Pi’s earliest mentor is Francis Adirubasamy, whom he calls Mamaji. Mamaji is a former champion swimmer who tried to teach Pi’s mother and father to swim, without success. When Pi reaches the age of seven, Mamaji is delighted to take him to the beach and teach him everything he failed to teach his parents. Swimming later becomes an important part of Pi’s life. More specifically, Mamaji introduces Pi to “the crowning aquatic glory of Paris,” the Piscine Molitor, which provides him with his name.
One of Pi’s best teachers is Mr. Satish Kumar, the atheist, communist biology master who regularly visits the zoo to see the principles of Mendel and Darwin incarnate in the animals. He not only teaches Pi about politics but also leads him to question religion, which ultimately strengthens his religious faith.
Having been influenced by Mr. Kumar’s atheism and the Hinduism of his background, Pi meets another mentor in the Catholic Priest, Father Martin. He tells Pi the story of Christ’s sacrifice, which Pi initially finds profoundly disturbing, since it means that God allowed his son, a part of himself, to die. Father Martin’s answer to Pi’s questions, however, is always the same: Love. When Pi finally comes to understand this answer and feel the love of God, he tells Father Martin that he wishes to become a Christian and receives the reply that he already is a Christian in his heart. It is the tolerant, ecumenical approach of Father Martin and his other religious mentors which allows Pi to regard the religions he espouses as complementary rather than mutually exclusive.