(Last Updated on : 26/09/2009)
Kapalika is one of the Shaivite groups or the devotees of Lord Shiva. Kapalika means bearer of the skull-bowl, and has reference to Lord Shiva's promise to take the kapala vow. Shiva cut of one of the foreheads Lord Brahma and as a punishment was outcaste and became a beggar.
Lord Shiva or Bhairava went to places and cremation grounds, wearing nothing but a garland of skulls and ash from the pyre, and unable to remove the skull of Brahma fastened to his hand. The skull of Lord became his begging-bowl, and the Kapalikas are said to use skulls as begging bowls and as drinking and eating vessels. During this time ascetics ate and drank from the skull of the person so sacrificed and followed tantric. The Kapalikas performed penance by going naked, eating the flesh of the dead, smearing themselves with the ashes of corpses, and frequenting lonely cremation grounds. They meditated on the yoni, the symbol of the female sexual organ.
The other group of the Shaivite groups is Kalamukhas and they were black-faced, because of the black mark, or tilaka, were worn on their foreheads.
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