Sati – First Wife of Shiva

SATI

The literal meaning of word Sati is ‘truthful’ or ‘virtuous’. Sati is a Hindu goddess ,who is worshipped as the first wife of Shiva,the other being Parvati .Parvati is the incarnation of Sati in her next birth. Sati is also called ‘Dakshyani’ because she was the daughter of Daksh Prajapati.

She is the Goddess of marital felicity and longevity and is worshipped as an aspect of the mother goddess Shakti. She is also mentioned in Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The story of her life is however mentioned in Puranas.

Sati and Parvati played the key role in bringing Shiva out of ascetic isolation to creative paricipation in the universe. She is the cause of generation of life and the controller of all the material energy.

BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE

According to Shakta (oriented to Shakti), Daksha was advised by Brahma to meditate upon Shakti,the great Goddess,and convince her to take birth as his daughter. Daksha did the same and the Goddess agreed to take birth, but she warned that she would leave her body if mistreated. As a result ,she was born as the youngest daughter of Daksha.

During her childhood ,she was naturally inclined in the stories of Shiva and grew up to be an ardent devotee of him .

Marriage with shiva

Scriptures describe Sati to be very beautiful. She performed great penance and Sadhna to get Shiva as her husband and her penance won the heart of Shiva. After many tests performed by Shiva or his attendants,finally,Shiva agreed to make Sati as her bride .But ,Daksha was against this marriage as he did not like the behavior and appearance of him.

According to Shiva Purana , there was no harsh opposition from Daksha side during the marriage .But after their marriage he started to develop a deep hatred for Shiva. Despite Daksha’s unwillingness, the wedding was held in due course with Brahma serving as the priest. Sati made her home with Shiva in Kailash

SELF IMMOLATION

The self immolation of Sati is first mentioned in Taittariya Samhita ( a branch of Krishna Yajurveda) , followed by Ramayana and Mahabharata.

According to Mahabhagavata Purana , Daksha organised a yajna ,to which all deities were invited except Shiva and Parvati. Sati wanted to visit her relatives. She justified that being the same family ,the invitation was just an unnecessary formality. Shiva tried to stop her as he knew Daksha would humiliate her . Here Sati presented herself as a fierce warrior .She transformed into the ten fearsome Mahavidya  goddesses led by Kali, and surrounded him from the ten cardinal directions.Seeing the powers of Sati ,Shiva allowed her to go with some attendees.

She was recieved by her sister and mother but humiliated by Daksha .He mocked Shiva for her arrival without being invited. Sati was furious at the insult of his husband and to uphold the honour of her husband ,she jumped into the sacrifical fire and immolated herself.

APPEARANCE OF VEERBHADRA

When Shiva heard about the loss of Sati, he was deeply hurted . He created two ferocious creatures – Virabhadra and Bhadrakali ,which led to mass destruction at the sacrifical place. Whosoever was present at that place was slain within a few time. Virabhadra was the form of Shiva as a ferocious warrior. It is believed that an enraged Shiva performed the Tandava dance with Sati’s charred body, which led her body to come apart and the pieces fell at different places on earth. Shiva carried the dead corpse throughout the universe ,which caused a universal disbalance. Finally ,when Vishnu interfered ,Shiva came to senses.

The places where the parts of Sati’s body fell are called as Shakti Peeth.There are altogether 51 Shakti Peeth. They are one of the most famous pilgrimage site and considered to be holy by followers of Hinduism ,especially to the Goddess oriented Shakta sect.

REBIRTH AS PARVATI

After Sati left him Shiva was depressed and he returned back to his isolated ascetic state . Sati took rebirth as Parvati ,as the daughter of Himavan ,who was an ardent devotee of Shiva .This time also she performed severe penance and married Shiva as his permanent companion.

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