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Deepak Chopra (Hindi: 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. He claims to be influenced by the teachings of Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita from his native India, and quantum physics.

BackgroundEdit

Chopra was born in New Delhi and educated in India. 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 in 1968. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1970, becoming board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology , and after interning at a New Jersey hospital, trained for several more years at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts and at the University of Virginia Hospital. He taught at Tufts University and Boston University Schools of Medicine, became the chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital and established a large private practice. He became a leader in the Transcendental Meditation movement, but later branched off on his own to pursue broader aims in mind-body treatment.

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 and other centers opening soon.

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 June, 2005, Mallika Chopra, Deepak's daughter, launched a discussion blog [1] with Deepak, Shekhar Kapur, and other well known voices. The stated purpose of the blog is to present original voices from South Asia (particularly India) and discuss a variety of topics.

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 Southeast Asian themes and culture through the use of the traditional comic book medium. [1]

Writings Edit

Chopra has written more than 40 books. They range broadly across spiritual and health topics — his original interests — and now include 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.


Principal themesEdit

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 espoused in world religions, Chopra offers the startling 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 who band together in their spiritual worldview can defeat the age-old "addiction to war" that continues to create mass suffering. 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 religionEdit

In August 2005, Chopra posted a series of articles on the blog The Huffington Post (to which he is a frequent contributor) in which he offers 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 displays intelligence.[2]

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 (thereby requiring an "intelligent designer").[2] [3] Science writer Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and long-time critic of Chopra, posted a response. [4]

Criticism Edit

Chopra has been both appreciated and criticized for his frequent references to the relationship of quantum mechanics to healing processes, a connection that has drawn skepticism from some quarters because it can be considered as possibly contributing to the general confusion in the popular press regarding quantum measurement, decoherence and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.[5]

Biologist PZ Myers has also criticized these claims in depth. [2] In October 2006, Myers again criticized a blog post by Chopra [3] for displaying a lack of understanding of genetics. [4] Fellow science blogger Orac has criticized Chopra's views [5]

In 1998, Chopra was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in physics for "his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness." [6]

In its May 22/29, 1991 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article by Sharma, Triguna and Chopra: Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights Into Ancient Medicine.[6] This article was represented as discussing the traditional healing system practiced in India known as Ayurveda. Upon investigation, JAMA editors discovered that the co-authors had financial interests in the complex web of interlocking organizations that promoted and marketed Maharishi Ayur-Veda products and services. In the August 14, 1991 edition of JAMA, the editors published a financial disclosure correction[7] and followed up in October 2, 1991 with a six-page Medical News and Perspectives exposé.[8] In response, 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. The courts dismissed the suit without prejudice in March 1993, and no part of Skolnick's article was retracted. The series of events was later reviewed by Skolnick in the Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers.[9]

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 hospital Harvard Med School and physicians' continuing education though his center has been certified by the AMA.

MediaEdit

Books Edit

Music CDs Edit

  • 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

Videos Edit

  • 2003 God and Buddha - a dialogue
  • 2004 Soul of Healing - Body, Mind, and Soul Vol. 1

QuotationsEdit

"The living body is the best pharmacy ever devised. It produces diuretics, painkillers, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and antibiotics. It applies the right dosages with minimal or no side effects, and the directions are inbuilt." [How to reference and link to summary or text]

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” [How to reference and link to summary or text]

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” [How to reference and link to summary or text]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Chopra and Kapur's discussion blog www.intentblog.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chopra D, Intelligent Design Without the Bible Huffington Post August 23, 2005.
  3. Chopra D, Rescuing Intelligent Design — But from Whom? Huffington Post August 24, 2005.
  4. Shermer, Michael Huffington Post.com
  5. Quantum quackery Article discussing quantum mechanics and new age medicine by Stenger in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
  6. Sharma, Triguna and Chopra. Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights Into Ancient Medicine. JAMA. 1991 May 22-29;265(20):2633-4, 2637
  7. JAMA: Erratum in: JAMA 1991 Aug 14;266(6):798
  8. JAMA. 1991 Oct 2;266(13):1769-74.
  9. Andrew Skolnick. The Maharhish Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals ScienceWriters, Fall 1991
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