Chithra Paruvam: First full moon of the Tamil New Year

By Kumar Punithavel

May 12 th is first full moon of the Tamil New Year:

I guess the first full moon day of a New Year, will be an ideal time to reflect on the previous year’s actions and correct our wrong doings. This will help us to check our character and correct it, if need be. Our forefathers have chosen the Chithra Paruvam as the ideal day for this purpose. The full moon day of the Chithrai month is considered as sacred to the Chithra Gupthas, the recording angel of Hindu pantheon.

The term Chithra Guptha means ‘hidden picture’. Hindu believes a true picture of all our good and evil actions is preserved in a cosmic eternal record. The Hindu’s personifies these records for the sake of worship. The psychological effect of this worship done on the very first full moon of each year; is to vividly remind us of the higher power that maintains a constant vigil over every act of ours on this earthly-plane. This memory serves as an invisible check on ones conduct.

[Full Moon in Udayarkattu, Mullaithivu]

The real significance of the worship of the Chithra Guptha is beautifully brought out in the following story connected with it as mentioned in Swami Sivananda’s book titled ‘Hindu fasts and festivals’.

“Brihaspati is the Guru or preceptor of Indra, the king of the Deva’s. Indra disobeyed Brihaspati on one occasion and the Guru relinquished his task of instructing Indra in what he should and should not do. During the period of the Guru’s absence, Indra did many evil deeds. When the compassionate Guru resumed his duty again, Indra wanted to know what he should do to expiate the wrongs he had done in his Guru’s absence. Brihaspathi asked Indra to undertake a pilgrimage. While Indra was on his pilgrimage, he suddenly felt the load of his sins taken off his shoulders at a certain place (near Madurai in South India), where he discovered a Shiva Lingam. He attributed the miracle to this Lingam and wanted to build a temple for it. Indra had the temple constructed immediately. Now he wished to perform the worship of the Lingam; Lord Siva himself caused golden lotus to appear in a near by pond. Indra felt greatly pleased and blessed. The day on which he thus worshiped the Lord was Chitra Paruvam.

You too, when praying on this day; try to remember this story. This story is of great significance and meaning. If you have intense faith, if you feel with a penitent heart that you have committed sins on account of ignorance, if you pray with faith and devotion to God to forgive your sins and if you resolve never to commit them in future; then your sins will be forgiven. You need not go and confess to some mortal being who proclaim to be the representative of the all mighty. God is not deaf! Confessing to mortal being is not agreeable to the Hindu religion. As Lord Jesus has said “Ask and it shall be given!”

The Hindu scriptures prescribe elaborate worship of the Chithra Guptas on this day. But you could offer ritualistic worship with incense, camphor, flowers etc. Feed the poor and needy. Give bountifully in charity and receive the Lord’s blessing.

Those who lost their mothers observe this day fasting rigorously remembering all the good she has done to them. Once we had been conceived our mother kindly allowed us to stay in her womb, nourishing our body with her blood and warmth, putting up with great discomfort, and finally going through the painful ordeal of child birth for our sake. We came to this world naked and empty handed and were given immediately a home, food, clothes and everything else we needed. While we were a helpless baby our mother protected us from danger, fed us, cleaned and loved us. Without her kindness and love we would not be alive today. Now that she is no longer with us we should not forget all the good she has done to us. This remembering with gratitude the good done to them by their mother a Hindu does to the last day of life. Hope at the next Chithra Paruvam, you observe the day remembering your loving mother. You can forgo your breakfast and eat a simple vegetable lunch after offering the same to a picture of your mother as personification of the dead mother. She is the first God we all saw!

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