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.
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? You may have a front-row seat to God and if that’s the case, save me a seat! Or you may believe that your faith is the one straight-shot to realization. Please leave a comment below and chime in.
* Photo credit: Guppiecat