Religion occupies an important place in both the private and public domains in India. This volume is a collection of essays on India's major religions as practised in everyday life. It approaches religion from the perspectives of ethnography and history. It takes stock of traditions, culture,history, and politics of India's faiths. The readings explore sacred places and performances, bonding, mediators and thinkers, charisma, spiritual power and innovation, which are significant components of cultural traditions as well. Beginning with the concept of the sacred defined by its otherness,the book proceeds to explore how the hiatus that otherness creates may overcome by bonding via piety and passion. The process of overcoming separation, or bonding, is universally facilitated by mediators of one kind or another, such as magicians, spiritual masters, or martyrs. Traditions areconstructed, preserved, and transmitted in a number of ways that include the oral narrative and the literary text. This does not mean, however, that religious traditions are static. They, in fact, grow gradually and sometimes change radically. The dominant themes dealt with here include those ofdeath, food, worship and devotion, spiritual masters, martyrs, and dharma. The second edition includes a new Appendix with a comparative regional perspective, and a new Preface.