A commentary on our times may be found in travel books that talk more of ideas and ideologies than of sights and spectacles of far places. C. Ross Smith has paid heed to the personalities he met during his six-month tour of India with his wife -- and heed to the philosophies and principles by which they live. But he has paid prime attention and even homage to the spiritual and historical monuments that live on amid an ancient people. He describes to us the caves of Ellora and Ajanta with appropriate thoughts on the monks who spent their lives carving a void that creates peace; he rejoices in Fatehpur-Siki, the abandoned city of Akbar that still gives out a sense of warmth and human delights; he shudders before the Parsi Towers of Silence where the followers of Zoroaster leave their dead to the vultures' purification; he is annoyed, really, by the paranoid fastidiousness of the vegetarian Jains who require visitors to divest themselves of leather garments before entering their temple; and he is rather shocked at the tolerantly inclusive poses that adorn Hindu temples and hard put to explain them, to himself. He ponders the ways of East and West, and sees at last a comparison: they immerse themselves in the world, while we impose ourselves up on it. Not always smooth, not quick reading, but sincerely thoughtful and descriptive.