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The author admits at the start that on the subject of Woman--that is, as she is perceived in the brain and heart of Man--the two great epics "contain very contradictory utterances," for "in the soul of the Indian there dwells that twin pair, burning sensuality and stark renunciation of the world and the flesh." But it is just this contradiction, as we see it come to life in the dramatic and colorful tales contained in the epics and cited by the author, that makes for such insightful reading.