April 29th, 2008 by sabrina

Sati is the Hindu Goddess of marital devotion, an avatar of Parvati and Shiva’s first wife. She was born at Brahma’s request to King Daksha and so was known also as Dakshayani. From childhood, she prepared to be Shiva’s wife, forsaking the luxuries of the palace and living a simple life. When Shiva said that he would take her as his bride, Sati went home to tell her father, who was not pleased. He disliked Shiva, finding him dirty and disheveled. Sati did marry Shiva, and her father disowned her.

A short time after, King Daksha organized a yagna, a sacrificial fire, inviting all of the Gods except Shiva and Sati. Sati, decided that, since it was her father, she did not need an invitation and set off without Shiva. Her father told her that he did not like her husband and had purposefully not invited them. Sati realized that the only reason her father disliked her husband was because he had married her and that, in her father’s eyes, she had dishonored him. In rage, she prayed that in a future life she would be born to a father whom she could respect and threw herself into the sacrificial fire.

When Shiva heard of his wife’s death, he created two monsters, Bhadrakali and Virabhadra, and set them loose on Daksha’s kingdom. Many were killed and Daksha himself was beheaded. Shiva took Sati’s body from the fire and placed it on his shoulders. He began to dance, a wild and crazed dance of grief. As he danced, parts of Sati’s burned body fell away. The places where the parts landed are called Shakti Peethas, places of strength, and number 51, scattered throughout India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. King Daksha and all his guests were eventually restored to life when Shiva’s grief subsided, but Daksha’s head was replaced with that of a goat, to remind him of his sins.

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