Now the British stopped this [sati rite] when they were ruling, because sometimes it was being misused. In the Western world no one can understand; it's just considered like murder, or something like that. But they don't understand that people had so much faith that the soul continues to live after the death of the body, so they don't feel that the destruction of the body is something very bad. They consider, "Anyway, we have died so many times, but the wife's duty is to follow her husband throughout life and even to the next life. So they are trained like that at a very young age, and that's the whole meaning of their existence-the women-how they serve their husbands and help him to advance in spiritual life and whatever destination he gets they follow him, like a joint effort.
Lecture on "Vaisnava Culture" – 13th Oct 2000

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