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The killing of a brahmin (brāhmaṇahatyā) is the worst sin (mahāpātaka) possible according to the (brahmin-derived) Dharmasāstra literature. Penance involves practices such as living as a mendicant for twelve years, with a skull as a banner or begging bowl. This great vow (mahāvrata) was undertaken by the Kāpālikas and Lākulas in imitation of Bhairava (Śiva), whose brahmanicide consisted in cutting off Brahmā's fifth head.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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