Thursday, June 30, 2005
Life of Pi
By: Yann Martel
Piscine Patel, son of an Indian Zoo Keeper is stranded on a life boat with a tiger for seven months after his family's ship sinks enroute to Canada to start a new life. Much of the story centers around this--the lifeboat--the struggle for survival.
Pi has always been deeply religious, practicing Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. His love for God and His creation is profound. He is drawn to the diversity of the rituals and practices of each religion. The Story of Christianity at first dumbfounds him, yet he is drawn by Christ. The devotion and prayer of islam fascinates him.
He has a lot of criticism for people who claim to love God and feel a need to "defend" God (the creator,sustainer of the universe)--without loving or defending widows, orphans, and the poor. His thoughts on Hinduism are beautiful, though... in some ways, i don't completely accept the interconnectedness of the faiths. But the understanding of God and our soul is very thought provoking..."The force which sustains the universe beyond thought and language, and that which is at the core of us and struggles for expression, is the same thing. The finite within the infinite, the infinite within the finite. ..the same way that the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit relate, mysteriously."
When he meets Jesus Christ through a Catholic priest, his Hindu perspective of the story of Christ is so enlightening:
"The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it's God's Son who pays the price? I tried to imagine Father saying to me, 'Piscine, a lion slipped into the llama pen today and killed two llamas. Yesterday another one killed a black buck. Last week...The situation has become intolerable. Something must be done. I have decided that the only way the lions can atone for their sins is if I feed you to them.' 'Yes, Father, that would be the right and logical thing to do. Give me a moment to wash up.'"
"I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying. Surely this religion had more than one story in its bag--religions abound with stories. But Father Martin made me understand that the stories that came before it--and there were many--were simply prologue to the Chrisitans. Their religion had one Story, and to it they came back again and again, over and over. It was story enough for them."
"The Son must have the taste of death forever in His mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it; there must be a certain stench at the right hand of God the Father. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to the mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect?
Love. That was Father Martin's answer."
more of my thoughts on books I'm reading