William Dalrymple's Nine Lives: Into the Mystic

Indians "love to reduce the prosaic to the mystic," Jan Morris wrote, affectionately, more than 30 years ago. And foreigners who go to India often love to project upon its 350 million or so gods their own rainbow-colored visions of Eternity. But far from the Technicolor gurus who excite so much attention in the West, and behind the beeping trucks and fast-rising malls that are so exhilarating to Indians today, everyday souls are sustaining centuries-old ways of bringing gods into their difficult days and homes. In their devotion and humble attentions, Hindu and Muslim and Jain — not to...

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