Prajapati Daksha was not favourably disposed towards Lord Shiva. He thought Shiva had insulted him in the past by not standing up to respect him during the Brahma Satra yagnya. He was so angry with Lord Shiva that he cursed him, “I am your father-in- law. Therefore you have to pay me respect. I am like your guru. You do not have the basic manners and lack decorum. And you also have a big ego. You are the worst of all Gods, you will therefore not receive any share of any yagnas (sacrificial rites/ceremony).” Daksha sealed the curse by sprinkling water. Nandi the bull, an ardent devotee of Shiva, was livid at the insult of his master. He cursed Daksha, “This man does not have more sense than a goat. He will have the head of a goat very soon.” Nilanjana retells the well-known tale of Shiva-Sati, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Sati was the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, the son of Brahma. She was also the consort of Lord Shiva.
However, Prajapati Daksha was not favourably disposed towards Lord Shiva. He thought Shiva had insulted him in the past by not standing up to respect him during the Brahma Satra yagnya. He was so angry with Lord Shiva that he cursed him, “I am your father-in- law. Therefore you have to pay me respect. I am like your guru. You do not have the basic manners and lack decorum. And you also have a big ego. You are the worst of all Gods, you will therefore not receive any share of any yagnas (sacrificial rites/ceremony).” Daksha sealed the curse by sprinkling water.
Nandi the bull, an ardent devotee of Shiva, was livid at the insult of his master. He cursed Daksha, “This man does not have more sense than a goat. He will have the head of a goat very soon.”
In course of time, Prajapati Daksha arranged for another yagnya. And he deliberately did not invite his daughter, Sati and her husband, Lord Shiva.
Sati had heard of the yagnya that her father, Prajapati Daksha, was organising. Though they did not invite her and her husband, Lord Shiva, she was keen to attend it.
Sati spoke to her husband, “My father is performing this amazing yagnya. I wish to attend it.”
Mahadev (another name of Lord Shiva) was silent. Unwilling to let go, Sati continued, “You must be thinking that we have not been invited. So what? One should not wait to be invited in the house of their family, friends, masters and gurus.”
Mahadev looked at the face of his wife and replied sadly, “It does not matter if we are invited or not. Unfortunately, your father is drunk with ego. Though he has other great qualities like knowledge, wealth, noble birth and many others, but his ego supersedes them all. His knowledge has made him egoistic. The pride of knowledge is the worst. He seems to believe that I had not paid him his due respects in the past. Now, respect for another is respect of one soul for another. There is no window for ego or for the body that holds the soul. However, at that time, your father was so drunk on ego that his soul was completely clouded. Respect for such a person will be of no good.”
Sati was still undeterred. Mahadev tried explaining further, “Sati, my dear, the hurt caused by a relative is more painful than injuries caused by an enemy. Though he is your father, he considers me his enemy. No good will come if you go there. Nobody will welcome you there since they will look at you as my spouse and not Prajapati Daksha’s daughter.”
Sati’s eyes were filled with tears. She was angry with her husband. She has asked for so little and yet he was being stubborn. She decided to go to the yagnya all by herself. She swiftly walked on, without even looking back at her husband. Mahadev’s attendants followed her. Back in Kailash, Mahadev sat all alone in sorrow, awaiting the impending doom.
Sati did not expect such a cold welcome when she reached her father’s abode. Though her mother and sisters embraced her, the rest completely ignored her. Especially her father, Prajapati Daksha.
Angered, humiliated and hurt, Sati thought of Mahadeva and his warning. She looked at her father in fury, “You have not understood the greatness of my husband. You see fault in him when none exist. You have chosen to insult him. Though he is indifferent, I am not. I am hurt. I do not intend to be called your daughter Dakshyani hereafter. I wish to shed this body that you have given me.”
Sati invoked the fire element in her and magnified it to such an extent that it consumed her. Her followers could not stop her and an immense chaos began. Sage Narada informed Mahadeva about this news. Though he knew about the doom, he was berserk with grief and anger. He pulled out a strand from his matted locks and invoked Virabhadra who set out to kill Daksha.
Meanwhile, Daksha’s wife Prasuti, rushed to Mahadeva to seek forgiveness. The epitome of kindness, Mahadeva, put aside his personal grief and forgave all those who had been insulting him for so long. He added, “Daksha had to be cured of his pride and arrogance. He can come back to life with the head of a goat. Nandi’s words cannot become false.”
Everybody went back to the yagnya to complete it. Mahadeva stayed back in his abode. His home was empty since Sati was not there anymore!
Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana.
Photos from the internet.
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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.