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Fathers Of The Bride, Fathers Of Satī: Myths Rites, And Scholarly Practices

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at three myths about goddesses who personify sati, a woman's self-immolation. Two of the three goddesses - Sati and Bela - embody sati in their very names. All three myths are about daughters in conflict with fathers: that of Sati being only the most obvious. The author argues that important features of sati mythology can be read with this key, and that it also has much to tell us about sati as practised and described. The chapter clearly underemphasizs brothers, who also figure prominently in the Samdhya and Bela myths: in the former as incontinents yielding one among them as Samdhya's future husband; in the latter as Bela's victim in a retaliatory beheading. It also looks beyond the husband and underemphasized the sati's other affines, who have the most to gain in certain circumstances of inheritance, or when it becomes a matter of income from a sati temple.

Keywords: Bela; fathers; goddesses; myths; sati



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