Global Wellness expert Deepak Chopra has told CNBC that he is “devastated” and “heartbroken” about the Covid-19 crisis currently gripping India, saying he feels the country could have managed the situation much better.
Chopra, who was born and raised in New Delhi before continuing his medical training in the U.S., said he hopes lessons have been learned.
“I feel India could have done better. I think, as usual, political ideologies and conflicts and special interest groups have worsened the crisis,” he said.
“India could have managed this much better and I hope they’ve learned, we’ve all learned a lesson from this, because, you know, there’s no way you can prevent Indians from traveling in the world, and what happens in India is going to happen elsewhere, if you’re not careful,” he added.
‘A very big mistake’
Chopra told CNBC that he feels responsibility “ultimately rests with influencers and politicians and leaders because they set the rules. And it was, in my opinion, a very big mistake to allow the Kumbh Mela and all these religious gatherings only for political purposes.”
India has faced a deadly second wave of the Covid-19 virus in recent weeks. According to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the country has reported over to 27.5 million Covid cases and almost 326,000 deaths.
Chopra is not alone, and many have criticized lawmakers and vaccine suppliers inside the country. Prime Minister Modi has defended the government’s vaccination strategy, telling ministers in April that “those who are in the habit of doing (playing) politics, let them do so … I have been facing various allegations. We can’t stop those who are hell bent on doing politics. But we are committed to service to mankind, which we shall continue,” he said, the Times of India reported.
He also noted that a previous peak in infections, last September, had been controlled at a time when vaccines were not available and track and tracing cases and mass testing had been relied upon.
Pandemic ‘worsened our mental well-being’
Chopra, a worldwide leading figure in integrative medicine and meditation, was speaking around the release of a new free 21-day meditation experience with multi award-winning singer-songwriter, activist and entrepreneur, Alicia Keys.
Released on ChopraMeditation.com during Mental Health Awareness Month, the meditation, “Activating the Divine Feminine: The Path to Wholeness,” aims to “restore wholeness and bring peace and healing.”
Chopra and Keys believe there is an imbalance in the world of masculine and feminine energy today, regardless of gender, which needs to be addressed.
“Healing ultimately is the return of the memory of wholeness, and unless we are balanced in ourselves with both masculine and feminine energies, that imbalance is reflected in what we see in the world,” Chopra said.
The wellness icon, who is also the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit focused on the research of well-being and humanitarianism, also told CNBC that he believes mental distress remains “the number one pandemic in the world.”
“Something is wrong with our humanity right now that we are not addressing mental well-being, mental hygiene,” he said.
“Everything from climate change, to pandemics to mass migrations to eco destruction to weaponized killing to wars and terrorism is actually a consequence of mental distress, stress, anger, hostility, fear. So we need to address this. This is an emergency,” he continued.
He said the global pandemic had only “worsened” the situation.
“The global pandemic has worsened our mental well-being, it has worsened our economic well-being, and it has brought out some ugliness such as racism and bigotry and hatred and prejudice and conflict,” he said.
“Everywhere I see in the world, it’s not just Republicans and Democrats here, it’s, you know, it’s Protestants and Catholics, it’s Muslims and Jews and Arabs and Israelis and Indians and Pakistanis. I mean, if you don’t think this is insane, then you’re declaring your own insanity,” he added.
Asked what individuals can do to make a difference and what he feels the solution was to all of these global issues, Chopra said: “If you want to change the world, you start with yourself.”
“Today perform one act of kindness … when we all perform acts of love in action and we reach a critical mass, the world will be a different place,” he told CNBC.
—CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this article.