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Sati - Shiva's Beloved Wife

The mendicant Shiva ignored Sati in the beginning as he had no interest in the world. But the intense austerities performed by Sati moved Shiva and He appeared before her. Shiva wanted to know why she wanted to marry someone like him who was hideous for the society. Sati, who was Prakriti (Mother Nature), said to Shiva (Purusha), we both are incomplete without each other.

A determined Sati was able to convince Shiva. They both roamed around the world far away from the society. Sati introduced kama (pleasure) to Shiva.

Daksha was unhappy about this and to show his anger, he decided to conduct a major yagna. All the gods and people were invited. But Shiva and Sati were not invited. Shiva knew very well that this was a plan to insult him.

But Sati wanted to know why her husband was not invited and went to the yagna despite the warnings given by Shiva.

At the yagna, Sati was not welcomed and respected. Instead Daksha showered insult on Shiva. His rustic ways were ridiculed and Sati soon realized the folly of not listening to Shiva. An insulted Sati could not bear the humiliation and she sat on the ground in yagna hall meditating on Shiva, the Yogi, one who is aware of the ways of the universe.

Soon she brought forth her inner fire and allowed it to consume her.

Separation from Sati aroused Krodha in Shiva. The anger caused by the death of Sati in Shiva was uncontrollable and it brought forth numerous Ganas, all ferocious killers. Their attack on the yagna field was equal to the attack of millions of rabies infected dogs. Daksha was beheaded by Virabhadra.

When Shiva’s anger subsided, he walked into the yagna hall and was moved by the bloodbath created by his anger. He realized that Kama and Krodha had trapped him in the ways of the Samsara. He restored the lives of the people. Daksha, who now realized nothing moves in the world without the knowledge of Shiva, gave him due respect.

Shiva walked away from the yagna hall with the body of Sati. He wandered across the cosmos with it. There seemed to be no end to Shiva’s anger and grief. This led to an imbalance in the cosmos. Finally, Lord Vishnu decided to decimate the body of Sati with his Sudhrashana Chakra. He cut the body of Sati into 51 pieces and the places where Sati’s body fell came to be known as Shaktipithas.

The Shakti Pithas or the Shakti Peethas (Sanskrit: शक्ति पीठ, Śakti Pīṭha, seat of Shakti[1]) are significant shrines and pilgrimage destinations in Shaktism, the goddess-centric denomination in Hinduism. The shrines are dedicated to various forms of Adi Shakti.[a] Various Puranas such as Srimad Devi Bhagavatam state the existence of varying number of 51, 52, 64 and 108 Shakti Pithas[2][3] of which 18 are named as Astadasha Maha (major) in medieval Hindu texts Each temple has shrines for Shakti and Kalabhairava, and most Shakti and Kalabhairava in different Shakti Pithas have different names