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Life of Pi Quotes On Survival, Religion, and More

Life of Pi is an adventure novel that dives into topics like philosophy and religion. Some of its most impactful lines are in the Life of Pi quotes below. 

Have you ever read Life of Pi?

Life of Pi was written by author Yann Marten and published in 2001. The story centers around a narrator retelling his life story–including being shipwrecked with a tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The novel has sold over 10 million copies since its initial publication almost twenty years ago. 

A film adaptation was released in 2012. The movie was directed by Ang Lee and starred newcomer Suraj Sharma as Pi.

The film became a commercial and critical success. It won four Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Song.) 

Take another adventure with Pi through the quotes below. 

Don’t forget to also check out these Call Me By Your Name quotes that will make you swoon.

Powerful Life of Pi quotes

1. “The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?” – Yann Martel

2. “We commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man.” – Yann Martel

3. “Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?” – Yann Martel

4. “Things didn’t turn out the way they’re supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.” – Yann Martel

5. “Gloom is but a shadow of a cloud passing by.” – Yann Martel

6. “Blessed be shock. Blessed be the part of us that protects us from too much pain and sorrow. At the heart of life is a fusebox.” – Yann Martel

7. “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.” – Yann Martel

8. “I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life.” – Yann Martel

9. “Can there be any happiness greater than the happiness of salvation?” – Yann Martel

10. “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.” – Yann Martel

11. “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” – Yann Martel

12. “Misery loves company, and madness calls it forth.” – Yann Martel
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of misery loves company quotes to help you move forward.

13. “The worst pair of opposites is boredom and terror. Sometimes your life is a pendulum swing from one to the other.” ― Yann Martel

14. “Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans.” – Yann Martel

15. “With the very first rays of light it came alive in me: hope. As things emerged in outline and filled with colour, hope increased until it was like a song in my heart.” – Yann Martel

16. “The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar.” – Yann Martel

17. “I can only tell my story, what you believe is up to you.” – Yann Martel

18. “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.” – Yann Martel

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Life of Pi quotes about survival

19. “I had no idea a living being could sustain so much injury and go on living.” – Yann Martel

20. “Life will defend itself no matter how small it is.” – Yann Martel

21. “Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away.” ― Yann Marte

22. “When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.” – Yann Martel

23. “All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.” – Yann Martel

24. “Time is an illusion that only makes us pant. I survived because I forgot even the very notion of time.” – Yann Martel

25. “Something in me did not want to give up on life, was unwilling to let go, wanted to fight to the very end. Where that part of me got the heart, I don’t know.” – Yann Martel

26. “We fight no matter the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight to the very end. It is not the question of courage. It is something constitutional, an ability to let go. It may be nothing more than life-hungry stupidity.” ― Yann Martel

27. “Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway’s worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little.” ― Yann Martel
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of survival quotes to motivate you to keep going.

Life of Pi quotes about religion

28. “And so it goes with God.” – Yann Martel

29. “I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.” – Yann Martel

30. “Religion is more than rite and ritual.” ― Yann Martel
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of religious quotes from all over the world.

31. “Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey.” – Yann Martel

32. “These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.” – Yann Martel

33. “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.” – Yann Martel

34. “Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love—but sometimes it was so hard to love.” – Yann Martel

35. “Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.” – Yann Martel

36. “The presence of God is the finest of rewards.” – Yann Martel

Life of Pi quotes about death

37. “The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity; it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can.” – Yann Martel

38. “It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.” – Yann Martel

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39. “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” – Yann Martel

40. “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.” – Yann Martel

Life of Pi quotes from the movie

41. “Above all: don’t lose hope.” – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma)

42. “Believing in everything at once is the same thing as believing in nothing.” – Santosh Patel (Adil Hussain)

43. “Animals don’t think like we do! People who forget that get themselves killed. When you look into an animal’s eyes, you are seeing your own emotions reflected back at you, and nothing else.” – Santosh Patel (Adil Hussain)

44. “Hunger can change everything you thought you knew about yourself.” – Adult Pi Patel (Gautam Belur)

45. “Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now. My fear of him keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose.” – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma)

46. “Thank you Lord Vishnu. Thank you for coming in the form of a fish and saving our lives. Thank you.” – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma)

47. “Spectacle. Don’t let the stories and pretty lights fool you. Boys, religion is darkness.” – Santosh Patel (Adil Hussain)

48. “I can eat the biscuits, but God made tigers carnivorous, so I must learn to catch fish. If I don’t, I’m afraid his last meal would be a skinny vegetarian boy.” – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma)

49. “Words are all I have left to hang on to. Everything’s all mixed up, fragmented, can’t tell daydreams, nightdreams from reality anymore.” – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma)

50. “A mouthful of water will not harm you, but panic will.” – Mamaji (Elie Alouf)

More Life of Pi quotes and lines

51. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” – Yann Martel

52. “If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn’t love hard to believe?” – Yann Martel

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

54. “I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape.” – Yann Martel

55. “Reality is how we interpret it. Imagination and volition play a part in that interpretation. Which means that all reality is to some extent a fiction.” – Yann Martel

56. “Words are much better at relating emotions and thoughts.” – Yann Martel

57. “Most of us get our history through story.” – Yann Martel

58. “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.” – Yann Martel

59. “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.” – Yann Martel

Life of Pi quotes to make you think

60. “May books spread the world over!” — Yann Martel

61. “I find that movies tend to fix the aesthetics of a story in people’s minds.” — Yann Martel

62. “The moral of a fable is eternal. The moral of a story is temporary to a story.” — Yann Martel

63. “A movie will do in one second, with one image, what it will take a novelist at least a page to describe.” — Yann Martel

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64. “You can’t quantify human pain the way you can measure out sugar. Death comes one individual at a time.” — Yann Martel

65. “Cinema is visually powerful, it is a complete experience, reaches a different audience. It’s something I really like. I like movies.” — Yann Martel

66. “A great literary work can be completely, completely unpredictable. Which can sometimes make them very hard to read, but it gives them a great originality.” — Yann Martel

“​67. ​Books are something social – a writer speaking to a reader – so I think making the reading of a book the center of a social event, the meeting of a book club, is a brilliant idea.” — Yann Martel

68. “Words aren’t very good at describing complicated, strange visual things. You can try, and the reader will have some sort of image in their mind, but words aren’t good at that.” — Yann Martel

69. “How do you live with evil? Art is traditionally – certainly with my secular background – the answer, but art is very self-referential, whereas religion claims to go beyond the bounds of human existence.” — Yann Martel

Life of Pi quotes to contemplate

70. “[Fear] has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it.” -Yann Martel

71. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud…” –Yann Martel

72. “When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling.” –Yann Martel

73. “To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches.” –Yann Martel

74. “To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches.” -Yann Martel

75. “To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing–I’m sorry, I would rather not go on.” –Yann Martel

76. “If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” –Yann Martel

77. “That’s what fiction is about, isn’t it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?” –Yann Martel

78. “How bitterly glad I am to see you. You bring joy and pain in equal measure. Joy because you are with me, but pain because it won’t be for long.” –Yann Martel

79. “Don’t you bully me with your politeness!” –Yann Martel

How easily can you adapt to change? 

In Life of Pi, Pi is thrust into a life-or-death situation where he must adapt quickly. That’s the core of surviving: figuring out how to adapt with little preparation. 

Whenever I watch Life of Pi, I always wonder how I would react in a similar situation. But, you never know how you will act until it happens to you. 

Pi survived by prioritizing basic human needs (food, water, shelter), even if it meant going against his beliefs. For example, even though he was a life-long vegetarian he had to eat fish. It takes immense strength to dismiss panic and choose to put all of your effort into survival. 

Which of these Life of Pi quotes and lines is your favorite? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Nia Simone McLeod
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