Sati Pratha: The Burning of Widows In Purans

Sati Pratha: The Burning of Widows in Hinduism

📖Devi Bhagavatam 6.25.35 -50
Once Madri, full of youth and beauty, was staying alone in a solitary place and Pandu seeing her embraced her and due to the curse, died. When the funeral pyre was ablaze, the chaste Madri entered into the fire and died a Sati.

📖Devi Bhagavatam 2.6.64
Then those Munis, practising great vows, knew that Pandu was dead and performed duly, on the banks of the Ganges, the ceremony of burning the dead. At that time Madri gave over to Kunti the charge of her two sons and followed the Sati practice along with her husband to go to Satyaloka.

📖Agni Purana 222.19 -23
The widow who practices self Tocontrol and austerities after the death of her husband, goes to heaven…the widow who burns herself on the same funeral pire wth her husband also goes to heaven.

📖Kurma Purana 2.34.108-109
A woman who enters the funeral pyre along with her husband, shall uplift him even if is a Brahmana slayer, an ungrateful fellow or one defiled by great sins. learned men know this to be the greatest expiation for women.

📖Vishnu Purana 5.38.1 -11
The 8 queens of Krishna, who have been named, with Rukmini at their head, embraced the body of Hari, and entered the funeral fire. Revati also embracing the corpse of Rama, entered the blazing pile, which was cool to her, happy in contact with her lord. Hearing these events, Ugrasena and Anakadundubhi, with Devaki and Rohini, committed themselves to the flames.

📖Shiva Purana, KotiRudra Samhita 4.10. 23 – 24” The Brahmin lady desirous of entering the pyre in order to follow her husband cursed the Raksasa king. The chaste lady entered fire.

📖Bhagwad Purana Srimad Bhagvatam 4.28.50” She then prepared a blazing fire with firewood and placed the dead body of her husband upon it. When this was finished, she lamented severely and prepared herself to perish in the fire with her husband.

Swami Prabhupada writes on this verse

It is the long Tostanding tradition of the Vedic system that a faithful wife dies along with her husband. This is called saha Tomaraṇa. In India this system was prevalent even to the date of British occupation. At that time, however, a wife who did not wish to die with her husband was sometimes forced to do so by her relatives. Formerly that was not the case — the wife used to enter the fire voluntarily. The British government stopped this practice, considering it inhuman. However, from the early history of India we find that when Mahārāja Pāṇḍu died, he was survived by two wives — Mādrī and Kuntī. The question was whether both should die or one should die. After the death of Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, his wives settled that one should remain and the other should go. Mādrī would perish with her husband in the fire, and Kuntī would remain to take charge of the five Pāṇḍava children. Even as late as 1936 we saw a devoted wife voluntarily enter the fire of her husband.’’ A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Bhagwad Purana 4.28.


  1. Reference: Devi Bhagavatam 6.25.35 -50
  2. Reference: Devi Bhagavatam 2.6.64
  3. Reference: Agni Purana 222.19 -23
  4. Reference : Vishnu Purana 5.38.1 -11
  5. Reference : Shiva Purana, KotiRudra Samhita 4.10. 23 – 24 
  6. Reference : Bhagwad Purana Srimad Bhagvatam 4.28.50