A temple that has stood witness through many centuries to Patna’s evolution as the capital city of India’s Bihar province, is poised to relive its erstwhile glory. Dedicated to Lord Chitragupta, the Hindu God who records all actions of human beings, the shrine is located on the southern bank of the holy Ganga river in the Diwan Mohalla locality of the old Patna city. It was originally constructed by Mudrarakshasha, the Prime Minister of Magadh empire ruler Mahapadmananda (364-326 B.C.), who later served Chandragupta Maurya in the same capacity. The aura of the Shri Chitragupta Adi Mandir acquired a timeless quality when Raja Todarmal, celebrated Revenue and Treasury Minister and one of the navratnas (nine jewels) of Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556 AD-1605 AD), installed a black basalt idol of Lord Chitragupta as its presiding deity in 1574. This statue was stolen in the late 1950s. It has since been providentially recovered and restored to the temple this Deepawali festival season. Thanks to the support extended by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the shrine is on its way to claim its rightful position as an international religious tourism destination.

Chitragupta is a Hindu God assigned with the task of keeping complete records of all actions of human beings on the earth, and upon their death, deciding as regards sending them to the heaven or the hell, depending on their actions on the earth. Chitragupta Maharaj (Chitragupta, the King) is the patron deity of Kayasthas, a Hindu jâti (clan) of India, who trace their origin to him.

The legend has it that Yama, the Hindu God of death, used to get confused when deciding the fate of dead people and sending them to hell or heaven, in the absence of any records of their actions on earth. Yama narrated his predicament to the Creator of the world Brahma and prayed for his assistance. At the instance of Brahma, Lord Shiva commanded Chitragupta Maharaj, who was a clone of Brahma himself, to assume responsibility for this task. Lord Chitragupta is considered a perfect professional and is believed to keep meticulous, complete and accurate records of the actions of all human beings, from their birth till death. We also know this in theosophical parlance as the “Akashic Records”.