Passage Reflection – Life of Pi

The pandit spoke first. “Mr. Patel, Piscine’s piety is admirable.  In these troubled times it’s good to see a boy so keen on God.  We all agree on that.” The imam and the priest nodded. “But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim.  It’s impossible.  He must choose.”  “I don’t think it’s a crime, but I suppose you’re right,” Father replied.

The three murmured agreement and looked heavenward, as did Father, whence they felt the decision must come.  Mother looked at me.

A silence fell heavily on my shoulders.

“Hmmm, Piscine?” Mother nudged me.  “How do you feel about the question?”

“Bapu Gandhi said, “All religions are true.’ I just want to love God”

This passage was Pi’s first introduction to interfaith dialogue.  Throughout his life, he has only tried to find what he believes in.  For him, it turns out to be a mixture of 3 of the world’s biggest religions.  Unfortunately, this isn’t accepted by these religious men.  It’s strange, how all religions are the same, yet we create barriers to differentiate ourselves.  Nicholas said something in class that I thought was extremely profound, and while he was talking about political parties, it works just as well when talking about religion.

There are no differences between them, there are only perceived differences

I feel like it sums up religion.  Everyone is looking for their own path to enlightenment.  Each of us wishes to find our purpose.  Each of us, as Pi says “wants to love God”.  Yet we all create boundaries and barriers, lines we cannot cross, words we cannot say, all in the name of religion.

Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed, hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see the God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God are hat wearing Muslims

It’s strange, how all religions are linked.  It’s like with our borders.  There were no countries before we made them.  There were no differences between us.  We were all one.  Just one species.  One type.  One human.  But then we diverged.  We had countries, religions, skin colour, jobs.  All for one purpose.  To tell who was who.  To create a pecking order.  In order to say “I’m better than you, but worse than him.”  Yet our quest for uniqueness and difference would still be ok, except for the motive.  Instead of using it to create social hierarchy, we should instead enjoy our differences, and take pride in it.  We should not try and hide our differences, but instead loudly show them off.  Show that we are different, and unique.  Proclaim it from the rooftops, yell it in the streets, and shout it from the sewers.  From all walks of life, from all religions, ethnicities and  countries, we should share and rejoice in our differences.  Yet sometimes, a special person comes along.  A person like Pi.  A person who is not only so taken with our differences, that he seeks to close them.  To bridge the gaps, cross the divide.  To blur the once-clear lines, and break down our barriers.  To share and truly believe in 3 different religions, and live in a French town, and be Indian and Canadian, all at the same time.  And at the same time, part-animal.  For how else could he understand the nuances of Richard Parker’s behaviour, come to understand him so thoroughly that he came to regard him as a savior, partner, and most of all, a friend?  Because he cared.  He cared enough to make the effort to try.  He cared enough to love him.  He cared enough to save him.  It was this love, and this ignorance of differences between the two, that led to the hope he carried within that he would survive his ordeal.  And when you think about it, that’s what enables us to survive our daily ordeals too.  By understanding, trying, and most of all, loving.  Loving each other for our sameness.  Loving each other for our differences.  And loving each other for who we are.  Because isn’t that what we’re all trying to get out of religion?

6 thoughts on “Passage Reflection – Life of Pi

  1. As a teenager, this is something I do all the time. I don’t like being told what to do, especially by my parents. Whenever they try to control me it just makes me madder and less likely to listen to them. My parents don’t usually try to act controlling with me but when it does happen my mind instantly starts searching for possibilities to defy them, without getting grounded for the rest of my life. This is exactly what they are trying to do in the book. I really love your article!!!

  2. For me the book is, of course, the story of Pi (short for Piscine), an Indian teenager whose father runs a zoo. Much of the book’s first section is a detailed description of the minutiae of zoo-keeping, including several lessons about the connection between man and animal that come into play later in the novel…Thank you 🙂

  3. Pi, in this chapter, describes natural emotions, and personifies them as if they were in battle, as Pi thinks they are. Pi understands that people ususally are defeated because of people’s emotions. With this information, it can be foreshadowed that Pi uses this information in order to save himself from the tiger; Pi can probably understand how the tiger’s mind works after he interacts with the tiger, and then he could possibly get into the tiger’s mind.

  4. Pi enlarges the themes of truth, and story versus reality to encompass God, and all of life. If there is no way to prove that God’s existence is true or untrue, and if the assumption of the truth either way in no way makes a factual difference, then why not choose to believe what Pi believes to be “the better story”-that God exists? This passage thus connects these central themes in the book, and so weaves everything together.

  5. Thanks a lot for this great post…I remember this book…it’s nice..I;m glad that i found this post.Keep it up…:)

  6. This is really very interesting post…I read a summary and a few about the “Life of Pi”..and it’s really great..Thanks for this post..I love it.Very educating..Great job!!

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