Deepak Chopra won't apologize for success
Published Monday, April 23, 2012 12:47PM EDT
Deepak Chopra isn't the usual spiritual guru found in history books. He makes no apologies for that distinction -- or his success.
Unlike gurus of the past, this famed physician and alternative medicine advocate boasts a following of one million people on Twitter.
"It's given me more access to people," Chopra said in an exclusive interview with CTV National News correspondent Omar Sachedina that aired on Monday on Canada AM.
That access will likely grow when Chopra launches a dedicated video channel funded by YouTube later this summer.
Chopra also is unafraid to cross that line between spirituality and the material realities of this world, sharing his thoughts freely about politics, economics, social injustices and the "screwed-up" state of today's world, as he calls it.
"People have old-fashioned ideas," Chopra told Sachedina.
"You shouldn't make money. You shouldn't be successful. You shouldn't be involved in politics. I think we should be involved in all these things if we want to change society," he said.
Last week, Torontonians sampled Chopra's tell-it-like-it-is spirituality when he appeared as a guest in Oprah Winfrey's sold-out stopover for her "Life Class" road show.
"There were scalpers selling tickets for $1,000. You don't get that unless it's a rock concert," Chopra said, with a grin.
This weekend Chopra returned to Toronto to receive kudos from the Canada India Foundation, which honoured him with the CIF Chanchlani Global Indian Award.
Chopra became the fourth recipient of this honour which recognizes great leaders of Indian origin.
Previous recipients include Sam Pitroday, the pioneer of India's telecom revolution, Tulsi Tnati, a trailblazer in the deployment of wind power and Ratan Tata, India's most respected industrialists and philanthropies.
Yet the pressures of living in the spotlight have yet to crack Chopra's famously calm demeanour.
"I don't have crises," said Chopra.
"It's partly growing old. It's partly recognizing that in a few decades I'll be dead, so what's the big deal," he said.
The 65-year-old author and lecturer cannot remember the last time when life left him frazzled -- a rarity, indeed, in today's fast-paced world.
That ability to tune out life's distractions is just one of the reasons why celebrities, politicians, students and others have turned to Chopra to learn the art of connecting to one's inner being and to one's purpose in life.
"I always tell people to stop,'" Chopra said.
"Stop, take a few breaths and smile, observe what is happening, then proceed with love, kindness and compassion," he explained.
Chopra's critics, of course, take issue with such recommendations. But Chopra tunes out such negativity.
"If you say it's hard to do, then it'll be hard," said Chopra.
"There's nothing that cannot be tackled this way, even death," he said.
Born in New Delhi, Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine.
That switch led Chopra into the limelight and into the lives of celebrities such as TV titan, Winfrey.
"I told Oprah if she married me she could be Oprah Chopra," Chopra said, with a grin.
Chopra's longstanding friendship with Winfrey has helped to boost his New Age empire, which includes more than 64 books, a radio show and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in California.
"Oprah is actually a very straightforward, simple person," said Chopra.
"That's her secret. There's no pretense about her. It's when people pretend to be who they are not -- that's when you have problems," he said.