I’m a Srivastava by birth and that makes me a Kayastha by caste.
Kayastha’s are basically the descents of Lord Chitragupta.
The second day after Diwali is celebrated as Chitragupta Pooja. One day before we restrict ourselves from any form of writing and collect our pens and put them in our Mandir for pooja. After the Chitragupta pooja one finally starts writing again.
Today I visited one such pooja in Gurgaon, where all the Kayastha people of the nearby places got together by making contacts via Whats-app ( Yes, Digital India ). They organised this event in a community center- A pooja followed by lunch.
Who is Chitragupta?
Chitragupta is a God assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth. Upon their death, Chitragupta has the task of deciding heaven or the hell for the humans, depending on their actions on the earth.
He is the son of Lord Brahma and holds a fairly special place in the Hindu pantheon because of the order of his birth. So beware, my God patron decides your destiny.
Be nice to me or you go to hell :P
Why does this Pooja take place?
Chitragupta Pooja is performed by Kayastha Parivar that believes in world peace, justice, knowledge and literacy, the four primary virtues depicted by the form of Shree Chitraguptjee. The basic purpose is to please Lord Chitragupta to get a healthy and prosperous life and afterlife.
How does the Pooja take place?
The pooja firstly starts with the Chitragupta legend which is:
Chitragupta came into being after Brahma, the creator, having established the four varnas — Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra — ordained Dharamraj (also called Yamraj, the god of death) to keep record of the deeds — good and evil — of all life-forms born and yet to be born on earth, in the heavens above and in the lands below. Dharamraj, however, complained, “O Lord, how can I alone keep record of the deeds of the beings born into 84 lakh yonis (life-forms) in the three worlds?”
Brahma went into meditation for 11, 000 years and when he opened his eyes he saw a man holding pen and ink-pot in his hands and a sword girdled to his waist. Brahma spoke: “Thou hast been created from my body (Kaya), therefore shall thy progeny be known as the Kayasthas. Thou hast been conceived in my mind (Chitra) and in secrecy (Gupta), thy name shall also be Chitragupta.” Brahma then enjoined him to dispense justice and punish those who violated the dharma.
Then later the story about the family of Chitragupta is told to the devotees.
This is followed by a Havan in the name of Chitragupta, where everybody sits around and puts in Havan Samagri into the Havan kund every time the Pandit says “Svahah”.
Rituals and Beliefs?
After the Pooja every body receives a piece of paper on which with a red pen you have to write the name of five god and goddesses and also any other wishes you want. Then this paper is folded and kept near the statue or picture of Lord Chitragupta.
Other people also use red liquid color to draw Swastika on the paper using their finger. A rangoli is made at the entrance to welcome all the devotees and also the entire venue is decorated with Marigold flowers.
During the Chitragupta Pooja, earning members of the also give account of their earning, writing to Chitragupta Maharaj the additional amount of money that is required to run the household, next year.
Now you know a little something about the Indian culture and the Kayastha caste.
So next year find your Kayastha friends and wish them a Happy Chitragupta Pooja.