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Chitra Pournami is a famous festival in Tamil Nadu. The day happens when it is Full Moon in the month of Chithirai or Chitra (between April-May).

The day is related to Chitragupta, and as it falls on Poornima, it is called Chitra Pournami. The holy scriptures describe Chitragupta to be the keeper of the records. These records are the karmas of souls that the messenger presents to Yama when the soul leaves a body. That is how Chitragupta is the accountant who reports to Yama – the God of Death.

Other than being the day of Chitragupta, it is also considered the day of Indra.

Meaning of Chitragupta

Chitragupta means the hidden picture or the one that is rich in secrets. Here Chitra means pictures, and Gupta means secret or hidden. Hence Chitragupta is the keeper of the secrets of a soul. When a person or living being dies, its soul reaches Lord Yama, where Chitragupta presents the Lord with the record of the karmas or deeds of the soul.

After looking at these records of a soul, Yama determines the amount of bad and good karmas. Accordingly, the soul gets the new birth. According to its past karmas, the body where the soul receives the new birth is determined. Hence scriptures always motivate us to create good karmas so our soul can get liberated from the cycle of birth and death.

Birth Stories of Chitragupta

Many stories go about the birth of Chitragupta. One such report says that Chitragupta was born to Goddess Parvathi. Chitragupta is also believed to be born from the womb of the cow Kamdhenu on the day of Chitra Pournami.

There is another legend that says that Chitragupta was born from Brahma’s body. Brahma is the creator of the Universe; he is the one who created all the Lokas. He also created Yamaloka and appointed Yama to carry on the cycle of life and birth as per the past life karmas of a soul.

However, Yama was experiencing difficulties keeping the record of all the 84 lacs birth types. He went to Brahma and expressed his trouble with maintaining the records. Brahma understood and began meditating at the bank of Shipra river, Ujjain. 

After a lot of penance, Chitragupta was born out of Brahma’s body. It is said that Brahma has many sons and daughters born from his mind and body. However, Chitragupta is the one who is equipped with equal power as Brahma; he has inherited all the power of his creator Brahma.

Brahma then appointed Chitragupta as the keeper of the records to support Yama. Since then, whenever a soul leaves his body, it gets to Yamaloka. There Chitragupta presents Yama with all the records of the soul, which helps Yama to decide his next birth and body.

Shrine dedicated to Chitra Guptan

There is only one temple in South India that is dedicated to Chitragupta. The temple is situated in Kanchipuram; there are shrines of Lord Yama and Chitragupta at different places. Here Chitra pournami is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervor where people worship Chitragupta to receive his blessings and clean the bad account of their karmas.

Legend Associated with Chitra Pournami and Indra

As we mentioned above, Chitra Pournami is a day on which Indra is worshipped and remembered as well. There is a legend associated with Indra, which happened on the day of Chitra Pournami.

It is said that once Indra had an argument with his Guru or advisor Jupiter or Guru Brihaspati. Indra hence stopped taking advice from him, which made Indra go the wrong route and commit sins. 

Once Guru Brihaspati visited Indra and saw him miserable and stressing over his sins. Seeing this, Guru Brihaspati advised Indra to go to Earth and be able to clean his sins. Indra did the same and came to Earth. Here Indra found a Shiva Linga under a Kadamba tree. He also found a golden lotus which he offered to Shiva Linga. At last, Indra was able to clean all his sins; this whole incident took place on the day of Chitra Pournami, and since then, Indra is also revered along with the birthday of Chitragupta.

Chitra Pournami Celebration in Tamil Nadu

Worshiping Chitragupta holds a lot of significance in South India. People take an early bath and offer the Lord Chakkarai Pongal along with other offerings. They do not consume salt on this day; it is believed to bring them fortune and prosperity.

People in Tamil Nadu also perform the pooja at their homes. For this, they create kolams at the entrance of the house and in the puja room as well. Once they have worshipped Chitraguptan, they wipe the kolam immediately.

Some devotees also observe fast on this day. However, they refrain from milk and any dairy products. They prepare Naivedhya and other offerings which they offer to God. Once the puja is performed, they distribute the Naivedhya and also help the poor people with dhal, rice, vegetables, and some money.



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