especially for me who live rather secluded. I will be thankful if you continue to send with volumes”)
Over the years we had lot of exchanges: mainly on two: one was the different Indian Philosophical Texts like the Bhagavad Geeta, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavata Purana, J. Krishnamurthy’s lectures, etc., etc. And the second was Homœopathy as founded by Hahnemann, and practiced by Bönninghausen, Hering, etc. and the present day pollutions and caricatures. We also had discussed about the homœopathic journals.
On 23 Dec. 1998 he wrote a very touching letter “I am very touched by the text of your happy New Year Card and I am joining it (“There may be miles separating us, but there is an occasion, our hearts reach out to each other’s”) and I too am wishing you this satisfaction of which my old master Pierre SCHMIDT often said: ‘Homœopathy will satisfy you materially, intellectually and spiritually’. Having made order now in my working room, I collected all numbers of your ‘Quarterly’ from 95 – 98 (14 numbers!) and felt great gratitude against you and your unselfish work. Can I do anything for you?”
By latter part of 2001 he became ill and could not reply my two letters in early 2002. I came to know quite late that he was no more. More than 20 years of our fraternal life ended. It is now five years since his passing and I keep ruminating.
I have given only some glimpses from several long letters between us. With his passing away, and followed by the death of Dr. Jacques BAUR of Lyon, I have been left desolate.