aho anātmyaṁ mahad asya paśyata
prajāpater yasya carācaraṁ prajāḥ
jahāv asūn yad-vimatātmajā satī
manasvinī mānam abhīkṣṇam arhati
aho—oh; anātmyam—neglect; mahat—great; asya—of Dakṣa; paśyata—just see; prajāpateḥ—of the Prajāpati; yasya—of whom; cara-acaram—all living entities; prajāḥ—offspring; jahau—gave up; asūn—her body; yat—by whom; vimatā—disrespected; ātma-jā—his own daughter; satī—Satī; manasvinī—voluntarily; mānam—respect; abhīkṣṇam—repeatedly; arhati—deserved.
It was astonishing that Dakṣa, who was Prajāpati, the maintainer of all living entities, was so disrespectful to his own daughter, Satī, who was not only chaste but was also a great soul, that she gave up her body because of his neglect.
The word anātmya is significant. Ātmya means “the life of the soul,” so this word indicates that although Dakṣa appeared to be living, actually he was a dead body, otherwise how could he neglect Satī, who was his own daughter? It was the duty of Dakṣa to look after the maintenance and comforts of all living entities because he was situated as Prajāpati, the governor of all living entities. Therefore how is it that he neglected his own daughter, who was the most exalted and chaste woman, a great soul, and who therefore deserved the most respectful treatment from her father? The death of Satī because of her being neglected by Dakṣa, her father, was most astonishing to all the great demigods of the universe.
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