Book 4: Chapter 4
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 4: Verses 20-34
Activity in the shape of performing one's religious duties (pouring oblations into the sacred fire and so on) and that consisting of pursuits carried on in retirement (such as the control of one's mind and senses etc.) are equally right, both being prescribed in the Vedas severally for the two types of men, the one characterized by worldly attachment and the other by its absence, as will appear from the fact that the two are found incompatible in an agent practising both at a time. (But even as the one duty is not incumbent on the other type of men) so no duty of any kind devolves on Lord Siva (who is the same as Brahma). The natural gifts (mystic powers) possessed by us, 0 father, cannot be acquired by you. They are not extolled in sacrificial halls by creatures following the path of ritual and gratified with the food offered in sacrifices; for their origin is unknown (depending as they do on our will) and they are enjoyed only by the knowers of Brahma. I have no longer any use for this body of ignoble birth, sprung as it is from the loins of one who has sinned against Lord Siva (the Destroyer of the universe). Away, away with it ! I am ashamed of my relationship with a vile man. Accursed be the birth from him who offends against exalted souls. When Lord Siva (whose banner bears the device of a bull) calls me (jocularly) by the name of Daksayani (Daksa's daughter)--an appellation derived from your name, I shall feel deeply piqued, and forget all mirth and smile. Therefore, I will forthwith cast off this corpse-like body begotten of you (so that no such occasion may arise). Maitreya went on : Having thus addressed Daksa in the sacrificial assembly, O Vidura (queller of enemies in the shape of lust, anger and so on), Sati sat down silent on the floor, facing the north. She sipped (some) water (by way of purification), wrapped herself with a yellow piece of linen, closed Her eyes and resorted to the device of shedding the body after the manner of the Yogis. Having steadied herself in a squatting posture, she brought the Praha and Apana airs on the same level (at the navel) and forcing the Udana air upwards from the mystical circle at the navel, held it in the region of the heart along with the intellect. Thereafter the irreproachable lady drew the air thus held in the region of the heart to the middle of her eyebrows through her throat. Thus intending to drop her body-which had been lovingly placed on the lap more than once by Lord Siva (the most adored even of exalted souls)-as a mark of displeasure against Daksa (her father), the strong-willed lady summoned the presence of air and fire in her limbs through (deep) concentration of mind. Thereafter Sati was so completely absorbed in enjoying with her mind the honey of the lotus-feet of her lord (Bhagavan Sankara), the Preceptor of the whole world, that she perceived none else. She was thereby rid of the last traces of impurity (in the shape of the consciousness that she was a daughter of Daksa) and her body was soon ablaze with the fire produced by deep meditation. There ensued in the heavens as well as on the earth a tremendous uproar among those who witnessed this most extraordinary event : "Alas ! angered by Daksa (her own father), Goddess Sati, the beloved spouse of the most adorable Divinity (Lord Siva), has given up the ghost ! Ah, look at the enormous wickedness of this lord of created beings, who is the father of all these mobile and immobile creatures, and slighted by whom Sati, his own high-souled daughter, gave up her life-Sati, who ever deserved honour at his hands ! Possessed of a jealous heart and an enemy of the Supreme Spirit, he will incur great infamy in the world. People will say that this Siva-hater did not forbid his own begotten child when she was preparing to die because of the ill-treatment received from him !" While the people were observing thus Sati's attendants, who saw the wonderful self-immolation rose with uplifted weapons to kill Daksa. Seeing the vehemence of their onrush, the worshipful Bhrgu poured oblations into the fire known by the name of Daksinagni, reciting the text of the Yajurveda possessing the efficacy of killing those who are out to wreck a sacrifice. While the sage Bhrgu (the priest officiating at the sacrifice) was pouring oblations, heavenly beings called the Rbhus, who had attained to (the sphere of) the moon-god by dint of their austere penance, rose (from the sacrificial pit) in thousands with great force. Beaten by these (divinities), who were armed with firebrands and resplendent with the spiritual glow investing a holy Brahmana, all the Pramathas (attendants of Lord Siva) along with the Guhyakas (Yaksas, attendants of Kubera, the god of riches) ran away in various directions.
Thus ends the fourth discourse entitled "The Self-immolation of Safi" in Book Four of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.
- ' For a clear conception of these airs, vide the foot-note below Ill vi. 9 (p. 175).