The full moon days and new moon days are generally observed as days of fasting for the sake of departed souls. Full moon days are conducive for fasts for the departed mothers while the new moon days for the departed fathers. Although all full moon and new moon days are auspicious, the full moon day of the month of Chitthirai is selected to fast for the departed mothers. This is because the month of Chitthirai is between 12.00 noon to 2.00 pm of the celestial day; this is the time when we give our offerings to the departed souls and have our prayers. One will be familiar with the fact that our one year is equivalent to one celestial day.
Apart from this Chitthiraa Pournami is auspicious for performing special prayers to Chitra Gupta. Swami Sivananda gives a clear and useful account for this ritual in his book “Hindu Fasts & Festivals’. The account is as follows:
“The full moon of Chaitra month, that is, the Purnima during the ascendency of the Chitra star is particularly sacred to the Chitra Guptas, the recording angels of the Hindu pantheon. A special worship is offered to these celestial representatives of the god of death, and an offering of spiced rice is prepared and later distributed as prasad or holy sacrament. A fire worship is done at the close of the ritualistic worship. By the performance of this religious observance annually, these angels of the other world are greatly pleased and judge man’s actions with more sympathy.
The psychological effect of this worship, done on the very first full moon day of every year (Chaitra is the first of the twelve months), is to vividly remind us of the higher power that maintains a constant watch over every act of our on this earth – plane. This memory serves as an invisible check on one’s conduct. The conception of the Chitra Guptas as located within each shoulder is a powerful inducement to keep oneself engaged in constantly doing good actions only.
The term Chitra Guptas means “hidden picture”. A true picture of all our good and evil actions is preserved in the ethereal records. The Hindu personifies it for the sake of worship”
– Prepared by Dr. K. Thilagawathi