Full Moon Day in the month of Chithirai with the star Chitra on the day is considered auspicious and special for the good effects it bears on human life. The day has the brilliance of theMoon in its entirety and the power of the Sun in his exalted position.
The solar calendar starts with the Sun in the Aries sign. It is the exalted position of the Sun and his influence on humanity is very positive during this phase of his travel. We have the occurrence of Chitra Pournami during this journey of the Sun -the Pournami which is already bright and brilliant with the positive influence of the Full Moon has more power with the combination of the exalted Sun on this day.
Full moon influences people’s minds in a very positive manner and engages people in creative activities. It is more so on the day of Chitra Pournami and thus the combination of the exalted Sun and the Full Moon proves very beneficial for humanity involving the human race in a high mode of thinking and acting.
Chitragupta is the assistant of Yama, Lord of Death who decides the rewards and punishments for the good and bad deeds of a person after his death. The good and bad deeds of the person are recorded by Chitragupta who lists the deeds out on the death of the person to Yama.
The name Chitragupta implies two words-‘Chitra’ meaning picture and ‘gupta’ meaning hidden. Chitragupta has the hidden pictures of the good and bad deeds of a person. He watches us from above and thus sends a warning to us to be aware of our actions so as to avoid punishments in the other world.
On Chitra Pournami, Chitragupta temple in Kancheepuram, Chandramoulishwar temple in Thiruvakkarai, Airavateswarar temple in Darasuram and Thirukoteeswarar temple in Thirukodikaval conduct special poojas and prayers for Chitragupta.
Ritualistic prayers like homam, pooja with prasadam can be offered to Chitragupta on Chitra Pournami.
The king of devas Indra had a disagreement with his Guru Brihaspati one day. He ignored the advice of his Guru and Brihaspati left him in anger. Indra committed lots of sins and after some time Brihaspati returned to him. The Guru asked Indra to go to the earth and get absolved of his sins.
On his pilgrimage on earth, Indra got redeemed of his sins. At one place, he felt that all his sins were redeemed and in that place, he found a ShivaLinga. He built a temple for the Linga and conducted pooja to it with golden lotuses in the nearby pond. This incident happened in Madurai on Chitra Pournami. Indra pooja is conducted in Madurai Meenakshi temple on this day.
On the day of Chitra Pournami, people find it very auspicious to take a pradakshina around the Arunachaleshwar temple (girivalam) in Thiruvannamalai. Though it covers more than ten kilometers, the devotees do not find it a distance and involve themselves in offering their prayers to Lord Shiva through coming around the mountain in which His temple is placed.
Chithirai Thiruvizha in Madurai is very famous. It is the time of conducting Meenakshi Kalyanam in Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai. We know the story of Mahavishnu, brother of Meenakshi coming late for the marriage of Meenakshi with Somasundarar and thus going back with anger without attending the function. On the day of Chitra Pournami, we have the festival of Kallazhagar (Vishnu) coming by the river Vaigai from Alagarkoil, to attend the marriage. Since he is late, he is not able to attend the marriage and goes back in anger.
People feed the brahmins, the poor and needy and seek the eternal bliss for a good life. Taking a bath in a holy river on Chitra Pournami is believed to wash away our past and present sins.
Let us remember Chitragupta and Indra on this day and check our deeds with caution so as to avoid bad karma. We can also understand that disrespecting guru’s words as in the case of Indra will lead to grievances and sins. Let us also pray to God to get rid of our sins and get ahead with spiritual energy and meritorious life in the ongoing days.