Reading Deepak Chopra’s latest book, The 7 Spiritual Laws of Superheroes, is like experiencing a dream. Chopra has a peculiar fascination with the number 7 just like Ayurveda has a fascination with odd numbers. The number is quite irrelevant, I think. The message is quite simple though profound: live with a clear idea of what you want from life and you will be a superhero.
“It’s not the moments of tragedy that define our lives,” says Chopra quoting his son Gotham who is quoting Batman and who is also the co-author of the book under review, “so much as the choices we make to deal with them.” The entire book, just like most other books of the kind, is about how we can equip ourselves properly so that we will make the right choices when faced with tragic situations. That’s why reading it is like experiencing a dream: we know and love the ideal, but the bitter struggle between the ideal and the reality constantly wakes us up.
This time Chopra has chosen to take examples from superheroes like Batman, Superman and Spiderman. The chapters are titled according to the laws which are labelled Balance, Transformation, Power, Love, Creativity, Intention and Transcendence.
Anyone who has read a few books of Chopra or any other such motivational writer may find nothing new in this book. The book is a good reminder of what such readers already know but may have forgotten. Motivation is more a matter of reminder for people who are looking for it genuinely. Such people know the truths of life but need occasional reminders or motivations.
There is really no short cut to happiness or success in life. We create our own happiness. We define our own success. “People are doing the best they can from their level of awareness,” says Chopra. This is a statement I have read in umpteen such books. But Chopra does help in raising our level of awareness from the pit into which it has fallen due to some circumstance or the other.
I bought this book when my school in Delhi was going through a crisis and I chose to take a break by going to my village in Kerala. I knew very well that I couldn’t escape the crisis by changing the place during the vacation. I have to face the crisis. I came to know this morning that the Delhi edition of the Times of India has reported in today’s [3 June 2013] edition that my school might be closed down by the new management to which the founder, Mr Sitaram Jindal, handed over the school on a platter with motives that are clear to none in the school except perhaps the new management.
The new management is Radhasoami Satsang which is a religious cult that had never taken any interest in education at any time. I had written much about them in this space from the time they had taken over the school though not as directly as this. I had my own intuitive doubts about the motives of both Mr Jindal and the Satsang. I’m not a religious person though I try to live my life following certain clear and secular principles. I have no problem with any religion or religious cult as long as it does good to others. However, if any institution tries to swindle people for the sake of reaping material benefits such as land, power or wealth, I find it difficult to accept. All the more so when a religious institution does it.
According to the Times report, many staff members are being sacked or suspended by the new management. This is a process the management had initiated when I was in Delhi. Most of the staff took it for granted, not without some reservations, that the management was trying to revamp the institution. But now the scaled up efforts to sack people especially during vacation does not augur well for anyone. The Times report says that Manager has nothing to say about the latest suspensions and dismissals.
I wonder what Radhasoami’s spirituality is. Is it spirituality when many persons are thrown out of jobs on to the street? Does spirituality mean merely preaching ideals and principles to others?
“For superheroes,” says Chopra, “love is not a mere sentiment or emotion. It is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.” Real spirituality is about creating order out of chaos without eliminating people but transforming the people according to the spiritual leader’s vision. What is spirituality without love and compassion?
What is spirituality if it cannot identify the goodness within people and instead chooses to eliminate people who are perceived as not good enough?
I wish to conclude this apparently haphazard writing with an example given by Chopra. Caterpillars don’t transform into butterflies with any natural ease or grace. There is a terrible battle between two sets of cells: the ‘imaginal cells’ that try to evolve into a butterfly and the normal cells that want to preserve the caterpillar as caterpillar. “Initially the friction between these two cells is almost violent, a tug-of-war to see which cells will win out,” says Chopra. “Cells – like people – gain strength in numbers, so the imaginal cells begin to cluster in order to rally forces and overpower the other, original cells. Jammed together, the imaginal cells begin to share energy and information with one another. As a result, they begin to vibrate and resonate at the same frequency, intensifying their strength....” The battle continues and somewhere along that battle the normal cells’ resistance ceases. “The normal cells begin to cluster with the imaginal cells, and they start to take on the same vibration and frequency as the imaginal cells.” Then the mutation takes place and the butterfly is born.
I hope the struggle in Sawan Public School (which is ironically named after the great Master of the Satsang) will see the birth of a butterfly rather than end up as a mere property deal!
"Many of us lose sight of our real identity by attaching it to material things." Deepak Chopra