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Sati


Sati is a Hindu Mother Goddess, an older incarnation of the beneign aspect of Shakti. Alternately she is perceived as a incarnation of Laksmi. According to tradition her father is Daksa and her mother is Prasuti, who bore sixteen daughters, the youngest is Sati. She is perceived as the ideal Hindu wife and mother who as a maiden, falls in love with Shiva. At her choosing-of-a-husband ceremony she is distressed that her father has not invited Shiva, and throws her bridal wreath into the air, whereupon Shiva suddenly appears in front of her. She becomes the consort of Shiva, but the marital association is generally recognized when he is in his form of Bhava, the epithet meaning "existence." Eventually Sati dies at his feet from self-immolating heat of her personal purity and zeal; she is reincarnated as Parvati.

This mythology is the basis for the practice of self-sacrifice that became known as sati or suttee. Sati also is connected with fire-walking rituals. These self-immolation practices are referred to in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other texts. A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 230
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 861-862