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Chopra Expounds On Vedanta

By Anirban Nayak

Consider the wit of Ronald Reagan and the charisma of Roberto Benini. Add to these characteristics the oratory ardor of an evangelical cleric, and whom do you get?

None other than Deepak Chopra, the controversial medical doctor who shared some of his views on science, medicine, and life on Sunday at Wong Auditorium.

Chopra comes from an ancient Indian school of thought known as Vedanta and from the outset sought to dispel some of the mysticism associated with Eastern philosophy.

“Vedanta is actually a very practical science,” Chopra said.

Chopra explains philosophy

“Like modern scientists, the ancient disciples of Vedanta were using a methodology, a protocol, and a way of making experimental observations. However, the observations they were making were not necessarily of the external world but of the internal world,” Chopra said.

These observations, according to Chopra, have significance to our health.

He said that our existence is based upon different states of consciousness. “And these different states of consciousness create their own biology and their own physiology.”

Chopra feels that “learning to evolve into our separate conscious states” can help us develop perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that may not only bring us a sense of well-being but may, in fact, help us fight disease.

This is precisely why Chopra’s views on health are so controversial. As most physicians would contend, it takes much more than manipulating the psyche to circumvent the vast majority of physical ailments.

Audience reaction positive

During much of his lecture, Chopra took his audience on a journey through a myriad of scientific domains -- from the depths of the subatomic world to the heights of the cosmos. On several occasions, he tried to demonstrate how Vedantic principles are consistent with those of contemporary science.

His unique blend of philosophy, religion, and science made for an interesting talk that seemed to have a palpable effect on his audience.

According to one audience member, “He brings with him a different perspective and has made me look at science in a new way.”