Deepak Chopra

Alternative Medicine
This article is part of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine series of articles.
Alternative medicine
Deepak Chopra (दीपक चोपड़ा; born October 22, 1946) is an Indian medical doctor and writer. He has written extensively on spirituality and diverse topics in mind-body medicine. Chopra says that he has been influenced by the teachings of Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as by Jiddu Krishnamurti, and by the field of quantum physics. Deepak Chopra has had a profound influence on the New Thought Movement that has embraced him in America.

Early years

Chopra was born in New Delhi. His father, Dr. (Col) K. L. Chopra, was a cardiologist in Mool Chand K. R. Hospital, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi (India) and served as a lieutenant in the British army. Chopra's grandfather practiced Ayurveda. He completed his primary education at St. Columba's School in New Delhi and eventually graduated from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Having graduated from AIIMS in 1969, Chopra emigrated to the U.S. in 1970 with his new bride, Rita, to do his clinical internship at a New Jersey hospital, followed by residency training for several more years at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts and at the University of Virginia Hospital. He became board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology.


Chopra taught at Tufts University and Boston University Schools of Medicine, and became the Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital (later the Boston Regional Medical Center) in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Chopra also established a large private practice.

Inspired after meeting New Delhi Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vaidya Brihaspati Dev Triguna in 1981, Chopra became a leader in the Transcendental Meditation movement. Later, Chopra branched off on his own to pursue broader aims in mind-body treatment including, in 1993, the position of executive director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind–Body Medicine, affiliated with Sharp Healthcare, in San Diego.

Chopra is the co-founder of the Chopra Center, which he founded in 1996 in La Jolla with Dr. David Simon. In 2002 the Center moved its official headquarters to La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California with a branch in New York City. He has plans for other centers.

In 2004, Chopra was recruited to co-write a script with Indian film director Shekhar Kapur on a proposed film to be made about the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

In 2006, Chopra launched Virgin Comics LLC alongside his son, Gotham Chopra, and Richard Branson, famed entrepreneur and thrill-seeker. The aim of the company is to promote and examine South Asian themes and culture through comic books. Deepak co-authored 'Ask the Kabala' with Mike 'Zappy' Zapolin and Alys Yablon in 2006, which is a set of 22 cards, each one representing a story or character from the Old Testament and a life lesson based on that story from a Kabalistic perspective.

Principal themes

Many of Chopra's themes and beliefs are stated in his first book Creating Health, in 1986. He launched himself as a staunch advocate of the interconnection between mind and body, advocating meditation and self-awareness as primary factors in both illness and healing. He deepened these themes in Quantum Healing (1989), where he examined the mysterious phenomenon of spontaneous healing of cancer. Here he introduced quantum physics as a means of understanding the mind-body connection, arguing — as he would in many other books — that consciousness is the basic foundation of nature and the universe.

In Perfect Health (1991) Chopra authored the first widely read book on Ayurveda, the traditional system of Indian medicine. Besides outlining the Ayurvedic concept of body types (Prakriti), Chopra emphasizes that the roots of Indian healing lie in changing the holistic balance of mind and body.

Subsequent books have turned toward larger spiritual questions. In How to Know God (2000) and The Book of Secrets (2004) an argument is made for an all-pervasive intelligence that unites every living thing, rather than the traditional Western concept of God as a person, "a venerable white male sitting on a throne in the sky." Chopra sees God as a projection of human awareness, who becomes more expansive and universal as individual consciousness expands.

In his book Life After Death: The Burden of Proof (2006) he extends personal consciousness beyond the "artificial boundary that separates the living from the departed." Assessing the seven varieties of the afterlife described by various world religious traditions, Chopra offered the proposal that a person's awareness in the present shapes existence after death; that is, the afterlife is created uniquely for each of us by our present level of consciousness.

In 2005 Chopra became a staunch advocate for disarmament and international peace in Peace Is the Way, where he argues that a "critical mass" of people of like mind can defeat the global "addiction to war". In the same regard he became president of a broad-based organization, Alliance of a New Humanity, that seeks to form "peace cells" around the world and to foster such related goals as environmental healing and sustainable economies in developing nations.

Intelligent design and religion

In August 2005, Chopra posted a series of articles in the blog The Huffington Post, to which he is a frequent contributor, offering his solution to the creation-evolution controversy. In doing so he expressed support for Intelligent design without the Bible, or the politics of religion. According to Chopra, Nature itself displays intelligence.

In the article, Chopra states:

"To say that Nature displays intelligence doesn't make you a Christian fundamentalist. Einstein said as much, and a fascinating theory called the anthropic principle has been seriously considered by Stephen Hawking, among others."
"It’s time to rescue "intelligent design" from the politics of religion. There are too many riddles not yet answered by either biology or the Bible, and by asking them honestly, without foregone conclusions, science could take a huge leap forward."

Chopra also offers a series of questions about evolution he believes cannot be answered by science alone. Science writer Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and long-time critic of Chopra, posted a response.

Chopra also believes Jesus was possessed of esoteric wisdom and may have studied Kabbalah.


Chopra has been criticized for his frequent references to the relationship of quantum mechanics to healing processes, a connection that has drawn skepticism from physicists who say it can be considered as possibly contributing to the general confusion in the popular press regarding quantum measurement, decoherence and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

In 1998, Chopra was awarded the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in physics for "his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness.

In its May 22/29, 1991 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article by Sharma, Triguna and Chopra: Letter from New Delhi: Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights Into Ancient Medicine. This article was represented as discussing traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda). Upon investigation, JAMA editors found that the coauthors had financial interests in "Maharishi Vedic Medicine" products and services. In the August 14, 1991 edition of JAMA, the editors published a financial disclosure correction and followed up in October 2, 1991 with a six-page Medical News and Perspectives exposé. The series of events was reviewed by Skolnick in the Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers. In response to the JAMA exposé, two Transcendental Meditation groups and Chopra sued the author, Andrew Skolnick, JAMA's editor Dr. George Lundberg, and the AMA for $194 million in July 1992. Pursuant to a settlement agreement, in 1993 the suit was dimissed by the judge at the request of the plaintiffs, with the option of reinstating pending completion of the settlement.

Professional teaching

Chopra has cast himself as a critic but not an enemy of conventional medicine. He teaches an annual update in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where his younger brother, Sanjiv, is Professor of Medicine and Faculty Dean for Continuing Medical Education. Physicians' continuing medical education through the Chopra Center has been certified by the American Medical Association.

Personal life

Chopra is married to Rita and has two children, Mallika Chopra and Gotham Chopra.


Chopra has written more than 40 books. They range broadly across spiritual and health topics; including bestsellers on aging, the "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," the existence of God, arguments for the afterlife and world peace. He has also written novels and edited collections of spiritual poetry from India and Persia.



  • 1987 Creating Health ISBN 0-395-75515-8
  • 1988 Return of the Rishi ISBN 0-395-57420-X
  • 1989 Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine ISBN 0-553-34869-8
  • 1991 Unconditional Life: Mastering the Forces That Shape Personal Reality
  • 1991 Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide ISBN 0-517-58421-2
  • 1993 Ageless Body, Timeless Mind : The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old ISBN 0-517-59257-6
  • 1993 Creating Affluence: Wealth Consciousness in the Field of All Possibilities
  • 1994 The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfilment of Your Dreams
  • 1995 The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons in Creating the Life You Want ISBN 0-517-70434-X
  • 1995 The Return of Merlin: A Novel ISBN 0-449-91074-1
  • 1995 The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing
  • 1997 The Path to Love: Renewing the Power of Spirit in Your Life ISBN 0-517-70622-9
  • 1997 The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents: Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfillment
  • 1999 Everyday Immortality: A Concise Course in Spiritual Transformation ISBN 0-609-60484-8
  • 1999 Lords of Light: A Novel ISBN 0-312-96892-2
  • 2000 The Angel is Near: A Novel ISBN 0-312-97024-2
  • 2000 How to Know God : The Soul's Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries ISBN 0-609-60078-8
  • 2001 The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering, 100 Days of Healing
  • 2001 Grow Younger, Live Longer: 10 Steps to Reverse Aging ISBN 0-609-60079-6
  • 2002 Manifesting Good Luck Cards: Growth and Enlightenment
  • 2003 Golf for Enlightenment: The Seven Lessons for the Game of Life
  • 2003 The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence ISBN 0-609-60042-7
  • 2003 Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles ISBN 1-84413-221-8
  • 2003 Manifesting Good Luck: Love and Relationships, 50 Card Deck
  • 2004 The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life ISBN 0-517-70624-5
  • 2004 Fire in the Heart: A Spiritual Guide for Teens ISBN 0-689-86216-4
  • 2005 Peace Is the Way : Bringing War and Violence to an End ISBN 0-307-23607-2
  • 2005 The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit
  • 2006 Ask The Kabala: Oracle Cards/Kabala Guidebook ISBN 978-1401910396
  • 2006 Power Freedom and Grace: Living from the Source of Lasting Happiness ISBN 978-1-878424-81-5
  • 2006 Life After Death: The Burden of Proof ISBN 0-307-34578-5
  • 2006 Kama Sutra: Including the Seven Spiritual Laws of Love ISBN 978-1-852273-85-9
  • 2007 Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment ISBN 978-0-06-087880-1
  • 2008 The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore ISBN 978-0-307-33831-0
  • 2008 Why Is God Laughing? The Path to Joy and Spiritual Optimism

Music CDs

  • 1998 A Gift of Love: Love poems inspired by Rumi
  • 2001 Soul of Healing Meditations - A Simple Approach to Growing Younger
  • 2002 A Gift of Love II: A Musical Valentine to Tagore
  • 2004 Chakra Balancing: Body, Mind, and Soul


  • 1995 Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
  • 1995 The Way of the Wizard
  • 2003 God and Buddha - a dialog
  • 2004 Soul of Healing - Body, Mind, and Soul Vol. 1


Deepak Chopra also "presented" and had creative influence upon the India Authentic line of comic books from Virgin Comics, including Deepak Chopra's Buddha. These also feature forewords by Chopra and involvement from his son, Gotham Chopra.

Deepak Chopra participated in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie, made a cameo appearance in the 2008 comedy film The Love Guru, and in 2008 appeared in a run of Microsoft Windows advertisements entitled "I'm a PC".

Further reading

  • Deepak Chopra: World of Infinite Possibilities, by Leon Nacson. Published by Random House, 1998. ISBN 0091836735, 9780091836733.

See also


External links

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