Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Mystery of Prajapati's daughters

Dear reader(s), at the moment I am working on Bengali to English translation of Kalika Purana, where the anecdote of Sati, Her origin, life and epilogue have been documented. While translating the anecdote of Sati, I noticed that there are stark similarities between Daksha's daughter Sati and Brahma's daughter Sandhya.

In Shatpatha Brahmana, the creator has been addressed as Prajapati, who creates a daughter, Usha and forces himself upon her. As a result, he has to face Rudra's ire, as Rudra beheads Prajapati when the latter tries to flee in the guise of an antelope:

Pragâpati conceived a passion for his own daughter,--either the Sky or the Dawn. 'May I pair with her!' thus (thinking) he united with her. This, assuredly, was a sin”. (Satapatha Brahmana 1:7:4:1-2) 

Note that beheading of Prajapati is an important feature of Sati's anecdote.

In Shiva Purana version of Sati's anecdote, Brahma creates his ten mind born sons. At the same time he also creates Sandhya, Dharma and Kama. Kama fascinates Brahma and others:
"The enchanter (Kama) then charmed Brahma and others, the mental sons with several sharp flower-arrows. O sage, the sages and I (Brahma) were thus enamoured and we felt very great change in our mental feelings. We began to stare at Sandhya frequently, passion depraving our minds. Our lust was heightened. Truly a woman is one who increases passionate feelings." (Shiva Purana 2:2:3:19-21)

Upon seeing a sin being committed, Dharma remembers Shiva to stop this madness:
"On seeing the sinful proclivities of his brothers and father, Dharma remembered Lord Siva, the lord protector of virtue. Mentally meditating on Siva, the protector of virtue, Dharma, the son of Brahma eulogised Siva with different prayers in his state of sorrow." (Shiva Purana 2:2:3:30-31)

Shiva appears there and rebukes Brahma and his sons for their sinful act: 
"Alas ! O Brahma, how is it that you were overwhelmed with lustful feelings on seeing your own daughter? This is highly improper for those who walk on the line of the Vedas." (Shiva Purana 2:2:3:39)

We are all familiar with Sati and Her story. In all versions of Sati's anecdote, Sati commits self-immolation when dishonoured by Daksha.

Wait a second; don't you think Sati and Sandhya's stories are similar? Well I do, and following are the points that I found were common between Sati and Sandhya:-

1) Both were daughters of Prajapatis:

Sati was born Uma, the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. 
"On seeing the daughter of Daksha, the Goddess mother of the universe, they bowed and eulogised her with auspicious hymns. In their great delight they shouted cries of victory. They praised Daksha and Virini in particular. Then at their bidding, the delighted Daksha named her Uma since she inherited good qualities and was greatly admired." (Shiva Purana 2:2:14:47-49)
Sandhya was daughter of Prajapati Brahma.
"Formerly on seeing Sandhya, my daughter, I cherished a love for her, which, being afraid of Siva, I forsook." (Shiva Purana 2:2:5:14)

2) Both were dishonoured by their respective fathers:

Sati was insulted by Daksha in public. 
"Gentle lady, nothing shall be gained by your speaking so much here. You can go or stay. Why at all did you come? Your husband Siva is known to the wise as inauspicious. He is not of a noble lineage. He is the king of goblins, ghosts and spirits. He is excluded from Vedic rites. Knowing Siva to be of indecent dress and features, my dear daughter I did not invite him to the sacrifice in the presence of gods and sages. Induced by Brahma I gave you in marriage to the wicked haughty Siva who does not know customs. I have been a sinner and slow-witted. Hence leave off your anger. Calm yourself. Let us see you smile sweetly. Having come all the way to this sacrifice you can take your own share." (Shiva Purana 2:2:32:30-34)
Sandhya was sexually abused by Brahma.
"O sage, the sages and I (Brahma) were thus enamoured and we felt very great change in our mental feelings." (Shiva Purana 2:2:5:20)

3) Both committed suicide:

Sati, unable to bear Shiva Ninda, self immolated with Her Yogic fire (in some versions Sati ejects Her Pranavayu through Brahmarandhra).
"She desired to cast-off her body due to her anger with Daksha. She desired to burn off the body and retain the pure wind by yogic means. In this posture she remembered the feet of her lord and nothing else. Her body divested of its sins fell in the yogic fire and was reduced to ashes, O excellent sage, in accordance with her own wish." (Shiva Purana 2:2:33:6-8)

Sandhya at Vashishtha's advice appeased Shiva through penances and immolated herself in the Yajna fire at Sage Medhatithi's monastery.
"Meditating on that Brahmacarin (Vashishtha), her tutor in the mode of austerities, Sandhya thought of him as her future husband, and entered the blazing sacrificial fire unobserved by the sages. She was delighted that it was by Siva's favour that she could enter the sacrificial fire." (Shiva Purana 2:2:7:4-5)

4) Both were given justice by Rudra:

Sati's death was avenged by Rudra, whose attendant Virabhadra beheaded Daksha. 
"He (Daksha) was caught hold of by his cheeks, his head and was struck with the sword. Due to the yogic power of Daksha it could not be split. Thinking that his head could not be pierced or cut with weapons he (Virabhadra) kicked his chest with the foot and wrested the head with his hand. Virabhadra the leader of the Ganas threw the head of the wicked Daksha, the enemy of Siva, into the fire-pit." (Shiva Purana 2:2:38:59-61)

In Sandhya's case, Rudra, either Himself or through Kala Bhairava, punished Brahma, either by rebuking or by beheading.
"Alas ! O Brahma, how is it that you were overwhelmed with lustful feelings on seeing your own daughter? This is highly improper for those who walk on the line of the Vedas." (Shiva Purana 2:2:3:39)

5) Both were reborn:

Sati was reborn as Himachala and Menaka's daughter Kali, who is addressed by Her titular name Parvati. 
"O Narada, Mena (wife of Himachala) rejoiced much on seeing goddess Uma (Sati) of the splendour of the blue lotus as her daughter." (Shiva Purana 2:3:6:42)
 "In an auspicious hour, in the company of the sages, Himavat named his daughter Kali and assigned other pleasing names to her." (Shiva Purana 2:3:7:11)

Sandhya was reborn as Arundhati, who was adopted by Medhatithi as his daughter.
"That Sandhya was my daughter mentally created by me formerly. She performed a penance, cast off her body and was reborn as Arundhati. She was born as the intelligent daughter of the excellent sage Medhatithi, performed sacred rites at the bidding of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva." (Shiva Purana 2:2:5:8-9)

6) Both married the person whom they thought of while dying:

Kali (re)married Rudra. 
"Himavat gave his daughter Parvati, the mother of the three worlds, to Siva the great, repeating the mantra "Tasmai Rudraya Mahate"." (Shiva Purana 2:3:48:39)

Arundhati married Vashishtha.
"Meditating on that Brahmacarin (Vashishtha), her tutor in the mode of austerities, Sandhya thought of him as her future husband, and entered the blazing sacrificial fire unobserved by the sages." (Shiva Purana 2:2:7:4-5)

7) Both are worshiped:

Sati's relics are worshiped in Shaktipithas. 
"Vyâsa said :-- O King! I am unable to describe what happened afterwards. O King! Out of the fire of anger of S’iva, the Pralaya seemed to threaten the three worlds. Vîrabhadra came into existence with hosts of Bhadra Kâlîs, ready to destroy the three worlds. Brahmâ and the other Devas took refuge to S’ankara. Though Mahâdeva lost everything on Satî’s departure, He, the Ocean of Mercy, destroyed the sacrifice of Daksa, cut off his head and instead placed the head of a goat, brought him back to life and thus made the Gods free from all fears. He, the Deva of the Devas, then became very much distressed and going to the place of sacrifice, began to weep in great sorrow. He saw that the body of the Intelligent Satî was being burnt in the fire of the Chitâ. He cried aloud :-- Oh my Satî! Oh My Satî! And taking Her body on His neck, began to roam in different countries, like a mad man. Seeing that, Brahmâ and the other Devas became very anxious and Bhagavân Visnu cut off the body to pieces by His arrows. Wherever the parts fell, S’ankara remained there in so many different forms. He then said to the Devas :-- Whoever will worship, with deep devotion in these places, the Bhagavatî, will have nothing left unattained. The Highest Mother will remain close to them there. The persons that will make Puras’charana (the repetition) of the Mantrams, especially the Mâyâ Vîja (the root Mantra of Mâyâ), their Mantrams will become, no doubt, fructified and become incarnate. O King! Thus saying, the Mahâdeva, being very much distressed for Satî’s departure, passed His time in those places, making Japam, Dhyânam and taking to Samâdhi." (Devi Bhagavatam 7:30:39-50)

Sandhya is worshiped as Pratahasandhya (dawn) and Sayanasandhya (dusk).
"The sun severed her body into two halves and placed the same on his own chariot for the propitiation of the Pitrs and the Devas." (Shiva Purana 2:2:7:8)

8) Both were dismembered by an Aditya (solar deity):

When Rudra, carrying Sati's corpse roamed around like a madman, Vishnu dismembered Sati's corpse with discus/arrows (in Kalika Purana version Brahma, Vishnu & Shani enter Sati's corpse and rip it apart inside out: in Yogini Tantra version Sati's corpse rots and Her limbs come apart on their own). 
"Vyâsa said :-- O King! I am unable to describe what happened afterwards. O King! Out of the fire of anger of S’iva, the Pralaya seemed to threaten the three worlds. Vîrabhadra came into existence with hosts of Bhadra Kâlîs, ready to destroy the three worlds. Brahmâ and the other Devas took refuge to S’ankara. Though Mahâdeva lost everything on Satî’s departure, He, the Ocean of Mercy, destroyed the sacrifice of Daksa, cut off his head and instead placed the head of a goat, brought him back to life and thus made the Gods free from all fears. He, the Deva of the Devas, then became very much distressed and going to the place of sacrifice, began to weep in great sorrow. He saw that the body of the Intelligent Satî was being burnt in the fire of the Chitâ. He cried aloud :-- Oh my Satî! Oh My Satî! And taking Her body on His neck, began to roam in different countries, like a mad man. Seeing that, Brahmâ and the other Devas became very anxious and Bhagavân Visnu cut off the body to pieces by His arrows. Wherever the parts fell, S’ankara remained there in so many different forms. He then said to the Devas :-- Whoever will worship, with deep devotion in these places, the Bhagavatî, will have nothing left unattained. The Highest Mother will remain close to them there. The persons that will make Puras’charana (the repetition) of the Mantrams, especially the Mâyâ Vîja (the root Mantra of Mâyâ), their Mantrams will become, no doubt, fructified and become incarnate. O King! Thus saying, the Mahâdeva, being very much distressed for Satî’s departure, passed His time in those places, making Japam, Dhyânam and taking to Samâdhi." (Devi Bhagavatam 7:30:39-50)

When Sandhya immolated herself, her body shot skywards and was severed into two halves by Surya. He tied upper half (Usha) to the front and lower half (Sandhya) to the rear of his divine chariot.
"The sun severed her body into two halves and placed the same on his own chariot for the propitiation of the Pitrs and the Devas. O great sage, the upper half of her body became the Pratahsandhya (dawn) which is at the beginning or in the middle of a day and night. The lower half of her body became the Sayamsandhya (dusk) which is in the middle of a day and night. The period is always pleasing to the manes." (Shiva Purana 2:2:7:8-10)

9) Both are revered as epitome of chastity:

Kali is dutiful wife of Rudra, and can easily distinguish between real and fake Rudras (as in Jalandhara's case, who came to trick Kali by disguising as Rudra). 

Arundhati is one among Panchasatis (Sati, Arundhati/Anusuya, Sita, Gandhari & Savitri) and at Rudra's request, she guided Kali regarding duties of a wife on their wedding day.


10) Both their progenies are linked with the fifth Veda Mahabharata:

Kali's son Ganesha is the scribe of Mahabharata.

Arundhati's great grandson Vedavyasa is author of Mahabharata (Arundhati's son Shakti was father of Parashara; so she is grandmother of the later).


These are the ten points of similarity I noticed. Have you?

Now the question arises, are Sati and Sandhya same? The answer is no. Although stories of Sati and Sandhya are similar, but there is a basic difference; Sati is incarnation of Adya Shakti Mahamaya and is Brahman, while Sandhya is a Jiva:
"Thus Kali Mahamaya Yoganidra the world's birthgiver, first became Daksha's daughter (Sati), and afterwards the daughter of mountain (Parvati)." (Kalika Purana 44:54)

Therefore, the mystery of the two daughters of Prajapati is solved. 
Post a Comment