Why do they do it? Why stand on Fifth Avenue in a saffron robe with shaved head and chant? What does it all mean? Not a new question, but one that isn't going away either. When Harvey Cox says that the germinating point of this book was a call from four house-to-house Hare Krishnaites, the reader senses that what bit him was the sight of his two small children on the floor entranced by the picture book the visitors had brought. Cox's book has the air of an attractive personal story. He meditated, danced, chewed the sacred root, listened, and reflected on it all. He moved from initial prejudices to growing involvement, from detached observer to seeking participant. His observations and those of his helping students came to organize themselves more around the needs of the American adherents of these Eastern cults than around the brand name alleged, whether Hindu or Buddhist. Along the way this intelligent, knowledgeable scholar and accomplished teacher comments, explains, and probes the questions raised by his data. ""The current psychologizing of Eastern contemplative disciplines could pervert them into mental health gimmicks, and thereby prevent them from introducing the sharply alternative vision they are capable of."" The specifics of this danger, and of what Christianity can learn from the appeal of that sharply alternative vision, are among the issues raised but not exhaustively explored in this excellent book.