How does one gain an understanding of the socio-religious life of a group of believers in contemporary India (in which group the author himself is an occasional practitioner) and communicate it to readers who may be largely unfamiliar with it? This pioneering sociological account of the Jains of North India addresses the question by experimenting to interweave form and content through a reliance on diverse sources of information, techniques and points of departure resulting in a collage. The challenge here is to provide an outline of contemporary Jainism within the context of a self-conscious community of adherents and, at the same time, to account for the small change of imbricated commercial and ritual transactions in their everyday life. This is met by a concise narrative of the beginnings, history, schisms, social organization and cosmology of the living Jain tradition. There is no imposition of a metaphysics on this narrative and the chapters follow one another in an engaged probe into the meaning (metaphor) and social structure (community) of north Indian Jainism today.