By Dr. Leo Rebello
I first met Dr. Deepak Chopra in October, 1982 at the Medicina Alternativa Conference in Colombo, and he attended my Stress Management (Shavasana) demonstration. I met him again on 15 January, 2003, at the Global Holistic Health Summit (GHHS) in Bangalore from 12 to 17 January, 2003.
20 years ago, Deepak was handsome. Now he looked definitely tired, skin slightly darkened, noticeable paunch necessitating black jacket buttons to be kept open, puffiness under the eyes and hair dyed to match the fancy attire.
In 1982, I had not heard him, except exchange of a few pleasantries. The voice was gruff and monotonous, though he has learnt the art of public speaking and he is fluent in English. Unlike other Indians settled in America, he has not acquired the American accent and the Jat accent is still present.
The inexperienced organisers of the GHHS (Dr. Issac Mathai, Dr. Kim Jobst) had originally given only one hour to Dr. Deepak Chopra. But he demanded half-a-day (or else he said he would not come). Consequently, to pander to his unjust demand, senior persons like Dr. Norman Shealy of USA were sidelined and an entire session (consisting of interesting topics like Foolish is the Doctor Who Despises the Knowledge Acquired by the Ancients) was relocated creating lots of acrimony.
Deepak Chopra session frankly was dry and drab, sans poetry. He is well read no doubt and puts old wine in a new bottle well. But information is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom.
Even though Deepak partly talked on Stress, he himself looked stressed and I was not the only one to think so. Maybe, he does not get enough rest from all these frequent flights across the continent to make money.
And now maybe he is losing his clout or the saturation point has come. The organisers had kept about 100 chairs reserved, half of which were empty and Chopra definitely did not look too pleased when he arrived. So, the organisers quickly had to remove the "reserved" block and late comers got good seating.
Only once people clapped during his longish lecture. During Question and Answer session, he could not take a few questions properly, but many were answered with panache.
Flashes: Referring to President George Bush he is an eight-year old brat! Referring to a question on insects/viruses etc. Insects taking over maybe good for the planet, for human beings have destroyed the earth. Ten commandments cannot be legislated. They have to be adopted. Explaining the adverse effect of hostility on heart he used some 2000 words. My famous quote: Hate attacks are Heart attacks, summarizes it all.
The Global Holistic Health Summit was attended by about 500 foreign and Indian delegates. It was declared open by the Minister of Health, Karnataka and closed by the Governor of Karnataka and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living Foundation graced the function, among others.
I presented two papers : AIDS and Alternative Medicine (an overview) and Nature Cure for AIDS. Bombay, dated 18 January, 2003.