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‘It’s easy to be vindictive’

Anthony Hopkins, who grew up as an atheist, on the importance of being kind to people.

entertainment Updated: Feb 11, 2011 14:41 IST
Priyanka Jain

Anthony Hopkins was brought up an atheist. But certain events in his life turned him into a believer, helping him to play the part of Father Lucas, a senior exorcist in Mikael Hafstrom’s The Rite.

Referring to Hinduism, he points out that everyone has forces of nature within: “The ancient Indian religion talks about Gods of destruction and Gods of creation.”

He talks about the importance of being kind to people because everyone is fighting a battle: “We never know what people’s problems are. So, to hedge the bet is to be kind and generous to everyone. It’s easy to be vindictive. We all have resentment, anger and a need to take revenge. But by keeping so much negativity inside you, you’re burning your own house down.”

Hopkins believes that just like there is good in the universe, there are also evil forces. Citing natural calamities like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, he refers to the horrors present in our world. Of negative thoughts that crop up in his mind, he says, “When I think I’m going to get someone because they did something to me 30 years ago, that is the devil. If I act on it, it’ll destroy me. We all go through such thoughts. The key is to guard ourselves against it.”

According to him the motivation to stay positive and free of evil thoughts comes from his wife, Stella Arroyave: “I’m married to a lovely woman who wakes up happy every morning. I don’t know how she does it, but she does. She keeps telling me to stop worrying, live for the present day and be grateful.” The reminders from his wife, Hopkins says, help him from grousing and complaining.

While growing up, Hopkins says, he encountered something that turned him to search for a better way of living: “I came into contact with something that was life-affirming. It changed the course of my life, which I call God or Divine Consciousness or the best part of myself.” Though he does admit that despite his belief in the Almighty, like everybody else. he still struggles with faith every day.