Chitra Pournami is the festival dedicated to Chitra Gupta, the celestial accountant of Dharma Raja. This festival is mostly celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It occurs on the full moon day of the Chaitra month. The other specialty is that the day falls on the Chitra Star as well.
Chitra Pournami occurs on Monday, 26th April 2021 and on Tuesday, 27th April 2021. The duration of the Pournami Tithi and Chitra Star has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar.
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Chitra Pournami – Legend
As per the legend, it is believed that Chitra Pournami day is the birth day of Chitra Gupta.
The necessity for creating Chitra Gupta occurred due to the activities of Indra.
Lord Indra was the leader of the Devas. The Guru for Devas was Bruhaspathi. Indra had done his governance activities only as per the advice of his Guru. Despite the advice, he did indulge in certain activities which were not good.
One day, Bruhaspathi told Indra that he was going to be absent for a few days and that Indra should do his work on his own without waiting for Guru’s directions. Indra had accepted.
However, feeling elated at the newly found independence, Indra had indulged in some misdeeds. On his return, Bruhaspathi reprimanded Indra for his wayward activities. Indra sought guidance from his Guru to do away with his sins.
Bruhaspathi asked Indra to go to earth and do Shiv Puja to repent his sins. Indra came to a place named Madurai at Tamil Nadu and did Puja to a Shiv Ling which he found under a Kadamba tree. He also had access to the golden lotus in the nearby pond and he surrendered it to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva had granted him pardon. It is further believed that he had built a temple for Sri Shiva there.
This incident necessitated to appoint an accountant to keep track of the good deeds and sins of the people.
It is believed that Sri Brahma had created Chitra Gupta through Sri Surya. There is also another belief that originally, he was in the form of a painting (Chitra) kept by Sri Parvathi Devi. Then, the Chitra was given life and was born to the celestial holy cow, Kamadhenu.
The chief duty of Chitra Gupta is to take into account, the good deeds and the sins committed by the people. As per belief, he is keeping account for each and every person for every activity.
On the judgement day, i.e., the day of appearance before Dharma Raja, Chitra Gupta states the karma account of the concerned individual. Based on Chitra Gupta’s statements, the re-birth and / or liberation of the individual are said to be decided.
If donations and other good deeds are done on Chitra Pournami day, it is believed that Chitra Gupta would revise the person’s statement of account in his / her favor.
It is also believed to be the marriage day of Chitra Gupta.
Chitra Pournami – celebrations and beliefs
It is considered auspicious to take dip in the ocean and rivers on Chitra Pournami day.
It is customary to draw kolam at the southern side of the house. Special dishes such as Coconut Payasam and Chakkara Pongal are offered to Chitra Gupta as Neivedyam and distributed to all.
Rice, pulses, vegetables and some money are kept and offered as daan in ‘Muram’, the specially designed plate made of bamboo sticks. This daan is believed to bring in prosperity. After completing the daan ritual, the kolam drawn in the southern side is wiped.
On this day, products made from cow’s milk are avoided as a mark of respect to Kamadhenu. Some people have food without salt on this day.
Chitra Pournami festival is celebrated grandly at Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple by performing Devendra Puja.
At Kanchipuram, there is a dedicated temple for Chitra Gupta. Special Pujas are done to the Deity on this day.
The festival is also observed by having darshan of and doing Puja to Sri Parvathi Devi in all her manifestations.