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Three Japanese pilgrims arrive in India. Miss Naruse is looking for Otsu, a Catholic priest, her lover ten years before; after time in France and Israel, he has come to Benares where he carries the bodies of the poor to the crematorium. Her life is empty and, although Otsu was her lover only as a joke, she is now drawn to his spiritual nature. Mr. Isobe searches for a village child who may be the reincarnation of his dead wife. Mr. Yagusi comes to pray for the man who saved his life in World War II, a man haunted for 50 years by the means he used to save his comrade. Pantheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity meet on the shores of the Ganges in these characters.