Book Review: GOD, A Story of Revelation by Deepak Chopra
One of the most prominent voices in the modern age, with more than 80 books of both fiction and non-fiction, Deepak Chopra follows his books Buddha and Jesus with God, a Story of Revelation, a historical journey of 10 different prophets, saints, mystics and martyrs on a path to understanding the true nature of God.
Beginning with Job of the Old Testament, Chopra tells us the story and then writes his own commentary on how that story adds to the evolution of a God that is perhaps true for every religion on earth. With Job he makes the point that “Religious fundamentalism, whether Christian, Islamic, or Hindu, depends on the same archaic elements, in which fear and sin dominate.” But Chopra also tells us “There’s more to come. We’re not at the end yet.”
With Socrates (470 BCE), Chopra brings us “Know thyself,” within which he states is “buried a new belief, that human nature is capable of reaching God without dogma, authority, and fear. The inner journey is afoot, and God has become the highest goal: complete self-knowledge.”
Continuing with St Paul (4 BCE) and then Shankara (700 AD), Rumi (1207), Julian of Norwich (1342), Giordano Bruno (1548), Anne Hutchinson (1591), Baal Shem Tov (1700), and concluding with Rabindranath Tagore (1861), we are led on a path of discovery and evolution of the concept of God.
From martyrdom to miracles, from a fear of God to a love of God, from Western philosophy to Eastern philosophy, Chopra travels all the avenues. He compares the Eastern concept of material life being an illusion of the senses to the most modern discoveries of quantum physics, with a God of pure potential.
Using the stories of his 10 examples, we follow the history of churches, temples, mosques, the politics of these, the negative trends of “a suspicious clergy, rigid dogma, the fight against tolerance,” opposed to the positive trends of “a loving Creator, humans made in the image of the divine, direct contact with God’s presence.”
There is a fascinating story of the meeting between Albert Einstein and Nobel Prize-winning author Rabindranath Tagore in Germany in 1930 and their discussion of science and religion. Chopra takes us through their conversation and then adds his own take on the differences between these two great thinkers, with the emphasis on Tagore’s spiritual certainty that we are essentially divine.
As an M.D., Chopra presents the facts on brain imaging and mapping those areas of the cortex that light up when a person feels compassion, possesses strong faith, has a holy vision, hears voices or prays. For him this is a sign of “God’s footprints.” He then sets out four pathways to know God, to reach a higher reality: the path of devotion, that of understanding, the path of service and the path of meditation. These paths are all reflected in his 10 stories.
In summation, Chopra takes us through the arguments of science versus religion, but brings them together in his statement: “We are conscious beings who want to know where our awareness comes from,” showing how both science and religion lead us on this quest. A thought-provoking book from a well-loved author, GOD, A Story of Revelation traces the evolution of God for contemplation in a modern age.
Author: Depak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global, and cofounder of Jiyo.com is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is the author of over 86 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”