Ravi teases Pi about his religious affiliations. He enumerates the days of worship for each and jokes that Pi needs only three more religions to be on religious holiday every day of the week.
There is an interesting play on words here when Ravi asks Pi if he will be the next Pope Pius. Pi who is pious may be the next Pius. Pi is used to his brother’s teasing and does not let it dissuade his religious zeal.
Pi defends his religious practices and scorns those who are so small minded that they lose sight of the real meaning of faith because they are too busy pronouncing the outer appearances of faith. He is chased away from the usual houses of worship and must rearrange his patterns and places of worship. He is not deterred, however, because he knows “that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside...The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.”
Here again is the syncretic theme. For Pi, the point of religion is to have faith and demonstrate love for God, not to cubbyhole one’s faith into a particular doctrine. He defends this eloquently, as quoted above.
Pi approaches his father and asks to be baptized (as a Christian) and requests a prayer rug (for Islamic prayer). Father is confused and tries to explain to Pi that the different religions have nothing in common. Pi refutes this, listing several prophets and, of course, the one God shared by Christians and Muslims. Father points out to Pi that the family is Indian, implying that Pi should be Hindu. Pi refutes this as well explaining that Christians and Muslims have been in India hundreds of years. Exasperated, Father tells Pi to go ask Mother. Mother then tells Pi to go ask Father. Rather than pursue the issue further, Mother tries to change the subject by suggesting great books for Pi to read. Pi is not to be deterred and makes his point analogizing his multiple religions with Mamaji’s multiple passports. Mother, too, becomes exasperated.
Confident, Pi now goes beyond reasoning with his heart, i.e. “I just want to love God,” to arguing with doctrine and facts. Indeed, the more one studies the various religions, the more one sees they have in common making it easy to accept, as Mahatma Gandhi said, that all religions are true. His parents, not being religious do not know what to make of Pi’s fervor.
Cite this page:
Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Life of Pi".
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