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Significance of Chitra Pournami

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Chitra Pournami or Chitra Purnima is a Tamil ceremony observed on the Purnima day (full moon day)
in the Tamil month of Chithirai (AprilMay). Chitra Pournami ritual commemorates Chitragupta, who
according to the scriptures is the assistant of Lord Yama, the God of Death. The day is also dedicated
to Indra, the head of Devas. It is on this day that the star Chitra and full moon come together.

Chitragupta also means collection of pictures. It is believed that Chitragupta examines the good and
bad performances of the person. When a person dies, his soul first goes to Lord Yama, where
Chitragupta tallies the deeds and report it to Yama. Special worship is done in Honour of Lord
Chitragupta the Divine Accountant who keeps an account of our karmas and appeals for
forgiveness for our shortcomings are raised on this day.

It is a customary to eat curd rice without salt on this day and to fast without eating anything else. In
any case avoiding salt in food items throughout the day is recommended on this day, if possible.

On this day, special pooja will be conducted at temples and people take bath in holy rivers and temple
ponds to wash away the sins committed. Chitragupta Temple at Kancheepuram is the only temple in
South India for Chitragupta. Thirukoteeswarar temple at Thirukodikaval situated on the Kumbakonam-
Mayiladuthurai route, has separate shrines for Chitragupta and Yama. In these temples, Chitra
Pournami festival is celebrated in a grand manner every year.

There is a legend associated with Chitra Pournami involving Lord Indra the king of Devas and his Guru
Brihaspati. Lord Indra and Brihaspati once had an argument. As Indra failed to respect Guru, he
stopped advising Indra who started committing sins in the absence of Guru. Days passed and
Brihaspati returned to his duty. He advised Indra for a pilgrimage to the earth to lessen the burden of
sins. During the pilgrimage, Indra realized that he had been redeemed from the sins. He found a Shiva

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lingam under a Kadamba tree and believed that Lord Shiva had helped him in relieving his sins.
Following this, he started worshipping him. He worshipped Lord Shiva with a golden lotus which he
found from a nearby pond. This was believed to have happened on a Chitra Pournami day at Madurai
in South India. Devendra pooja or Indra Pooja is held during Chitra Pournami festival in Madurai
Meenakshi Amman Temple, commemorating the event.
In Kerala Chitra Pournami festival is celebrated with much religious fervor at the Mangala Devi Temple
located at Kumily in Idukki. This Mangala Devi Temple has been built in Pandya style of architecture
and is dedicated to Kannagi or Kannaki Amman, the main character of the South Indian epic
Silappathikaaram. This 2000 year old temple remains closed for the entire year except for Chitra
Pournami Festival. Pilgrims from Kerala and the nearby state of Tamil Nadu visit the shrine during this
festive occasion.

Chitra pournami is also famous for Arjuna. In Mahabharata, Arjuna, aroused by Krishnas beautiful
waist and red lips, approached him as Arjuni. It is being celebrated in Arjuna temple in koovagam
near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu by those having both male and female gender / characteristics, once in
a year on this day.

WhatisChitraPournami?Howshouldwespendourdayonthisauspiciousevent?


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One who extinguished the gates of the five sensors, in His path devoid of any insincerity, those who
stand; they would live long - Tirukkural.


Chitragupta the Divine Accountant keeps an account of our karmas and appeals to Yama*, for
forgiveness on our shortcomings on this auspicious Chitra Pournami day and year after year. It is a
formal performance appraisal that is generally conducted annually for all the living beings of this
planet. These appraisals actually help to develop individuals for an improved performance. The
traditional method of appraisal system was prevalent even during the Vedic period and has been
emphasized by many rishis and yogis through puranas, since ancient days.

*{Yama - the god of death, also the five moral commandments. Yama is also known as in Tamil.
- Kaalan means a time keeper. He has been given authority to vouch your - life time}.

It is sometime fashionable in the modern age to dismiss traditional processes such as this
performance appraisal as irrelevant or unhelpful by certain section of people.

Appraisals, in whatever form, have been a mainstay for ages, for many good reasons. The appraisal
process provides the platform for development.

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Starting this Chitra Pournami day, let us sit down and review our-self informally. Choose a proper
venue private and free from interruptions, dyaana mantapa, prayer hall or a room that has huge
influence on atmosphere and relaxed mood. Maintain peace. Use whatever scoring system that suits
you. Be as truthful as you can. Do not expose yourself unnecessarily. Be positive. Never negative.


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Start with a favourable prayer of your choice.

Listed here are probable yard sticks for our self-appraisal.

selfdiscipline
LLselfcontrol
_ selfconsciousness
@_selfeffort
_@selflearnt
selfthinking
@_selfadvancement.Whatareyougoodat?
selfconfidence
LQselfdiscovery
|selfsufficiency
_ strengthandpower.Thinkaboutyournaturalstrengths.
weakness

Prepareour-self.Identifyobjectivesforour-selfforthenextyear.
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Has the past year been good or bad or satisfactory or otherwise and why?
What do I consider to be my most important achievements of the past year?
What do I consider to be my most important tasks in the next year?
What action could be taken to improve my performance?
Look for ways to relate personal growth and development of your own passions and interests.
Also seek opportunities to help and support others.

Selfexamination.Reviewandmeasure.Pastandfuture

Review the performance, in terms of activities, task, objectives, achievements, one by one, keeping to
distinct separate items one by one.

Be aware that year after year, on the Chitra Pournami day, Chitragupta the Divine Accountant
examines our good and bad performances, keeps an account of our karmas, tallies the deeds and
report it to Yama.

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By Your grace one becomes a saint,
One becomes learned, one becomes rich,
Showered by Your grace one gets different kinds of wealth,
And so goddess of wealth, give us wealth and intellect.
(Medha Suktham)

Courtesy: M R Ravi Vaidyanaat Agama Academy/
Visit: www.agamaacademy.org