Is it true that a woman can offer food only to Krishna, not to Vishnu?
A woman devotee (Name hiden) asked like this:
“A mother of my friend says… a female cannot offer food to Vishnu. Vishnu in His Krishna’s form accepts food from females. How to explain this???”
This is wrong. She has confused herself with vedic rituals and devotional practices followed in the temples and home. Only in the temples, only men offer food to Vishnu. In home, anyone can offer.
Vedas have recommended many rituals for many purposes like the rituals during marriage, death, anniversaries, etc.
These rituals should be done only by male brahmanas.
Those brahmanas should be a grahastha.
And, the rituals after the death of a person and his annual rituals should be done only by the son or other male members.
However, the wife should be present at the spot of those rituals and she should take part in some rituals whenever she is called. However, no manthras are given to the wife to recite.
In general, our scriptures do not involve women in performing tough rituals and pujas.
The wife is excempted from even tough devotional practices.
The scriptures advise a woman to assist her husband in his devotional practices and vedic rituals.
By just assisting her husband when he performs his devotional practices and vedic rituals, she too gets all the benefits acquired by her husband.
That is why, we are unable to find any women reciting vedic manthras.
However, a certain activities can be done by both men and women AT HOME.
(1) Chanting Lord’s Names has no restrictions.
(2) Offering food to all forms of Krishna including Vishnu and Narayana. Even during the period of Sri Ramanuja, the wives had the practice of offering food to the Lord Narayana. Even the wife and mother of Sri Ramanuja had the practice of offering food to the Lord.
However, when the husband/ father is present in the house, the women allowed them to offer food. Some times, they also offered if need arises. The point is that there is no restrictions.
Lord Vishnu is always accompanied by Lakshmi. So, He will not allow such restrictions to the women devotees though anyone imposes so.
(3) Cleaning of the altar, Puja room, Puja utensils, etc, applying flowers to the deities and cooking for Krishna/ Vishnu / Narayana can be done both by the men and women.
(4) Distributing food to the assembled devotees can be done by both men and women.
Thus, there are restrictions for women only in some of the direct sevas to the deities and acharyas. Otherwise, they can eagerly take part in all the devotional practices.
However, Only during the monthly periods, the women are advised to avoid other devotional practices except chanting (without tulasi beads) and reading about Krishna through electronic devices. They may avoid taking the books kept in the puja room.
Hope you are clear now.