Dinshah Ghadiali was born of Persian descent in Bombay, India, November 28, 1873. He preferred to be called by his first name, which means "King of Duty”. He was not only a genius, but a man totally devoted to the selfless duty of healing others.
At the age of two and a half, he entered Bhulia Mehta's primary school and by the age of eight he began high school and had developed an avid interest in chemistry and mathematics.
In 1884, at the age of 11, he became assistant to the Professor of Mathematics and Science at Wilson College and was awarded prizes for proficiency in English, Persian, and religion.
At the age of 14, he finalized his examinations at Bombay University and eventually learned eight Oriental and eight Occidental languages, some of them fluently.
In 1887, Dinshah presented several experimental demonstrations in chemistry and physics at various institutions and began his studies in medicine. For income, he started a business of installing electric lights, doorbells, and burglar alarms.
During his teen years, Dinshah was a rational materialist. Then, in 1891, he encountered the Theosophical Society. At the time of his initiation, he had a visionary experience of one of the mahatmas, the superhuman entities who are believed to guide the work of the society.
Dinshah studied with a Hindu neighbor and became a lacto-vegetarian and teetotaler, which he practiced and ardently advocated for the rest of his life.
Through the Theosophical Society, he was introduced to the world of spirituality, and for a time became a student of Hindu guru Swami Murdhan Shastri.
In 1899, Dinshah became stage manager of the Bombay Theater and installed one of the earliest electric motion-picture projectors. He then established the "Electro-Medical Hall" at Ajmer, India, for healing with color therapy, magneto-therapy, and electro-therapy. Soon after, he opened another Electro-Medical Hall in Surat, India.
In 1902, he married Manek H. Mehta, with whom he had three sons. In 1904, Dinshah was elected Chairman of the "Nanpura Parsee Community", a group organized to help the poor.
In 1908, he left India and travelled around Europe promoting some of his inventions. He lectured on prohibition in London and to provide drinkers with a substitute, he began selling fruit juices (processed in Switzerland) under the name "Alcohol-Free Wines".
In 1892, he designed and built several electric light installations and was appointed Superintendent of Telephone and Telegraph for Dholpur State. In 1893, Dinshah signed on as an Electrical Engineer (seaman) with the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company. With this company he traveled to London, eventually returning to India. In 1894, Dinshah was appointed Electrical Engineer of Patiala State, and Mechanical Engineer of the Umballa Flour Mills.
In 1896, he made his first visit to the United States where he met Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and other prominent scientists of the day. During his tour, he lectured on X-rays and radioactivity which were being used clinically in the United States for such things as bone fractures and gunshot wounds. The New York Times and other newspapers called him the "Parsee Edison”.
He returned to India and developed a medical practice utilizing natural medicine. Dinshah also campaigned for several civil reforms throughout India.
The year 1897 marked a permanent turning point in Dinshah’s life and medical career. The niece of a friend was suffering from colitis and her physician was using the then-accepted drugs, to no avail. Dinshah, having read Edwin S. Babbitt's work, The Principles of Light and Color, and Blue and Red Light, by Dr. Seth Pancoast, became aware of the theory of chromotherapy (healing with colored light). Dinshah treated the young woman according to Dr. Babbitt's technique.
The light from a kerosene lantern, filtered through an indigo-colored glass, was shone on her. Milk was placed in a bottle of the same color, exposed to the sunlight, and then given her to drink. Dinshah wrote: "The urgent straining to evacuate, which occurred perhaps a hundred times a day, abated to ten after one treatment; after three days she was able to get out of bed." This case was the beginning of Dinshah's intense investigation into the effects of colored light on the body.
Dinshah emigrated to the U.S. in 1911 and was naturalized in 1917. His previous medical studies in India were not recognized in the United States. He became alienated from the conventional medicine of the day. He had adopted the Hindu virtue ahimsa (do no harm), as a basic principle of living and was led to naturopathy, which had developed out of older natural schools of healing.
By 1911, Dinshah already had a theory of how colors relate to human physiology. He believed that every element exhibits a preponderance of one of the seven prismatic colors. For example, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon, the elements that make up 97% of the body, are associated with blue, red, green, and yellow, respectively. In a healthy person, these colors are balanced, but become imbalanced during illness.
His primary therapy was to apply specific colors to the body that were lacking or reduce the colors that had become too predominant.
This was the beginning of Dinshah’s color therapy system; he called it Spectro-Chrome therapy, a method of healing using attuned color waves.
Chemical Elements in Attuned Color Waves
In 1912, despite his qualifications, it was difficult for Dinshah to maintain steady employment. His wife Manek left the family and returned to India. He then developed the "Dinshah Automobile Engine Fault-Finder", and an "Anti-Forgery Electric Pen", and formed companies to market them. He was offered $100,000 for the “Fault-Finder” invention, but later donated it to the United States government for use on aircraft engines.
In 1914, he created the "Dinshah Photokinephone Corporation" for developing a sound-on-film, shutterless, flickerless motion-picture projector. A patent application was later filed on the apparatus.
In 1919, two years after being naturalized as a U.S. citizen, he was appointed Governor of the New York City Police Aviation School, and later was commissioned Colonel and Commander of the New York Police Reserve Air Service.
In 1919, he also became Vice President of the National Association of Drugless Practitioners (founded in 1912 and still active today) and actively participated in efforts to have the government recognize alternative medical practices.
By 1920, Dinshah announced that he had perfected the techniques of Spectro-Chrome therapy, wherein color beams of light were projected upon the body of an ill person.
Dinshah purchased land in Malaga, New Jersey, and opened the Spectro-Chrome Institute. He devised a method of combining filters to create colors which do not exist in the visible spectrum. These "artificial" colors considerably expanded the scope of health conditions amenable to color therapy.
That important innovation advanced Spectro-Chrome from color therapy in its usual sense to a more therapeutic system.
Dinshah’s Spectro-Chrome system was relatively simple: all that was required was a set of 12 glass colored filters and an incandescent lamp with projector.
The Flexner Report of 1910, commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation, had a major detrimental influence on much of complementary and alternative medicine throughout the early 20th century.
Homeopathic and naturopathic colleges, clinics, hospitals, and programs were closed and numerous non-pharmaceutical therapies, such as color therapy, magneto-therapy, electrical therapies, chiropractic and midwifery were singled-out by the FDA to be eliminated.
In 1922, Dinshah divorced Manek on grounds of desertion. He remarried Irene Grace Hoger and they were blessed with eight children, the last of whom was born in 1947.
During the 1930s and 40s, Dinshah continued his work with color therapy and was able to instruct more than 800 professionals and laypeople in the techniques of Spectro-Chrome therapy.
In 1931, the FDA moved against Dinshah and his color therapy practices and charged him with Grand Larceny. He personally defended himself and his Spectro-Chrome therapy with the aid of testimony from three prominent physicians who had had success using Dinshah’s color therapy system: Dr. Kate Baldwin, Dr. Martha Peebles and Dr. Welcome Hanor. An intense court battle ensued and ultimately Dinshah was acquitted on all charges. (For more on the legal trial, watch the YouTube video Let There Be Light, narrated by Stephen Sindoni.)
Sadly, however, that was only the first of many legal trials for Dinshah. Over the course of the next 17 years, Dinshah defended himself and his work in various lawsuits brought in Portland OR, Cleveland OH, Wilmington DE, Washington DC, Brooklyn NY, and twice in Camden NJ. These later trials were all lost, resulting in fines ranging from $25 to $20,000, and prison sentences from two months to five years - of which 18 months were actually served.
Dinshah endured these continuing setbacks with an unfettered confidence in the value of his color therapy system.
In 1924, Dinshah purchased a 23-acre property in Malaga, NJ, which then became the Spectro-Chrome Institute headquarters. Over the next few years, he was quite prolific, publishing books, magazines and articles.
His primary text, the three volume Spectro-Chrome Metry Encyclopedia, was finished in 1933, and has become known as an authoritative treatise on color therapy.
In 1934, the U.S. government attempted to revoke Dinshah's citizenship, as had happened to so many Indian-Americans via provisions of the 1924 anti-Asian immigration law. Fortunately, Dinshah was able to successfully defend himself by arguing that though he was Indian, he was of Persian ancestry.
In 1939, Dinshah opened two offices in India to promote Spectro-Chrome and set out on a global lecture circuit. In 1941, he dissolved Spectro-Chrome Institute as a corporate entity and instead chartered the Dinshah Spectro-Chrome Institute as a nonprofit corporation. The new Institute, however, faced immediate setbacks when the U.S. government issued a fraud order by way of the U.S. Post Office, ordering local postmasters to return to any sender all mail addressed to the "offender" stamped with the notation, "FRAUDULENT, Mail to this address returned by order of Postmaster General".
In 1947, Dinshah was again indicted and tried in court for "mislabeling" his Spectro-Chrome therapy device. A six-week trial in Camden, NJ, initiated by the FDA, resulted in a fine of $20,000 and probation of five years with the stipulation that Dinshah dissolve the Institute and dissociate himself from any form of promotion of Spectro-Chrome. He was also ordered to surrender for destruction all Spectro-Chrome books, magazines, and research articles.
His projectors (both sold and unsold) were confiscated and destroyed. In 1953, once his probation was completed, Dinshah again created another nonprofit corporation, the Visible Spectrum Research Institute.
His next iteration of manufactured color projectors was called "Visible Spectrum Color Projector,” and was sold with the disclaimer “No Therapeutic Claims Are Made for This Projector”.
This was not the end of Dinshah’s battles with the FDA. In 1958, the FDA obtained a permanent injunction against the Visible Spectrum Research Institute, preventing shipment across state lines of color projectors and books pertaining to them.
The Court held that even though the projectors and books had disclaimers stating that no therapeutic claims were being made, they were the same misbranded articles of the 1947 decision against the previous corporation (res adjudicata). Bear in mind that these projectors were no different than theatrical projectors used in plays and theater
productions; they just included color filters and instruction manuals.
The injunction compelled Dinshah to limit most of his activities to the State of New Jersey, where he sold a few projectors and books and delivered a few lectures. He was effectively forced into semi-retirement, toiling under the limits of the injunction until his death on April 30, 1966.
After his passing, three of Dinshah's sons carried on, conducting the Visible Spectrum Research Institute's affairs: Darius (Trustee and President); Roshan (Trustee, Vice President and Treasurer); Jal (Secretary, and later, Trustee). A new compact color projector was designed and marketed in New Jersey. Some material (which could not be sent across state lines) was written and printed in other states.
At their 1975 annual Convention, the Trustees and members decided it was too onerous working under the Court's injunction. The Institute was dissolved - but subsequently resurrected as the Dinshah Health Society of Malaga, New Jersey. In 1977, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service approved the Society's application for status as a nonprofit.
Dinshah’s son Hom Jay founded the American Vegan Society in 1960, and served as its President for 40 years. He was also the self-published author of Out of the Jungle in 1967 and Song of India in 1973 and editor of an anthology entitled Here's Harmlessness in 1964. Hom Jay wrote numerous articles for Ahimsa, the American Vegan Society's magazine. He died on June 8th, 2000.
Hom Jay Dinshah
In 1978, The Spectro-Chrome Metry Encyclopedia was rewritten when the Dinshah Health Society became aware of the need for a more concise manual. With a considerable amount of new material, it was rewritten by Darius Dinshah and retitled Let There Be Light.
Therapy using light and color (chromotherapy) is a method of treatment that uses the visible spectrum (colors) of electromagnetic radiation to treat diseases. It is a centuries-old concept used successfully to alleviate various diseases but has been forced into hibernation for the past fifty years by the reign of biochemistry.
The common feature of every remedial and curative system of treatment, whether it is Traditional Chinese Medicine-acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, magnetotherapy, electrotherapy, aromatherapy, or chromotherapy, is to somehow apply resonant vibrations (specific frequencies) of one kind or another in such a manner that the body can return to a state of homeostasis. Most systems induce vibrations indirectly, but there are a few in which the vibrations are used directly upon the body, and chromotherapy is one of them.
There are now several hundred articles published in reputable scientific and medical journals relating to the effects of frequencies of light on biological functions. Dinshah Ghadiali, like so many other pioneers of bioregulatory therapies, was a compassionate genius ahead of his time, who tirelessly suffered persecution and even incarceration for his gifts to humanity.
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• Azeemi, Khawaja Shamsuddin. Colour Therapy. Karachi: Al-Kitab Publications, 1999.
• Babbitt E. Principles of Light and Colour. MT, USA: Kessinger Publishing, 1942.
• Birren F. Light, Colour and Environment. PA, USA: Schiffer Pub Ltd, 1988.
• Coclivo A. Coloured light therapy: overview of its history, theory, recent developments and clinical applications combined with acupuncture. Am J Acupunct 1999;27:71–83.
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• Ghadiali DP. Spectrochrome Metery Encyclopedia. NJ, USA: Dinshah Health Society, 1997.
• Ghadiali DP. Rational food of man: A concise exponence by Dinshah. Flyer, reprinted from Spectro-Chrome Home Guide, 1933.
• Ghadiali DP. Family Health Protector: Revealing Exposure of the Medical Racket and Medical Trust – In 52 Articles. Malaga, NJ: Dinshah Spectro-Chrome Institute, 1943, p 90.
• Graham H. Discover Colour therapy. (2004) Ca USA: Ulysses Press, 1998.
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• Klotsche C. Colour Medicine. Arizona: Light Technology Publishing, 1993.
• Ott J. Health and Light: The Effects of Natural and Artificial Light on Man and Other Living Things. Connecticut, USA: Devin-Adair Pub, 1972.
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• Pleasanton A. Blue and Sun Light. Philadelphia: Claxton, Reuser & Haffelfinger, 1876.
• Spectro-Chrome Home Guide. Malaga, NJ: Dinshah Spectro-Chrome Institute, 1942.
• Spectro-Chrome Therapy. American Medical Association Bureau of Investigation, Nov 1935.
• Spectro-Chrome color healing: An interview with Darius Dinshah. Journal of Energetic Medicine, March 18, 1999.