- According to the Vedic scriptures, the souls of men after death receive rewards and punishments according to their sins and virtues, and hence it is believed that good and bad deeds of men are not destroyed. The souls of men after death go to Yamapuri, which is presided over by the deities called Yamas who keep records of men's actions and accordingly give them their dues. The principal Yama is called Yamaraja or Dharamaraja, that is, the ruler of Yamapuri or the king of laws.
- A large central panel portrays Yama the god of death (often referred to as Dharma) seated on a throne; to the left stands a demon. To the right of Yama sits Chitragupta, assigned with keeping detailed records of every human being and upon their death deciding how they are to be reincarnated, depending on their previous actions.
- The Yama Samhita, an extract from the 9th chapter of Ahilya Kamdhenu, a work of Hindu Law, says that Dharamaraja complained to Lord Brahma about his difficulties in performing his most responsible duties of keeping records of the deeds of men and doing justice to them. Lord Brahma went into meditation. Chitragupta sprang from his body and stood before him bearing an inkpot and a pen. The god Brahma (creator) said: "Because you are sprung from my body (kaya), therefore you shall be called Kayastha and as you existed in my body unseen I give you the name of Chitragupta." He then assumed charge of Yamapuri. Dharmaraja married his daughter Irawati to Chitragupta and Manuji, son of Surya (the Sun) married his daughter Sudakhina to him." Chitragupta had eight sons from the former and. four from the latter and these twelve sons became the progenitors of the twelve subdivisions of the Chitraguptavansi Kayasthas, namely- Saxena, Mathur, Gaur, Nigam, Ashthana, Kulshrestha, Suryadwaja, Bhatnagar, Ambastha, Shrivastava, Karana and Vaalmik.
- Padma Purana after stating the legend says: "Chitragupta was placed near Dharamaraj to register the good and evil actions of all sentient beings, that he was possessed of supernatural wisdom and became the partaker of sacrifices offered to the gods and fire. It is for this reason that the twice-born always give him oblations from their food. As he sprang from the body of Lord Brahma he was called Kayastha of numerous gotras on the face of the earth."
- Bhavishya Purana states that God, the Creator, gave the name and duties of Chitragupta as follows: Because you have sprung from my body, therefore, you shall be called Kayastha and shall be famous in the world by the name of Chitragupta. Oh my son, let your residence be always in the region of the God of justice for the purpose of determining the merits and demerits of men. Vignana Tantra says the same thing.
- The same is the enjoinment of Lord Brahma to Chitragupta according to Brihat Brahma Khanda. He was named Kayastha having sprung from the body (kaya) of Lord Brahma. He was directed to perform all sanskars and to have writing as his profession.
- Garuda Purana describes the imperial throne of Chitragupta in Yamapuri holding his Court and dispensing justice according to the deeds of men and maintaining their record, in the following words: (There Dharmaraja, Chitragupta, Sravana and others see all sins and virtues remaining concealed in the bodies of men).
- The Mahabharata (Anusasan Parva, chapter 130) recites the teaching of Chitragupta requiring men to do virtuous and charitable acts and performing Yagya, saying that men are rewarded or punished according to their good or bad deeds.
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?"
चित्र इद राजा राजका इदन्यके यके सरस्वतीमनु ।
पर्जन्य इव ततनद धि वर्ष्ट्या सहस्रमयुता ददत ॥
The Rig Veda mentions an invocation to be made to Chitragupta before offering sacrifice. There is also a special invocation to Chitragupta as Dharmraj (Lord of Justice) to be made at the performance of shradh or other rituals. "Om tat purushaya vidmahe Chitragupta dhimahi tena lekha prachodayata."
The priests also pay reverence to Chitragupta: "Yamam Dharmarajya Chitraguptaya vain namah
So in other words Chitra means collection of Pictures and Gupta means Hidden.It is believed that Chitragupta examines the good and bad deeds(Karma) of every person. When a person dies, his soul first reaches Lord Yama, where Chitragupta tallies the deeds and report it to Yama. Special worship is done in Honour of Lord Chitragupta who keeps an account of our karmas and appeals for forgiveness for our shortcomings are raised on this day