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I am not a dvija yet. I am wondering whether I can recite the Vishnu Sahasranama stotram of the Anushasana Parva.

If so, can one say the Pranava when it is found in the Stotram?

For example in the Purva Pitika: Om Namo Vishnave Prabhavishnave!

Another one is found before the Nama Section starts: Hari Om!

If not: Why? I thought even a Shudra can chant a Stotram.


Edit: Making question more broad and more rhobust with sources.

Can anyone chant Vishnusahasranama without deeksha?

Two points to this question:

  1. Can Vishnusahasranama be chanted without Deesha or initiation?

  2. Can Shudras or Avarnis or other than Brahmins, Brahmins before Upanayana, chant Vishnusahasranama?


There is conflicting information regarding this:

  1. Many people to answer this question point out to the phalashruti verse

Vedhaantago Bhramana-Syat
Kshatriyo Vijayee Bhavet
Vaishyo Dhana Samruta-Syat
Shoodhra Sukha-Mavapnuyat

The Brahmin will get knowledge, The kshatriya will get victory, The vaisya will get wealth, The shudra will get pleasures , By reading these. But Shri Adi Shankaracharya in his Vishnusahasranama Bhashya has written this commentry on the verse

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  1. The current Shankaracharya of Puri, in this video speaks about this and the amswer seems to be not clear regarding Vishnusahasranama. It seems confusing as to whether he is speaking that we can chant without adding OM, or not. Also we cannot be sure regarding which Sahasranama or Stotra is being spoken about.

  2. But here and here another great Vedanta scholar Shri Bannanje Govindacharya says anyone can read it, but should read it correctly

  3. Renowned astroger K.N.Rao seems to be saying anyone can read, here and here.


I couldn't find much references about initiation.

Is it necessary for chanting or just making sure correct pronunciation is done by referring YouTube videos?

Can a person of any varna, meaning Avarna, Shudras, Dwijas before Upanayana chant this?

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    User Hari Kumar wants to edit your Q by adding some more details .. Are you willing to approve his proposed edit? (I am asking on his behalf as he does not have enough reps to comment here) .. see the discussion under this: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/52370/4732
    – Rickross
    Jul 28, 2022 at 17:43

2 Answers 2

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Yes. Everyone can recite the Vishnu Sahasranāma.

The phala-śruti (fruits of reciting the Sahasranāma) to the Vishnu Sahasranāma reads as follows -

इतीदं कीर्तनीयस्य केशवस्य महात्मनः ।
नाम्नां सहस्रं दिव्यानामशेषेण प्रकीर्तितम् ॥ १ ॥

Thus the thousand divine names of Bhagvan Keshava, the Supreme Being, who's is worthy of being praised, have been sung in all its entirety.


य इदं शृणुयान्नित्यं यश्चापि परिकीर्तयेत् ।
नाशुभं प्राप्नुयात्किञ्चित्सोऽमुत्रेह च मानवः ॥ २ ॥

Nothing inauspicious or unwelcome will accrue to that man who hears this daily and who also recites it.


वेदान्तगो ब्राह्मणः स्यात्क्षत्रियो विजयी भवेत् ।
वैश्यो धनसमृद्धः स्याच्छूद्रः सुखमवाप्नुयात् ॥ ३ ॥

If a person who recites it is a Brahmina, he will attain the knowledge of the Vedanta (the Upanishads). If he's a Kshatriya he will become a great victor, if a Vaishya he will acquire immense wealth, and if a Shudra he will enjoy great happiness.


Excerpt taken from the English Translation of Sri Parashar Bhattar's commentary by Professor A. Srinivasa Raghavan

However, the usage of the Pranava (OM - ॐ) maybe omitted by those who are not with the Vedic Adhikara (Upanayanam).

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    Yes. As per most scriptures, without Vedic Adhikara, one should not touch the Gayatri Syllables @Apastamba_01 and, One becomes a dvija only after the Upanayanam.
    – Vivikta
    Jul 9, 2022 at 17:02
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    I'm not quite sure on this @Apastamba_01 Technically the bhūrbhuvaḥsvas are what we call as the three MahAVyāhṛtis, they're not the part of the Gayatri in the Rig-Veda. So, personally I don't see any problem in chanting of the VS by anyone. Everyone can chant the main body of the VS (without OM, ofc). However, you must refer to your family's acharya or elders, or someone related, and do accordingly as per the local (sthala) achara rules.
    – Vivikta
    Jul 10, 2022 at 3:04
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    Well in Taittiriya Aranyaka, the full Gayatri Mantra has Bhur, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and then the Rig-Vedic Gayatri starts. My ancestral Shakha is Taittiriya so I don't know whether I should give importance to the Taittirya Aranyaka or Rig Veda Samhita. I asked my parents too about the shloka and they said they themselves don't know, and they didn't worry about it when they recited, since they are Dvijas (well my father).
    – Savitr̥
    Jul 11, 2022 at 2:29
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    Yes. Taittiriya has it. In any case, in my area, there's no restrictions for the VS recital for anyone, as I have heard. So I'll say no problem in chanting or listening to it by anyone, as per my understanding. @Apastamba_01 :)
    – Vivikta
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:47
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    Thx!! I also talked to someone, and they said that since there are no svaras, it is fine.
    – Savitr̥
    Jul 11, 2022 at 14:23
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According to Smarta and Vaishnava texts, shudras are completely forbidden to chant mantras:

Mahabharata 12.298.29: "Shudras who have lost their varna strive for ascension. They do no harm if, in order to prosper, without reciting Mantras, they perform rites."

Bhagavata Purana 7.11.24: "Offering respect to the higher castes, cleanliness, serving the master, performing sacrifices without reciting Mantras, not stealing, being truthful and giving support to brahmanas and cows are the qualities of the shudras."

Garuda Purana 2.19.21, 2.32.13: "Lord of birds! Kusha grass will become impure if it is used in conjunction with pindas; brahmins become impure if they eat food prepared for pretas; Mantras - if they are uttered by shudras; the fire is unclean in the funeral pyre. Shraddha for a shudra is performed silently, without reading Mantras, by wives and children. The same goes for sraddha for the unmarried daughter of a twice-born. Manu points to this."

Manu Smrti 10.127: "But the shudras who desire to practice the Dharma, who know the Dharma by following the way of the pious without chanting Mantras, do not commit sin, but are praiseworthy."

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  • This is not mantra. It is from Mahabharata.
    – Kanthri
    Oct 9, 2023 at 19:11

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