This study conducts a lively and innovative exploration of the traditional Indian religions and cultures - an area that has both fascinated and puzzled the West for centuries. Friedhelm Hardy aims at presenting the widest possible range of themes that have preoccupied traditional Indian culture. He uses a great variety of sources, in various languages, and listens not only to what the learned philosopher or theologian in the classical Sanskrit texts has to say, but also to what folk and regional cults and cultures express in stories, myths, and poetry. The result is a personal and entertaining portrayal of the colourful world of India which will have great appeal for the non-specialist. By making the three universal human drives of power, love, and wisdom his focal points, Hardy seeks to guide the reader through an alien world which is nevertheless recognizably human. This book will be required reading for all those interested in India and its culture.