Life of Pi


Summary: Part One, Chapters 16-28

Summary: Part One, Chapters 16-28

In this section of the book, Pi relates his many experiences with religion and how he came to practice not only Hinduism, but also Catholicism and Islam. He knows that his aunt took him to a Hindu temple for the first time when he was just an infant, and attributes his lifelong devotion to Hinduism as beginning at this point. Reverently, Pi discusses his love of the Hindu rites and rituals with which he has lived his whole life. At the same time, Pi criticizes “literalists and fundamentalists,” saying that we must not be possessive or jealous of God. Pi believes that all faiths, at their core, share a love of God; therefore, each faith can and should exist harmoniously.

Pi relates how he discovered Jesus Christ while on holiday with his parents at the age of fourteen. Visiting a nearby town, Pi is drawn into a Catholic church by his interest in the images of Christ. There, he begins speaking with a kind and intelligent priest, Father Martin. Pi learns many of the stories upon which Christianity is founded from Father Martin and, although he finds the stories sometimes strange and confusing, he ultimately comes to admire the figure of Jesus Christ. Pi feels that unlike the Hindu gods, Christ is “a god who spent most of his time telling stories, talking… a god who walked, a pedestrian god.” Pi tells Father Martin that he would like to be a Christian, and the priest replies that he already is, because he has let Christ into his heart. Delighted, the young Pi prays to Christ. Then, he runs to a nearby Hindu temple and prays to Krishna, thanking Krishna for introducing him to Christ.

Soon afterward, Pi befriends a Muslim baker who, like Pi’s biology teacher, is named Mr. Kumar. He observes Mr. Kumar unrolling his prayer mat and performing his devotions during the Muslim call to prayer one afternoon. Pi is enchanted by the prayer rug and by Mr. Kumar’s style of praying, which he finds “quick, necessary, physical, muttered, striking.” Pi begins...

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