The Play of the Gods, first published in 1980, a seminal study of Indian sacred festivals, appears here in a new, expanded and illustrated edition. The two related festivals considered here - Durgapuja, in honour of the Godess Durga, and Gajan, in honour of Lord Shiva - are the most popular and most complex of Bengali rituals, involving elaborate preparation and wide and ever-increasing participation. The detailed description and interpretation of the rituals presence and inside view of society and remains, despite the current spate of books on Hindu rituals and deities, the only complete ethnographic account of major ritual cycle in India. Beyond their social function the two festivals constitute a cultural logic that articulates meanings not expressed elsewhere and that determines the relationships among social structures, human dispositions, units of time, divisions of space, rules for conduct and the interpretation of symbols. On a broader theoritical level, Ostor discusses myth and religion, India and the west hierarchy & equality, ideology & structure, and indigenous & analytical models. Applicable to bengali culture as a whole and capable of serving as a model for the study of symbols in society, the play of the Gods has established itself as a unique and significant work on South Asia.