1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2001
It has been said that if you are in a poker game, look around the table and if you can't find the loser, then you are it! There are some books that should be judged not only on what they say or don't say, but on what they promise and who profits and who loses. This is not one of those. This book should be judged on all those criteria.
The winner at this God-centered crap-shoot is Mr. Chopra, high priest of the Spiritual Slim-Fast for the happiness-addicted New Age. He has perfected the art of 'give 'em what they want', and, apparently, we American Dreamers of the American Dream want our spirituality fun, quick, and inexpensive. He provides the stuff of dreams in a delicious melange of East and West, Science and Mysticism, Worldliness and Beyond this World. The difficulty in digesting this froth is in the details, where the devil usually resides. For it is in a close reading of the details and in integrating the various loose strands of his thinking that, to vary the metaphor, the suffle collapses.
The foundation premise is actually nonsensical except to Mr. Chopra's ardent fans and Duck Soup colleagues. To argue that various views of God arise from our varied psychological and biological responses to our vision of the world is a nicely simple idea that some might think elegant. Unfortunately, although the seven-storied scheme would give arcane significance by its numbered architecture, we and the world (and hopefully God as an infinite wisdom) are not so simple. For instance, if one reads with a modicum of understanding the Psalms or Saint Teresa of Avila or the Upanishads, one sees that approaches to Reality/God are varied and complex in any one sincere seeker or culture. It is convenient in terms of Chopra's scheme (or scam, depending on one's point of view), to characterize the Old Testament approach as a basic Fight/Flight response but it is inaccurate. Every level of Chopra's "seven-only" possibilities are represented there - and more. One either cannot see it or refuses to see it depending on one's devotion to Chopra and his way of affirming our childish needs.
Ask yourself who wins and who pays the winner's share? If it's not you, then who is it? With a yearly take of over $25 million, Chopra may not know God, but he sure has learned to play Him. Just ask those who pay for their yearly fix and constantly need another whether it be the next book or a colleague's book or tapes or seminars or or or....
on November 1, 2000
As someone who has genuinely transformed all the way to Oneness by way of direct experience (Deepak's "Unity consciousness"), I can assure you that Deepak Chopra is not "attuned" to the true nature of reality, only to the true nature of how to pull the wool over the eyes of the public in order to make himself a very wealthy man. I sincerely hope that more people will read this negative review, and the several other well-written similar reviews, first, before buying (and buying into) his trickery. Every century has had its great "snake-oil salesmen," but Chopra has got to be the king of them all. He is, without question, another great pretender, cunningly promoting his own prerational myth and magic level perceptions and beliefs as genuinely transrational truths solely for the sake of adding even more money to his already over-flowing pockets. On reading this book (thank god I had the sense to only borrow it), I half expected to eventually come across a chapter on how Santa Claus and his reindeer, by way of quantum mind manipulation, are able to span the globe in a single night! Indeed, this latest book confirmed my previous intuitions regarding Chopra; he is, at best, at level 3 of his own borrowed "7 levels of consciousness" ideology. And no one from that lower level of consciousness has the capacity, and therefore the right, to even attempt to describe the qualities and perceptions of any of the higher levels of consciousness; what he is doing is tantamount to a first-grader attempting to describe, for example, Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. His flagrant misuse of quantum mechanics, of which he obviously has no real concept, as an attempt to rationalize a wide range of superstitious beliefs, from angels to flying nuns, is deplorable, to say the least. I was also very dismayed to read that such respected individuals as the Dalai Lama, and especially Ken Wilber (who, in the past, has done his best to illustrate the enormous difference between the prerational and transrational modes of awareness) are in support of this horrifically immature man and his latest scam of a book. It says a great deal about the level of consciousness they too actually are at, doesn't it?
on July 16, 2000
There are those of merit who endorse this book, such as the Dalai Lama and those not so meritorious - Larry King, Shirley MacLaine and Uri Geller (famous for his failed "powers" to make spoons melt between his fingers on the Johnny Carson show, when his rigged spoons had been replaced with those straight from the kitchen). Deepak uses a number of "seven level" descriptions applying to a wide variety of things, from seven stages of God, to characteristics of the brain, to seven kinds of satisfaction. Finding satisfaction somehow "proves" the existence of God, though it's not clear how. His propensity for claims out of blue sky without support is relentless. The comparison of brain to God reads like a horoscope. One could make whatever comparison they might want between brain and God and it would have fit nicely here. Say, the brain of sleep and awareness is akin to the God of knowing and the God who allows free will. His God is a popularly pleasant one as he does not include a jealous or horrific God, nor a God of plague and pestilence.
Since his first big seller he has learned nothing more of quantum mechanics. He confuses the probabilistic nature of the micro, quantum domain with the macro world to service his evidence for God as the power that could pull off such tricks as blinking the universe in and out of existence in a virtual world. He misrepresents quantum mechanics as having revealed everything from telepathy and clairvoyance to split personalities. His book brims with buzzwords from the vocabulary of physics such as "space time continuum". Notice no physicists endorsed his book.
He makes use of a current fad in angels by noting a story of a blind priest who, about to collide with two bicyclists, is saved by an angel. We are told despite the fact such events continue to be catalogued we still doubt them. Is this surprising? Volumes of UFO sightings, alien abductions, hauntings and crop circles are "catalogued". Do we believe those too?
He preys on the scientifically illiterate and religiously eager. If you want a serious coverage of this interesting topic see John Polkinghorne - an Oxford physicist and Anglican Priest or the likes of Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit Priest and biologist. If you want to contribute to Deepak's Southern California mansion, buy his book.
on July 10, 2000
I was going to stop reading on page 1 after I found six errors. But I continued to read until page 14 and then had enough. His writings are more like the speeches of the sophists of ancient Athens who twisted the minds of people for political or personal interests. He is a book salesman who appeases people, for instance, in the fields of religion, nformation systems thinkers and physics. Chopra claims that his three component world theory parallels the religious worldview. This is not true. The religious view has only two components -- God and Nature. He adds his third component, which consists of a quantum soup and information, in between God and Nature, seemingly only to appease and sell more books to the physicists and information specialists. By adding this third component, he destroys most religions in the Western world and also the field of metaphysics. His idea that God can be known beyond His existence is also opposed to most religions in the Western world. That was enough for me.
on May 1, 2000
Having just returned from India, I found reading Deepak Chopra's "How to Know God" a most interesting experience. I kept asking myself if religion must pass some kind of pragmatic test. For certainly "How to Know God" is nothing more than a popularized version of Hinduism.
Is there a relationship between what a people believe and the character of the society, which grows out of that belief? Is it a fair test to judge any teaching, any system that claims for itself truth on the basis of how it plays out in society? I think it does.
Again and again Chopra gives examples from Indian sages of their great spiritual insight and understanding of truth. Life is seen as struggle in much of Hindu thought. Ultimately it is man's goal to overcome this negative reality together with a strange notion of duality. Hinduism informs the thinking of 80% of the population of India - with a population of over one billion people - growing at the present rate of 1.5 million a month. Four times the population of the United States lives on one-third the land area. By 2025 India's population is projected to increase by 40%, while that of the US will be 12%. Life expectancy and health statistics are even more depressing. It is no wonder that this society must be termed a basket case.
This is a country of horrendous, unbelievable poverty -- over 13% of a population are homeless. It is a country of incredible environmental degradation with unbelievable levels of pollution and filth. It is a country that gives some sense of sacredness to cows no longer useful, and to pigs, dogs and monkeys that are free to wander and left to forage in piles of garbage for food. Every pool, stream and lake I saw was unbelievably fouled. Its leaders squander precious resources building atomic bombs while failing to provide its people with proper sanitation, clean water, and universal education.
Though I found Chopra's effort to structure a system of meaning for human life based on Hindu thought, a task that has occupied man in every culture and civilization from the beginning of time, interesting and at times insightful - in the main it must be viewed as tragically inadequate. I followed the many ways in which Chopra takes us through his seven-step system with the aid of Hindu sages, quantum theory, and brain research. To end with the conclusion that "God lives in the unknown, and when you can embrace it fully, you are home free" in nothing less than helpful; it is nonsense.
Why Chopra chooses to live in affluent La Jolla, California, rather than his native India may have nothing to do with his effort to peddle for profit this myopic and self-centered approach to understanding God. He may be like many from his native land, the sooner they escape the reality of India the better. But one thing is for sure: Chopra, please don't preach to me about knowing God when your religion has lost sight of its responsibility to one's neighbor (our Indian neighbor) who is condemned to poverty, filth and ignorance. After finishing the book, I read all of the thirty credits that either the author or the publisher felt necessary to include, even before the title page of the book. I wonder why?
email@example.com Oslo, Norway
on April 12, 2000
I think Deepak Chopra not only thought that there are enough people to fool around with on the topic of spirituality and God, but proved it by his success as a so called spiritual philosopher. It is not the open mindedness of chopra that you should look at, it the the basic motive behind his books. As mentioned by one of the reviewer, I consider 'Tao of Physics' a concise and well written version of 'How to know God'. I have spent years of my life trying to understand the philosophy of Hinduism, for it is known to be of a very ancient origin. From all those years of effort, I would say that Dr.Chopra is using the essense of such philosophies in a unstructured way and poluting the fundamentals of such philosophy and the mind of all those who started becoming his followers.
My sincere advice to all those who think Dr.Chopra is a great philosopher of this century, first try to find answers to following questions and see the depth of your knowledge about what philosophy is? Use that as a simple measure to decide whether you should spend more time to understand certain basics of what so many philosophers and religions have in common or to blindly follow Dr.Chopra just because he says something which more or less fits partly already with your schedule and you can further it without major changes to your thought or actions. One thing we should realize is, its easy for a human to fall for a person who says what we want him to say.
Questions to ask :
1. Do you know your bible or veda or your sacred philosophies fundamental ideas?
2. Have you tried reading the commentaries of all the so called saints and great personalities?
3. Have you any idea the amount of thinking on building a philosophy of their own, by greats like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Sphinoza, Voltaire, Kant, ... and their thoughts about Him?
4. Do you see any kind of documentation where Dr.Chopra precisely defines each and every techinical (in the philosophical sense) term as done by each and every philosopher listed earlier.
5. (cont. from 4. ) Don't you see that at times Dr.Chopra is trying to use to vagueness to give you comfort in which ever way you are trying to understand certain thoughts. . . There is no end to such questions if you start questioning certain fundamental thoughts in everyday life.
on March 9, 2000
I found this author to be arrogant and pretentious. Anyone who writes a "How To" book about God must consider him/herself to have some inside track to the divine that all of us heathens have failed to notice or study-up on. Dr Chopra doesn't have any more awareness or special insight into God than the rest of us have. He simply writes and talks alot about it but at the end of the day what are we really left with but someone who's read alot of books on physics and religion and blurred them together into a big bad quantum soup of "my ideas are better than your ideas 'cause I read alot and you... well you people deserve to hear my viewpoint 'cause I know better". How can anyone write a "How to" book on God? Better study-up fellow humans and get your soul cleaned up for the big bad day at the end of the rainbow. Oh and while your at it here's my "How to" book of God recipes for the great unwashed. END
on May 19, 2000
My experience with Mr. Chopras work including "How to Know God" is that Mr. Chopra generally uses the information supplied to us generations ago by many sages......who did not make money on God. Those who are not familiar with the thoughts of these wise men and woman could use Mr. Chopras works as a means of learning about them. I do not generally find Mr. Chopras ideas and claims refreshing because they have been said before.I do appreciate that often Mr. Chopra will give recognition to those whose ideas he uses in his work. I have heard Mr. Chopras work and words compared to Mother Teresa, Mohatma Ghandi and Jesus Christ. The main difference I find here is that those other than Mr. Chopra did not make money with their words. They taught them freely. Just some food for thought.
on October 16, 2002
What readers should ask themselves is, Is this really the true God that Chopra is describing? How does Chopra know it's the real God? What qualifies Chopra to present this as God and as the way to know God? In this book, Chopra basically presents an esoteric gnosticism bathed in layers of fuzzy mysticism. His God "is in the evil as much as in the good." He also says that evil and good are swallowed up in God eventually. This means that evil and good are not absolute, are a part of each other and are part of God. This is a type of occult worldview and readers should know what they are imbibing. This is not an absolutely good or perfect God, but a sort of neutral power, the same as what we find in the occult. This book is actually how not to know God, or maybe how to know a counterfeit God.
on April 14, 2000
I truly cannot understand the appeal of a god that is an impersonal 'force'. For example, in relationship to 'who is god?'..........god is the infinite, unbounded, eternal intelligence that constantly projects itself as the Universe--through the creation of space, time, matter and infinite energy.
Listen to that. god is simply the universe. The universe doesn't care about you. The universe is as personal as your shoes.
If God exists, He is bigger than that. He is separate from the universe. He is distinct, and He is personal. If there can be any love from God, He has to have a will, emotion, and conscience.
Deepak's god is too small. I might as well have a relationship with the impersonal, invisible, and ever-present force of electricity....