Pi says that the baker was a Sufi, a Muslim mystic. His name was Satish Kumar – the same name as Pi’s atheistic biology teacher. Pi found this dichotomy fitting, as both men taught him about the way the world works. Pi started going back to (the Muslim) Mr. Kumar’s house, and they would pray together. One time as Pi biked home from one of these visits he felt a blissful closeness to God and universe. Pi says that the only other religious experience he had like that was as an adult in Toronto, when he saw the Virgin Mary among some falling snow.
The two Satish Kumars create a pleasing symmetry in their influence on Pi’s life, especially as they offer a harmonious duality in comparison to the unending π. The first Mr. Kumar inspires Pi to study zoology in college, while the second Mr. Kumar inspires him to study theology.