Which God Saves Pi? Which God Will Save You?

If I don't eat you in .04 seconds, there is a God!

Piercing almond-shaped eyes.

Crushing-molars being sharpened like knife blades preparing to indulge you like a sumptuous delicacy.

Orange striped carnivorous animal, lying in wait to pounce at you at a moment’s notice.

The majestic Bengal tiger of South India.

Named Richard Parker.

Huh?

Well, Richard Parker, the name of the Bengal tiger in Yann Martel’s book and now movie, may have a funny name but is not as casual of a creature as his name makes him out to be.

If you’ve read the book or watched the movie, you’ll be familiar with the fictional story of the Patel family moving their zoo animals from South India to Canada.  The Japanese cargo ship the family is traveling on capsizes in a violent storm and Pi Patel spends the next 200 + days of his life on a small life boat with  a Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker.

Which God saves Pi’s life?

Throughout the novel, we learn Pi’s epic venture is both  a religious and spiritual one.

Prior to Pi’s epic journey, Pi is toying with the idea of being a Muslim, Hindu or a Christian. In fact, he practices all three religions angering the local clergy of all faiths.

“But he can’t be a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose” the religious clergy declare as they congregate in his house, at the same time.

With the eyes of a minister, a priest, the Imam and both his parents on him, Pi blurts out “Bapu Gandhi said ‘All religions are true’ I just want to love God”.

After months of consternation and feeling the glaring eyes of the spiritual crowd in his house, Pi’s father chimes in to offer his support, “I supposed that’s what we’re all trying to do – love God”.

Throughout the book, Pi reaches out to God and we can only imagine that it must been some phenomenal power that keeps Pi alive. And carries him across the Ocean for more than 200 some days. Oh yeah, with the company of a BENGAL TIGER!!

Was it the miraculous power of God, of all faiths and religions, which saves Pi’s life?

Pi was indiscriminate in his preference for a particular God – in fact, he believed in the God of all faiths equally.

Is there only one God?

According to Hindu traditions and dogma, there is also one universal God or ‘Brahman’. Hinduism actually believes that there are many paths to reach this God.

The Hindus believe that there’s no need to get into the details of how you reach the divine – as long as you’re trying to reach enlightenment through the path or religion that serves you best.

You don’t have to go with Ganesha, Shiva or Vishnu (the God, not the blogger) to attain salvation – you can just as well get there through Jesus or the teachings of the Buddha.

Which religion has the truth? Which one does God prefer?  

Those of other religions and faiths would most likely call the Hindus universal acceptance of all religions and Gods ridiculous, even blasphemy.

Many religions want a mandate – that heir faith and their faith alone will get you to enlightenment, realization, divinity.

But could the God of one religion be the God of all religions?

Could there be only one God like there is only one sun? For example, people viewing the sun from different locations all around the world. Everyone will have a different perception/angle from where they stand on the planet but ultimately they’re all only viewing one sun?

Is God present in all religions?

Does God cozy up to anyone seeking Him and trying to live more divinely?

Or does God have the ins with your religion and planning to help you get on the VIP list to the club called salvation?

What do you believe? Please leave a comment below and chime in.

* Photo credit: Guppiecat

To pick up my book, Is God Listening?, click here

25 Comments

  1. Is Heir Faith the German God by any chance?

    It seems to be that not only does God cozy up to one religion, but he also supports whatever team that wins the Superbowl, World Series, World Cup etc. Or at least according to the winners and supporters.

    He’s so fickle, can he not just stick with the St Louis Rams who he supported through the 1999 season and be done with it? We need some divine intervention.

    1. Why is the big guy always supporting teams that win?? Maybe many of the players are doing a quick prayer before the game.

      But seriously Tim, the discussion about God and which teams he supports is for a serious conversation between you, God, and your bookie 🙂

  2. Hi Vishnu,

    Excellent post, my friend!

    Being a Hindu myself, I love the principle of there being one universal God. It has allowed me to experiment with Hinduism in my own way and has opened my mind to all other types of religions and forms of spirituality.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Hiten.

      Isn’t it great being Hindu – not only can we experiment with Hinduism in our own way but it allows us to examine all religions? The message I seem to get is whatever works, works so find the quickest path to enlightenment and go with that route!

  3. I believe that there is only one God who has revealed His nature to the world through His Son, Christ Jesus. I do think all religious persons who earnestly seek God will find Him.
    Blessings, Vishnu!

    1. Thanks for your comments Martha. I do believe that those seeking God earnestly will find him as well.

      I’ve been attending a non-denominational Christian church in Southern California for the past month and becoming more familiar with the teachings of Christ.

  4. That’s a great point Sandra. There are faiths, including Buddhism, who do not believe in the supreme creator – I can’t wait for my future post – Is there a God? 🙂

    While they may not believe in a God, other religions also share strategies to live life, a path to enlightenment or self-realization.

  5. Well tackled!! So is Hinduism monotheistic or polytheistic?

    Greetings from Bangkok, BTW… I wish you were here. You would have enjoyed my morning walk yesterday. I walked past several monks in different parts of the city. They seemed to be helping people with their morning prayers.

    1. haha great question – absolutely monotheistic but a lot of confusion about that. Which Hindu God is better will be a fun post to write though.

      Yeah, maybe I should come visit Thailand and hang out with you and monks. Sounds like you and Jamie are having the trip of your life!

      1. Definitely looking forward to Which Hindu God is better:)

        And yes, the trip is definitely working out so far. It will be hard to leave for Buenos Aires in April at this rate…

        1. And by the way – don’t think I missed your opening story – as you were hanging out at church trying meet people? what? haha

    1. Thanks for the comment Wendy. Now, how we do access this energy:) and live more consciously? I think your blog regularly provides great advice on that.

    1. Thanks Katie – hope you got a chance to see the movie.

      3 of my last 6 reader reached enlightenment, 2 moved back to the US after a stint in Tibet, 1 stop believing in God. Welcome!

  6. god is like the elephant to the blind men who feels it’s like a tree trunk (legs), a rope (tail), and rock (body).

    i believe in a god unpersonified. so god is not a person. but an energy and consciousness that connects us all.

    1. Great analogy Janet! God’s an elephant – oh, so Ganesha. haha

      Good way of think about God as consciousness/energy – some guy last week told me even smoke…but he was kind of out there.

  7. Hinduism is monotheistic? There is a LOT I don’t know! My own belief is that there is no thought system or vocabulary to describe truth, which is beyond language and thought. But we are humans with brains, so we think and we communicate with words.

    Although I belong to a Christian church, I’m comfortable with any path to the divine. The closest I have to a statement of faith is the beginning of the Tao Te Ching. “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things.”

    I think all our efforts to identify God or to deny God are in the realm of the ten thousand things. The eternal Tao cannot be told or named. Having acknowledged that, however, I’m happy to talk about any and all paths!

    1. Hi Galen – yes indeed – I’m going to write a Hinduism post soon and talk about the different aspects of the religion.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how you’re comfortable with following any path to the divine. If you know of any short cuts, please fee free to share:)

      I also enjoyed the statement of faith from the Tao Te Ching – the eternal Tao cannot be told or named.

  8. Hi Vishnu,

    Great topic and post. I look forward to watching the movie. I also believe there is one universal God. How can we mere humans make this kind of decision? 🙂 I was raised in a traditional religion, but feel that any path to God is the right one. Take care!

    1. Thanks for dropping and sharing your thoughts about the universality of God Cathy. I was raised in the traditional Hindu faith which also permitted and encouraged finding the best path to realizing the divine. I wonder if Hindu’s will claim all those practicing any religion, a Hindu ? 🙂

  9. Yo Vishnu!
    I’ve been doing a little catch up on your blog – and man oh man! I had to comment on this one :).

    It is impossible for a there to “be a religion of all God’s”. This is a factual statement based on scriptures in all 3 of the major religions (Judiasm, Christianity, and Muslim). According to all three of those religions there is one and only ONE God.

    They all claim there God is the single one. So, if a religion claims to be an “all inclusive God” Then it is excluding the God’s of those other religions. The 3 major religions I mentioned above do not allow for any other God than the one they mention.

    It’s one of the great ironies of those who try to be “all understanding”. In an attempt to “understand and accept” everyone they end up excluding the 3 most followed religions. .

  10. Is now the time for me to declare all 3 religions are wrong? haha I’m not ready to go into hiding quite yet.

    What if all the Gods each religion was referring to was the same one? It’s if people around the world all said, there’s only one kind of water in the ocean and the one we believe. Sure they can say that but the ultimate reality is there’s only one kind of water.

    Religions may be trying to monopolize the market by saying that they have the real connection to the true God so get in line with them but if we take a step back it seems like all the religions could be referring to the same God. And maybe it’s just their strategies to get there is a little different?

    That’s my 2 cents anyway. If you got the hook-up to the right God though, you know where to find me – let’s set up a conference call.

  11. I believe in one God, the Father, Son and Spirit. I’ve seen God working in my life. As a missionary and this is the nth time I’m sharing this ~ proselytism is a no no…

    Only a person who has experienced God is all embracing (as Izzy shared, inclusive)… there are no ‘ours’ here…the center is always God not the religion’s name.

    I think God reveals Himself best to an individual with whatever name we call Him. God is love, goodness, truth and peace 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

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