As per the Shiva Purana, Daksha’s youngest daughter left her father’s house to follow Shiva, the mendicant as she had given her heart to him. She became Shiva’s obedient consort and became known as Sati, the perfect wife, much to the dislike of her father Daksha.
Daksha’s dislike of Shiva goes back to a previous episode mentioned again in the Shiva Purana. According to this reference, one day Daksha was invited to a gathering of the gods, and as he entered the hall, all the gods rose in reverence, all but Shiva. Shiva’s intention was not to insult as he was oblivious to the prominence of Daksha who was considered to be the patriarch. Though Shiva’s intention was not to be disrespectful, his action of indifference did not amuse Daksha. He swore never to invite Shiva to any yagna or occasion as he did not find him worthy of such respect.
Once, Sati found that all the gods and goddesses were invited to a yagna organised by her father Daksha. She reached her father’s house only to find that there was no place reserved for her husband, who obviously was not invited, and this was a deliberate act. When she asked her father the reason for this, she was told by Daksha, that her husband’s ways did not warrant an invitation to such get-togethers. This was so insulting to Sati, that she decided to avenge her husband’s insult and even before anybody could understand, she jumped into the yagna fire and self-immolated herself, thereby causing a vighna – an obstacle to the yagna.
At that moment, Lord Vishnu decided to hurl his ‘sudarshan chakra’, the heavenly discuss, to dismember Sati’s body into different pieces. These pieces fell in ‘Jambudwipa’, i.e. the present day Indian sub-continent.
It is said that there were 108 pieces made of Sati and each place where a piece of the body fell became a ‘Shaktipeeth’, a place of reverence. However, man in due course of time has lost out on majority of these places, and today we have 51 Shaktipeeths known to mankind. All these are well known places of religious significance.
Shaktipeeths in the Indian Sub-continent
Shaktipeeths are holy places of cosmic power; they are places of worship consecrated to the goddess ‘Shakti’. Throughout the Indian Sub-continent, there are many Shaktipeeths. A few prominent Shaktipeeths are:
v Kalighat in Kolkata
v Kamakhya in
v Katyayini in Vrindavan
v Manibandh near
, Rajasthan Ajmer
in Himachal Pradesh Naina Devi Temple
v Bahucharaji in Mehsana district of Gujarat
A few Shaktipeeths exist in
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and . Sri Lanka
All these places have been said to have received some body part of Goddess Sati and the place is revered as a Shaktipeeth.