Āyurveda and Mind-Body Healing: Legitimizing Strategies in the Autobiographical Writing of Deepak Chopra

Maya Warrier

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This paper explores the early autobiographical work of the popular health and wellbeing guru, Deepak Chopra. The autobiography (entitled Return of the Rishi) is Chopra’s account of his early forays into meditation and Āyurveda, the Indian health tradition. It is the story of his “spiritual transformation” and his development into a proficient Āyurvedic healer. Following the lead of his one-time guru and mentor, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Chopra represents Āyurveda as “consciousness-based” medicine. This paper demonstrates how, by means of a series of narrative strategies deploying the motif of the semi-divine ṛṣi, or sage, and foregrounding personal experience as the ultimate source of spiritual legitimacy and authority, Chopra (a biomedical doctor with little or no formal training in Āyurveda) seeks to secure legitimacy as an authority on Āyurveda and an adept with extraordinary healing powers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-145
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Hindu Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Ayurveda
  • biography
  • popular health
  • marketing
  • spirituality
  • Āyurveda
  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
  • Deepak Chopra
  • autobiography
  • consciousness-based medicine
  • 2020

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