"A powerful, thoughtful, thorough presentation of Hindu traditions. The book's main purpose is to provide an overview of Hinduism and the book does this uniquely well. The work is encyclopedic in scope, but it is also analytical, and Michaels attempts throughout the book to introduce the reader not only to Hindu traditions but to major concepts in the study of religion more generally. I would recommend Michaels's book strongly to colleagues and other adult readers who need to teach something about, or who otherwise want to understand Hindu traditions."--Anne Feldhaus, Arizona State University "Michaels's book distinguishes itself by combining in exemplary fashion a thorough knowledge of ancient and contemporary Hindu texts with a deep insight into the religion 'at ground level.' It will serve as an excellent introduction to Hinduism for college and graduate students--and may help scholars in religious studies begin to understand Hinduism in an altogether new way."--Michael Witzel, Harvard UniversityMichaels, Axel is the author of 'Hinduism Past and Present', published 2003 under ISBN 9780691089539 and ISBN 0691089531.