From the author ofThe Last Mughal(ldquo;A compulsively readable masterpiecerdquo;-The New York Review of Books), a mesmerizing book that explores how traditional religions are observed in todayrsquo;s India, revealing ways of life that we might otherwise never have known. A middle-class woman from Calcutta finds unexpected fulfillment living as a Tantric in an isolated, skull-filled cremation ground . . . A prison warder from Kerala is worshipped as an incarnate deity for two months of every year . . . A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment watching her closest friend ritually starve herself to death . . . The twenty-third in a centuries-old line of idol makers struggles to reconcile with his sonrsquo;s wish to study computer engineering . . . An illiterate goatherd keeps alive in his memory an ancient 200,000-stanza sacred epic . . . A temple prostitute, who resisted her own initiation into sex work, pushes her daughters into the trade she nonetheless regards as a sacred calling.
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June 14, 2010
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