Sati means `true`. She is said to be one of the daughters of Daksha. Sati is also known as Dakshayani and is a Hindu goddess of marital felicity and long life. She is worshipped by all Hindu women for the long life of their husbands. Sati is the first consort of Lord Shiva
and his second wife is Parvati, the incarnation of Sati.
In the Puranas
it is mentioned that Sati lures Shiva from leading a lonely life into creative involvement in the world. Sati or Dakshayani is also known as Uma, Aparna and Sivakamini.
After her name the act of Sati is named. In Hinduism, Sati is a ritual in which a Hindu widow burns herself on her husband`s funeral pyre as a final and consummate act of loyalty and devotion. Goddess Sati burnt herself for the devotion of her husband Shiva.
Sati is the epitome of the divine Prakriti or nature. She was born as a daughter of Daksha Prajapati. She was named Gauri for her fair and golden complexion. She is also known as Dakshayani for being the daughter of Daksha.
The purpose of the birth of Sati was to please Lord Shiva with her humble devotions and wed him. Sati grew up to be a dedicated follower of lord Shiva. As Sati grew up, her father pressurized her to get married but sati did not like the proposal. She rejected all the kings and gods who proposed to marry her.
To win the heart of Lord Shiva, Sati abandoned the luxuries life at her father`s palace and went to the forest. In the forest she devoted herself to austerities and the worship of Shiva. So rigorous were her penances that she gradually gave up food and lived on one `bilva` leaf a day, and gave up even that nourishment. After practicing these austerities she was named as Aparna. Shiva was finally pleased with Sati`s devotion and married her. Daksha was against this marriage and then Sati went to live with lord Shiva in Kailasa. Daksha being an arrogant king cut off all his relations with Sati and deprived her from his family.
Daksha organized a magnificent Yajna in which all the Gods were invited, except Sati and Shiva. Sati wanted to meet her family and associates at this moment but was not invited by her father. She was determined to meet them. Shiva tried to dissuade her, but she was resolved upon going. Shiva then provided her with a guide to attend the Yajna.
Sati was greeted coldly by her father Daksha. They were soon in the midst of a heated argument about the demerits of Shiva. Daksha criticized Shiva in every way and sati could not take this abuse. She thought that by attending the Yajna she is becoming the only cause of humiliation of her husband. Sati was consumed by rage against her father and loathing for his mentality. Sati then with her yogic powers immolated herself.
When Lord Shiva came to know this devastation he was furious. He created Virabhadra and Bhadrakali, two fierce creatures who wreaked chaos and disorder in the Yajna area. Everyone present in the Yajna along with Daksha was terrified. Annoyed Shiva performed the fearsome and awe-inspiring Tandava dance with Sati`s charred body on his shoulders. During this dance, Sati`s body came apart and fell into pieces at different places on earth.
In another version it is described that, Lord Shiva placed Sati`s body on his shoulder and ran about the world, distraught with grief. The Gods terrified called upon Lord Vishnu
to return Shiva to wisdom. Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakras to tear apart Sati`s lifeless body, following which Shiva regained his calmness. The body parts of Sati fell into fifty two places on earth. The sacred fifty two places are called Shakti Peethas, and are places of pilgrimage.
Shiva restored to calmness after the night of horror, granted life to the dead with his blessings. Even the abusive and culpable Daksha was restored both his life and his kingship. Daksha`s decapitated head was substituted for that of a goat. After this incident Daksha spent his remaining years as a devotee of Shiva.
Sati as Dakshayani was again reborn as Parvati, daughter of Himavan, king of the mountains. In this birth she was born as the daughter of a father whom she could respect. Her father appreciated Shiva ardently. Naturally, Parvati sought and received Shiva as her husband.