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Q:

What's the difference between a "guru" like Deepak Chopra and a "cult leader" like David Koresh?

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First of all, Deepak Chopra is a medical doctor and David Koresh, whose given name was Vernon Howell, never graduated elementary school. Koresh was a stereotypical cult leader. He made grandiose claims and was described by psychiatrists as a "psychopath." Koresh also exercised absolute power over his followers. He exploited women and children sexually and demanded total commitment. That mindset of total loyalty and devotion to Koresh and his mission ultimately led to the deaths of most of his followers. Deepak Chopra is essentially a benign spiritual entrepreneur and seems more interested in making money then in creating a cult. Chopra was once a devotee of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the old guru who once influenced the Beatles. Other than claims about Dr. Chopra supposedly sexually harassing women he works with, he appears to be a relatively harmless proponent of the so-called "New Age" self-help movement. Chopra is a fairly straightforward businessman that makes money from books, ... more
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