Power Of Religion In Yann Martel's Life Of Pi

1201 words - 5 pages

In the words of Gandhi, “The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different”. In the story Life of Pi, Pi Patel personally experiences different aspects of four religions including Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. The author, Yann Martel promotes the concept of believing in more than one religion by exemplifying the diversities within each faith.
The evident motif of religion plays a major factor in Pi’s life; however the author chooses not to focus on one religion specifically but instead enforces a glorification of more religions. Martel creates a main character who is a curious young boy who decides to learn about Christianity, Hinduism and Islam all at once. Even though Pi is primarily Hindu, he has insight on the conception of religion being “more than [just] rite and ritual” (Martel 48). Pi’s insight on religion opens his mind to more options than just sticking to one. Unlike the traditional standards of Pi’s society, he chooses to explore different religions in his community. His exploration helps him realizes “we are all born…in limbo- without religion, until some figure introduces us to God…” (Martel 47). Pi is recognizing the idea that religion is a life-style choice people make by deciding the morals of which they will live their life. Along with Pi’s understanding of structured life through religion, he discovers the freedom of being able to celebrate different religions at the same time. While reflecting on his religious background, being raised Hindu, he finds importance in “not [clinging]!” or focusing “upon fundamentalism and literalism!” (Martel 49). Pi thinks religion is meaningful because of the followers who believe in it. Without belief, religion is nothing, so faith must be taken seriously but not so much literally. By not focusing on the literal facts of religion, Pi is able to accept different theories and, thus, believe in more religions. This open-mindedness of Pi seems unusual in norms of society; however Martel uses it to highlight the beneficial aspects of poly religion. Even after being accused of “treason” in the religious community, Pi sticks with his beliefs to avoid what he sees as “small-mindedness” that the rest of his society has (Martel 71). To him, he feels that putting his faith in different religions brings him closer to God which is important because he is very passionate about his love for God. His yearning to be close to God is cause to his “desire to believe rather than the belief itself" (Stephens). Pi focuses so much on just trying to believe in God that he does not much focus on his own beliefs. Martel, in this way, implies by spreading personal beliefs throughout different religions and maintaining an open mind, one will achieve a great closeness to God. Therefore, Martel suggests that participation in varying religions proves beneficial to having an open lifestyle and to one’s relationship with God.
Martel compares aspects of each faith to provide connection between all...

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