On April 7, spiritual guru Deepak Chopra will be at Unity of Houston to promote his new novel The 13th Disciple. Described on the cover rather generically (“a spiritual adventure”), the novel tells the story of a young woman who discovers an ancient reliquary at an American monastery. The mysterious object sends her on a globetrotting adventure during which she discovers long-buried secrets about the origins of Christianity. Or at least that’s what the press release says the book is about—we confess to giving up reading after the first chapter, finding Chopra’s wooden prose unbearable. Still, in the back of the book, the author was gracious enough to append a guide to The 13th Disciple unencumbered by plot, setting, or characters. Herewith, an imagined conversation with the author based on Chopra’s afterword.

When you say mystery schools, do you mean, like, Colgate and Loma Linda College?

“Before writing the book, I had heard about mystery schools that still exist. Rumors floated around with the following contour: a friend of a friend (usually unnamed) was walking down the street of a major city (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco), when a perfect stranger came up and said, ‘You are meant to be in a mystery school. I can tell by your aura. Accept now, or I walk away.’”

What’s trending in the spirit world these days?

“The decline of faith in our time indicates that obedience is out of fashion. But spiritual yearning isn’t.”

We’re interested in hearing something that’s pseudo-profound and cliché. Is there anything you can tell us?

“Even though the stories differ from culture to culture, with Krishna, Buddha, or Muhammad replacing Jesus as the spiritual ideal, there’s a universal yearning to believe in a higher reality, which is what spiritual truth is about.”

What the hell’s with the magic sunglasses?

“The magic sunglasses are symbolic of the new vision that alters their view of reality.”

Your success is due to what hoary old combination of Eastern mysticism and Prosperity Gospel?

“You are an unbounded field of infinite possibilities. You are infinite consciousness manifesting in space-time. You are the play of light as it shapes itself into forms.”

For further information about the Unity of Houston event, visit unityhouston.org.

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