If alternative medicine were alternative rock, Deepak Chopra would be Nirvana. It makes sense, then, that the 52-year-old physician — who’s popularized once fringe ideas about science and spirituality — has released an album, A Gift of Love. It’s a synth-heavy, New Agey affair, with the words of 13th-century poet Rumi recited by celebs such as Madonna, Demi Moore, and Spin Doctor Chris Barron. Chopra recently enlightened us with wise answers to 10 stupid questions.
1. THERE ARE A LOT OF ACTORS ON THIS ALBUM. CONSIDERING A CAREER SWITCH? [Laughs] No, I have no intentions. They just happened to be people I knew. I don’t think I would do well as an actor.
2. SO NO MOVIES FOR YOU? I just wrote a book, The Lords of Light, which is being shopped around for a movie. It’s about the false messiah and how religion has, in the name of God, caused more suffering on this planet than anything else.
3. WHO SHOULD STAR IN IT? Somebody very sensitive. Maybe Keanu Reeves.
4. A GIFT OF LOVE is being released by hip-hop label Tommy Boy. Do you like rap? In the past, poets and bards sang ballads that reflected their culture. Today, rap expresses the anguish, the anger, the aspirations of our society.
5. EVER NOTICE YOUR NAME’S A LOT LIKE TUPAC SHAKUR’S? [Laughs] Yes. I got a lot of calls the day he died. I told them, ”Both of us are still alive. One in body, the other in spirit.” It keeps coming up, so I think there must be a karmic reason.
6. HE TITLED AN ALBUM 2PACALYPSE NOW. DID YOU CONSIDER DEEPAKALYPSE NOW? I’d rather not use my name. It does say ”Deepak & Friends,” but it’s about Rumi.
7. AREN’T YOU SORT OF A ROCK STAR? No. I’m a fellow human being who explores what he enjoys and shares it. I don’t want to be taken too seriously. I wrote an article for Playboy called ”Does God Have Orgasms?” and I got a huge backlash.
8. DOES GOD HAVE ORGASMS? Yes, it’s called the Big Bang. [Laughs]. If you look at any peak experience, including sexual orgasm, it characterizes an escape from timebound awareness into timeless awareness, a loss of ego identity, complete naturalness, surrender, communion, and a state of defenselessness. So if by God we mean the underlying intelligence of the universe — because I don’t know how to define God — it’s an ecstatic intelligence.
9. I SEE. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SPIN DOCTORS SONG? I haven’t heard much. I called Chris Barron because somebody told me he’s fond of Rumi.
10. HOW DID YOU LIKE STRIPTEASE? Demi’s a really good friend, so I’m biased. My opinion was I enjoyed the movie. It was a lighthearted, easy comedy. Sometimes one needs to experience that.