Chopra, Deepak (K.) 1946-
CHOPRA, Deepak (K.) 1946-
PERSONAL: Born 1946, in New Delhi, India; immigrated to United States, 1970; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Krishan Chopra (a physician); married; wife's name Rita; children: Mallika (daughter), Gautam (son). Education: All India Institute of Medical Science, M.D.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—The Chopra Center for Well Being, 7630 Fay Ave., La Jolla, CA 92307. Agent— Muriel Nellis, Literary and Creative Artists, 3543 Albemarle St. NW, Washington, DC 20008; c/o The Ford Group, 872 La Jolla Rancho Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037.
CAREER: Physician, lecturer, and writer. Muhlenbert Hospital, Plainfield, NJ, intern, c. 1970-71; in private endocrinology practice, Boston, MA, beginning 1971; affiliated with Tufts University, Medford, MA, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and Boston University, c. 1971-85; New England Memorial Hospital (now Boston Regional Medical Center), Stoneham, MA, chief of staff, 1981-85; Maharishi Ayur-Veda Products International, Inc. (producer of herbal remedies), cofounder and president, treasurer, and clerk, 1985-88; Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Center for Behavioral Medicine and Stress Management, Lancaster, MA, director, 1985-93; Sharp Institute for Human Potential
and Mind/Body Medicine, La Jolla, CA, executive director, 1993—; Center for Mind/Body Medicine at L'Auberge, Del Mar, CA, director, 1993-95; The Chopra Center for Well Being (learning center and day spa), La Jolla, founder and chief executive officer, 1995—. Lecturer and speaker, including appearances on television and radio programs. Member of alternative medicine board, National Institute of Health, 1992. Coproducer of video Growing Younger, 1994; associated with sound recording A Gift of Love, c. 1998, and Grow Younger, Live Longer with Eurythmics, Wyndham Hill, 2001.
MEMBER: American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (founder).
AWARDS, HONORS: Christened Dhanvantari of Heaven on Earth by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1989; named among Top 100 Icons and Heroes of the Century, Time magazine, 1999; American Buddhist Congress Bodhi Award, 2003.
Creating Health: The Psychophysiological Connection, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1985, published as Creating Health: Beyond Prevention, toward Perfection, 1987, revised edition, with new introduction by Chopra, published as Creating Health: How to Wake Up the Body's Intelligence, 1991.
Total Health: The Rediscovery of Ayurveda (sound recording), Maharishi Vedic Publications International (Fairfield, IA), 1986.
Return of the Rishi: A Doctor's Search for the UltimateHealer (autobiography), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1988, revised edition, with new introduction, published as Return of the Rishi: A Doctor's Story of Spiritual Transformation and Ayurvedic Healing, 1991.
Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Richard Averbach and Stuart Rothenberg) Perfect Health: Maharishi Ayurveda, the Mind/Body Program for Total Well-Being, Crown/Harmony (New York, NY), 1990.
Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide, illustrated by Stephen Van Damme, Harmony (New York, NY), 1991.
Unconditional Life: Mastering the Forces That ShapePersonal Reality, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991, published as Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, 1992.
Creating Affluence: Wealth Consciousness in the Field of All Possibilities, New World Library (San Rafael, CA), 1993, portions revised as The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1994, portions revised as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, Amber-Allen (San Rafael, CA), 1994.
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old, Harmony (New York, NY), 1993.
Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind/Body Program forOvercoming Insomnia, Harmony (New York, NY), 1994.
Perfect Weight: The Complete Mind/Body Program forAchieving and Maintaining Your Ideal Weight, Harmony (New York, NY), 1994.
Body, Mind, and Soul: The Mystery and the Magic (video; two volumes), PBS Home Video (Alexandria, VA), 1995.
Journey into Healing: Awakening the Wisdom withinYou, Harmony (New York, NY), 1994, published as Journey into Healing: A Step-by-Step Personal Guide Compiled from the Timeless Wisdom of Deepak Chopra, M.D., 1994.
Perfect Digestion: The Key to Balanced Living, Harmony (New York, NY), 1995.
The Return of Merlin (novel), Harmony (New York, NY), 1995.
Living without Limits, American Medical Association Library, 1995.
Boundless Energy: The Complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue, Harmony (New York, NY), 1995.
The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons forCreating the Life You Want, Harmony (New York, NY), 1995.
The Path to Love: Renewing the Power of Spirit inYour Life, Harmony (New York, NY), 1997, published as The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing, Three Rivers, (New York, NY), 1998.
The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents: Guiding YourChildren to Success and Fulfillment, Harmony (New York, NY), 1997.
Overcoming Addictions: The Spiritual Solution, Harmony (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, and translator with Fereydoun Kia) Maulana Jalal al-din Rumi, The Love Poems, Harmony (New York, NY), 1998.
Healing the Heart: A Spiritual Approach to ReversingCoronary Artery Disease, Harmony (New York, NY), 1998.
World of Infinite Possibilities, Random House (Australia), 1998, published as A Deepak Chopra Companion: Illuminations on Health and Human Consciousness, edited by Leon Nacson, Three Rivers (New York, NY), 1999.
Everyday Immortality: A Concise Course in SpiritualTransformation, Harmony (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Martin Greenberg) The Lords of Light (adventure novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
(Selector) Rabindranath Tagore, On the Shores ofEternity: Poems from Tagore on Death and Immortality, Harmony (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Rosa Parks) Secrets of Inner Power: A Profile inCourage (sound recording), Hay House Audio, 1999.
(Author of foreword) Arielle Ford, editor, HotChocolate for the Mystical Lover: 101 True Stories of Soul Mates Brought Together by Divine Intervention, Plume (New York, NY), 2000.
How to Know God: The Soul's Journey into theMystery of Mysteries, Crown (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Martin Greenberg) The Angel Is Near (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
(With David Simon) The Chopra Center HerbalHandbook: Natural Prescriptions for Perfect Health, Three Rivers (New York, NY), 2000.
(With David Simon) Grow Younger, Live Longer: TenSteps to Reversing Aging, Harmony (New York, NY), 2001.
The Deeper Wound: Preserving Your Soul in the Face of Fear and Tragedy, Harmony (New York, NY), 2001.
Soulmate (novel), Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
Chopra Center Cookbook, John Wiley, 2002.
The Daughters of Joy: An Adventure of the Heart (novel), Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Golf for Enlightenment: The Seven Lessons for theGame of Life, Harmony (New York, NY), 2003.
The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence, Harmony (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of the American Medical Association. Member of scientific advisory board of Longevity. Author of audio and video series.
ADAPTATIONS: The Lords of Life was adapted for a film by London Films; The Return of Merlin and Soulmate were optioned for film by producer Anant Singh. Several of Chopra's books have been adapted as audio books, including Quantum Healing, Bantam Audio, 1989; Unconditional Life, Bantam Audio, 1991; and The Lords of Light, Audio Renaissance, 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: Deepak Chopra is a prolific author and speaker who promotes alternative approaches to mental and physical well-being. His works include numerous books as well as sound recordings and videotapes, and he gained prominence by appearing on television and radio talk shows. Chopra, who "has been called everything from a modern-day prophet to the swami of the rich hip and famous," according to a Los Angeles Magazine contributor, began his career as a physician. After studying in India, he came to the United States in 1970 and completed his education, served a residency, and then opened a private practice. In addition, early in his career Chopra taught at various institutions, including Tufts University and Boston University, and served as the chief of staff for the New England Memorial Hospital. He discontinued the practice of medicine in the mid-1980s.
By 1980 Chopra became increasingly concerned with Western medicine's reliance on pharmaceuticals as a major means of restoring, or merely maintaining, health. His search for alternatives to standard Western approaches eventually led him to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian spiritualist who teaches transcendental meditation. Through the Maharishi—who gained celebrity status in the 1960s through his affiliation with celebrities that included members of the music group the Beatles—Chopra became involved in transcendental meditation. In addition, he learned about Ayurvedic medicine, an holistic approach in which a patient's surroundings and general attitude are considered in addition to more conventional mental and physical conditions.
In 1985 Chopra established the Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Center for Behavioral Medicine and Stress Management and began applying both Ayurvedic and Western practices. Two years later he published Creating Health: The Psychophysiological Connection, the first of many works in which he details his holistic perspective on various health-related subjects. This initial work—which has also been published as Creating Health: Beyond Prevention, toward Perfection and Creating Health: How to Wake Up the Body's Intelligence—launched Chopra as a leading figure in alternative medicine. His ensuing writings have established him as one of the most successful, and charismatic, figures in the counterculture health movement.
Creating Health proved successful with book-buyers eager to discover an alternative to Western medicine and its reliance on drug medications. Chopra's autobiographical Return of the Rishi: A Doctor's Search for the Ultimate Healer realized similar success and furthered Chopra's reputation as an accessible, credible physician with insights somewhat unique in Western medicine. The book chronicles Chopra's path to enlightenment, from his early days as an intern at a New Jersey hospital to his discovery of Ayurveda methods to his subsequent success. Judith Hooper wrote in the New York Times Book Review that "Chopra's talent as a storyteller and his eye for the exemplary detail make this a rich and compelling book."
In further volumes Chopra has continued to elaborate on various aspects of holistic health. In 1991's Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide he emphasizes the health benefits gained by considering all aspects—as opposed to merely the ailing aspects—of given patients. And in Unconditional Life: Mastering the Forces That Shape Personal Reality, he relates the manner in which individuals can realize greater health and stability by adjusting personal perspectives.
Among Chopra's most popular—and most controversial—publications is Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old, a 1993 volume in which he contends that the aging process can be significantly affected and modified through such means as meditation, nutrition, and even personal expression. Aging, Chopra argues, is not necessarily a process of degeneration; it is, rather, a culmination of experiences and perceptions. As such, the elderly, for Chopra, constitute the storehouse for humankind's most profound knowledge and understanding. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the book "thoughtful" and "sometimes inspiring," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that despite Chopra's "inspirational conviction" in his material, the work is, in parts, "thin on substance."
Chopra's relatively radical insights into aging and the elderly appealed to a substantial segment of the American public, and Ageless Body, Timeless Mind topped numerous best-seller lists. Chopra enjoyed further success with such volumes as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams and Journey into Healing: Awakening the Wisdom within You. In addition, he has addressed specific health issues in such works as Perfect Digestion: The Key to Balanced Living, Perfect Weight: The Complete Mind/Body Program for Achieving and Maintaining Your Ideal Weight and Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Insomnia. In 1998 Chopra gave readers his insights on caring for their heart. Healing the Heart: A Spiritual Approach to Reversing Coronary Artery Disease outlines "the Ayurvedic view of health" and how "the three doshas, or Ayurvedic metabolic types" can be understood in the context of dealing with heart disease, reported Booklist contributor Ray Olson. Olson referred to Chopra as "a master of metaphor and instruction" and judged his presentation in Healing the Heart to be "logical" given the Ayurvedic foundation.
Reviewing Chopra's 2000 work, How to Know God: The Soul's Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries, Booklist's Ilene Cooper commented that "Chopra's status as a spiritual guru will prompt heavy media coverage, which in turn will spur demand for the book." While Cooper was not impressed with the book, a Publishers Weekly reviewer believed it has value for readers interested in spirituality. In the work Chopra asserts that there are seven different perspectives people can take when approaching God, each giving rise to different concepts of, experiences with, and gifts from God. "Like most theories that claim to be all-encompassing, Chopra's scheme is often reductive, but this will nonetheless be a worthwhile addition to the spiritual seeker's library," judged the Publishers Weekly critic. In How to Know God, Chopra highlights findings from the scientific community that blend with spiritual thought, and discusses how quantum physics identifies a realm that merges with the spiritual world. "If God is to be found, Chopra believes, He will emerge through the sciences," remarked Morgan Murphy in a Forbes article.
In addition to health-related books, Chopra has also begun a second career as a novelist. In his The Return of Merlin an apprentice to the Arthurian wizard Merlin travels through time to the twentieth century, where he helps a police officer solve a crime. "This is a bold, occasionally brilliant retelling of Arthurian lore," wrote a critic in Publishers Weekly, while Pam Lambert in People declared that "Chopra weaves an intriguing story that also offers plenty to ponder." Chopra explained to a Publishers Weekly interviewer that he felt fiction is truthful in that "it reveals your innermost feelings and fantasies about situations, circumstances, people and events." He added, "If you write fiction and you do it with intensity and passion, you reveal yourself—and you write the truth."
In 1999 Chopra worked with Martin Greenberg to create the adventure novel The Lords of Light. Originally conceived by Chopra as a screenplay, the novel was intended as the first installment in an author franchise series that would capitalize on Chopra's name recognition. According to a Publishers Weekly critic, The Lords of Light is "action-adventure served up as a life lesson for the ages."
A prolific writer, Chopra benefits from widespread celebrity, and his new works regularly ranked among national bestsellers. In 1995 he founded the Chopra Center for Well Being, an establishment described by a Los Angeles Magazine writer as a learning center and day spa "for battling chronic illness as well as exploring one's 'full human potential' says Chopra." Chopra's center, which advocates Ayurvedic teachings, attracted its share of celebrities; together with his novel series, his company's production of herbal remedies, his lectures and appearances, and his self-help guides, Chopra continues to court the general public.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, June 30, 1998, p. 43.
American Health, January-February, 1990, p. 106; January-February, 1992, p. 43.
America's Intelligence Wire, February 6, 2003; April 2, 2003.
Austin American-Statesman, September 22, 2001, p. D1.
Billboard, December 6, 1997, p. 1.
Booklist, January 15, 1987, p. 783; March 15, 1992, p. 1398; September 1, 1992, p. 74; May 15, 1993, p. 1650; June 1, 1995, p. 1683; October 1, 1995, p. 240; December 1, 1995, p. 586; January 1, 1996, p. 856; February 15, 1996, p. 1036; November 15, 1996, p. 546; July, 1997, p. 1770; April 15, 1998, p. 1354; December 1, 1999, p. 659; October 1, 2001, p. 268; January 1, 2003, p. 804.
Chicago Tribune, September 13, 1995.
Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), April 14, 2003, p. U3.
Denver Post, June 22, 2003, p. L1.
Entertainment Weekly, May 24, 1996, p. 12; November 20, 1998, p. 130.
Esquire, October, 1995, p. 118.
Forbes, April 11, 1994, p. 132; March 22, 1999, p. 238.
Fortune, December 9, 1996, p. 54.
Golf, December, 2002, p. 40.
Hippocrates, January-February, 1989, p. 83.
In Health, May-June, 1990, p. 78.
Insight on the News, July 16, 1990, p. 50.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1990, p. 571; July 1, 1991, p. 833; May 15, 1993, p.636; September 15, 2001, p. 1311; October 1, 2002, p. 1412.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, February 28, 2001, p. K1966; May 9, 2001, p. K7867; September 21, 2001, p. K4549; April 30, 2002, p. K2041; March 28, 2003 p. K5811.
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Los Angeles Magazine, December, 1999, p. 244.
McCall's, July, 1997, p. 18.
Men's Fitness, November, 1996, p. 136.
Money, December, 1993, p. 20.
National Catholic Reporter, August 9, 1996, p. 15.
New England Journal of Medicine, December 14, 1989, p. 168.
Newsweek, October 20, 1997, p. 52; March 17, 2003, p. 73.
New York, August 14, 1995, p. 28.
New Yorker, July 28, 1997, p. 80.
New York Times Book Review, March 27, 1988, p. 39.
New York Times Magazine, September 20, 1998, p. 92.
People, November 15, 1993, p. 169; August 14, 1995, p. 27; October 28, 1996, p. 126; August 11, 1997, p. 41.
PR Newswire, April 7, 2000; April 14, 2000; September 20, 2001; March 5, 2003.
Psychology Today, November-December, 1993, p. 36.
Publishers Weekly, December 18, 1987, p. 48; April 20, 1990, p. 73; December 6, 1991, p. 45; June 28, 1993, 74; April 11, 1994, p. 132; September 26, 1994, p. 67; May 8, 1995, p. 283; July 24, 1995, pp. 43-44; September 1, 1996, p. 17; November 5, 1996, p. 64; December 2, 1996, p. 31; February 17, 1997, p. 206; July 28, 1997, p. 63; March 2, 1998, p. 18; May 3, 1999, p. 35; May 17, 1999, p. 71; January 10, 2000, p. 61; March 6, 2000, p. 24; July 24, 2000, p. 74; November 13, 2000, p. 16; November 20, 2000, p. 58; September 10, 2001, p. 62; October 8, 2001, p. 13; October 28, 2002, p. 52; January 20, 2003, p. 67; July 21, 2003, p. 182.
Rolling Stone, September 28, 2000, interview with Chopra, p. 46.
San Diego Business Journal, October 20, 1997, p. 8.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 6, 2000, p. E8; March 8, 2000, p. E1.
School Library Journal, September, 1999, p. 242; August 2002, p. S52.
Science, October 11, 1991, p. 188.
Skeptical Inquirer, September, 2000, p. 58; May, 2002, p. 59. Time, June 24, 1996, p. 64; September 29, 1997, p. 64.
Time International, December 30, 2002, p. 97.
Times (London, England), April 5, 2003, p. 44.
TravelAge West, May 19, 2003, p. 40.
USA Today, January 4, 1990; November 2000, p. 79.
Vanity Fair, December 2002, interview with Chopra, p. 372.
Variety, June 24, 2002, p. 9.
Vegetarian Times, July, 1994, p. 112; July, 1997, p. 70.
Deepak Chopra Web site,http://www.chopra.com (June 22, 2003).
Quackwatch,http://www.quackwatch.org/ (February 27, 2002), Stephen Barrett, "A Few Thoughts on Ayurvedic Mumbo-Jumbo."
Rumi: Poet of the Heart (film), Magnolia Films (San Anselmo, CA), 1999.*