Between Heaven and a Hard Place: Inhabiting the Space Between an Enchanted Past and a Utopian Future
This essay looks at how devotees of Krishna in Mayapur, West Bengal experience the space between an ideal past and a prophesied future. Through an affective and imaginative engagement with Vaishnav cultural history, devotees learn to relocate themselves in a particular temporal flow, within which both the past and future become constitutive horizons of the ethical imagination. I will focus on how the tradition of katha (storytelling) facilitates a convergence of temporalities, within which devotees are encouraged to routinely participate in the past. Such engagement with an enchanted past, I will argue, in turn informs devotees’ imaginings of and aspirations for the ongoing development of an ‘Ideal Vedic City’.
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