widows

#1 Jun 15th, 2004, 17:46
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  • aghori is offline
#1
I read sometime ago, that many widows in India moving to Mathura and Varanasi. Is it so? And why these 2 towns? Any connection of them with death?
Also there was a costume that widow was forced to be shaved, does it still exist?
And does sati still practice anywhere in the country?
#2 Jun 15th, 2004, 19:45
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  • radz is offline
#2
I think we all in 21st Cen.Sati is banned now,other old cutomes not exciting anymore.
#3 Jun 15th, 2004, 19:50
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#3
About widows being forced to shave their heads (only Brahmin widows do this to my knowledge), this is becoming a thing of the past. I remember my grandma doing it soon after my grandpa passed away in the 70s. All my uncles and aunts and my mom begged her not to do it (they were so used to seeing her in her beautiful traditional clothes with jewellery and fresh flowers in her hair always), but she refused to give in. For her, it was a matter of pride in her tradition. Most women who do it in the deep South do it exactly for this reason. The more common way these days is to just stop wearing bindi, bangles, flowers and bright sarees without shaving their heads. These days husbands make it easier on their wives by extracting a promise from them that they will not do anything like that when they pass away. One guy I knew asked his wife to keep on wearing bright sarees and bindi after he passed away because his wife was so beautiful and he could'nt bear to imagine her in plain garb, which she did, and now that she had her husband's sanction, no one dare ostracize her.

About Sati, I hope to God this practice is dead and gone. This practice was rampant in the North long ago among the Rajputs, but I have not heard about forced Satis in the news for a long time.
Wander Whai
#4 Jun 15th, 2004, 19:51
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#4
You will see the disposed widows in many of the holy sites around India.
They are identifiable by their shorn locks, they flock to these sites for the charity that these places provide, being fed by the various Hindu/spirtual institutions and the constant influx of pilgrims provide for enough alms to see them through another day!
Amazing times I had with these women they were just like my granny and full of fun!!

This practise is still present in India but I suggest that the sons/daughter involved these days in such practises usually have(maybe it was always so) a seperate axe to grind, usually connected to money!
Your average Hindu would be ashamed to cast his mother or mother in law into the dugeon of poverty!!!

Sati : again you may very seldom hear of occurrences of this ancient ritual, but it is frowned upon in general by state and society alike.
It's thought evocing to come across these sites in India where the sati creamation ritual has taken place!!
#5 Jun 15th, 2004, 20:12
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  • Bryan is offline
#5
There was a town in visited cant rememebr where it was otr the name but there was a dharamshala next to the main temple and there were thousands of elderly women like described above
I stumbled acroos it purely by chance
It was very very surreal

Bryan
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that),
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.
- Burns
#6 Jun 15th, 2004, 20:45
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  • Rob_The_Pom is offline
#6
William Dalrymple's 'The Age of Kali' has a couple of excellent essays on both of these subjects.

(I'm guessing that most of you have probably read it!)
The solution to your troubles is at the bottom of a glass.
#7 Jun 15th, 2004, 22:39
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  • aghori is offline
#7
Actually, I read an opinion that originally sati was a very spiritual thing, and not to be forced, but done because of great love to husband as God.
Seems that suicide is not totally negative in China, Japan also among warriors.
Anyone can bring light on philosophy where killing oneself is not a path to hell and a sin, but a spiritual thing?
I would like to understand the point of view.
#8 Jun 15th, 2004, 22:54
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  • volga_volga is offline
#8
well, if your loved one dies (or disappears from your life), and you think (s)he is irreplaceable, one and only, you may consider this as an option. 'cause you "can't live without" this person.

spiritual enough? i may have considered it at times when i was young and stupid, i don't remember
#9 Jun 15th, 2004, 23:07
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#9
I don't think Hinduism approves suicide; after all, one becomes a human being after endless number of iterations as other life forms and doing good deeds. It would be unwise to squander it through suicide. The custom of Sati came more from the idea that a woman is one with her husband and has no separate existence.
On the other hand, I don't think that it was considered a big sin as in Christianity. I remember reading somewhere that in medeival England, suicides were dragged through the streets and hanged from the gallows and forfeited all their property to the Crown.
Attempted suicide was until very recently a crime in India (the Penal Code was written by the British) when the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. Abetment of suicide is still a crime.


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