A 30-year-old man killed himself by slitting his throat in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district on Tuesday in a ritual to appease a goddess depicted in Hindu scriptures as having severed her own head with a scimitar.
Police said Sanjay Nutt, hailing from Buxar in neighbouring Bihar, took his life at the altar of the Chhinnamasta temple where animal sacrifice is common.
Chhinnamasta – which means one whose head is severed -- is worshipped by millions of Hindus as an incarnation of the Mother Goddess, the supreme female deity. Many believe Chhinnamasta to be another form of goddess Kali, the deity of death.
Chhinnamasta is depicted in religious paintings standing atop a copulating couple, holding her severed head in one hand and a scimitar in the other with jets of blood sprouting from the neck.
The temple at Rajrapppa, about 70 km from capital Ranchi, is centuries old and goats and sheep are frequently sacrificed by devotees from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
Nutt, son of a Bihar police havildar, was a staunch devotee of the goddess, police said quoting family members.
“We have informed family members who are on their way to receive the body. They informed us over phone that he was an austere devotee of the Goddess and often talked about leaving this world to be with the Goddess,” Rajrappa inspector Atim Kumar said.
Soon after the incident, the temple committee shut the doors for devotees and the temple purified through a special ritual when the deity was bathed in milk and curd for around two hours. The shrine was reopened later.
“Priests said the man had come to the temple in the wee hours and performed prayers with full devotion. Around 6 am he came out of the sanctum sanatorium, pulled out a dagger and slit his throat at the place where animals are generally sacrificed,” said Subhasish Panda, a temple committee member.