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Is human sacrifice a part of Hinduism?

 

 

From the BBC

Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK

Indian temple revives 'human sacrifice'

 

 

Human sacrifice was thought to have died out

 

By Rahul Karmakar

in Guwahati, north-eastern India

 

 

 

Followers of a Hindu cult in India's north-eastern state of Assam have revived the ancient practice of human sacrifice.

 

 

 

A willing human being is difficult to find these days

 

Temple researcher Dr Pradeep Sharmah

 

 

But in the absence of human volunteers, devotees at the Kamakhya Temple near the state capital Guwahati are using six-foot effigies made of flour for the rite.

 

Steeped in secrecy, human sacrifices to the Mother Goddess Shakti were thought to have died out completely.

 

The revival of the "Nara bali" practice a few years ago would have remained under wraps had it not been for an academic researching the temple, one of India's holiest pilgrimage sites.

 

The cult followers had apparently wanted live humans to revive the gory tradition, but opted for an effigy instead fearing a backlash.

 

Ancient worship

 

"A willing human being is difficult to find these days," said Dr Pradeep Sharmah, director of the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture (VKIC).

 

 

He said priests had already been heavily criticised by animal rights groups for their use of animals in ritual sacrifices, hence their decision to use human effigies instead of the real thing.

 

Dr Sharmah was inducted into the inner circle of a handful of "Shakta" priests after he won their trust.

 

"The sacrifice is made at midnight, on the day of Ashtami during the 10-day autumnal Durga Puja," said Dr Sharmah.

 

But it can also be carried out on any day specified by divine forces.

 

"The ancient worshippers believed that the person to be sacrificed was sent by god, and as a rule a woman would never be put to the altar," Dr Sharmah said.

 

The Kamakhya Temple attracts some 10,000 devotees per day, but certain aspects of the temple's ceremonies - including sacrifices - have been kept closely-guarded secrets.

 

No witnesses

 

The administrator of the Kamakhya Trust, Bharati Prasad Sarma, said that no outsiders were ever allowed to witness a sacrifice.

 

 

Thousands of devotees worship at the temple

 

 

"It is believed that if anyone tries to see the act, evil is bestowed upon him by the Mother," he said.

 

The administrator said the schoolboy son of a temple priest, or panda, fell blind last year when he tried secretly to watch a ceremony.

 

The pandas say that only a chosen few are eligible to conduct a sacrifice.

 

Research shows that human sacrifice at Kamakhya was first revived 75 years ago, but was discontinued a few years later.

 

A 1933 journal of the Assam Research Society says that living people were sacrificed until the reign of King Gaurinath Singha between 1780 and 1796.

 

Records of earlier periods at the Department of Historical and Antiquarian Studies indicate that the practice was widespread in Assam.

 

 

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The point I am trying to make by posting these stories is thatthere is a lot that marches under the banner of "Hinduism" that needs to be cleaned up. Better to be Christian or even Muslim then to be involved in the following.

 

 

Killing for 'Mother' Kali

 

 

It was at most a fringe practice, but a spate of ritual killings in India shows that human sacrifice lives on

BY ALEX PERRY ATAPUR

 

 

For the magic to work, the killing had to be done just right. If the goddess were to grant Khudu Karmakar the awesome powers he expected from a virgin's death, the victim had to be willing, had to know what was happening, watch the knife, and not stop it. But even tranquilizers couldn't lull 15-year-old Manju Kumari to her fate. In his police confession, Karmakar says his wife, daughter and three accomplices had to gag Manju and pin her down on the earthen floor before the shrine. In ritual order, Karmakar wafted incense over her, tore off her blue skirt and pink T shirt, shaved her, sprinkled her with holy water from the Ganges and rubbed her with cooking fat. Then chanting mantras to the "mother" goddess Kali, he sawed off Manju's hands, breasts and left foot, placing the body parts in front of a photograph of a blood-soaked Kali idol. Police say the arcs of blood on the walls suggest Manju bled to death in minutes.

 

Human sacrifice has always been an anomaly in India. Even 200 years ago, when a boy was killed every day at a Kali temple in Calcutta, blood cults were at odds with a benign Hindu spiritualism that celebrates abstinence and vegetarianism. But Kali is different. A ferocious slayer of evil in Hindu mythology, the goddess is said to have an insatiable appetite for blood. With the law on killing people more strictly enforced today, ersatz substitutes now stand in for humans when sacrifice is required. Most Kali temples have settled on large pumpkins to represent a human body; other followers slit the throats of two-meter-tall human effigies made of flour, or of animals such as goats.

 

In secret ceremonies, however, the grizzly practice lives on. Quite simply, say the faithful—known as tantrics—Kali looks after those who look after her, bringing riches to the poor, revenge to the oppressed and newborn joy to the childless. So far this year, police have recorded at least one case of ritual killing a month. In January, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, a 24-year-old woman hacked her three-year-old son to death after a tantric sorcerer supposedly promised unlimited earthly riches. In February, two men in the eastern state of Tripura beheaded a woman on the instructions of a deity they said appeared in their dreams promising hidden treasures. Karmakar killed Manju in Atapur village in Jharkhand state in April. The following month, police dug up the remains of two sisters, aged 18 and 13, in Bihar, dismembered with a ceremonial sword and offered to Kali by their father. Last week on the outskirts of Bombay, maize seller Anil Lakshmikant Singh, 33, beheaded his neighbor's nine-year-old son to save his marriage on the advice of a tantric. Said Singh: "He promised that a human sacrifice would end all my miseries."

 

Far from ancient barbarisms that refuse to die, sacrifice and sorcery are making a comeback. Sociologists explain the millions who now throng the two main Kali centers in eastern India, at Kamakhya and Tarapith, as what happens when the rat race that is India's future meets the superstitions of its past. Sociologist Ashis Nandy says: "You see your neighbor doing well, above his caste and position, and someone tells you to get a child and do a secret ritual and you can catch up." Adds mysticism expert Ipsita Roy Chakaraverti: "It's got nothing to do with real mysticism or with spiritualism. It comes down to pure and simple greed." Tarapith in particular is a giant building site of new hotels, restaurants and stalls selling plastic swords and postcards of Kali's severed feet. Judging by the visitors here, Kali appeals to both rich and poor: the rows of SUVs parked outside four-star hotels belong to the ranks of businessmen and politicians lining up with their goats behind penniless pilgrims. ("The blood never dries at Tarapith," whispers one villager.)

 

There are no human sacrifices at the temple these days. But the mystique of ritual killing is so powerful that even those who actually don't perform it claim to do so. In their camp in the cremation grounds beside the temple, a throng of tantrics tout for business by competing to be as spooky as possible, lining their mud-walled temples with human skulls and telling tall tales of human sacrifice. "I cut off her head," says 64-year-old Baba Swami Vivekanand of a girl he says he raised from birth. "We buried the body and brought the head back, cooked it and ate it." He pauses to demand a $2 donation. "Good story, no?" While most of this is innocent, some followers, like Karmakar, are inevitably emboldened to take their quest for power to the extreme. Karmakar, like many others, was caught. But in the dust-bowl villages of India, where superstition reigns and blood has a dark authority, the question is how many other "holy men" have found that ultimate power still rests in the murderous magic of a virgin sacrifice.

 

 

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>>The point I am trying to make by posting these stories is thatthere is a lot that marches under the banner of "Hinduism" that needs to be cleaned up. Better to be Christian or even Muslim then to be involved in the following.<< - theist

 

Bhagavad Gita is accepted as The Book of Hinduism.

All Hindus need to live by it.

 

Those who envy Hinduism, only more talk about kali and sacrifice. The fact is that kali worshipers are a very small part of the total hindu population. recently many catholic priests are foind to be child molesters or pedophiles. but still i and many hindus think that such asuras are a minority, and xianity does teach them to do such adharma. similarly gita does not teach animal or human sacrifice. (what is better, to be a hindu or a muslim?)

 

The other point to remember is that even kali worshipeprs do not force their faith on any one. nor do they pick any one by force to be sacrified before kali. would it not be nice if they pick bin laden and his terrorists for the sacrifice?

 

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<quote>The other point to remember is that even kali worshipeprs do not force their faith on any one. nor do they pick any one by force to be sacrified before kali. </quote>

 

Amazing you speak out against the Christians preaching but you justify this?

 

 

 

 

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>>Amazing you speak out against the Christians preaching but you justify this?<<

 

i have not read all that post,

but the vedas do have descriptions of animal sacrifices.

however, that practice is long gone mostly.

 

but like any other religious groups, hindus also will have some less intelligent shudras who would practice such thing.

i agree that vaishnavas and others need to help them give up violent sacrifices. i know some swamis have showm how to do yagnas without live sacrifices.

 

now, suppose all hindus give up such sacrifices,

will the xian missionaries go out of bharat,

and never say a word against hinduism?

 

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And Xdus is pronounced Hindus. And Xlam is pronounced Islam.

 

In a full page of writing, how much time is saved by putting an X when writing Christian?

 

Better to write and hear the name of God's servant any chance we get. All the other letters and words we write are meaningless mundane sound, but the names of Krishna and His devotees are transcendental. That will bring us real benefit.

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I remember reading somewhere that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura used to judge the merits of articles by how any times the name "Krsna" is mentioned.

 

The holy name should be invoked as often as possible. There is no loss, but more then a world to gain by coming into contact with the Lord through His name via any medium.

 

 

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the vedas do describe animal sacrifice. but this is to be performed if the animal can be transformed into a gandharva right in front of the eyes of the audience. no king would donate his entire treasury if there was no concrete proof. the animal was benefitted by getting elevated by transferring its karma to the brahmanas. the brahmanas had to perform severe tapasya to atone for their sins. in the age of kali, this is banned by sastras and acharyas.

 

as for as human sacrifices go, i dont know if there is any reference to it in the sastras themselves. theist prabhu, before branding human sacrifice as a gory hindu practice without even finding a single reference to it in the sastras, let us remind ourselves that such a "gory" human practice is taught in the old testament. so it is no better to be a christian or muslim than to be a hindu.

 

i do understand that willingness to sacrifice one's own son is shown as an example of total surrender in the testament. if that is the spirit in hinduism, christianity or hinduism, it should be acceptable to all the theists (no pun intended).

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Human sacrifice is a part of all religions.

 

"A willing human being is difficult to find these days," said Dr Pradeep Sharmah, director of the Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture (VKIC).

 

Islam - look at Palestine, Iraq people are willingly sacrificing themselves.

Christians - look at USA, all volunteer Army. People are willing to sacrificing themselves in the alter of mother Kali to burn their bad karma (Lust, Anger, Fear, Greed, Covetousness, Pride).

 

Life feed on life (especially for meat eaters who eat from top of the food chain). All relationships are selfish. Sacrifice is a funny word, it is based on selfishness also, in the name of preserving Nation, Cult, Religion, you name it. Until Man experinces Advaita, it is foolish to think that we can prevent "willing participants in human sacrifice".

Why just blame the ignorant Hindus only.

 

Shyamal Ganguly

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