garzilli at ASIATICA.ORG
Fri Oct 24 08:45:24 EDT 2008
To answer some of your questions you might find useful my article,
“First Greek and Latin Documents on Sahagamana and Some Connected
Problems” part 1, in Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 40, no. 3 (July 1997),
pp. 205-243; part 2 in Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 40, no. 4 (November
1997), pp. 339-365.
Dr. Enrica Garzilli
> I'm curious to know when the Sanskrit term satI began to connote
> specifically the wife who enters her husband's funeral pyre. In studies I
> have glanced at recently, scholars employ the term satI in discussing the
> controversial phenomenon of "wife-burning," but when I turn directly to
> the Mahabharata and some puranas, for example, I don't see the actual term
> satI used in this way. That is, the instances I have reviewed in these
> texts say (in various ways) that the wife "entered the fire," but the
> actual term satI doesn't appear in these contexts.
> In the MBh, for example, when Vasudeva renounces his life in grief
> for his sons, his wives join him on the pyre and go to their husband's
> world, just as some of Krishna's wives enter the fire, and some enter the
> forest. But none are called satI in these specific contexts. Likewise in
> the Bhagavata Purana, when Krishna's and Balarama's wives enter the fire
> after their husbands' deaths, they simply embrace their corpses and enter
> the fire, without being called satI, though in the BhP, for example,
> Rukmini is elsewhere called satI -- the good woman exclusively devoted to
> her husband etc.
> Has anyone written a semantic history of the Sanskrit term satI? If
> not, can you point me to specific examples in the epics and puranas when
> the term is used in this way? I certainly haven't reviewed every
> appearance of the term, but the question has begun to puzzle me.
> Thanks for any help.
> Tracy Coleman
> Associate Professor
> Colorado College
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