The great Swami Satchidananda always said that we only need to have faith the size of a mustard seed. Such faith proved itself to us in an unusual way.
We were teaching a weekend meditation program in Plymouth, a fairly rural town in Devon, England. On the Friday evening an excited student told us that Deepak Chopra had abandoned the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London, some 300 miles away, and had come to teach at the Heart & Soul Center in town.
We were a little surprised to hear this, as we had met Deepak some years beforehand in New York and it sounded very unlike him to abandon anything, especially a prestigious program in London. We sent our best wishes to him.
The next day this same student came conveying Deepak’s blessings to us. She added that he no longer looked like the photo we had of him in our book, The Way Ahead, as he had just come back from a sojourn in the desert and lost a lot of weight. She also said how a group of students were staying up all night with him, having profound healings and insights. We agreed to meet with the man after our program was over.
At the Heart & Soul Center we first saw a woman we knew leaving with bruises all over her face. However, an Indian man quickly replaced her as he came towards us and introduced himself as Deepak Chopra.
Deb immediately said, “But you’re not Deepak!” “I am his spiritual brother,” came the reply. As Deepak and Chopra are not unusual names in India, we said no more. Instead we sat and talked with this man for a while, somewhat impressed with his knowledge.
Later that evening Deb called the owner of the Heart & Soul Center to make sure she knew he wasn’t the real Deepak Chopra. She didn’t, and it took Deb over a half hour to convince her.
The following morning ‘Deepak’ was apprehended and accused of fraud. However, none of his ‘students’ would bring charges, so he was free to leave. It was then that we found the extent of his false persona included rape, violence, and financial extortion.
The most interesting part for us was how quickly the profound healings disappeared. Those who were convinced the pretender was the real Deepak went through cathartic healings and personal transformations, until he was exposed as a fraud when suddenly those same students reversed to the distress they had had before.
The power of faith was palpable. Let us make sure that what we have faith in is the real deal!