The Vadakalai sect of Sri Vaishnavism says that women and shudras are not allowed to recite the Vishnusahasranama, but can only hear it. In fact, Iyers before the past 50 years also prohibited women and shudras from reciting it as well.

This is not as controversial as it seems because Shankaracharya in his Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya has also said that shudras are not allowed to recite the Vishnushasranama, but they can only hear it. However, he doesn't make any mention of Dvija women.

Vadakalai Sri Vaishnava acharyas, and even Iyers before the past 50 years, prohibited women from chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama.

More information is found in this thread.

My question is, is there any scriptural rule that says they are prohibited from reciting it? I have tried to find out the scriptural reason, but so far it seems to be an Achara rule, that is presumably based on some scriptural rule that may or may not be forgotten.

But another complication is this: If they can hear it and read it, but not verbally recite it, does it mean that they can mentally recite it? Because if they can hear it, and if they hear it enough, they could mentally commit it to memory. So can they mentally recite it?

  • As far as I remember, mental sins are not considered in Kali yuga as far as they are not done in the form of actions.
    – user17858
    Sep 27, 2019 at 14:57
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    Vishnu Sahasranama contains not only Bhagavan's names, but also pranava mantra, aavahanam of rishi, devata and other procedures part of a formal chanting (like during sandhya).. so they are prohibited from chanting those. just the names alone from vishvam to praharanayudah, may be accepted by some acharyas who are willing to bend the rules a bit.
    – ram
    Sep 30, 2019 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


Brahmavadini or "an expounder of the Veda" are those women who composed any hymns of the Vedas. The prominent among them were Lopamudra, Vishwawara, Sikta, Ghosha and Maitreyi.

Lopamudra was the wife of the sage Agastya. A hymn in the Rigveda is attributed to her.

Maitreyi, the wife of Yajnavalkya, is accredited with about ten hymns in Rig Veda.

Two suktas (hymns) of the tenth Mandala (book) of Rigveda, 39 and 40, each containing 14 verses, have been attributed to Ghosha. The first hymn praises the Ashvins. The second hymn is a personal wish expressing her intimate feelings and desires for married life.

When women of Vedic era could reach spiritual heights and compose hymns in Rig Veda, which are their direct SPIRITUAL experiences, why can't women recite Vishnu Sahasranama?

When a Vyadha can teach dharma to Kausika, a brahman sanyasi, why can't a Shudra recite Vishnu Sahasranama?

These statements might be interpolated ones. This type of interpolations will demean the stature of those acharyas.

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    Women are not allowed to become Brahmavadini's in this era. According to the Yama and Harita smriti, this was practiced in ancient times, which means they are not allowed today.
    – Ikshvaku
    Oct 3, 2019 at 16:58
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    Please read about Sri Anandamai ma (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anandamayi_Ma). She was an example of a woman who reached the stage of a great sage or seer.@Ikshvaku Oct 3, 2019 at 21:20
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    Women like Sarada devi, Anandamai Maa , etc, reached highest stage of Spirituality. Composing hymns may not be everyone's prArabdha. Apart from becoming a sage, one should be a poet to compose hymns. God will decide who to become a poet. Who are we , mere humans of ordinary intelligence, to decide who should do , what should one to do? @Ikshvaku Oct 4, 2019 at 0:37
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    We have scriptures for that
    – Ikshvaku
    Oct 4, 2019 at 13:43
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    Any scripture cannot overrule Veda, which is direct experience. It is up to you whether to concur with my way of thinking. I will not argue further in this regard @Ikshvaku Oct 4, 2019 at 13:54

While chanting Lalitha Sahasranamam, almost all words have aa or ee ending which is meditative. While chanting Gita, I felt there were so many visargas which is heated expulsion of air. I felt the previous style goes with feminine form and similarly Vishnu Sahasranama with masculine form.

May be these have impact on the feminine and male balances. As the science is hard to explain, iwonen were excluded.

We do not have Pratyaksha pramaana unless we do studies like EEG or impact on pituitary on women fir instance. If May be we can use logical anumaana or see if our Sahana’s have something to say.

Then we can say if it is vipariya or not a problem.In modern life we have access and choices. As long as we know the logic of restriction, We can decide.

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