This book is absolutely brilliant. Dalrymple takes a socio-cultural and anthological look at some very diverse and non-mainstream forms of religious practice and spiritual pursuit in India. What Dalrymple has done, in a single book, is amazing. If you're interested in learning about how religion might have begun (all over the world) then evolved, grown up, turned into something mainstream, and ultimately something that has largely become standardized in large parts of the world, this book will mesmerize you. India is one of the only remaining places where ancient and non mainstream religious practices have survived over countless centuries. Dalrymple describes these practices through rich, vivid profiles of nine very different lives, all seeking spiritual enrichment in their own communities through very unique ways. I recommend this book to everyone interested in the subject. I found myself highlighting large parts of the book so I can revisit them.