Bengali Vaishnava Homelands

How to Cite

Jason D. Fuller. (2022). Bengali Vaishnava Homelands: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 18(1), 43–56. Retrieved from


For most people, the idea of home conjures up feelings of ease, comfort and belonging. One may live in a house, hut, tent or cave . . . but a house is not necessarily a home. A house is material and concrete whereas a home is conceptual and symbolic. A home is a place where the social, cultural and psychological demands of the “outside world” are suspended, reconfigured or reprioritized. To have a sense of being at home is to have a sense of being in the right place, to feel right. To be at home is to belong to a place. And to belong to a place is to have a sense of belonging.
The idea of “home” is a concept of critical importance to the religious imagination. Most of the world’s traditions proclaim the centrality of particular places or spaces which are considered to be holy precisely because they are the homes (either in the past, present or future) of sacred denizens. The religious conception of home typically serves as an orientating device for practitioners who make distinctions between the meaningful order of the sacred home and the meaningless chaos of the profane world away from home. So too, the religious home is not typically confined to a single house but rather extends to include a larger space (village, town or city) where the axis mundi opens up horizontally to incorporate an expanded area into the precincts of sacred power.

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