John Renard, who teaches theological studies at St. Louis University, has great respect for Hinduism's flexibility, its rich storehouse of images of the divine, and its tolerance of diversity. Nearly one-sixth of the world's population is Hindu, a word that derives etymologically from a root that means "to flow" as a river does.

The Hindu tradition, according to Renard, encompasses perhaps the longest and most elaborate history of ritual on earth. In one of these, the temple staff takes the statue of the deity out for a "walk" through the neighborhood. "Throughout these ritual activities, an overriding goal of worshippers is to be granted darshan, to see and be seen by the wide-eyed deity who notices each devotee's desires and needs."

The questions in this excellent resource are divided into various thematic chapters that cover the history and development of Hinduism, doctrines and practices, law and ethics, spirituality, relationship to other religious traditions, women and family, and Hinduism and the humanities.