Deepak Chopra: A New Age Shaman (Watch Video)

Written by June 30, 2009 7:42 pm 26 comments

Deepak Chopra is a modern day Shaman who promotes mystical notions of reality to millions of people by slipping magic into the gaps in our naturalistic understanding of the world around us. He always begins with a naturalistic assertion usurped from science and follows a fuzzy metaphorical interpretation of the argument to a supernaturalistic end. The hook is his claim that these ideas are on a higher truth level than that which science can access.

In reality, the motives behind Chopra’s science distortion are not very idealistic. The fantasies he promotes form the marketing strategy behind a vast business enterprise selling magical cures to every ailment imaginable.

The harm done by such New-Age Shamans as Deepak Chopra is avoidable. What is needed is for scientists, humanists and all concerned people to expose these lies that are repeated everyday in the popular media.

In the video that follows, I analyze Chopra’s strategy to show how he distorts science using metaphors in order to profit from selling quackery. If your internet connection is too slow for streaming the HD quality video, you can try accessing a lower quality version here, or the lowest (cell phone) quality version here.

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- who has written 62 posts on Nirmukta.


  • This video is awesome Ajita !! Genius. Outstanding work ! This guy is no doubt a charlatan. Thank you.

    • Ajita Kamal

      Thanks for the kind words, Ajit. Chopra makes me really mad because he is one of those people responsible for holding India back by making it seem as though science is Western and that India is a land of mumbo jumbo. A lot of Indians are buying into this as a matter of national pride, not to mention the others he cons worldwide. It is embarrassing that India is represented by these idiots in the popular culture in America and the rest of the world, when we have so many rational thinkers as well. He must be criticized for his lies and for the damage he does to India’s scientific possibilities.

      I have no experience with these things and had the help of a friend during the editing, but the audio is not balanced because of the shitty editor we had. The next one will be better.

  • Hey Ajita, great video and very good work exposing quacks like Deepak Chopra. Btw, is this video available on youtube so that I can post it on my blog as well.

    Btw, are you the narrator of this video? Good narration I must say.

    • Ajita Kamal

      Thank you NN. I haven’t put it up on youtube yet because it needs to be cut (it’s over 10 minutes). I’ll let you know when I do that. And yes, that’s my voice :).

      • Nitwit Nastik

        HI Ajita,
        I think if you can break up the video into two parts that will be good. Then we can post it without losing content.

        Btw, do you know how RDF can post longer video on youtube. DO they have a paid subscription?

        • Ajita Kamal

          Yes, I think they have a paid account on youtube. I think that gives them a lot of privileges including posting larger and more lengthy files and generating ad revenue for themselves.

  • Chopra is well known in the U.S. and has a large following. As an American scientist, it pains me to see people believing he is an authority on science. His misleading statements foster magical thinking which is dangerous in our complex world. Your video is the best expose that I have seen exposing his misrepresentation of science. If this is your initial attempt at making this type of video then you have great potential for enlightening the world to more rational thought. In my opinion, the techniques that you used are effective communication tools. Chopra has done damage to India by his duplicity. Your video helps to restore India’s image. Thanks.


    • Ajita Kamal

      Thank you for your encouragement and words of appreciation, Mike. I was hoping that this method of criticism would be effective in countering the rambling misrepresentations of science that Chopra spews. It is heartening to know that a scientist agrees with my strategy. Also, thank you for your statements about restoring India’s image that has been tarnished by this charlatan.

      I am happy that my first video project is getting good reviews. This encourages me to do more of this sort of thing!

  • ravi chandra

    its kind of ironic that the deepak chopra cult started in 1991 the same year of collapse of SOVIET UNION which is the powerful and first true scientific society in not a commie but remember the days when churches being destroyed while sputnik pierced into space. when religion is under iron fist …only then there is a possibility to eliminate people like deepak chopra.

  • for all of u who have no idea about they’re own true nature, it seems to me u have deepak ALLLLLLLLLLLL wrong!!! Hilarious i might add. WHen u can penetrate the spiritual realms of our very he can and does DAILY!…THIS IS NOT quackary…..experience is what he has…his very eyes can fly through this universe, just as mine can within mediation. when u have monkeys doing experiments over and over, it does not mean they have an understanding, it actually goes to show how they themselves do not believe they are a metaphysical being, meaning that our awareness is bound to the physical dimension. WHICH IT IS NOT!..MEANING….go deeper into life for all u NON believers!!!!!! recheck quantum physics and spirituality….u will find they are one in the same.

    thank u

    • science has nothing to do with spiritual realms and romantic thinking . iam not atheist but the senseless comparison of quantum physics with consciousness is a desperate attempt and misleading.once again i want to make it very clear that god belief has nothing to do with science .u can be a believer or atheist with or without the knowledge of science. belief is kind of like human dignity .it is stupid to validate that using science and VICE VERSA .

    • You guys have definatley got Depak all wrong.

  • Ajita:
    Truly outstanding work! Please make this available on you tube so that with every hit on “Deepak Chopra” this video comes up as an option. Thanks,

    • Milind,
      Thank you! I have posted it on youtube (links posted under another comment above), but I’m afraid there are way too many followers of this con-man for a video criticizing him to rank very high. Nevertheless, let’s keep trying!


  • Thank you for this. Any attempt to counter the moneygrubbing, thought-reforming, mushy-brained bollocks that these charlatans are shoving down the throats of the susceptible and vulnerable is very welcome indeed.

  • James Palliser

    Excellent website, please keep up the good work.

    One point that I think you missed; Deepak Chopra said in the video clip that “information contiues to propagate through inter-galactic space”

    Well radio transmission has been around for over 100 years lets say the information has propagated for 100 light years, a rough estimate.

    Well our own galaxy is approximately 90 0000 light years across, the closest galaxy approximately 75 000 light years away.

    It is very clear that there is no man made information propagating through inter-galactic space and there won’t be for many tens of thousands of years!


    • I wanted to thank you a few months ago for pointing this out. Skipped my mind completely. SO, thanks! It’s fascinating how our brains are incapable of truly understanding the scale of the universe while we have people like Chopra speaking with such authority about things they have no clue about!

  • yeah i believe chopra and likes are businessmen cashing on, i must say, on traditional knowledge as the basis, like the fact where he uses excerpts like those about ‘ojas’ (which u pronounced wrongly as ‘ojaas’)…n these are facts, which slowly but steadily are being grasped by modern medical researchers. recently, some medical researchers came up with a revolutionary finding that various organs n tissues have their own memory too (aired on news channels sometime in nov) ! n this is given in ayurvedic treatises too, where it extends further to say that all ur tissues n cells also feel feelings of joy n pain what u feel on a whole, albeit on their own level…what u say to that ? nevertheless, the modern ayurvedic coaching given in today’s indian universities is far from what really is in the core of it…its just to produce more ayurvedic physicians for the country who can make moolah like their allopathic or homeopathic counterparts…a good reading of book on ayurveda n its real essence by dr. robert e. svoboda would prove immensely helpful n provides a good insight into this…


  • I didnt know what shamanism was until I ran into this, and looked it up on wikipedia. You said (modern day) shamanic method as taking a scientific concept and add some metaphorical sense and magical thinking to it. You mentioned that even Sai Baba is a shaman.. Can you explain how? AFAIK (from the other Sai Baba blogs and BBC video), Sai Baba doesnt mess with science. (I can understand how L Ron Hubbard can be viewed as one)

    I echo the other’s opinion that this is a nicely done video.

    • Ajita Kamal

      I had not intended to appropriate the term ‘shaman’ to mean something else, but rather to use it to present a clear picture of the tricks used by a large and diverse class of charlatans. But you’re right, Saibaba is not a new-age shaman. He’s a regular old shaman. Within the demographic that he deals with, he takes ‘established’ facts (facts that his demographic considers ‘established’) and adds metaphor to connect with them on an emotional level (the particular emotional level that they are susceptible to). Its the general strategy of introducing fuzzy metaphors in place of facts that is the common thing between all people that we can call ‘shamans’. What will be consider ‘established fact’ will vary depending on the demographic that we are talking about.

      What I meant to say in the clip when I say “in the modern day…”, was “in the case of new-age shamans…”.

  • Very well put together video that provides a lot of critical thought. However, I do have a bone to pick.

    I think you somewhat misrepresent Chopra’s mentioning of placebo effect. Yes, we can understand objectively that placebo effects exist, but Chopra is asking what are the subjective-phenomenological components that give rise to the placebo effect. Merely explaining it in behavioral “input-output” terms (with no mention of the person’s inner thoughts, beliefs, attitude, etc.) doesn’t say much about what is going on inside the black box.

    • Scientists and philosophers of science understand subjectivity better than most others, since they study it from an objective perspective. This is the key thing about the scientific method you are missing.

      Whatever we can know with as little bias as possible about subjectivity itself, we can best know using the tools of science. And we have made much progress in this regard. There is a great deal of research into the placebo effect, and in truth much of it is quite trivial.

      To quote Steven Novella: ” In my experience the placebo effect, briefly defined as a measurable response to an inert treatment, is almost completely misunderstood by the public – a fact that is exploited by purveyors of dubious treatments”

      And more: “A common belief is that the placebo effect is largely a “mind-over-matter effect,” but this is a misconception. There is no compelling evidence that the mind can create healing simply through will or belief. However, mood and belief can have a significant effect on the subjective perception of pain. There is no method to directly measure pain as a phenomenon, and studies of pain are dependent upon the subjective report of subjects. There is therefore a large potential for perception and reporting bias in pain trials. But there are biological mechanisms by which mental processes can affect pain. There are many non-specific factors that can biochemically suppress pain. For example, increased physical activity can release endorphins that naturally inhibit pain. For these reasons the placebo effect for pain is typically high, around 30%.

      But the more concrete and physiological the outcome, the smaller the placebo effect. Survival from serious forms of cancer, for example, has no demonstrable placebo effect. There is a “clinical trial effect,” as described above – being a subject in a trial tends to improve care and compliance, but no placebo effect beyond that. There is no compelling evidence that mood or thought alone can help fight off cancer or any similar disease.”

      There is a lot more that scientists are interested in studying when it comes to many other aspects of the placebo effect. Chopra is wrong, and I do not misrepresent him in the clip.

  • What a great, rational thinking video. You did a wonderful job and this should be on 60 minutes.

  • Battles – Race:Out

    That’s where you won me.

  • steven burt

    The sheep will follow anyone with a opinion….as long as it is their opinion.

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