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?
Welcome to the SDMB, and thank thee for posting thy comment.
Please include a link to Cecil’s column if it’s on the straight dope web site.
To include a link, it can be as simple as including the web page location in thy post (make sure there is a space before and after the text of the URL).
Cecil’s column can be found on-line at this link:
What’s up with those Indian widows who commit suttee? (05-Apr-2002)
moderator, «Comments on Cecil’s Columns»
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.