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100 years of "The 6th Organon"

We are grateful to Dr. Richard Haehl & Dr. William Boericke for their untiring efforts in restoring the lost treasure.


By February of 1842, in his eighty-sixth year, Dr. Hahnemann completed the sixth edition of the Organon. He completed the thorough revision of it by carefully going over paragraph by paragraph, making changes, annotations and additions. This sixth edition of the "Organon" ready for publication, was considered as the most nearly perfect of all, by Hahnemann himself. It contained important changes from the 5th edition published in 1833.


Dr Hahnemann shared a lot of facts of this Organon, (esp. regarding the LM potencies) to his fellow practitioners including Dr Boenninghausen, through his letters. Dr Boenninghausen was one of the best friends and followers of Hahnemann. It is also well known through his letters that Dr Hahnemann, made several attempts to publish his Organon in Germany as well as in France but he could not and unfortunately, passed away in Paris, on 2nd of July of 1843, leaving his second wife Mrs. Melanie Hahnemann as the custodian of his writings.


Just a few years before Hahnemann’s death, Melanie adopted a five-year-old girl named Sophie. In June 1856, Madam Melanie went to Munster, to visit Dr. Boenninghausen, where he requested her to publish Hahnemann’s invaluable works and not to keep it in dark. He requested her to let the treasure of the sixth Organon be known to the world for the benefit of the mankind.


During that period Melanie was on the target of Homeopaths of Paris and had also undergone a legal trial owing to having a medical practice without any official license. She wanted to have a secure future for herself and her adopted daughter Sophie. So, when Sophie grew up Melanie wanted to marry her off to one of the sons of Boenninghausen – Karl. Karl was a graduate in medicine and thus an authorised practitioner of Homeopathy. Dr. Boenninghausen was a bit reluctant in the beginning but he later agreed.


Dr Boenninghausen was very excited to know that the sixth Organon will soon be published and that he was about to get some of the hand-made medicines of Hahnemann by Melanie. Dr Boenninghausen happened to share the exciting news with his fellows of Rhineland in a yearly meeting in Westphalia. Without any consent of Boenninghausen the sensational news was published in a famous journal named “Allgemeine Hom. Zeitung” on 29th of August 1856.


This led to a misunderstanding between Melanie and Boenninghausen and she rebuked him of making her statement public in this way. Nevertheless, Sophie and Karl tied the knot in 1857 and started to live with Melanie at her home in Paris. Melanie could achieve all that she wanted to but she did not keep her promise. After this nothing was heard about the sixth Organon nor did she give any samples of Hahnemann’s medicines to Boenninghausen, instead she only sent a few unrelated, mismatched pages from the “Sick Registers” of Hahnemann. Boenninghausen was highly ridiculed by his fellows for this and he finally died in 1864 without witnessing the publication of the sixth Organon.


In 1865, Dr Arthur Lutze of Kothen published his Organon (called Lutze's Organon) with disputed paragraphs that Hahnemann had long discarded. His Organon was highly criticized and the whole homoeopathic profession including that of Europe and America refused to have anything to do with Lutze's edition of Hahnemann's Organon, due to various reasons. Around the same time, Amalie’s son and grandson of Hahnemann, Dr. Leopold Suss Hahnemann, declared in a famous journal that he was about to publish the sixth Organon. Melanie got enraged and she instantly denied the authenticity of both versions. Also, for the first time, she publicly admitted in written that she and only she had the complete manuscript of the sixth Organon and thus only she was legally authorized to publish it and nobody else and also that she is planning to publish it very soon.


In reply to Melanie’s threatening remarks, Dr. Leopold wrote in a journal that it was just a matter a misprint. He was actually about to republish the fifth Organon which has gone out of print, but it was mistakenly printed as the sixth and that he was legally authorized to republish the fifth edition as it was the property of his aunt Louise from whom, now he inherited it. However, later on Dr. Leopold revealed in British Journal of Homeopathy (1865, Vol. 23, Page 422) that he had no intention to publish any version of Organon and that he purposely printed it sixth instead of fifth. In fact, all he wanted was to excite Melanie so that at least she comes up saying that she is willing to publish the sixth Organon because she did nothing regarding it for more than twenty years.


The trick did work to a certain extent because after this episode Melanie started to receive several approaches from various Homeopaths around the world with a view to publish the sixth Organon. The famous names among them were of Dr Hering, Dr Dunhum, Dr Bayes, Dr Wilson, Dr Campbell, etc. She demanded a handsome amount of 50,000 dollars regarding the same. In today’s context, in Indian rupees it holds equivalent to 6 crore, 30 lakh rupees! This was a huge amount and obviously nobody could ever pay it for a book.


This is one of the reasons why Dr Richard Haehl one of the finest biographers of Hahnemann writes in his famous book – Samuel Hahnemann, His Life and Work, that Mrs. Hahnemann behaved strangely after the death of his husband and that she was completely a business woman. Eventually around 1870-71, Karl and Sophie left for Germany due to Franco-Prussian War and they took with them all literary works of Hahnemann along with the original manuscripts of sixth Organon for safekeeping. It is known that Melanie too went with them but later on returned and eventually died a few years later on 27th May 1878.


Now since, Melanie Hahnemann’s death, Boenninghausen family had been owners of the treasure. Sophie continued the talks to various Homeopaths around the world like her mother. In around 1880, she demanded 25,000 dollars and all the royalties of the sixth Organon. In today’s context, in Indian rupees it holds equivalent to 5 crore, 3 lakh rupees! This too was a huge amount for a book and therefore homeopaths now began to lose interest in the Organon.


At last, in 1897, Dr Richard Haehl – a student of Dr T.L. Bradford from the Hahnemann College of Philadelphia, took interest and wanted to publish the sixth Organon. He made several efforts to obtain Hahnemann’s original manuscripts and records for publication. He was constantly in touch with Sophie through letters and kept negotiating to her regarding the same. In 1900 he could finally visit Darup, a place near border of Netherlands, in Germany, where the Boenninghausen family lived.


As he reached, it was known that Sophie, had died a year before. So, he tried to negotiate with her husband Karl but all in vain and a couple of years later Karl Boenninghausen too died leaving no direct descendants. In 1906, Dr. Haehl again traveled with his good friend Professor William Boericke, from San Francisco in North America to Darup in Germany, Europe. They both attempted to obtain the release of the literacy legacy, particularly of Hahnemann’s case-books, and of the sixth edition of the Organon, but failed.


Hahnemann’s literary heritage had changed hands several times. From 1914 to 1918, first world war was started and travelling became almost impossible. In desperation, Dr. Haehl had almost given up hope, when at last he succeeded in obtaining the complete legacy of the master in 1000 dollars. In today’s context, in Indian rupees it holds equivalent to 10 lakh 27 thousand rupees!


With the financial support of the American homoeopaths, esp. William Boericke, the Stuttgart homoeopath – Richard Haehl managed, to buy Samuel Hahnemann’s literary heritage (including the manuscript of the sixth Organon) from the Boenninghausen family in 1921. By Dec. 1921 the English edition translated by William Boericke was published by Boericke and Tafel and came into light by the next year in 1922.


The documents had been held back for almost eighty years, but were at last to become accessible due to the untiring efforts of Dr. Richard Haehl and Dr William Boericke. Twice the manuscripts and casebooks of Hahnemann were in danger of being lost, once during the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and a second time during the First World War. It is the reason we are ever grateful to Dr. Richard Haehl and Professor William Boericke. This year as we are celebrating the 100 years of the publication of the lost treasure – the Sixth Organon, we yet again honor them for their great contribution and relentless dedication towards Homeopathy.