The Aryans, upon their invasion of India ca. 1500 B.C. introduced the horrific custom of sati, ie. the burning of a woman after the death of her husband. When performed singly it is referred to as sati, when performed en masse by all the women and daughters of a town in anticipation of their widowhood (eg. when the men were to fight a battle against all odds), it is known as jauhar. It is sanctioned by their most sacred texts, and was practiced from the fall of the Semito-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization to the modern age.
The most sacred of Aryan scripttures are the Vedas, and the Rig Veda, the oldest veda, explicitly sanctions the custom of sati. The following famous `Sati Hymn' of the Rig Veda was (and still is) recited during the actual immolation of the widow .Rig Veda X.18.7 : " Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned."
-- [ Rig Veda X.18.7 ] [ Kane 199-200 ]
The Garudapurana favourably mentions the immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre, and states that women of all castes, even the Candalla woman, must perform Sati. The only exceptions allowed by this benevolent author is for pregnant women or those who have young children. If women do not perform sati, then they will be reborn into the lowly body of a woman again and again till they perform Sati. [ Garuda.Purana. II.4.91-100 ]
* A sati who dies on the funeral pyre of her husband enjoys an eternal bliss in heaven [ Daksa Smrti IV.18-19 ] [ Sm.Samu p.30 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]
* According to Vasishta's Padma-Purana, a woman must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre
* Yajnavalkya, the most important law-giver after Manu, states that sati is the only way for a chaste widow [ Apastamba.I.87 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]
* The Yogini Tantra enjoins upon Brahmana widows to burn themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands [ Yog.T. II.303-308 ]. Vaisya and Sudra widows were also allowed to do it. It was prohibited to unchaste women and those having many children. [ 1200, p.67 ]
* The Vyasa Smrti gives one of the two alternatives for a Brahmana widow, ie. either to become a sati or to take up ascetism after her tonsure [ Vyasa Sm. II.53 ] [ Sm.S. p.362 ]
Further, the Vishnusmirti gives only two choices for the widow:
Vishnu Smirti.XXV.14 : "If a woman's husband dies, let her lead a life of chastity, or else mount his pyre"
-- [ Vis.Sm. xxv.14 ] [ Clay.13 ]
Brahma is one of the main Aryan gods, being the creator of the world ( later he was identified as an incarnation of Vishnu ). One of the Puranas is named after him, the Brahma Purana. Like other Puranas, it was composed after the Vedas ( Pandits hold 4000 B.C., Indologists 700 B.C.) This scriptture also sanctions sati:
Brahma Purana.80.75 : " It is the highest duty of the woman to immolate herself after her husband ",
Long life is promised to the sati:
Brahma Purana.80.76, 80.77 : " She [ the sati ] lives with her husband in heaven for as many years as there are pores in the human body, ie. for 35 million years. "
-- [ Br.P. 80.76, 80.77 ] [ Sheth 103 ]
Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 contains the statement:
Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 : " On her husband's death, the widow should observe celibacy or should ascend the funeral pyre after him."
Several other scripttures sanction widow-burning. Some of these are as given below :
# "It is proper for a woman, after her husband's death to burn herself in the fire with his copse; every woman who thus burns herself shall remain in paradise with her husband 35,000,000 years by destiny."
# "The wife who commits herself to fames with her husband's copse shall equal Arundathi and reside in Swarga (heaven)."
# "Accompanying her husband, she shall reside so long in Swarga as the 35,000,000 of hairs on the human body.
# "As the snake-catcher forcibly drags the serpent from his earth, so bearing her husband [from hell] with him she enjoys heavenly bliss."
# "Dying with her husband, she sanctifies her maternal and paternal ancestors and the ancestors of him to whom she gave her virginity."
# "Such a wife adorning her husband, in celestial felicity with him, greatest and most admired, shall enjoy the delights of heaven while fourteen Indras reign."
# "Though a husband had killed a Brahman, broken the ties of gratitude, or murdered a friend she expiates the crime."