Sati Column

I was wondering, if an Idian woman is pregant at the time of her husband’s death is she still expected to kill herself? If not, does she have to after the baby is born?

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What’s up with those Indian widows who commit suttee? (05-Apr-2002)

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Hinduism isn’t like the Catholic Church; there isn’t a single authoritative structure that can provide definitive answers to questions like this.

That said, lots of religious and legal texts discuss the relative merits of sati for widows, as opposed to living on as an ascetic. Some of these texts talk about contraindications for sati, and pregnancy is one of them. Incidentally, menstruation is another: it’s impure, and shouldn’t be allowed to sully a purifying funeral pyre.