Sati begs Shiva to Attend her Father’s Grand Ceremony

This enmity between the father-in-law, Dakṣa, and son-in-law, Śiva, remained constant even after a great deal of time had passed. Meanwhile, Dakṣa became the foremost of all Brahmaṇas and the leader of all the Prajāpatī. He expressed his pride by conducting a Soma ceremony more opulently than even the Veda prescribes. As required, he then prepared to follow up the Soma ceremony with a grand offering to Bṛhaspati – thus exhibiting his ability to execute Vedic rituals at the highest standard.

All the sages of the philosophical Brahmaṇas and divine Devas began assembling to attend that ceremony, along with the ancestral Pitṛ and the Gods. They came in pairs, as husband and wife, beautifully dressed and decorated.

Dakṣa’s daughter, goddess Satī, overheard the sky-creatures gossiping about her father’s great ceremonial festival. Just then, a host of minor divinities passed nearby in their ships, looking beautiful with their impeccable wives all dressed to the hilt with fine necklaces, glittering earrings, and eagerly brilliant eyes.

“Beautiful Lord,” she eagerly said to her husband, the master of ghosts, “Your father-in-law, the Prajāpatī, is about to begin a great ceremonial festival! All the wise Gods are attending. Certainly we are also welcome. Wouldn’t you like to go?”

“Why should we go?” Śiva asked. “What purpose would it serve?”

“My fortunate sisters will surely be there with their husbands,” Satī replied. “I miss them and want to go there to see them again.”

“Certainly, you should go.” Śiva said.

“I want you to come with me,” Satī replied. “Everyone attends as a couple, dressed and decorated very nicely.”

“If you just want to get dressed up,” Śiva suggested humorously, “we can do that right here.”

“No, no,” Satī replied, “I want to see my sisters with their husbands. I want to see my loving aunts and mother. It has been such a long time. I really want to see them again, under the auspicious ceremonial flags raised by great sages.”

Śiva looked at her calmly and carefully.

“You may not understand how I feel,” she said, “because you are an enlightened being without a father and mother. You see everyone and everything in this world as an amazing manifestation of spiritual energy interacting with nature’s three qualities. I am a simple young girl who hasn’t realized such things. Oh Bhava, my heart aches to see my birth-family again, and to visit my old home.”

He continued to look at her, compassionately yet calmly.

“Unborn Lord,” she said, “just look at all these other women beautifully dressed with their lovers and friends, all headed to that great ceremony in ships that look like great, white swans! Oh best of Gods, how could a daughter like me not go to a festival at her father’s house?”

“But he has not invited you.” Śiva reminded her.

“He does not need to,” she explained. “Intimate friends and family, husbands and gurus do not need to be invited to enter one’s house.”

Śiva was still, wisely, unsure.

“Oh Immortal, you are kind and compassionate so please have mercy on my desires. You see everything perfectly and know that I am half of your own self, so please be affectionate towards my requests.”

— Bhāgavatam 4.3.1~14

Vraja Kishor das


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