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Re: question on 'sati'

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Dec 01 1999 - 22:48:42 PST

--- VAgarwalV@cs.com wrote:
> The writings of Sri Samkaracharya and Sri
> Ramanujacharya represent only a > tiny fraction of
what they knew or spoke about. If> their writings are
silent > on the status of widows or the correctness of
Sati,> it does not diminsh from > their glory.
Everyone is not expected to speak on> every topic.
               *******************

adiyen agrees with Sri.Vishal.
Both were "sanyAsis" and probably felt inhibited in
holding forth on a subject that was intimately
associated with "grihAstAshrama-dharma". In Sankara's
case he was not even married. And in the short span of
32 years that he lived, he was probably in such a
tearing hurry to accomplish more pressing tasks, I
guess, than to find time to dwell on things like
"sati" etc. 

In Ramanuja's case, though a 'grihAstA' for a while,
he voluntarily discarded conjugal and familial ties in
his mid-life. His wife was politely requested to
separate and go back to her parents home and it is
said that Ramanuja never saw her thereafter.

Yes, I agree with Sri.Vishal Agarwal. You cannot
expect Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya to have had
anything candid to say about a matter like "sati".
> 
> Plus, it is doubtful if Satis were forced. I read a
> book "India in the eyes of early Muslim travellers"
in which a traveller clearly states that Satis were
voluntary. Hinduism as such does not have such a
blanket negative > attitude towards suicide as the
current judicial> system (the anglo-saxon > prejudices
against suicide derive from the code of> Emperor
Justinian) > although it is certainly looked down upon
by our> Smriti Nibandhakaras like > Medhatithi.
> Form the Vedantic perspective, the "Wise do not
> grieve over the living or the > dead" and so Sati
cannot be justified.
>> Vishal

Here Sri.Vishal, I am afraid, I can't go all the way
with you. Just because a deed is "voluntary" can it
become morally defensible? If "voluntary" "sati" is
permissible then I suppose one can argue for
"voluntary" abortion too with equal weight?

In vedantic perspective suicide is "atma-hatya" and it
is considered "sin"... "pApam"... just as
"sishu-hatya" or abortion of un-born foetus is also
sin.

>From the standpoint of the theory of "karma" also
(which BTW is "vedantic perspective" too) suicide or
"sati" would be indefensible. If a woman must suffer
widowhood in her life, she must suffer or cope with
the condition with courage, resignation and with faith
in God. She has no right to re-write the rules of her
"kArmi-c" destiny by choosing a sort of dubious
martyrdom that is "a-shAstrA-ic" in adiyen's view.

What do other members think?

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran 

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