Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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Although no written works by Kāpālikas are known to us, this antinomian Śaiva movement of skull bearers, who took up the attributes of Śiva’s frightening form, Bhairava, was once very much present from Kashmir and Nepal to the Tamil-speaking south. The earliest mention of Kāpālikas is found perhaps in Hāla’s Saṭṭasaī, datable to the 3rd to 5th centuries CE (Lorenzen, 1991, 13), but most of our sources on them come from the 7th to the 12th centuries CE. Since …

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Törzsök, Judit, “Kāpālikas”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 29 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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