Tag Archives: pyre

Sati Pratha: The Burning of Widows

Written by Sulaiman Razvi

Sati Pratha is a Hindu practice where the wife ascends the funeral pyre of her husband and gives up her life. The word Sati may have been derived from the name of Shiva’s wife. Sati, also called Dakshayani, was one of the daughters of Prasuti and Daksha. She loved Shiva, but her father Daksha forbade her marriage to Shiva. She married Shiva anyway, and Daksha got revenge by not inviting Shiva to a festival during his absence. Sati killed herself by self-immolation on a fire. After Shiva returned and found Sati’s body, he killed and decapitated Daksha, later replacing his head with a goat’s. Sati Pratha was widespread during the Early Brahmanic Dark Ages (1500 BC – 500 BC). It was later enforced by the Brahmins on their usurpation of power during the Later Brahmanic Dark Ages (500 BC – 1000 AD). Sati Pratha can be found in almost every Hindu scripture.

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