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Maa Sati

Maa Sati

Maa Sati was the daughter of Daksh prajapati who ruled this world and has his capital as Kankhal, situated in Haridwar. Sati was the consort of Shiva.Sati plays the role of luring Shiva from ascetic isolation into creative participation in the world. 

The Maa Sati, a personification of the divine Prakriti or nature , took human birth at the bidding of Brahma. She was born as a daughter of Daksha, a son of Brahma, and Prasuti. She was named Gauri, "the turmeric hued one," since she was of the fair, golden complexion of auspicious turmeric. To win the regard of the ascetic Shiva, the daughter of Daksha forsook the luxuries of her father's palace and retired to a forest, there to devote herself to austerities and the worship of Shiva. So rigorous were her penances that she gradually renounced food itself, at one stage subsisting on one bilva leaf a day, and then giving up even that nourishment; this particular abstinence earned her the sobriquet Aparna.She worshipped lord Shiva for 10,000 years at a place in Haridwar which is called the BilvKeshwar Temple. Her prayers finally bore fruit when, after testing her resolve, Shiva finally acceded to her wishes and consented to make her his bride.

An ecstatic Sati returned to her father's home to await her bridegroom, but found her father less than elated by the turn of events. The wedding was however held in due course, and Gauri made her home with Shiva in Kailasa. Daksha, depicted in legend as an arrogant king, did not get on with his renunciate son-in-law and basically cut his daughter away from her natal family.Daksha once organized a grand yajna to which all the Gods were invited, with the exception of Sati and Shiva. Wanting to visit her parents, relatives and childhood friends, Gauri sought to rationalize this omission. She reasoned within herself that her parents had neglected to make a formal invitation to them only because, as family, such formality was unnecessary; certainly, she needed no invitation to visit her own mother and would go anyway. Shiva sought to dissuade her, but she was resolved upon going; he then provided her with an escort of his ganas and bid her provoke no incident. Sati was received coldly by her father. They were soon in the midst of a heated argument about the virtues (and alleged lack thereof) of Shiva. Every passing moment made it clearer to Gauri that her father was entirely incapable of appreciating the many excellent qualities of her husband. The realization then came to Gauri that this abuse was being heaped on Shiva only because he had wed her; she was the cause of this dishonour to her husband. She was consumed by rage against her father and loathing for his mentality. Calling up a prayer that she may, in some future birth, be born the daughter of a father whom she could respect, Dakshayani invoked her yogic powers and immolated herself.The place where Gauri, burnt herself is called the Sati kund.

Shiva sensed this catastrophe, and his rage was awesome. He created Virbhadra dna Bhadrakali, two ferocious creatures who wreaked havoc and mayhem on the scene of the horrific incident. Shiva placed Sati's body on his shoulder and ran about the world, crazed with grief.

The Gods called upon Lord Vishnu to return Shiva to sanity. Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra to dismember Sati's lifeless body, following which Shiva regained his equanimity. Sati's body was thus dismembered into 52 pieces which fell on earth at various places. These 52 places are called Shakti Peethas and are places of pilgrimage. After the night of horror, Shiva, the all-forgiving, restored all those slain to life and granted them his blessings. Even the abusive and culpable Daksha was restored both his life and his kingship. His decapitated head was substituted for that of a goat. Having learned his lesson, Daksha spent his remaining years as a devotee of Shiva and thus the temple is called the Daksh mandir.

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