The Seven Keys to Understanding Deepak
Chopra is back, with seven more tips on spiritually satisfying living
BY: Phil Catalfo
"How to Know God: The Soul's Journey Into the Mystery of Mysteries" (Harmony Books, 320 pages), Deepak Chopra's ambitious guide to experiencing the ineffable, is given to the Perplexing Axiom: "God, it turns out, is not a person, God is a process." "Our brains are hardwired to find God." "After centuries of knowing God through faith, we are now ready to understand divine intelligence directly." "It's impossible to imagine a saint with money or a good car."
We're used to those kinds of pronouncements from Chopra, the endocrinologist who has loosed some two dozen books and 30 audio- and videotapes upon the world. But Chopra-isms are not the problem with "How to Know God." The book's downfall is the way Chopra makes those pronouncements with the presumptuous air of a televangelist. Maybe those statements point to new and exciting truths, but Chopra never shows us how he arrived at them. He merely describes a landscape he should enable us to see for ourselves, leaving us to ask: How and when did he determine conclusively that our brains were hardwired to find God? How did he discover that "if you could give 1 percent of your life over to God every day, you would be the most enlightened person in the world in three months"? (Has Chopra checked his math? What if he's on the right trail, but the actual number is, say, 3 percent, or 8.193 percent?)
When one or another of his cosmic utterances fails to persuade (or just plain confounds), the onus is on the reader to figure it out, accept it, or get with the program. In Chopra's universe, things not only work out fine,; they work out fine effortlessly, without a trace of muss, fuss, pain, confusion, doubt, or, you know, suffering.
This formula has worked for Chopra in the past, to put it mildly. In barely more than a decade, his books have sold in the millions. One book alone, "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind," first published by Harmony in 1993, has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Drawing heavily on Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical science, and the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation, Chopra's early books excited the imaginations of American readers. Soon after Chopra appeared on the publishing scene, the public inducted him into a select group of best-selling physician/authors writing cutting-edge books about the fusion of Eastern thought and Western medicine and/or articulating a newly accessible vision of wellness (physical, emotional, and spiritual) for our time.
Other members of that group (Larry Dossey, Dean Ornish, Bernie Siegel, and Andrew Weil) have remained primarily focused on medicine and related matters, but Chopra has expanded his scope to include just about every self-improvement genre known to humankind. Besides his breakthrough books "Quantum Healing" and "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind," Chopra has written a novel ("The Return of Merlin") and self-help books on prosperity, parenting, and relationships.