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Re: saharanAmam & gAyathrI mantram Q's

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri May 08 1998 - 17:04:39 PDT

Re: women reciting sahasranAma

Rather than rehash this debate, I refer interested
readers to the rather fiery discussion we had on this
subject in January. Please visit the Bhakti archives:

Re: women reciting gAyatri mantram

The gAyatri is a mantra taken directly from the Vedas.
In the Vedic tradition as we have it today, only those
who undergo the sacrament of "upanayanam" are allowed
to learn let alone recite the Vedas.  For quite a while,
women have not been initiated by virtue of upanayanam,
and consequently all Vedic recitation including the gAyatri
is not allowed.

There are, however, some hints that this was not the
case in the hoary past.  A smRti text speaks of women
being invested with the sacred thread (purA kalpe narInAm
tu maunji-bandhanam ucyate).  Gargi and Maitreyi are two
of the most interesting personalities in the Upanishads,
the concluding portion of the Veda.  Valmiki refers to
Sita having performed sandhyAvandanam in the Ramayanam.
Whether or not she recited the gAyatri mahA mantra is not