The story of birth of Sati & wedding with Shiva – Shiva Purana
Brahma ji did laudatory prayers to Goddess Durga and sought her blessings to take birth as Daksha’s daughter and become Rudra’s wife for the benefit of the universe.
Daksha begot of his wife sixty daughters. He performed their marriages with Dharma and others. Daksha gave ten of his daughters duly in marriage to Dharma, thirteen to Kashyap the sage, and twenty-seven to the moon. He gave two daughters each to Bhṛgu, Angiras and Kṛsasva. The other daughters were given to Tarkṣya. The sons and grandsons and descendants of these filled the three worlds. A detailed narration is not attempted here.
Birth of Sati:
After the birth of his daughter (Sati), Daksha Prajapati and his wife meditated on the mother of the universe with pleasure. Daksha, on seeing Sati blooming in the proper age thought within— “How shall I give my daughter to Shiva?” She too desired to attain Shiva. Her desire grew every day. After knowing her father’s idea, she approached her mother. Sati, the great Goddess of wide intellect, sought the permission of her mother to perform the penance with Shiva as the goal, for the happiness of her mother Viriṇi. Firmly resolved in her desire to secure Shiva as her husband, she propitiated him in her own house with the permission of her mother. She worshipped Shiva with great devotion and offered cooked rice with jaggery & gingelly seeds, Belva fruits & leaves, Palash, Daman & Brhati flowers, sacred threads & cloths. Keeping strict control over her diet and repeating various mantras she worshipped Shiva with different fruits, flowers and leaves fresh and readily available. The Goddess Sati who had assumed human form out of her will, became firmly devoted to the worship of Shiva on every day and month. Concluding all the sacred rites of Nanda, Sati began to meditate on Shiva with concentrated devotion. She was steady and she never thought of anyone else. She was completely engrossed in meditating on Shiva. She had reached the stage of the enlightened seers.
Eulogy of Shiva by Brahma, Vishnu & other deities and Shiva agreeing to marry:
Brahma, Vishnu & other deities approached Shiva with great joy and lauded Him with various hymns: -
After eulogising the great lord, all the Devas, Vishnu and others, stood silently in front of the lord with their shoulders stooping down with great devotion. On seeing Brahma and Vishnu in the company of their consorts, Shiva addressed them suitably and asked them the purpose of their visit.
Brahma said: --
O bull-emblemed deity, we have come here particularly for your sake. O great lord, some demons are to be killed by me, some by Vishnu, some by you and some of them would be killed by your son. The universe can attain peace and fearlessness only after destroying the demons. Though our real form is one, we are different in as much as our activities are different. If there is no functional difference, the difference in forms is meaningless. The same supreme Atman, lord Shiva manifests in three different ways due to Maya. The lord is independent in his divine sports. Vishnu and I have become united with our wives for the performance of our function. For the benefit of the universe, for the happiness of the devas, you must accept an auspicious lady as your wife. O great lord, you yourself as Shiva mentioned this to us formerly, “Brahma is the cause of creation, Vishnu is sustainer. I shall be the cause of dissolution in the form of Rudra, a Saguṇa form. I shall marry a woman and perform the excellent function.”
O Shiva, accept a beloved wife as a life companion in the same manner as Vishnu has taken the Goddess of the lotus (Lakshmi) and I have taken the goddess of speech. On hearing these words, Shiva spoke with his face beaming with a smile.
Shiva said: --
O Brahma, O Vishnu, both of you are always dear to me. On seeing you both, my delight is enhanced indeed. It is not proper for me to marry as I am detached from the world and engaged in penance. I always practise Yoga. Of what avail is a beloved to me in this world since I am in the path of abstinence delighting myself in my own soul, freed of attachment, unsullied, with the body of an ascetic, possessed of knowledge, seeing himself, free from aberrations and a non-reveller. Besides I am always unclean and inauspicious. Hence say now what can I do with a loving wife? Even as I am engaged in Yoga, I experience the mystic Bliss. Only a man devoid of perfect knowledge will make much of marriage and desire it. Considering your weighty words for the fulfilment of my promise and the goal of my task, I shall marry. She must be a Yogini when I practise Yoga and a loving woman when I indulge in love. There is another condition to which please also listen, O Brahma. If she evinces a disbelief in me or in what I say, I shall abandon her.
Brahma said: --
She is Uma. Formerly she manifested herself in the forms of Sarasvati and Lakshmi in order to fulfil her task. Lakshmi became the wife of Vishnu and Sarasvati mine. From her desire for the welfare of the world she has taken a third form. She is born now as Daksha’s daughter in the name of Sati. O lord, she will be an ideal wife. At present she is performing penance for securing you. She is firm in her austere rites. She desires you as her husband. Indeed, she is highly brilliant. Grant her the desired boon. Then lovingly marry her.
Vishnu said: --
O great lord, the lord of devas, marrying her please make the three worlds blessed with a leader with benignant look.
Sati granted the boon:
In the Hindu month of Ashvin (September-October), Sati observed a fast on the eighth day of the bright half and worshipped Shiva with great devotion. When her Nanda rites were concluded on the ninth day (Navami), while she was engrossed in meditation, Shiva became visible to her. On seeing Shiva directly, she bent her head from shyness, and she knelt at his feet.
Shiva said: --
O daughter of Daksha, of good rites, I am delighted by these rites you have observed. Choose a boon. I shall grant it whatever it may be. Suppressing her bashfulness when Sati spoke “As you please give unto me, O bestower of boons, the desired boon or the bridegroom of my desire, without any hindrance,”, did not wait for the completion of her request and said— “you be my wife.” She was highly delighted on obtaining the boon (or bridegroom) stationed in her mind.
Sati said: --
O great lord of Devas, lord of the universe, please take me with due marital rites in the presence of my father.
On hearing these words of Sati, Shiva, favourably disposed to His devotees, glanced lovingly at her and said— “So be it.” After receiving His consent, she returned to her mother with a fascinating gaiety. Shiva also returned to His hermitage. The parents who obtained the news through her friends were very glad and celebrated a great festival.
Sati’s marriage with Shiva:
While Daksha was constantly thinking of the procedure of handing over his daughter to Shiva, Brahma appeared and Daksha to offer his daughter to Shiva for whom she has been intended. On hearing these words of mine, my son Daksha was highly delighted. He said delightfully. “It is so. It is so.” Then, Brahma informed Shiva, Daksha has said “My daughter shall go to Him. She has been intended for Him. This has been my desire.” Rudra said to Brahma, “I shall go to his house accompanied by you and Narada. Remember your mental as well as physical sons—Marici and others. O Brahma, with all my attendants and with them I shall go to Daksha’s house.”
In the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) on the thirteenth day when the star was Uttara Phalguna on a Sunday, lord Shiva started. The hides of elephant and tiger, the serpents, the crescent moon and the matted hair, all became fitting ornaments and embellishments at Shiva’s will. Then, Shiva reached Daksha’s abode seated on his speedy bull and along with Vishnu and others.
With great humility and boundless joy, Daksha along with his people welcomed Him. Then Daksha took Shiva within the house along with the devas and the sages. After performing the suitable worship, Daksha in the presence of respectable sages announced the marriage agreement. Then Daksha said to Brahma, his father, “the marriage rites shall be performed by you.” Then preliminary rites were performed. Daksha joyfully gave his daughter Sati to Shiva. There were great festivities
with songs and dances. Everything concluded auspiciously.
Then, Shiva said: — “O Brahma, all the rites of marriage have been performed extremely well. I am pleased. You officiated as the priest. What shall I give you as the nuptial fee?
Brahma said: --
“O lord of Devas, if you are pleased, please do as I request you with pleasure. For the purification of men from sins you will please stay for ever in this altar in this self-same form. If anyone visits this holy site on the thirteenth day in the bright half of Chaitra (March-April) when the star is Uttar Phalguna and the day is Sunday, may all his sins be quelled O Shiva; may his merits increase and may his ailments disappear. On hearing these words of mine, Shiva was pleased, and He said, “Let it be so”. After saying this, the Shiva in the company of his wife stayed in the middle of the altar creating a partial image of Himself. With the joyous consent of Daksha, Shiva seated Sati on the bull and then sitting Himself on it went to the Himalayan ridges. Vishnu, as also the Gods and sages with joyful beaming faces returned to their respective abodes.
Reference: Shiv Purana, Sati Khanda, Chapter – 14 to 18