In a video promoting this book, Deepak Chopra says, “I don’t know who I am,” implying that his viewpoint is from God-consciousness rather than egoic, person-centered consciousness.
According to Chopra, the meaning of the New Testament is that Jesus and God are not separate, and is confessed biblically as “The Father and I are one.” This is the meaning of God-consciousness. Chopra says that anyone is entitled to that realization.
The theme of this book is separation and how to achieve unity by knowing Jesus as God-consciousness. The theme is supported by scores of quotations from the New Testament and the Gospel of Thomas, along with Chopra’s explanations of them in terms of God-consciousness.
Chopra claims that the feeling of separation from God means a mistake has been made in how we live and see ourselves. Chopra provides fifteen steps to God-consciousness in order to correct that mistake and bring us to unity or non-separation.
The chapters on practice are excellent. Not surprisingly, Jesus is secondary and what is primary is Chopra’s universal teaching of God-consciousness or enlightenment. It could be said that this whole book is more about following Deepak Chopra rather than Jesus Christ. I have no problem with that, as Chopra is a proven and effective world teacher.
Chopra exposes his Eastern roots when he urges the reader to start a satsang group. Satsang refers to a gathering of people devoted to the teaching of Truth or God-consciousness. Typically, satsang centers around a rarely found God-conscious or Self-realized sage/teacher. Chopra is calling for anyone at all to start satsang.
This inner journey is not casual. It is intense. Chopra writes, “Because he is so absolute, Jesus doesn’t offer a path of devotion that consists of daily prayer and piety to God. He wants total, unswerving devotion: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Yet, realistically, people tend to unfold through practices of devotion, service, and contemplation. These are fine as long as they do not become an avoidance of inner transformation, Chopra notes.
Transformation is an extreme turning, as this confession by Chopra reveals: “It’s impossible to quantify if you are on a spiritual path or how far along it you may be. But progress is always marked by transformation. The path isn’t about feeling better. It’s not about knowing who you are, or ending your suffering, or finding peace, or healing you deepest wounds. It’s about a transformation so profound that illusion is traded for reality. Jesus survives to this day as a force in the world because he embodied that truth completely.”
Our goal then, Chopra says, is not to imitate Jesus but to abide in him, to become one with him. We do that giving our life entirely to the process of turning separation into unity
Social commentary regarding Christianity and gay rights, abortion, and women’s right, finish the book, but who is listening? The fundamentalist Christian has long discarded this book.
The index is very good, with 20% of it devoted to scriptural references. The term “separation”, which is used a dozen or more times in the book and which arguably is the main theme, is not found anywhere in the index. In the future, Dr. Chopra might suggest specific terms for inclusion in the index or even become involved in selecting or getting to know the index writer.
Review by Jerry Katz
The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore, by Deepak Chopra.