Life of Pi
How we cite our quotes:
I am not one given to projecting human traits and emotions onto animals, but many a time during that month in Brazil, looking up at sloths in repose, I felt I was in the presence of upside-down yogis deep in meditation or hermits deep in prayer, wise beings whose intense imaginative lives were beyond the reach of my scientific probing. (1.1.7)
Pi often sees a deep spirituality in the animal world. At one point, Pi compares Richard Parker to a yogi (see Themes: Man and Natural World 2.61.19). It's the calm and engagement of sloths and tigers that Pi admires. Even though science leads Pi to these discoveries, it doesn't quite explain them. Pi needs religion and imagination to usher him into the spiritual lives of other beings.
I remained faithful to my aquatic guru. Under his watchful eye I lay on the beach and fluttered my legs and scratched away at the sand with my hands, turning my head at every stroke to breathe. I must have looked like a child throwing a peculiar, slow-motion tantrum. In the water, as he held me on the surface, I tried my best to swim. It was much more difficult than on land. (1.3.7)
Don't forget, on a practical level, how important Pi's swimming lessons are. If Pi never learned to swim, his survival wouldn't have happened. We're not saying that Pi's survival, on a more allegorical level, doesn't have to do with faith or a journey of faith. The lifeboat, Richard Parker, and the ocean all test Pi's faith. Or, put another way, they test his ability to swim in a foreign element.
A germ of religious exaltation, no bigger than a mustard seed, was sown in me and left to germinate. It has never stopped growing since that day. (1.16.1)
Pi Patel embraces all aspects of the world. For some, a germ of religious exaltation would mean conversion to a particular religion. For Pi, such a germ means multiple religions and an all-encompassing faith. He can't get enough of faith, so he adds one religion after another. If Pi's faith were a dessert, it'd be a banana split. If Pi's faith were a piece of cloth, it'd be a crazy quilt. We'll stop there.