Stretching from Pakistan to the borders of Myanmar (Burma), from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean, the Indian cultural realm embraces seven nations and more than a fifth of humankind. It presents a number of perplexing contrasts and problems. For example, there is on the one hand a sense of overriding unity throughout the whole sweep of long history, and on the other there is a baffling degree of local and regional variation. Within this area one encounters a rich and bewildering diversity of peoples, the ever-changing manifestations of four and a half millenia of civilization and interaction between indigenous and foreign peoples. The abiding heartland of Hinduism and the cultural hearth of Buddhism, the Indian subcontinent also includes more Muslims than the whole of the Islamic Middle East and approximately 25 million Christians. Not only in religion, but also in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, art, architecture, music, dance, literature, psychology, and medicine, the contribution of the Indian cultural realm to our common human heritage is enormous.