- Sati is the first wife of SHIVA, later reincarnated as PARVATI or Uma. She is the daughter of the sage DAKSHA, himself the son of BRAHMA. Brahma was concerned that the human universe would not come about if Shiva did not take a wife, so he com-pelled Daksha to produce a daughter, Sati, who was a form of the Great Goddess. He arranged to have her marry Shiva. To seduce Shiva, who was devoted to asceticism and did not want to marry, Sati practiced austerities and won his attention. They were quickly married with Brahma serving as the marriage priest.Daksha was not happy to have Shiva as his son-in-law. He held a great Vedic sacrifice and pointedly did not invite his daughter and son-in-law. When Sati complained to her father, he upbraided her. There are two versions of the suc-ceeding events. In one, she immolated herself in a fire. The later Hindu practice of a widow’s immo-lating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre took on the name of sati (suttee).In the second version, Daksha had been under a curse, that if he were to show disrespect to his daughter, she would die; when he upbraided her she simply fell to the ground dead. Shiva rushed to the site of the sacrifice, killed Daksha, and destroyed the entire ritual sacrifice ground. Both Daksha and the sacrifice were later restored in some versions—but not Sati. Shiva lifted Sati’s body and mournfully began to carry it about India. Since a dead body is considered highly polluting, Lord VISHNU followed Shiva, gradu-ally cutting off pieces of Sati as they went along. Everywhere a piece of her fell, a shrine was estab-lished to the Great Goddess. These are variously said to number 54, 108, or some other number.
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.