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The early Jainas were clever communicators. From sensuous poetry to voluptuous sculptures, tales that were both explicit and explorative, and even games, they employed a range of innovative techniques to explain and transmit their teachings. Sudhamahi Regunathan, a former vice-chancellor of the Jain Vishva Bharati University, takes a leaf out of their book as she writes this introduction to Jainism. Using an array of stories and myths, she starts with a historical account of the first twenty-three Tirthankaras as narrated in the Jaina texts and goes on to delve into the philosophy of the religion. The discussions on the tenets that form the bedrock of Jainism are illuminating - be it anekanta, the belief in the multi-dimensionality of truth; santhara, the controversial practice of voluntarily embracing death; or the interplay between desire and restraint, which is at the heart of Jainism's simple way of life. Regunathan also highlights the contribution of the Jainas to building a common Indian ethos, and throws light on Jainism's many distinctions. It is a little known fact, for instance, that the first nun was initiated into the Jaina order long before the start of the Christian era. Scholarly yet accessible, The Colours of Desire on the Canvas of Restraint hopes to upturn the popular notion that Jainism is a 'dry' religion as it takes its readers into an austere yet colourful world.