what is the strory of Sati’s self immolation during Daksha’s yagna?

The story of Sati’s self immolation during Daksha’s yagna is a tragic and important event in Hindu mythology. It is narrated in various Hindu scriptures, such as the Puranas. Here is a summary of the story:

  • Sati was the youngest and most beloved daughter of Daksha, a son of Brahma and a powerful king. She was deeply in love with Shiva, the god of destruction and asceticism, and wished to marry him. However, Daksha did not approve of Shiva, as he considered him to be an uncivilized and eccentric deity who lived among ghosts and goblins. He wanted his daughter to marry someone more suitable for her royal status. ¹
  • Despite Daksha’s disapproval, Sati married Shiva by performing severe penance (tapas) and winning his heart. She moved to his abode on Mount Kailash in the Himalayas, where she lived happily with him. ¹
  • Daksha decided to organize a grand yajna (ritual sacrifice) and invited all the gods, sages, and kings, except Shiva and Sati. He wanted to show his supremacy and disdain for Shiva. Sati came to know about the yajna and felt hurt that her father had not invited her and her husband. She asked Shiva to let her go to the yajna, hoping to reconcile with her father and seek his blessings. Shiva warned her that it was not a good idea, as Daksha would not welcome her and might insult her. He asked her to stay with him and forget about the yajna. ¹²
  • However, Sati was adamant and insisted on going to the yajna. She thought that her father would be happy to see her and would change his mind about Shiva. Shiva reluctantly agreed to let her go, but sent some of his attendants (Pramatha Ganas) along with her to protect her. ¹²
  • When Sati reached the yajna site, she was shocked to see that there was no place reserved for Shiva or herself. She also noticed that Daksha had deliberately ignored her presence and did not greet her or offer her any hospitality. She felt humiliated and angry at her father’s behavior. She tried to reason with him and asked him why he had not invited Shiva, who was the supreme god and the lord of the yajna. She praised Shiva’s qualities and virtues and defended him against Daksha’s accusations. ¹²
  • However, Daksha was not moved by Sati’s words. He instead mocked and abused Shiva in front of everyone. He called him a beggar, a corpse-lover, a madman, a destroyer, and a misfit. He said that he was ashamed of having Sati as his daughter, as she had married such a lowly and unworthy deity. He said that he had disowned her and cursed her for being ungrateful and disobedient. He also said that he would not accept Shiva as his son-in-law or offer him any share of the yajna offerings. ¹²
  • Sati could not bear any more insults from her father. She felt betrayed and heartbroken by his cruelty and hatred towards Shiva and herself. She realized that she had made a mistake by coming to the yajna without Shiva’s permission. She also felt that she had dishonored Shiva by tolerating Daksha’s words. She decided to end her life by jumping into the sacrificial fire, as she could not live without Shiva or face him after this incident. She prayed to Shiva to forgive her for her folly and accept her as his wife again in her next birth. She then immolated herself in the fire, shocking everyone present there. ¹²³
  • When Shiva heard about Sati’s death, he was enraged and grief-stricken. He created a fierce warrior named Virabhadra from his hair and ordered him to destroy Daksha’s yajna and kill everyone who had participated in it or witnessed it. Virabhadra obeyed Shiva’s command and attacked the yajna site with a huge army of demons (Bhutaganas). He killed many gods, sages, kings, and animals who were present there. He also beheaded Daksha and threw his head into the fire. He then returned to Shiva with Sati’s body in his arms. ¹²
  • Shiva carried Sati’s body on his shoulder and wandered around the world in sorrow and anger. He performed a dance of destruction (Tandava) that threatened to annihilate the universe. The other gods were terrified by Shiva’s fury and appealed to Vishnu to calm him down. Vishnu used his discus (Sudarshana Chakra) to cut Sati’s body into pieces and scattered them all over the earth. Shiva eventually calmed down and stopped his dance, but remained in mourning for a long time. ¹²
  • The places where Sati’s body parts fell are known as Shakti Peethas, the sacred sites of the goddess Shakti, the supreme mother of the universe. There are 51 or 52 Shakti Peethas, depending on different sources, and each one is associated with a different manifestation of Shakti. They are revered by the devotees of Shakti and Shiva, and are considered to be sources of divine power and blessings. ¹²³
  • Sati was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of the mountain king Himavan and his wife Mena. She again performed penance to win Shiva’s love and married him after overcoming many obstacles. She became his consort and helped him in his cosmic duties. She also gave birth to two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya, who became the gods of wisdom and war respectively. ¹²

This is the story of Sati’s self immolation during Daksha’s yajna, as per the Hindu scriptures. I hope you found it interesting and informative. 😊

Source: Conversation with Bing, 22/10/2023
(1) Daksha yajna – Wikipedia.
(2) Sati’s immolation at Daksha Yagna, Shiva Parvati Kalyana and ….
(3) Mithila Shakti Peeth: Which Shakti Peeth is this among the 52 Shakti ….
(4) Sati in 19 Century India – INFLIBNET Centre.

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