Becoming A Sati


“Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes).
Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned.”
(Rig Veda X.18.7 )

This is a picture of a Sati stone sculpture shot near Raj ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This statue shows a married couple and it is marking the site where a woman died on the funeral pyre of her husband.
Nowadays many of these stones are worshipped as images of Shiva and Parvati.
The practice is banned since 1829.

The term is derived from the original name of the goddess Sati, who self-immolated because she was unable to bear her father Daksha’s humiliation of her (living) husband Shiva.
It may also be used to refer to the widow.
A sati is now sometimes interpreted as “chaste woman”.
Sati appears in both Hindi and Sanskrit texts, where it is synonymous with “good wife”; the term suttee was commonly used by Anglo-Indian English writers.

(Being the son of a contemporary sati, I carry ambivalent thoughts for those ladies even though I have a deep respect for their courage)

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