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Chapter 32 - Behavior of a Widow: Dead Husband Made Alive

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Brahaspati told regarding the behavior of a widow as follows: If the husband dies in the presence of the wife, then should observe `Sati'. But if she is pregnant, if she has a child which is being fed on her breast or if the husband dies at a far off place, then she should not observe `Sati'. She should live as a widow. She should shave off the hair on the head, else the husband goes to hell. She should bathe daily and should have only one meal every day. She should observe `Chandrayan' i.e. take one morsel of food on the first day of the bright (shuddha) fortnight, increase one morsel daily and take 15 morsels on the Poornima. In the dark fortnight (Krishna or Vad) she should go on decreasing one morsel daily and take only one morsel of food on the Amavasya (new moon day). She should not: take milk, should not sleep on the bedstead, should not take mangal bath, nor take `pan'. If she has no son, she should do `tiltarpan', worship Vishnu daily and act as per the wishes of her dead husband. She should wear white clothes.

In the Vaishakh month she should give an earthen vessel in charity. In the Kartik 'deep' should be given to a Brahmin. She should offer umbrellas and shoes to persons going on pilgrimage. She should take meal cooked out of only one corn in Kartik. Whatever vrat she observes, it udyapan (ending function) should also be duly done> If she has a son, she should act as per his wishes. Widows behaving in this way are virtuous and even if their husbands are suffering in hell, they would take them to heaven after their death. Brahaspati had told to Lopamudra in relation with the code of female behavior and the same was narrated by the Sanyasi to the bereaved young woman. Then he said,'You now act as you wish. If you have courage, you can observe, 'sati' and if you act as a widow, it will also be virtuous.

Bowing to the Sanyasi, the woman said, 'You are like my Parents, brother and all. I have no relatives here. You have told me the rules of behavior of a Sati and widow. I think it will be difficult for me to act as a widow, for as I am young and fair the people at large will speak ill of me. So I think it is better to observe sati. You kindly give me your blessings.'

The Sanyasi blessed her and said, `you have come from a long distance with your diseased husband to see Shri Guru. What was destined to happen has happened. Even great men as Harishchandra, bhishma, could not avoid it. Still you better see Shri Guru who can even win `Kal' and then observe Sati.'

He applied bhasma to her forehead, gave her 4 rudra beads and said. `Tie two in your husband's ears and two around your neck and sprinkle teerth on the body of your husband and on yourself after rudrabhishek to Shri Guru. After doing this, you may observe Sati'. The sanyasi then went away.

The young woman started preparations for observing sati. She called Brahmins, gave prayashchitta to the body of her husband. She took a bath, wore a silk sari and then ornaments, applied haladi kunkum and became ready to observe sati. The body of her husband was taken to the river and she was going in front of the corpse with fire port in her hand. The young girl of sixteen appeared as bright as goddess Lakshmi and all wondered to see her courage.

A pyre of wood and cow dung cakes was prepared. The young woman offered vayan Haldi Kunkum and mangal sutra to married women, bowed to them and said, `please inform my parents and father and mother-in-laws that we are staying at holy place and are in good health. Otherwise out of grief they will give up their lives.'

She was praying all the way in the mind. `Oh Trimurty, your fame is widespread, and you possess all siddhis. If a complaint is made to a ruler, he gives justice. If one goes to a physician, he gives, medicine for relief. I came crossing 20 villages with the hope that my husband will recover. I am coming to ask you how my husband expired on the way.

She saw Shri Guru sitting below an Ashwatha tree and she bowed to him respectfully. Shri Guru, blessed her and said, `you shall have soubhagya for ever. She again bowed to Shri Guru and he exclaimed `you will have 8 sons' the Brahmins accompanying her told Shri Guru, `her husband has expired and she has come here to see you before observing Sati.'

Hearing this Shri Guru smiled and said, `Her Soubhagya is everlasting. Bring her husband's body here immediately. Let me see when he lost his life.'

Some persons soon brought the dead body before Shri Guru. The strings were cut and the cloth covering was removed. The Tirth of rudrabhishek was sprinkled on the dead body and Shri Guru looked at it with his sight full of nectar. Immediately the Brahmin youth sat up as if aroused from sleep. He was ashamed to see himself without clothes. He wore the dhoti and asked his wife why she did not awake him before, why he was brought there and who was the Sanyasi. The wife narrated to him all that had occurred. Then both of them bowed to Shri Guru with devotion and began praying to him. All The persons who had assembled there were delighted to see the miracle.

One cynic person said to Shri Guru. `This Brahmin died as per his fate. How can he be alive?'

Shri Guru smiled and said, `I requested Brahmadev to give 30 years' life from his next life to this Brahmin youth.'

All were astonished to hear this. All bowed to Shri Guru and returned. They young Brahmin couple bathed at the Sangam, worshipped Shri Guru devotedly and pleased the Brahmins and the poor by giving in charity.

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