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mahāvrata


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1 A fertility festival, performed by the Vrātyas at the winter solstice, and seemingly incorporated into the aśvamedha rite.

2 According to Dharmaśāstra, the penance to be undertaken for killing a brahmin, involving carrying the skull of the victim as a banner, while living the life of a forest (aranya) ascetic—a practice followed by the Śaiva Pāśupatas in imitation of the brahminicidal Śiva/Rudra, who, according to Purāṇic myth, had cut off Brahmā's fifth head.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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