Childhood & Early Life
Deepak Chopra was born on October 22, 1946, in New Delhi, India, to Krishan Lal Chopra and Pushpa Chopra. His paternal grandfather was a sergeant in the British Indian Army, and his father was a prominent cardiologist, who has also served the British army as an army doctor, and was a medical adviser to Lord Mountbatten, viceroy of India. Chopra's younger brother, Sanjiv Chopra, is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
He received his primary education at New Delhi’s St. Columba's School. In 1969, he graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He wanted to study endocrinology, as he desired to understand neuroendocrinology, and find a biological foundation for the influence of thoughts and emotions on physical health.
In 1970, he immigrated to the US where he completed residencies in internal medicine and endocrinology. As the Indian government had banned its doctors from sitting for the American Medical Association exam, he went to Sri Lanka to take it. After passing the exam, he travelled to the US to take up a clinical internship at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, New Jersey.
From 1971 to 1977, he completed residencies in internal medicine at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington in Massachusetts, VA Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and St Elizabeth's Medical Center.
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In 1973, Deepak Chopra earned his license to practice medicine in Massachusetts, and became board certified in internal medicine, specializing in endocrinology.
He taught at the medical schools of Tufts University, Boston University and Harvard University, and became the chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH) in 1980.
In 1981, while he was in New Delhi, he met the physician Brihaspati Dev Triguna, head of the Indian Council for Ayurvedic Medicine, who advised him to begin investigating Ayurvedic practices. He took up Transcendental Meditation, and in 1985, he met its leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who asked him to start an Ayurvedic health center.
Chopra resigned from NEMH. He said that one of the reasons he left was his disenchantment with Western medicine, prescribing too many drugs, and feeling like a legalized drug pusher.
He became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, a co-founder of Maharishi Ayur-Veda Products International, and medical director of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts.
He has coined the term ‘quantum healing’, a process whereby a person's health imbalance can be corrected by quantum mechanical means. He believes quantum phenomena are responsible for health and wellbeing. In order to justify his teachings, he has attempted to integrate Ayurveda with quantum mechanics.
He has metaphorically described AIDS virus as emitting "a sound that lures the DNA to its destruction". He believes AIDS can be treated with Ayurveda's primordial sound.
In 1989, Deepak Chopra’s book ‘Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine’ was published, followed by ‘Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide’.
In 1993, he became the executive director of Sharp HealthCare's Institute for Human Potential and Mind/Body Medicine in California, and headed the Center for Mind/Body Medicine. The same year, left the Transcendental Meditation movement.
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In 1993, his book ‘Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old’ was published; 137,000 copies were sold within a day, and 400,000 by the end of the week. The book also gained him an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
In 2004 he received his California medical licence, and became affiliated with Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. He is the owner and supervisor of the Mind-Body Medical Group at the Chopra Center, which offers standard medical treatment as well as Ayurvedic treatments.
He is also a fellow at the American College of Physicians, and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
In 2009, he founded the Chopra Foundation that raises funds to promote and research alternative health. The foundation sponsors spiritual conferences as well.
In 2012, Chopra joined the board of advisors for the technology startup State.com, and created a network for structured opinions. In 2014, he founded Integrative Studies Historical Archive and Repository.
In 2015, Chopra, along with businessman Paul Tudor Jones II founded JUST Capital, a non-profit which ranks companies in business practices with the aim to promote economic justice.
In 2016, he was promoted from voluntary assistant clinical professor to voluntary full clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.
Deepak Chopra has published over 75 books, which include 21 bestsellers such as ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’, which have been translated into many different languages. He has also contributed as a regular columnist for the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’ and ‘The Washington Post,’ which has been praised in the media.
Some of his bestselling books are: ‘Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health’, ‘Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being’, ‘The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life,’ and ‘Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide.’
One of his most important works is his book ‘You Are the Universe’, in which he presents a new understanding of who we are, where we came from, and how we can reach our greatest potential.
Deepak Chopra married Rita Chopra in India in 1970. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.
In September 2017, he spoke at the Family Medicine Experience (FMX), and sent a message to the doctors on connectedness. “Everything we do influences our health because our actions, moods, thoughts, sleep and more affect gene expression,” he said.