The Full Moon of Chithra
Chithra Poornima is the full moon in the month of Chithirai in conjunction with the Chaitra or Chithra constellation. It is considered as one of the important full moons of the year. The word chithra means brilliant or colourful from which the term chitrakar is derived, meaning painter-artist or magician.
On this full moon night, the legend of Chitragupta is narrated among families. Chitragupta is the Hindu god, who is assigned with the task of keeping a complete record of the good and bad deeds of human beings and after their death, judge them whether they should go to hell or heaven, depending on their actions on earth. In some beliefs, Chitragupta is the creation of Lord Brahma and the younger brother of the god of death, Yama. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma is the creator of the whole world. He first created sixteen sons from different parts of his body. Then Lord Brahma created his seventeenth son Chitragupta from his belly. Chitragupta is also called `Kayastha` as he was created from the Kaya(body) of Lord Brahma. He is a divine incarnation in human form. Chitragupta has eight sons namely Gorha, Mathura, Bhatnagar, Saxena, Asthana, Srivastava, Ambastha and Karna. The Hindu religion believes in the cycle of life, death and rebirth. It is believed that those who have done misdeeds in this life have to take rebirth after a punishment period in hell to complete their life cycle. The primary duty of Chitragupta is to create a log of the lives of all human beings. After the death of each creature, Chitragupta judges and decides whether they will attain ‘Moksha’ or go to heaven for their good-deeds and get redemption from all worldly troubles or receive punishment for their sins in another life form or in hell.
It is a general belief that on this night, any religious act of absolution like bathing in sacred waters or pradakshina around a holy mountain will propitiate Chitragupta who may obliterate the records of one’s bad deeds as a result. Hence millions come to Tiruvannamalai on this night to do giri pradakshina.