Why did Sati quit her body?

Srimad Bhagvatam narrates a very unusual pastimes & explains What was the real reason behind Sati quitting her body in her own fathers house. Following is a condensed summary of 3 chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2 to 4.4.

This particular incident helps us to understand below things
1. Glories of Lord Shiva from the lips of Goddess Sati.
2. Why a woman should not disobey the instructions of her husband?
3. Its better to quit ones body rather to hear offenses to the Lotus feet of a Maha-Bhagavata.

Daksha cursing Lord Shiva
In a former time, the leaders of the universal creation performed a great sacrifice in which all the great sages, philosophers, demigods and fire-gods assembled with their followers. When Dakṣa, the leader of the Prajāpatis, entered that assembly, his personal bodily luster as bright as the effulgence of the sun, the entire assembly was illuminated, and all the assembled personalities became insignificant in his presence. Influenced by his personal bodily luster, all the fire-gods and other participants in that great assembly, with the exceptions of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, gave up their own sitting places and stood in respect for Dakṣa.

Dakṣa was adequately welcomed by the president of the great assembly, Lord Brahmā. After offering Lord Brahmā respect, Dakṣa, by the order of Brahmā, properly took his seat. Before taking his seat, however, Dakṣa was very much offended to see Lord Śiva sitting and not showing him any respect. At that time, Dakṣa became greatly angry, and, his eyes glowing, he began to speak very strongly against Lord Śiva & said The demigods are eligible to share in the oblations of sacrifice, but Lord Śiva, who is the lowest of all the demigods, should not have a share.
In this manner the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Dakṣa and Lord Śiva, continued for a considerably long period.

Talks between Lord Shiva & Parvati
Once Prajapati Dakṣa performed a another sacrifice named vājapeya sacrifice and Sati insisted to go for that festival in her father's house. Remembering the malicious, heart-piercing speeches delivered by Dakṣa before the guardians of the universal affairs. The great lord Shiva replied:
My dear beautiful wife, you have said that one may go to a friend’s house without being invited, and this is true, provided such a friend does not find fault with the guest because of bodily identification and thereby become angry towards him. Although the six qualities education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage are for the highly elevated, one who is proud of possessing them becomes blind, and thus he loses his good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of great personalities. One should not go to anyone’s house, even on the consideration of his being a relative or a friend, when the man is disturbed in his mind and looks upon the guest with raised eyebrows and angry eyes. If one is hurt by the arrows of an enemy, one is not as aggrieved as when cut by the unkind words of a relative, for such grief continues to rend one’s heart day and night. My dear white-complexioned wife, it is clear that of the many daughters of Dakṣa you are the pet, yet you will not be honored at his house because of your being my wife. Rather, you will be sorry that you are connected with me.

Sati Chastises her father for offending Lord Shiva
Satī felt very sorry at being forbidden to go see her relatives at her father’s house, and due to affection for them, tears fell from her eyes. Shaking and very much afflicted, she looked at her uncommon husband, Lord Śiva, as if she were going to blast him with her vision. Thereafter Satī left her husband, Lord Śiva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman. Lord Shiva send his associates along with her to accompany her. But when she reached the arena of sacrifice she was not welcomed by her father Present in the arena of sacrifice, Satī saw that there were no oblations for her husband, Lord Śiva. Next she realized that not only had her father failed to invite Lord Śiva, but when he saw Lord Śiva’s exalted wife, Dakṣa did not receive her either. Thus she became greatly angry, so much so that she looked at her father as if she were going to burn him with her eyes.

The blessed goddess said: Lord Śiva is the most beloved of all living entities. He has no rival. No one is very dear to him, and no one is his enemy. No one but you could be envious of such a universal being, who is free from all enmity. Twice-born Dakṣa, a man like you can simply find fault in the qualities of others. Lord Śiva, however, not only finds no faults with others’ qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly. Unfortunately, you have found fault with such a great soul. It is not wonderful for persons who have accepted the transient material body as the self to engage always in deriding great souls. Such envy on the part of materialistic persons is very good because that is the way they fall down. They are diminished by the dust of the feet of great personalities.

Satī continued: My dear father, you are committing the greatest offense by envying Lord Śiva, whose very name, consisting of two syllables, śi and va, purifies one of all sinful activities. His order is never neglected. Lord Śiva is always pure, and no one but you envies him. You are envious of Lord Śiva, who is the friend of all living entities within the three worlds. For the common man he fulfills all desires, and because of their engagement in thinking of his lotus feet, he also blesses higher personalities who are seeking after brahmānanda [transcendental bliss]. Do you think that greater, more respectable personalities than you, such as Lord Brahmā, do not know this inauspicious person who goes under the name Lord Śiva? He associates with the demons in the crematorium, his locks of hair are scattered all over his body, and he is garlanded with human skulls and smeared with ashes from the crematorium, but in spite of all these inauspicious qualities, great personalities like Brahmā honor him by accepting the flowers offered to his lotus feet and placing them with great respect on their heads.

Satī continued: If one hears an irresponsible person blaspheme the master and controller of religion, one should block his ears and go away if unable to punish him. But if one is able to kill, then one should by force cut out the blasphemer’s tongue and kill the offender, and after that one should give up his own life. Therefore I shall no longer bear this unworthy body, which has been received from you, who have blasphemed Lord Śiva. If someone has taken food which is poisonous, the best treatment is to vomit.

It is better to execute one’s own occupational duty than to criticize others’. Elevated transcendentalists may sometimes forgo the rules and regulations of the Vedas, since they do not need to follow them, just as the demigods travel in space whereas ordinary men travel on the surface of the earth.
In the Vedas there are directions for two kinds of activities — activities for those who are attached to material enjoyment and activities for those who are materially detached. In consideration of these two kinds of activities, there are two kinds of people, who have different symptoms. If one wants to see two kinds of activities in one person, that is contradictory. But both kinds of activities may be neglected by a person who is transcendentally situated.

My dear father, the opulence we possess is impossible for either you or your flatterers to imagine, for persons who engage in fruitive activities by performing great sacrifices are concerned with satisfying their bodily necessities by eating foodstuff offered as a sacrifice. We can exhibit our opulences simply by desiring to do so. This can be achieved only by great personalities who are renounced, self-realized souls.

Why did Sati quit her body?

Sati said to her Father Dākṣā: You are an offender at the lotus feet of Lord Śiva, and unfortunately I have a body produced from yours. I am very much ashamed of our bodily relationship, and I condemn myself because my body is contaminated by a relationship with a person who is an offender at the lotus feet of the greatest personality. Because of our family relationship, when Lord Śiva addresses me as Dākṣāyaṇī I at once become morose, and my jolliness and my smile at once disappear. I feel very much sorry that my body, which is just like a bag, has been produced by you. I shall therefore give it up.

While thus speaking to her father in the arena of sacrifice, Satī sat down on the ground and faced north. Dressed in saffron garments, she sanctified herself with water and closed her eyes to absorb herself in the process of mystic yoga. First of all she sat in the required sitting posture, and then she carried the life air upwards and placed it in the position of equilibrium near the navel. Then she raised her life air, mixed with intelligence, to the heart and then gradually towards the pulmonary passage, and from there to between her eyebrows. Thus, in order to give up her body, which had been so respectfully and affectionately seated on the lap of Lord Śiva, who is worshiped by great sages and saints, Satī, due to anger towards her father, began to meditate on the fiery air within the body. Satī concentrated all her meditation on the holy lotus feet of her husband, Lord Śiva, who is the supreme spiritual master of all the world. Thus she became completely cleansed of all taints of sin and quit her body in a blazing fire by meditation on the fiery elements.

Note: If we carefully analyze the mood of Sati we can find that she could have left the place instead of quitting her body. But she didn't want to be associated in any way to a person who is a offender to Lord Shiva, who is the topmost amongst the Vaishnavas. She preferred to leave her body so that she should not be called as Dākṣāyaṇī. We must learn to not commit any offense to the Lotus feet of the Vaishnavas neither we should be in association of such people who criticize others.

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Thank you very much.

Your servant

Brajsunder Das 


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  • E-Counselor

    Hare KRsna Prabhuji,


    Very good article.

    One reason I heard about why Sati had to leave her body (mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan also) is that at the time of Ram lila, when Lord Ram was searching for Sita and lamenting, asking each tree, leaf where His beloved wife is, Sati was bewildered. She started thinking how can this be God? He is behaving like an ordinary man, lamenting for his wife? She took the form of Sita and stood under a tree. When Lord Ram approached that tree and saw her, He immediately recognised her and asked her with folded hands - mata where is Mahadev, howcome you are here alone? She was very embarrased because her bodily features were exactly like Sita and no human being could have detected the difference.

    Lord Siva came to know of this incident and then and there mentally He gave up Sati. She had taken the form of Sita - His Mother, therefore, Lord Siva could not accept Sati as wife anymore. Therefore the entire lila of Sati giving up her body was enacted.

    That is the reason she had to give up that body and take another body as Parvati. As Parvati, she had to do a lot of penances to get Lord Siva as husband, whereas Sati had easily married Siva.

    Just adding to what you have written, though my language is colloqual, not shastric and full of gyaan like yours.

    I hope you will not take offence.


    YOur servant,


    • Yes Rashmi, Thank you very much for that. I had that in mind. I have read it in Ramcharitmanas as well. This are the two reasons Why sati quit her body. one given above & one mentioned by you. You can also read other artcles on My facebook page: www.facebook.com/brajsunderdas

      Your servant & well wisher
      Brajsunder Das 

  • Really wonderful article....very useful 

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