Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” Quotes (77 Quotes)




    Life on a lifeboat isn't much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher.

    That's what fiction is about, isn't it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?

    When you've suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling.



    I went to temple at crowded times when Brahmins were too distracted to come between me and God.


    The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving.

    Why can't reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there's so little fish to catch?

    Dawn came and matters were worse for it. Because now, emerging from the darkness, I could see, what before I had only felt, the great curtains of rain crashing down on me from towering heights and the waves that threw a path over me and trod me underfoot one after another.



    The individual soul touches upon the world soul like a well reaches for the water table. That 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.

    Why do people move? What makes them uproot and leave everything they've known for a great unknown beyond the horizon? ... The answer is the same the world over: people move in the hope of a better life.

    First wonder goes deepest; wonder after that fits in the impression made by the first.

    If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn't love hard to believe?

    My ears were full. Nothing more, not one more sound, could push into them and be registered.

    The main battlefield of good is not the open ground of the publis arena, but the small clearing of each heart.

    You can get used to anything - haven't I already said that? Isn't that what all survivors say?


    If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it you would be amazed at the animals that fall out: badgers, wolves, boa constrictors, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, capybaras, wild boars, leopards, manatees, ruminants, in untold numbers. There is no doubt in my mind that that feral giraffes and feral hippos have been living in Tokyo for generations without seeing a soul.


    The moon was a sharply defined crescent and the sky was perfectly clear. The stars shone with such fierce, contained brilliance that it seemed absurd to call the night dark.

    You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better.

    For the first time I noticed - as I would notice repeatedly during my ordeal, between one throe of agony and the next - that my suffering was taking place in a grand setting. I saw my suffering for what it was, finite and insignificant, and I was still. My suffering did not fit anywhere, I realized. And I could accept this. It was all right.


    My greatest wish -- other than salvation -- was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story. One I could read again and again, with new eyes and a fresh understanding each time.

    The paths to liberation are numerous, but the bank along the way is always the same, the Bank of Karma, where the liberation account of each of us is credited or debited depending on our actions.


    High calls low and low calls high. I tell you, if you were in such dire straits as I was, you too would elevate your thoughts. The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar.

    It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion.

    My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition.


    I ask you, is it the fig tree's fault that it's not the season for figs? What kind of thing is that to do to an innocent tree, wither it instantly?



    The tennis challenger starts strong but soon loses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up the games. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring. Suddenly he's playing like the devil and the champion must work hard to get those last points.

    I blinked deliberately, expecting my eyelids to act like lumberjacks. But the trees would not fall.

    It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.

    Nature can put on a thrilling show. The stage is vast, the lighting is dramatic, the extras are innumerable, and the budget for special effects is absolutely unlimited.

    The worst pair of opposites is boredom and terror. Sometimes your life is a pendulum swing from one to the other.

    A realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably.

    I cannot think of a better way to spread the faith. No thundering from a pulpit, no condemnation from bad churches, no peer pressure, just a book of scripture quietly waiting to say hello, as gentle and powerful as a little girl's kiss on your cheek.


    Oncoming death is terrible enough, but worse still is oncoming death with time to spare, time in which all the happiness that was yours and all the happiness that might have been yours becomes clear to you. You see with utter lucidity all that you are losing.

    There are many examples of animals coming to surprising living arrangements...where an animal takes a human being or another animal to be one of it's kind.

    A zoo is a cultural institution. Like a public library, like a museum, it is at the service of popular education and science. And by that token, not much of a money-making venture for the Greater Good and the Greater Profit are not compatible aims.

    I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion.



    More Yann Martel Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Life - God - Nature - Animals - Love - Books - Sense & Perception - Sadness - Business & Commerce - Death & Dying - Religions & Spirituality - Night - Belief & Faith - Roman Catholics - Time - Pain - Fathers - Christianity - Water - View All Yann Martel Quotations

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