As a senior student in Delhi’s St Columbus School, Deepak was a good writer and an eloquent speaker. He wanted to be a journalist. However, later he changed his mind and was admitted to AIIMS. He comes from a family of doctors, which include his uncle H.K. Chopra and brother Sanjiv. But his father claims that Deepak 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 mold of modern medicine and a rediscovery of India.
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 New England 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 counseling 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 program. “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 ten 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.
The defining moment arrived in Dr Chopra’s life in 1985, when he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the TM movement, who had come to Washington DC for the inauguration of Maharishi Vedic University. 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. 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.
Dr Chopra is now the leading exponent of 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 Center 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 results.