Life of Pi

I recently read Life of Pi. The book was recommended by a yoga teacher as a possible selection for our yoga book group, though the group never read it. Oddly, I was at Barnes & Noble looking for a copy of “The Great Gatsby” when I saw Life of Pi and remembered the title. So I bought it on a whim.

The first part of the book really captivated me. It details the childhood of a boy named Picine Patel (known to the world as “Pi”), a zookeeper’s son who grows up in India in the 1970s. Pi is drawn to all types of spiritual and religious thought, and he “practices” all of the major religions. His days as a spiritual seeker and friend of animals are very engaging. Then the family decides to move to Canada. They are to travel by ship. The ship sinks, and Pi is a castaway for months in the Pacific Ocean, his only companion a tiger named Richard Parker.

I wasn’t as enthralled by the second part of the book. I thought there was going to be more “spirituality” involved, but it was mostly a tale of survival. It wasn’t until I mentioned to someone that I wondered what happened to the spiritual flavor of the book while Pi was struggling to survive that I was reminded that the spiritual component is still there as the story unfolds. After all, this is what happens to many of us when “life” distracts us from our spirituality.

I’ll admit I got a bit bored after the shipwreck though. Pi was obviously going to survive, and it seemed to be taking forever! I was anxious to know how his life turned out and how he came to terms with the loss of his family and the tragedies he witnessed while stranded at sea. But it was worth the wait. The end of this book is compelling in a way that I couldn’t put into words if I tried. I won’t try because I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it. But if you have, I wonder this. Do you find yourself, like me, wondering (either again or for the first time) whether life is just a dream and whether it even matters if we “know” what’s “real” and what’s not.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anamnesis
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 09:38:33

    I have wondered whether life is just a dream. If it is that is good news since it takes a consciousness to have a dream — so “I” am alive “someplace” having this dream. If my life experiences are just a dream then I can enjoy the good parts with the relief that I’ll wake up from the bad parts.

    The following story is interesting. I’ve heard the voice myself. To me it said “Don’t worry baby, everything will be allright” 🙂


  2. Maria
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 10:28:32

    Thanks for your comments and for sharing the article. Interesting to read the comments too. There are always people who try to prove or disprove matters of faith. It simply can’t be done. But I never understood the idea that if there is no life after death, it doesn’t matter what we do in this life. To me that is not the reason to know or not know whether Heaven is real. I think it matters what I do every minute, no matter what happened before or what will happen after. In truth, whether I like it or not, whatever I choose to do now is at least somewhat based on what has happened before and it will at least in part affect what happens next. The rest is probably a spin of the wheel. (By the way, in case you misunderstood my comments about the ending of Life of Pi, it does not end with the revelation that he was dreaming the whole time, although that is certainly a possibility with any story!)


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Maria Kuzmiak, M.A. is a health and well-being writer with a background in nutrition, psychology and education and a passion for yoga. She has written hundreds of articles, blogs and newsletters for clients in health-related fields, particularly those specializing in yoga, natural medicine, nutrition, and spiritual health and healing. Maria has also worked as a nutritionist, teacher and technical editor. Learn more about her writing at

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