Kapalika and Kalamukha


Kapalika and Kalamukha

Members of either of two groups of extreme Hindu ascetics, prominent in India in the 8th–13th century. They were an offshoot of the Shaivites (see Shaivism), who worshiped Shiva, and their notorious practices included human sacrifice. After sacrificing a Brahman or other high-ranking person, they embraced a 12-year vow of self-abnegation that included eating and drinking from the skull of the sacrificed person and following tantric practices such as going about naked, eating the flesh of the dead, and smearing themselves with the ashes of corpses. Their modern successors are the Aghoris, or Aghorapanthis.

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