Dr Deepak Chopra : A Profile
A profile of Deepak Chopra—successful doctor,
ayurveda apostle, best-selling author, TV host, New Age guru
By Suma Varughese for Life Positive
Few have reinvented themselves as fluidly and tirelessly as Deepak
Chopra. He first hit the headlines in 1987 as the wonder doctor and
transcendental meditation (TM) guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's
and, by extension, the world to the marvels of ayurveda. His
medical bestsellers, based on ayurveda's founding principle of
mind-body unity, became a byword not just for alternative therapies, but
also the philosophy of quantum physics itself. Perfect Health,
Unconditional Life, Perfect Weight, Ageless Body
Timeless Mind—the titles proclaimed the promise of unlimited
possibilities with breathtaking daring.
Indeed quite a turnaround for a man who was once a textbook study of
allopathic success, complete with a thriving private practice,
lectureships at the Tufts and Boston universities' schools of
medicine—and soaring stress levels.
But don't look now. He's changing. Yet again. The MD prefix is off for
good as Chopra unveils his debut novel, The Return of Merlin.
The mind-body books have been replaced by more general subjects such as
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. And his versatile baton is
now conducting the imperceptible beginning of a new movement, the Global
Network for Spiritual Success. Composed of readers of the Seven Laws,
its over 20,000 members meet in local groups to practice one law every
day of the week. Says Chopra: "The establishment of the Network
represents the fulfillment of one of my most cherished dreams."
More statistics of the kind dreams are made of: Chopra's series,
Body, Mind and Soul : The Magic and the Mystery, had the highest
ratings ever on public television in the USA; his television adaptation
of the Seven Spiritual Laws is already proving to be a success;
his works have been translated into 25 languages; he is the author of 15
books and more than 30 audio and video tape series, all highly
acclaimed. The television adaptation of his book, The Way of the
Wizard, promises to have Hollywood stars play the parts of Merlin
and Arthur and, it follows, is bound to go the bestseller way.
And you do not have to be a wizard to appreciate the potential, in terms
both spiritual and material, of his two new projects. The first, a
24-hour satellite TV channel devoted to spiritual matters, in
collaboration with Dave Stuart, co-founder of the rock group,
Eurythmics. The channel is an extension of Chopra's faith in
the importance of global communication networks in spreading
Music, movies, video, self-help tidbits and Chopra's own
seminars will relay the spiritual word.
Most of Chopra's forays have been spectacularly
successful, others less so; but for him, the journey is the thing. He
could easily echo T.S.Eliot : "We shall not cease from exploration." Or,
to put it in Chopra's words : "Life is a field of infinite
A face-to-face encounter on a trip to Mumbai, western
permits one to put him through his paces on a few more counts. There is
the important matter of his soul, or his humanity, if you will. Sitting
in a coffee shop, dressed in slacks and T-shirt, a thickest ruddy-faced
man with suspiciously black hair, he is tranquil, unhurried,
Chopra is easy to be with and to talk to. He does not attempt to
intimidate or impress—he is, quite simply, what he is. And that level of
self-acceptance is always impressive.
The Deepak Chopra success story hinges on integration, that
New Age ability to fuse all aspects of oneself into a harmonious
whole. How else has he managed to be both supremely successful and
extremely happy? Enormously productive, yet equally relaxed? Materially
well endowed, yet spiritually alive?
To the outside world that looks askance at Chopra's external
image of indecent wealth, his coterie of celebrity clients such as Demi
Moore, George Harrison, Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, and his
obvious success at the box office, are surefire signs of his quackery
and insincerity. But Chopra is his philosophy's best
advertisement, though he vigorously resists being confused with the
message. He observes: "The messenger is only trying to be the message."
It is this same ability to fuse and integrate contradictions that is
behind his success as a writer. Indian wisdom and American lifestyle,
allopathy and ayurveda, transcendental meditation and
quantum physics. He works on each of these separate strands of
himself, forcing them to yield their particular essence. Thus he has the
credibility of an Indian drawing upon his heritage, a successful
allopath testifying to ayurveda's avowed superiority and a
naturalized American displaying familiarity with local needs and health
Above all, he has the poet's gift of passion and idealism. No
wonder his books stake a permanent place in the New York Times'
bestseller list: Ageless Body, Timeless Mind for 20 weeks;
Seven Spiritual Laws for 56 weeks on its self-help section.
Chopra's lecture programs take him all over the world, including
Australia, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Latin
If Chopra's life is a textbook study of integration, the path he
took has been the classic urban Indian one. Born in Delhi in 1947 to
leading cardiologist Dr K.L. Chopra, his early dream to become a
journalist was deflected by Sinclair Lewis' book Arrowsmith. The
portrait of an untiring medical researcher, heroic in his war against
microbes, fired his imagination and he chose to become a doctor.
After passing out of the
All India Institute of Medical Sciences in 1969, he set out with his
bride Rita to the USA. Rising quickly in the profession, he held senior
positions at prestigious hospitals and went on to become the chief of
staff at the New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
He also set up a private practice in endocrinology and internal
medicine. His high-powered career left him addicted to coffee and
cigarettes, with a nagging feeling that he hadn't come any closer to
"the essence of
A turning point came in 1980 when he learnt transcendental meditation,
followed by advanced TM courses. He says : "It changed my whole life, my
diet, my work, my relationship with my patients and with others. I
became 10 times more efficient."
But what really gave his life a direction was a chance meeting in 1985
with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who introduced him to ayurveda an
suggested he take it up. For a doctor at the top echelon of his
profession, it was not easy to start anew in a paradigm that made
nonsense of all that he stood for. It was the decisive crossroads of his
life. A restless night later, Chopra decided to follow the
He soon became the sole spokesman for ayurveda in the
West. He lectured on the ancient Indian system at John Hopkins, Harvard,
the WHO, and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey and Donahue chat shows.
Simultaneously, he treated patients from all over the world with
ayurveda. It was during this phase that the books, upon which so
much of Chopra's current reputation rests, began to appear.
Creating Health: Beyond Prevention, Towards Perfection (1987)
ran the gamut of diseases, and offered solutions based on the mind-body
link. The Return of the Rishi: A Doctor's Search for the Ultimate
Healer traced his own route through life and medicine. It was
followed by Quantum Healing which presented a lucid and cogently
researched link between the body and the mind, drawing upon research in
neuroimmunology, molecular biology, cerebral function and cellular
With each book, Chopra has argued with increasing conviction and
evidence that consciousness is the only reality. "Your body is…a flowing
organism empowered with millions of years of intelligence. This
intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the constant change that takes
place inside you. Every cell is a miniature terminal connected to the
cosmic computer," he rhapsodizes in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind,
which sold a million copies in hardcover alone.
evolution is an ongoing process; in time it took him away from
Maharishi. On Guru Purnima in 1990, Maharishi indicated he was
uncomfortable with Chopra, who he felt was too eclectic.
Chopra moved away to chart his own course. "I am too free a person
to belong to an organization," he says. "I also wished to explore my
His creativity found expression in The
Return of Merlin, in which he recreated the fable of Camelot in
modern times. The underlying message is that the wizard Merlin's eternal
secrets can help us to transcend the
problems and conflicts of our times.
As for his own quest, he once said that "it started with a simple desire
to quit smoking. Now I find that I am looking for God. And once in a
while I have glimpses of her."
feminine consciousness next in line for Deepak Chopra? He
has, after all, apologized in The Way of the Wizard for the
political incorrectness that has turned Merlin into a 'he'. He adds : "Wizardess
is a clumsy word, so please know that wizard applies to women as well as
men. If anything, the return of the magical has been greeted more
quickly by women in our society than by anyone else."
For the past decade
Deepak Chopra, M.D. has been at the forefront of a major trend in
holistic healing. Since the early 1980's Chopra has successfully
combined his impeccable credentials as a practicing endocrinologist
with his exploration of mind/body medicine. By doing so, he has
dramatically influenced many in traditional medical circles and
helped bring the enormous benefits of holistic medicine to the
general public's attention.
Chopra created a paradigm for exploring the healing process - a
model he calls Quantum Healing. He recalls, "As doctors we are
taught to prescribe tranquilizers for people who are feeling anxious
to promote tranquility. We give sleeping pills to people with
insomnia. Quantum Healing looks past all the wonder drugs and modern
technology to a natural way of healing which speaks to an
integration of mind and body."
Rather than turn his back on his conventional training, he extended
his practice to bring together the best of ancient wisdom and modern
science. In 1984, he helped to introduce Ayurvedic medicine to the
United States, and within a year he established an Ayurvedic Health
Centre of Stress Management and Behavioral Medicine in Lancaster,
Massachusetts. He was also the founding President of the American
Association of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Since that time, he has emerged as one of the world's leading
proponents of this innovative combination of Eastern and Western
Chopra's combines ancient mind/body wisdom with current antiaging
research to show that the effects of aging are largely preventable.
By changing your perception of aging and by being aware of your body
and how it processes intelligence and experience you will change how
Today Chopra lectures around the world making presentations to major
corporations and organizations such as the World Health Organization
in Geneva, the United Nations, and London's Royal Society of
Medicine, as well as a number of major U.S. medical institutions.
By changing one's perception of aging, we can change our age.
Chopra: Well most people think that aging is fatal and
scientific data shows that that's not true. People don't die of old
age, they die of diseases that accompany old age, and they are
Most people think that aging is irreversible and we know that there
are mechanisms even in the human machinery that allow for the
reversal of aging, through correction of diet, through
anti-oxidants, through removal of toxins from the body, through
exercise, through yoga and breathing techniques, and through
meditation. Most people believe that aging is normal but nobody
defines what normal aging is. What we call normal may be the
psychopathology of the average. Most people think that aging is
genetic and yet if your parents lived to age 80+ that will add three
years to your life.
The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can
influence your life by 30 to 50 years. Most people believe that
aging is universal but there are biological organisms that never
age. Most people believe that aging is painful and we know that pain
is from diseases that are preventable, not from aging.
People have to change their concepts of aging and I am not asking
them to do so based on some fanciful notion but on scientific fact.
When they change that, then their perception of aging will change
and it will become clear to them to grow old and to become wiser, to
become more creative, to become the springboard for creativity and
affluence. Once your perception of the whole phenonenom changes,
your reality will change because reality is nothing other than your
perception of it.
Veronica:You have stated
that if we could effectively trigger the intention not to age, the
body would carry it out automatically. Could you explain that?
Chopra: Yes, because intentions are the triggers for
transformation in the body. If you want to wiggle your toes, you do
it through intention. There are two components to biological
information in the body, one is intention, the other is attention.
So to go back to the example I gave you, to wiggle your toes. The
first thing that happens is that your attention goes there and the
second thing is there is an intention, so this biological
information with attention and intention is what biological
information is given. Awareness that acts as biological information
goes to components, then an informational component, and then
there's a localizing component, and that's how the body behaves.
If you can wiggle your toes with the mere flicker of an intention,
why can't you reset your biological clock? The reason most people
can't do it is because, first, they never thought of it and secondly
they think that certain things are easier to do than other things.
For example, it is easier to wiggle the toes than reset the
biological clock, but that is just a belief that is rooted in
superstition. If we could understand that the human body is a
network of information and energy, then we would see that the same
principles apply everywhere in the body.
Veronica:That is just
what I was about to say, something as profound as stopping the aging
process, or actually reversing the aging process, one would think
would have to be implanted at a deep level for it to work.
Dr. Chopra: No, it's the
same mechanism. It's just that we have been indoctrinated into
believing that some things are easier, some things are more
difficult. Expectations determine outcome, always!
Veronica:You have also
said that our bodies are our experiences transformed into physical
expression, in other words our bodies are the outpouring of our
Chopra: And experiences, so if you are having the
experience of anxiety, your body is making adrenalin and cortisone,
if you are having the experience of tranquility, your body starts
making valium, if you are having the experience of exhilaration and
joy, your body makes interleukins and interferons which are powerful
anti-cancer drugs. So your body is constantly converting your
experiences into molecules.
Veronica:And we can
change our interpretation or experience of the world at any time.
Chopra: That's right. One person's enemy is another
person's best friend. My favorite food might give you a rash, etc.
Every experience that we have is unique to us because at some deep
level we make an interpretation of it.
Veronica:You go even
further and suggest that when you see yourself in terms of timeless,
deathless being, every cell awakens to a new existence.
Chopra: Because the body is the end product of
intelligence and how that intelligence shapes your reality will
shape the reality of the body. The body is a field of ideas and it
is a field of interpretations and when you change your experience of
your own identity to a spiritual being, the body expresses the
physical manifestation of that spiritual reality.
Veronica:You go on to
say, true immortality can be experienced here and now in this living
body. It comes about when you draw the infusion of being into
everything you think and do.
This is the the experience of timeless mind and ageless body.
Veronica:Is this why it
is so important to live with passion, to have a dream, a reason for
living, even if that dream is only for our own joy?
Chopra: I think that is a very important component, to
have passion, to have a dream, to have a purpose in life. And there
are three components to that purpose, one is to find out who you
really are, to discover God, the second is to serve other human
beings, because we are here to do that and the third is to express
your unique talents and when you are expressing your unique talents
you lose track of time.
think of time as linear and some of us feel that there is only so
much of it, and that it is continuously running out. Almost as
though our entire life is like an hour glass and the sand is running
through and we don't know how much sand we have left so we'd better
enjoy every single moment. This kind of thinking is further
reinforced every time we are faced with the death of someone we
know. How does this kind of motivation, of enjoying every moment
because time is running out, and we don't have forever, compare with
living joyfully without any kind of time anxiety at all, as if we
really did have forever?
Chopra: The only way you can do that is when you know
that part of yourself that is in fact, forever. There is a part of
yourself that is not subject to change, it is the silent witness
behind the scenes. That is essentially your spirit, the spirit being
an abstract but real force. It is as real as gravity. It is as real
as time. It is incomprehensible. It is mysterious but it is powerful
and it is eternal. It is without beginning, without ending. It has
no dimensionality, it's spaceless, timeless, dimensionless, eternal,
forever. When you can get in touch with that part of yourself, then
you will in fact see that present moment existence, even an entire
lifetime is nothing other than a flicker in eternity, a parenthesis
in eternity, a little flash of a firefly in the middle of the night
in the context of eternity.
What happens with that knowledge, with that experience, is that you
begin to experience mortality as quantified immortality, you begin
to see time as quantified eternity and when you see it against the
backdrop of who you really are, then the anxiety of daily existence
disappears. So one ceases to be troubled by as well as influenced by
the trivial things of daily existence, the little hassles that
create stress in most people. So it becomes much more joyful and you
realize that the present moment is as it should be, there is no
other way. It is the culmination of all other moments and it is the
center point of eternity. So you pay attention to what is in every
moment. And when you do that, then you realize that the presence of
God is everywhere. You have only to consciously embrace it in your
attention. And that's what creates joyfulness. You have to know the
reality and the reality is that we are eternal.
Veronica: I suppose then
that the first way of looking at life is actually unhealthy.
Veronica:The new paradigm
tells us that we are constantly making and unmaking our bodies at
the quantum level which means that we are constantly unfolding
hidden potential. Can you talk about this quantum level?
Chopra: If you look at anything physical, you find out
that at the quantum level, it is non-physical. The body is made up
of atoms and subatomic particles that are moving at lightning speed
around huge empty spaces and the body gives off fluctuations of
energy and information in a huge void, so essentially your body is
proportionately as void as intergalactic space, made out of nothing
but the nothing is actually the source of information and energy. If
you'd approach that level then you would realize that the body is a
print out and by changing the software, by influencing the
programming, and by getting in touch with the program you can create
a new body anytime you want.
Veronica:How does living
in the present moment contribute to agelessness?
Chopra: Living in the present moment creates the
experience of eternity. It is like every drop of water in an ocean
contains the flavor of the whole ocean. So too every moment in time
contains the flavor of eternity, if you could live in that moment
but most people do not live in the moment which is the only time
they really have. They either live in the past or the future. If you
could live in the moment you would see the flavor of eternity and
when you metabolize the experience of eternity your body doesn't
lowers biological age. How?
Chopra: By quieting
the mind which then quiets the body and the less turbulent the body
is, the more the self-repair, healing mechanisms get amplified. In
fact, scientists have shown that the better your DNA, your genetic
machinery is at healing itself, the longer you live. That's how
meditation lowers biological age.
Veronica:What about the
power of love in healing or agelessness, someone else's love or the
love of our own self?
Chopra: Yes, love but in the true sense, not as a mere
sentiment or an emotion but love as the experience of unity
consciousness, which means to know that you are connected with
everything in the universe. Not only are you connected with
everything in the universe, you might be the same being in different
disguises with everybody else. So when you have that experienced
knowledge you lose the ability to hurt people and you also lose the
ability to be hurt by people. That's love.
Veronica:Your approach to
medicine is based on Ayurveda, which comes from India. How do you
Chopra: Ayurveda is the science of life and it has a very
basic, simple kind of approach, which is that we are part of the
universe and the universe is intelligent and the human body is part
of the cosmic body, and the human mind is part of the cosmic mind,
and the atom and the universe are exactly the same thing but with
different form, and the more we are in touch with this deeper
reality, from where everything comes, the more we will be able to
heal ourselves and at the same time heal our planet.
medicine look like in the future?
Chopra: Medicine in the future will give everyone the
ability to become their own best healer.
Veronica:Thank you Dr.
Chopra, it has indeed been an enlightening conversation.
NEW AGE HERO
Bestselling author, leading exponent of Indian spirituality in the
West and a pioneer of mind-body health, Dr Deepak Chopra is the most
easily recognised New Age ideologue
There's a traffic jam outside Delhi's Talkatora Stadium, the venue for a
talk by Deepak Chopra, one evening in early summer. After an
inordinately long wait—the discomfort compounded by the enervating
heat—the traffic clears up, and it's possible to proceed and find
Outside the venue, a throng of believers, socialites and admirers of the
New Age guru is being guided by uniformed security personnel towards the
entrance. At a makeshift stall are displayed copies of Chopra's
books, including his latest, How to Know God. The line-up of
parked cars extends half-a-kilometre on Shankar Road, running over the
Inside, the air is pungent with the odour of perfumes and colognes, as
obviously well-heeled ladies and gents, often accompanied by their
hip-hop teenage wards, move through the aisles looking for dwindling
seating space in the already crowded auditorium. Are they here for the
teaching? Or because it's a social event?
Suddenly, Deepak Chopra, dressed in an immaculate grey suit,
enters from the front of the hall. He steps into the VIP gallery facing
the podium, and is immediately surrounded by fans. Soon, a television
crew corners him for an impromptu interview.
Somewhat imposingly built, with suspiciously black hair and bushy
eyebrows, Chopra looks the genial 'neighbour-next-door'. Yet, by
the time he takes the cordless microphone, the auditorium is packed to
capacity, and even the aisles are crowded with invitees unable to find
"What I'm going to share with you is part of our cultural and spiritual
heritage. It's nothing new. So what you've really done is brought me
here to remind yourselves of something that you already know." With this
unexpected, but perspicacious, comment, he begins. His voice, rising and
falling like the ebb and flow of the tide, resonates through the
spacious hall as he recounts the contribution of India to world
civilisation through the ages, in different fields of knowledge and
is the only country that, in 10,000 years, hasn't invaded another
country. Of course, it has invaded culturally. For centuries, it ruled
China, Japan through its mind, culture, science, cosmology and
philosophy. Until the 17th century, India was the richest country in the
world. There was no confusion about spirituality and materialism going
together, because our Vedic tradition says that the four goals of life
are artha (money),
(desire), dharma (duty) and moksha (enlightenment)."
Facts and figures flow fast and furious at this stage. Some 6,000 years
ago (he continues), when the rest of the world was living as nomadic
tribes in dense forests, we had the Indus Valley civilization—with
architecture, music, navigation, irrigation, and the art of government.
The West talks of
Machiavelli; what about
Chanakya? Aryabhata was the
first to suggest in the 5th century AD that the earth moves around the
sun, not the other way round.
"The world calls it the Copernican revolution; it should be called the
Aryabhatan revolution," declares Chopra. And though the world
calls Marconi the discoverer of wireless communication, it's now
recognised by scientists that actually Jagdish Chandra Bose was the
pioneer of wireless. "India
gave to the world the mother of all languages: Sanskrit. Recently,
Forbes magazine wrote that as we move from information technology to
the technology of artificial intelligence, Sanskrit will be the language
of the computer industry."
Having struck an
immediate rapport with his listeners, giving them a dose of collective
self-esteem, by the time Chopra concludes this part of his
address, the audience is sold on him.
A gift for oratory and flair for words, coupled with a thorough
grounding in the Indian tradition has helped him reach where he has.
Chopra, the elder of two sons, was born into an "extremely
Westernised" family in
New Delhi in 1947.
"We didn't notice anything exceptional about him," his father, Dr (Col)
Krishan Chopra, a leading cardiologist, admits, "but Deepak was a
gifted child." Wisdom in hindsight, perhaps?
Once, while going out, his father, who had two cars parked outside,
asked three-year-old Deepak: "Which car would you like us to use
this evening?" Deepak replied: "These are your cars. Take the one you
like. When I grow up, earn a lot of money, I'll buy a big car."
In Pune, Chopra Sr decided to take his two sons, along with their
friends, to the circus. However, Deepak, then four, refused: "I'm
watching the birds and trees." His father told him that it would soon
become dark. Deepak replied: "Then I'll look at the stars."
Intimations of immortality?
As a senior student in
St Columbus School, Deepak was a good writer and an eloquent
speaker. He wanted to be a journalist. However, later he changed his
mind, qualified and got admission to AIIMS. His is a family of doctors,
after all (uncle H.K. Chopra and brother Sanjiv are also doctors). But
Deepak, says his father, was never one to follow the beaten
track, not for long. While still at AIIMS, he saw the flaws in
mainstream medicine. Once, he said: "I thought that they would talk
about health, but they talk only about disease." It was probably the
beginning of his disenchantment with the traditional mould of modern
medicine. And a rediscovery of India.
is poised to contribute to the world in a way that, even with all its
contribution in the past, it has not done so far. With its emerging
domination of information technology, it will be an economic power in a
world where economic, not military power will prevail."
The biggest resources of wealth and power (says Chopra) are not outside,
but in the human mind. As we have evolved, the sources of power and
wealth have shifted. When we were hunter-gatherers, the only response
humans had was to run or fight—we survived, but became experts at the
fight-flight response. Seeking to protect ourselves against predators,
we have become the predator. Homo sapiens is the only animal that kills
its own kind, and most often in the name of God; that is ethnocentric,
racist, bigoted and prejudiced; that goes to war; and that is destroying
the ecological balance, the nurturing that we receive from Mother Earth.
Yet, the human animal is the only one that asks himself questions like:
"Where did I come from? What am I doing here? Is there any meaning or
purpose to my existence? What happens to me after I die? Do I have a
soul? Does God exist? And if God exists, does He care about me?"
We are indeed a paradoxical species. And now we are faced with a choice:
either we go the way of the predator, and risk our extinction like all
predators, or join hands with the harmonious elements and forces of the
universe, and chart a new evolutionary course. "All of classic science,"
declares Chopra, "even though it's been extremely successful, has
been based on a superstition: the superstition of materialism."
Removing his jacket, to reveal a Chinese-collared black shirt beneath,
he now cuts a striking, somewhat magician-like figure as he addresses
the audience. The worldview of Newtonian physics, he explains, says:
"The essence of reality is that it is material, we are part of the
material world, the human body is material, and consciousness is an
epiphenomenon, a by-product. If you think, feel, dream, imagine, have
memories, desires—all this is a by-product of matter. Understand how
matter behaves, and you will understand the mysteries of the universe."
And today we are in the midst of the overthrow of the superstition of
materialism, not necessarily because the world is becoming more
spiritual, but because science itself is telling us that the essential
nature of this material world is that it's not material; that the
essential nature of this physical world is that it's not physical; that
the essential stuff of the universe is non-stuff.
Today, you use
e-mail or send messages on a fax machine or converse on a cellular
technologies are based on a
fundamental premise of science, that the basic unit of matter called an
atom is not a solid entity, it's a hierarchy of states of information
and energy in a huge void. Seen through the eyes of a physicist, the
human body and everything that you experience as the material world is
proportionately as void as intergalactic space. Krishna says to Arjuna
in the Gita: "Let me give you divine eyes, and then you will see things
as they really are." If you could see things as they really are, look
through the eyes of quantum mechanics, everything is spinning out of
nothingness at the speed of light.
The 13th century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi said: "We come spinning out
of nothingness, scattering stars like dust." Go beyond the appearance of
molecules, you enter the subatomic cloud; go beyond the cloud, you end
up with a handful of nothingness. And the crucial question arises, what
is this nothingness from which we all come? Is it just a void, or could
it be the womb of creation? What is the essential nature of reality? The
great Vedic seers studied this question, and said: "Reality is different
at different levels of awareness." Science is recognising this today.
"I'm walking this road, not necessarily because I want to get somewhere,
but because I enjoy walking this road."
Having graduated from AIIMS in 1969, Chopra migrated to the USA
with his newly-wedded wife, Rita. (His brother, Sanjiv, followed soon
after with wife Amita). After seven years of advanced training, which
included positions at prestigious hospitals, Chopra began a
private practice in endocrinology and internal medicine. The practice
thrived; in addition, he became chief of staff at
Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts. He and Rita started a
family and bought a home in the quiet, woodsy Boston suburb of Lincoln.
By this point, Rita recalls, Deepak Chopra had "done it all".
"He's always worked twice as hard as anyone else," she explains. "He
puts his heart and soul into anything he does. And he's always had a
gift with people."
Yet Chopra was getting restless. He smoked cigarettes, drank
alcohol, and consumed plenty of coffee on his way through long workdays.
He was counselling his patients to change their self-destructive habits,
but began to recognize that he could not make such changes in his own
life. Then came that fateful day. Browsing in a used bookstore one
Sunday afternoon in 1980, Chopra stumbled upon a book on
Transcendental Meditation. Reading the book that evening, he told
Rita: "This looks fantastic!"
The following day they enrolled for a TM class and, two months later,
they took the advanced TM-Siddhi programme. "At first I did TM mainly to
relax, but it changed my whole life—my diet, my work, my relationships
with patients and other people," he says. "I became 10 times more
efficient in my work."
He soon lost his
taste for alcohol, and other self-impairing habits spontaneously fell
away. His worldview began to change. "There are three ways of
understanding reality," says Chopra. "The least reliable is
through the eye of the flesh, or seeing through our five senses. Till
recently, science was an extension of the eye of the flesh. The second
way, which is a little deeper, is through the eye of the mind. If I want
to understand the Pythagoras theorem, quantum physics or the theory of
relativity, I have to know the principles of Euclidean geometry or
mathematics, that exist only in the mind. That takes me a little deeper
into the heart of nature's secrets. And the third way is through the eye
of the soul. That takes us really into the heart and soul of reality.
The visionary poet William Blake wrote: "We are led to believe a lie
when we see with and not through the eye, that was born in the night to
perish in the night, while the soul slept in beams of light."
He was saying what's becoming obvious to scientists today, that is, do
not trust your senses. The great seers said: "The senses give us a
partial view of reality—maya." It means creating something as a
perceptual experience, which isn't real—that you cannot trust. Chopra
explains: "My senses tell me the earth is flat, it's not true; my senses
tell me that the ground I'm standing on is stationary, and I know it's
spinning at a tremendous speed and hurtling into space. My senses tell
me that when I look at you, I see a three-dimensional body, an
anatomical structure fixed in space and time, and that's not true. It's
an illusion." The Vedic seers said: "Look at the human body as a river,
and just as you cannot step into the same river twice, because new water
is flowing in, the real you cannot step into the same flesh-and-bones
"Because every moment you're actually changing your body, reshuffling,
exchanging its atoms and molecules with the rest of the universe, and
you're doing it faster than you can change your clothes. In fact the
bodies, which you're using right now to sit on the chairs, are not the
bodies that you came in with a little while ago." Walt Whitman wrote:
"Every atom that belongs to you as well belongs to me." And this is not
a poetic metaphor, it's a fact. So if you think you are your material
body, you certainly have a bit of a problem: Which one are you speaking
The defining moment arrived in Dr Chopra's life in 1985, when he
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,
founder of the TM movement, who had come to Washington DC for the
Chopra and Rita were emerging from a dining room when they saw
Maharishi, who walked straight up to them and asked them to come to his
room. The Chopras were somewhat taken aback; they were scheduled to
catch a plane in 15 minutes, and tried to beg off. But at Maharishi's
insistence they went upstairs, forgot all about their flight, and spent
an hour talking with him. "I was impressed by his and my total comfort
and the lack of formality. There was no pretentiousness, a lot of jokes
and laughter. It was a light-hearted meeting," Chopra recalls.
"And I was completely taken in by his sincerity, his almost childish
enthusiasm... for lack of a better word, his bliss." Rita says: "Maharishi
was the sweetest, easiest person in the world to talk to, so warm and
friendly, so loving and happy. It was the most joyful experience."
Maharishi spoke to Chopra about
ayurveda, the 7,000-year-old
Indian 'science of life', which Maharishi was reviving and purifying as
an approach to perfecting health in the modern world. He told Chopra
that he should study ayurveda, understand it, and explain it in
scientific terms. In essence, he was suggesting that Chopra
change the direction of his career, an idea that made Rita momentarily
uneasy. She told Maharishi that it was not too practical for Deepak
to devote himself to ayurveda; he had to make a living. Maharishi simply
laughed and, eyes twinkling, assured them both that Deepak would
be very successful with ayurveda.
Prophetic words, indeed. Dr Chopra is, today, the leading
holistic health, New Age
spirituality and human potential. His 25 books, including Ageless
Body, Timeless Mind; Creating Affluence; The Seven
Spiritual Laws of Success, The Return of Merlin and The
Path to Love have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. His
latest work, How to Know God is also slated to be a bestseller.
His website, like his television serials, enjoys top popularity ratings;
his celebrity clients include Demi Moore, George Harrison, Michael
Jackson and Oprah Winfrey; his Chopra Centre for Well Being at La Jolla,
California is a pioneer in mind-body health; his lectures are hugely
attended worldwide. His teaching blends physics and philosophy, ayurveda
and modern medicine, timeless wisdom and personal insight with dynamic
His story echoes his words: "Life is a field of infinite possibilities."
But growth is an ongoing process; in time it took him away from
Maharishi. On Guru Purnima in 1990, Maharishi indicated he was
uncomfortable with Chopra, who he felt was too eclectic.
Chopra moved away to chart his own course. "I am too free a person
to belong to an organization," he says. "I also wished to explore my
"There's a deeper level of reality," says Chopra. Science calls
it quantum reality. Quantum in physics defines the smallest indivisible
unit of information and energy. So a quantum of light is a photon, a
quantum of gravity is a graviton. Our thoughts are also units of
information and energy. When energy has a pattern, it becomes
information." To improve on Einstein, "energy and matter and information
are interchangeable." In the quantum world we are inseparable,
interconnected. Gautam Buddha said: "We are inter-beings that
inter-arise in the inter-isness." We had known for thousands of years
that at another level, the quantum level, we are inseparably connected.
We are fields of energy and information in the universe of energy and
information, where everything is happening at the speed of light. Your
body, which appears to be physical is actually flickering in out of the
infinite void at the speed of light. So here everything is indivisible,
oscillating, has a wavelike frequency, and is spatially extended.
But the crucial question arises: where is this information and energy
coming from? Quantum physics is giving us an insight. There are some
fundamental premises of the quantum world: there are no objects, there
are only superpositions of waves of possibility. things happen even
faster than the speed of light. It's called non-local action--one
subatomic particle can communicate with another subatomic particle
without sending it an energy or information signal. there are quantum
leaps, which means a subatomic particle can be in one location, and then
it can be at another location, without it having to go through the space
in between. before you observe, nothing exists; the observer is
necessary for the observation to collapse. In other words, those who
understand this world say that at the most fundamental level of nature,
one undivided consciousness collapses upon itself to create both the
subject and the object of experience. In reality, the subject and the
object, the seer and the scenery, the observer and the observed are the
Recalling an insight of
Vedanta, Chopra says
that when one experiences samadhi, the seer and the scenery become one.
This is the experience of unity consciousness, which is the ultimate
truth at the heart of creation. And this is what really love is. Love is
not a mere sentiment, an emotion, but the ultimate truth at the heart of
creation. That truth is that the seer and the scenery, the observer and
the observed, the knower and the known, the lover and the beloved are
the same consciousness collapsing upon itself and experiencing itself as
the observer and the object of perception. J. Krishnamurti often said:
"The observer and the observed are one." If we can understand this
fundamental truth, we will, to quote Krishnamurti, have a "mutation in
consciousness". And once that happens, nothing will ever be the same
again. Your perceptual and cognitive mechanisms will change. You'll not
experience the same world ever again. That's what we need—to go beyond
the eye of the flesh, to go beyond the eye of the mind, and experience
the world through the eye of the soul.
Yoga Vashishta said: "Let us understand, not just intellectually but
experientially." And once we do that, the world will transform.
Chopra's brother, Sanjiv is professor of medicine at the Harvard
University School of Medicine. Amita is a paediatrician at the
university's hospital. Chopra's wife, Rita, is primarily a
housewife. Their daughter, Mallika, who married an NRI in
two years ago, is working with Chopra's website. Her brother,
Gautam, who published a novella, Child of the Dawn sometime ago,
is working with a news-based children's television channel, which brings
him to Asia quite often. Chopra's parents reside in
Delhi. Dr Krishan
Chopra is consultant emeritus and member of the board of trustees of the
Moolchand Khairati Ram Hospital.
Chopra's success has led to the inevitable backlash. A report in
the conservative political magazine, The Weekly Standard in 1996
alleged that there was "strong evidence that the guru to the stars has
hired a prostitute." Chopra filed a $35 million libel suit
against the magazine and reporter Matt Labash, which resulted in a
retraction a year later and a settlement for an undisclosed amount.
Chopra, in an unusual move, made a written appeal asking for public
forgiveness for President Clinton, while the latter was embroiled in the
controversy involving Monica Lewinsky. The letter entitled "Let him be:
Clinton, sex and the courage of mercy" was distributed by the Los
Angeles Times Syndicate. Interestingly,
at a state dinner during his recent visit to
said: "My country has been enriched by the contributions of more than a
million Indian Americans, which includes Dr Deepak Chopra, the
pioneer of alternative medicine." Talk of reciprocity!
Chopra, during his visit to India, also went to Mumbai, where he
addressed a select gathering at a dinner hosted by the electronics
giant, BPL, and gave an interview for the company's website. He had a
private session with Indian filmstar Amitabh Bachchan, who's beset with
problems on the business and career fronts. Shekhar Malhotra, Full
Circle, says: "We are publishing a book of poems, Once When I Was a
Child, the first by Chopra. He says he composed the poems in
an unprecedented phase of inspiration. We're also releasing audiotapes
of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and Sacred Verses,
Chopra's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita."
Poonam Malhotra of
says: "Chopra's success can be attributed to his single-minded
focus on spreading ancient Vedantic wisdom in a contemporary idiom and
style. He draws from a variety of sources. People like you and me cannot
read the original scriptures; he conveys their content to us. He appeals
to the modern, logical mind; his path is of gyan yoga." She adds: "He is
a warm and humble individual, without false airs. One senses a quietness
within him. What he says, he practises."
What is the great
mystery of time? The universe, says Chopra, is cyclical. For
instance, the earth spins on its axis and revolves around the sun:
everything is inherently rhythmic. We create the experience of linear
time because we cannot see the whole. It's like standing on a circle,
looking at distant places on the circle and thinking, "It's a straight
line." So the flow of linear time is actually a psychological event. For
example, if you are in a hurry, you have deadlines to meet, you say,
"I'm running out of time." And that makes your biological clock speed
up--faster heart rate, high levels of adrenalin and stress hormones. And
such a person, whose internal dialogue is constantly saying, "I'm
running out of time," one day he'll suddenly drop dead of a premature
heart attack, he'll have run out of time.
On the other hand, if your internal dialogue says, "I have all the time
in the world," your biological clock will mirror that. Sometime we've
all had the experience, when we were children and were playing, or
perhaps we were in love, or listening to some great music, or in the
stillness of samadhi—we slipped out of time altogether. When someone
says: "The beauty of the mountain was breathtaking. Time stood still,"
that experience, where there is no time is, according to the great
wisdom tradition of
the experience of unity consciousness.
That's when the observer and the observed, you and the mountain have
become one. Stephen Hawking in A Brief History Of Time says: "We
live in a universe that has no beginning in time. We live in a universe
that has no ending in time. We live in a universe that has no edges in
space." Try to visualise that. Your mind will reel in bewilderment. How
do you imagine something that never began? And the moment you try and
compromise, and say, "Perhaps there was a beginning," your immediate
dilemma is, if there was a beginning, what was there before the
beginning? If there is an ending, what is there after the ending?
If there are edges in space, what is there after the outermost edge? Our
new physics is not only stranger than we think it is, it's stranger than
we can think. Yet all this was outlined subjectively in the Vedantic
tradition. Lord Krishna, when he speaks to Arjuna about the essential
nature of reality, says: "It has no beginning in time, it has no ending
in time. Water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it, fire cannot burn it,
and weapons cannot shatter it. Unborn, it cannot die." He is talking a
few thousand years before Stephen Hawking and Einstein. And he's not
only saying this is the essential nature of reality, he's saying this is
your essential nature.
"There are five reasons why human beings suffer, according to Vedanta.
These are the five kleshas on which Buddhism drew for the Four Noble
Truths," Chopra explains. First, they do not know who they are.
Second, they grasp, hold on, cling to that which is impermanent,
transient, intangible, ephemeral, dreamlike, which has no real
existence. Third, they are afraid of, run from that which is transient,
intangible, insubstantial, dreamlike, ephemeral, which has no real
existence. Fourth, they identify with the false self, a moment-by-moment
fabrication, which is a figment of the imagination, they sacrifice their
souls, their spirits for a false identity. Fifth, they are afraid of
death, of the unknown. And then Vedanta says, all those five reasons are
contained in the first. So find out who you are, and the other four
dissipate, disappear as if it was a dream. So find out who you are, and
the truth will set you free: Satyamev Jayate. Vedanta says, beyond the
secret passages, beyond the dark alleys of the mind, there's a domain of
awareness, atman, and that atman is one with Brahman. Today, science
calls it (Brahman) the virtual domain, from where the quantum and the
physical arise. This virtual domain is immortal and eternal, is a field
of infinite correlations, has infinite organising power, infinite
dynamism, and is the source of energy, space, time, matter and
information. It is simultaneously infinity-time. It is here that we will
find the meaning of choice, freedom, insight, intention, imagination,
intuition, creativity, knowingness, understanding, and spirit.
Our tradition has already provided the solution to the problem. It's
time to become navigators of the inner dimension, and to recognise that
the outer dimension is actually a projection of that inner dimension.
That no matter what we're experiencing, its roots lie in the inner
world. And that inner world is essentially one with the outer world. It
actually manifests as the outer world. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord
Krishna says: 'Curving back within myself, I create again and again and
again.' Not a metaphor of poetry, a fact of physics, of science.
After his Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, people expect
Deepak Chopra to dole out lists and ways and tips. He had one ready
at the Delhi talk.
10 WAYS TO
REVERSE THE AGEING PROCESS
perception of your physical body. Your body is a field of information
and energy. This field is constantly influenced by breathing, eating,
digestion, metabolism, elimination, and how we experience the world
through our five senses. Also, how we metabolise that through our
inner world of thought, feeling, emotion and desire.
perception of time. If you can do that, you can accomplish much
more—because you are creative, not stressed. You can do a lot more if
you can sit back, become non-reactive, and see the world as if for the
first time. Lord Shiva, the first yogi, said: "If you want to create a
new body, step out of the river of memory and conditioning, and see
the world as if for the first time." He said: "I use memory, but I do
not allow memory to use me." Now change your perception of time, you
have all the time in the world. Time is the movement of
consciousness—put your attention on that, it's timeless. And what is
timeless? Not the human body, not the human mind, but the soul.
perception of ageing itself. To grow old is to be wiser. To grow old
is to have more responsibility. To grow old is to change your inner
dialogue from 'me, mine' to 'What can I do? How can I help?' And as
you change your perception of ageing, your biology will change. Those
are the three most important things.
coordination through yoga, breathing techniques, martial arts.
Get rid of the
toxicity in your life—toxic emotions, relationships, habits.
Pay attention to
literature—on nutritional supplements, ayurveda and all these great
rasayanas, which are some of the great anti-oxidants known that
directly affect the ageing process.
Learn to be
flexible. Vedanta says: "Infinite flexibility is the secret of
immortality." Studies show that the primary thing that distinguishes
healthy older people from those less healthy, is the ability to be
Make love the most
important thing in life. To understand our 'inter-beingness in the
inter-isness', to understand love not as a mere emotion or sentiment,
but as the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.
Be aware of your
mortality, because in the awareness of mortality is the glimpse of
immortality. Be aware that death is stalking you in every moment of
your existence. And once one becomes aware of that, one's life becomes
magical. Because now one's priorities are not the same.
Life PositiveMay 2000
Deepak Chopra bombshell: Plagiarism suit settles
TRANCENET.ORG EXCLUSIVE -- On
January 15, New Age guru Dr. Deepak Chopra quietly settled the
plagiarism suit brought against him by Professor Robert Sapolsky
of Stanford University. In the suit, first filed January 23,
1997, the renowned biologist Sapolsky alleged Dr. Chopra, Random
House, Crown Publishers, and several book retailers infringed
his copyright on Behavioral Endocrinology in Ageless
Body, Timeless Mind -- Chopra's best-known work and, many
say, the cornerstone of his reputation as an alternative
John Kelley, a lawyer for Dr.
Sapolsky, confirmed that a settlement had been reached and a
joint statement had been signed by both parties, but
declined further comment.
More details emerge in an
intraoffice memo obtained by trancenet.org. Dr. Sapolsky
comments, "As we were suspecting all along, there was going to
be a settlement 'on the courthouse steps' -- i.e., once they saw
that we were serious enough to actually go to trial, they would
cave in at the last minute."
Similar tactics have reportedly
been used in the past by Chopra, lawyer Michael Flynn, and his
Chopra sued the Journal of
the American Medical Association over an article by editor
Andrew Skolnick alleging deceit by Chopra. Although the case was
dismissed, sources inside JAMA suggest Chopra demanded
silence to drop a prolonged and expensive appeal process: The
article was not to be reprinted and the editorial staff were to
avoid writing about Chopra in the future.
Chopra also sued The Weekly
Standard, over published allegations that he frequented a
prostitute and plagiarized other writers. Although Dr. Chopra's
press release trumpeted a total retraction, in fact the
allegations of plagiarism -- including those revolving around
Dr. Sapolsky -- were never retracted.
Dr. Sapolsky's memo further
claims, "Future printings [of Ageless Body, Timeless Mind]
will cite the disputed passages as being my writing -- not
based on or derived from but my writing. There was
some money involved (in the settlement), but not of an amount of
any consequence." (This understanding seems to vary from the
text of the
Finally, Dr. Sapolsky comments,
"This is a complete win for me. I am bitter as hell that this
occurred in the first place, and how all of it could have been
settled with a letter like this two years ago, thus avoiding all
the demoralizing crap that this lawsuit has involved, but this
is a complete moral win -- he admitted it was my writing, he
should have attributed it, he will cite it as my writing in the
future, and he apologizes for what he said on KQED."
Dr. Chopra is reported to have
questioned Dr. Sapolsky's motives and character during a call-in
show to NPR radio station KQED San Francisco. When
requested a transcript of this show, Shiv Ramachandra of KQED
replied there was a "strange story about this one. Apparently
Mr. Chopra said something not too accurate about ... Dr.
Sapolsky and there was talk of a lawsuit. And we were instructed
not to make any tapes of this interview." It is worth noting
that KQED uses Dr. Chopra's tapes extensively in their
This is the second major defeat
for Chopra and his legal team since November, when San Diego
Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell not only dismissed a
lawsuit brought by Deepak Chopra, claiming a local law firm and
two attorneys conspired to extort money from the self-help guru
-- she ruled it "frivolous" and dismissed it with prejudice.
"Dr. Deepak Chopra acknowledges
that in the original printing of _Ageless Body, Timeless Mind_
it would have been helpful and appropriate to identify the
substantial contributions to the field of stress research made
by Professor Robert Sapolsky and his influence on Dr. Chopra's
work. Dr. Chopra and his publisher will include in any future
printings of _Ageless Body, Timeless Mind_ an attribution to
Professor Sapolsky for his contributions. Professor Sapolsky
expresses gratitude for Dr. Chopra's clarification.
"The parties express their
mutual regret about any statements they have made about each
other during the course of the litigation. Dr. Chopra regrets
any remarks that were made on KQED that could have damaged
Professor Sapolsky's reputation.
"Accordingly, the parties have
agreed to dismiss the case."
beings are made of body, mind and spirit.
Of these, spirit is primary, for it connects us
to the source of everything, the eternal field of consciousness.
Each of us is here
to discover our true Self…
that essentially we are spiritual beings who have taken manifestation in
physical form…that…we‘re not human beings that have occasional spiritual
[rather that] we’re spiritual beings that have occasional human
sometimes that there are saints living among us.
When we meet them, we are reminded, not just of the presence
pure divinity right here on earth, but also of our own potential,
and of the responsibility we have to try to live up to it ~
our own sakes and for the very future of this planet.
Just by being
ourselves we are borne toward a destiny
far beyond anything we could imagine.
It is enough to know that the being I nourish inside me
is the same as the Being that suffuses every atom of the cosmos.
Pay attention to
that unchanging part of yourself. It is perfect.
At the source of life, and only there, one finds peace, harmony,
and the undisturbed contentment of bliss.
As you embrace the
present and become one with it,
merge with it, you will experience a fire, a glow,
a sparkle of ecstasy throbbing in every sentient being.
As you begin to experience this exultation of spirit
in everything that is alive, as you become intimate with it,
joy will be born within you, and you will drop the terrible
burdens of defensiveness, resentment, and hurtfulness...
then you will become lighthearted, carefree, joyous, and free.
When the human
is discharging its negative experience efficiently,
the mind is empty of past or future concerns;
there is no worry, anticipation, or regret.
This means that the mind is left open to Being,
the simplest state of awareness.
you completely outside your ego boundaries.
In ecstasy you know yourself as cosmic ego, unbounded in time and space.
Joy is a return to
the deep harmony of body, mind, and spirit
that was yours at birth and that can be yours again.
That openness to love, that capacity for wholeness
with the world around you, is still within you.
promotes clarity of mind;
It make us value the inner world;
It trains us to go inside
To the source of peace and inspiration
When we are faced with problems and challenges.
Relaxation is the
for that inner expansion that allows a person
to express the source of inspiration and joy within.
Just as light
discovering inner fulfillment can eliminate any disorder or discomfort.
This is truly the key to creating balance and harmony in everything you
Losing touch with
spirit does nothing to the field of creativity,
which is beyond harm, but it can do much to damage a person's chance in
With spirit we are
all children of the cosmos;
Without it we are orphaned and adrift.
spiritual law of success is the law of pure potentiality. This law is
based on the fact that we are, in our essential state, pure
consciousness. Pure consciousness is pure potentiality; it is the field
of all possibilities and infinite creativity. Pure consciousness is our
spiritual essence. Being infinite and unbounded, it is also pure joy.
Other attributes of consciousness are pure knowledge, infinite silence,
perfect balance, invincibility, simplicity, and bliss. This is our
essential nature. Our essential nature is one of pure potentiality.
Success in life
could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the
progressive realization of worthy goals. Success is the ability to
fulfill your desires with effortless ease. And yet success, including
the creation of wealth, has always been considered to be a process that
requires hard work and it is often considered to be at the expense of
others. We need a more spiritual approach to success and to affluence
which is the abundant flow of all good things to you.
On the path to
impossibilities are resolved by turning non-love into love.
With spiritual growth comes new creative potential,
leading to the realization that you are pure potential,
able to fill any creative impulse.
The less you open
your heart to others,
more your heart suffers.
imaginations we believe that love is apart from us.
Actually there is nothing but love, once we are ready to accept it.
When you truly find love, you find yourself.
I takes no effort
The state has its own innate joy.
Questions answer themselves if you are aware enough.
Life is safe.
Flowing with the current of being is the simplest way to live.
Resistance never really succeeds.
Controlling the flow of life is impossible.
This is a precious
moment, but it is transient.
It is a little parenthesis in eternity.
If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love,
we will create abundance and joy for each other.
And then this moment will have been worthwhile.
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