Manav Gohil has wowed the audience with the varied characters he has played on the small screen. Moving away from discussing his professional life, we got the actor to speak about practicing Buddhism, and more. Excerpts:
When and where were you first introduced to Buddhism?
I was introduced to this practice around 17 years ago. Shweta and I were going through an extremely challenging phase and that’s when a common friend of ours introduced us to this practice. We started embracing it and slowly everything around us was changing, it was magical, to be honest. Practicing Buddhism is a fantastic spiritual exercise. It has undoubtedly changed the trajectory of my life.
What significance does Buddha Purnima have in your life and how do you celebrate it?
When Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment, he propounded wisdom and knowledge. His disciples wrote everything he said that came to be known as Sutras and in one of the Sutras, Buddha has clarified that he has the potential equal to every other human being. He conveyed that he didn’t want to be treated as a god. In Buddhism, we feel that every human has the power to attain enlightenment. We work on ourselves as a daily practice in order to awaken Buddha from within. From a Buddha Purnima point of view, we celebrate that awakening every single day. So, for me, Buddha Purnima is an everyday practice.
How did the teachings of Buddha help you in difficult times?
One of the most important teachings of Buddha is that your environment is the reflection of your own, which immediately eliminates the possibility of blaming others for what is happening in your life. Everything happening in life is a reflection of who I am, so the transformation has to come from within. My prayers are not wishes, it is strictly guided to me from within. When I was struggling as an actor for around four years, chanting helped me a lot as my happiness quotient was high. It kept me away from depression, delusion and other negative thoughts and allowed me to accept and re-discover myself.
How have you managed to keep your faith intact during the highs and lows in your life?
Faith is very powerful, everybody needs it, and if it is a benefit-oriented practice then we can be swayed. This practice has taught me a lot about selflessness. I don’t chant just for me or my family, I try to help anyone who needs it. It’s an exclusive practice and it definitely expands your life. The centre of life has to be very clear. If I get swayed, I just say Manav, are you basking in the glory more than beyond what is the purpose of your life and I quickly align myself back to the right path.
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