Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on mind-body connections.
Chopra was a top assistant to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi before launching his own career in the late 1980s by publishing self-help books on New Age spirituality and alternative medicine…
He is also a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine event, sponsored by Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine.
A friend of Michael Jackson for 20 years, Chopra came to widespread public attention in July 2009 when he criticized the “cult of drug-pushing doctors, with their co-dependent relationships with addicted celebrities,” saying he hoped Jackson’s death, attributed to an overdose of a prescription drug, would be a call to action.
Chopra taught at the Tufts University and Boston University Schools of Medicine. He became Chief of Staff at the New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts, later known as Boston Regional Medical Center, before establishing a private practice.
After reading about the Transcendental Meditation technique, Chopra and his wife learned the practice in 1981, and two months later they went on to learn the advanced TM-Sidhi program. Sources also describe a 1981 meeting between Chopra and Ayurvedic physician Brihaspati Dev Triguna in Delhi, India, in which Triguna advised Chopra to learn the TM technique.
In 1985, Chopra met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who invited him to study Ayurveda. In that same year, Chopra left his position at the New England Memorial Hospital and became the founding president of the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, and was later named medical director of the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center for Stress Management and Behavioral Medicine.
He was initially the sole stockholder of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, but divested after three months. He has been called the TM movement’s “poster boy” and “its leading Ayurvedic physician”. In 1989, the Maharishi awarded him with the title “Dhanvantari (Lord of Immortality), the keeper of perfect health for the world”.
In its May 22/29, 1991 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article coauthored by Chopra: Letter from New Delhi: Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Modern Insights Into Ancient Medicine. JAMA editors claimed that Chopra and his co-authors had financial interests in “Maharishi Vedic Medicine” products and services.
In the August 14, 1991 edition of JAMA, the editors published a financial disclosure correction and followed up on October 2, 1991 with a six-page Medical News and Perspectives exposé. An article discussing this chain of events was authored by Andrew A. Skolnick in the Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers.
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