In 1823, the American Missionary Register condescendingly argued that Hinduism was one of the "great fooleries of the world"
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Deepak Kol, 28, passed out after cutting out tongue at Navratri holy festival
- Mutilated himself as sacrifice to Durga, Hindu goddess of good over evil
- His desperate family prayed and chanted hymns to bring him back to life
- 'It is a supreme sacrifice that my son has done,' his father told London's MailOnline
'We kept praying until 4am in the morning, hoping that Devi [Hindu goddess] would instil life in my son's body,' his father Sukhdeo, a farmer, told MailOnline.
'When that did not happen, I knew that the Goddess has given Deepak a place in her lotus feet.'
Deepak, from Kharhata village, northern India, had been fasting for days before he removed his tongue in tribute to Durga, the goddess of good triumphing over evil.
He fell unconscious in the village temple - but other worshippers, who had fallen into a prayer-induced trance failed to notice anything was wrong for five hours.
When they realised he was unconscious, they continued to pray and chant to resurrect him.
The head of the village told the authorities of his death the next morning - but the family refused authorities to conduct postmortem, police spokesman Riaz Sheikh said.
After his death on October 22, his father said: 'He did not die. The deity has sought him at Her service. It is a supreme sacrifice that my son has done.
Without emotion, the father added: 'He has just left his mortal body. If Devi seeks sacrifice of another son, I would be more than willing to oblige.'
This gruesome death is the latest in a disturbing number of cases in India where religious followers have died following a sacrificial offering to the gods.
Rajkumar Vishwakarma, 32, was fatally wounded when he sliced off the tip of his tongue to offer it to a deity at a temple in Satna's Chourhai village in Madya Pradesh.
He was admitted to a nearby hospital, where he died, a few hours later.