Adhik Maas (Purushottam maas)

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

The lunar calendar adds one extra month every third year. This extra month is known by various names: Adhik Maas, Mull Maas, or Purushottam Maas. This is the thirteenth month of the lunar calendar.

Just as there is the lunar year with the extra month (Adhik Maas), so is there a lunar year with a diminished or reduced month, with only eleven months in the year. The lunar year comprising of eleven months only is very rare indeed. It occurs once in 140 years or once in 190 years. But the extra month or Adhik Maas comes every third year. Adhik Maas adopts the name of the month that follows Adhik Maas.

In the year 2020, Adhik Masa will occur in Ashwin month from 18 September to 16 October as per North Indian Calendar, for whom the new month starts on the full moon. The first day of Sharadiya Navaratri will be on 17th October 2020.

The extra month this year is known as Ashwin Adhik Maas. After the Adhik Ashwin, the regular Ashwin month will follow. Adhik maas is generally counted in one of the seven months from Chaitra to Ashwin. Sometimes it is also taken in Phalgun. But it is not counted in Margasheesh, Paush and Magh months. There is a gap of 19 years when the adhik maas comes again in the same month.

The solar year is made up of 365 days and about 06 minutes and the lunar year is made up of 354 days. Thus both the solar and the lunar years have gaps of 11 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes and 12 seconds. As this gap increases each year, it approximates in three years to one month.

[Note: The moon takes about 27.3 days to make one complete orbit around the earth. The earth orbits around the sun once every 365.2422 days (= earth’s orbital speed of 29.79 km per second). The earth and the moon in 27.3 days have moved as a system about 1/12 of the ways around the sun. This means that from one full moon to the next full moon, the moon must travel 2.2 extra days before it appears full. This is due to the curve of the earth’s orbit around the sun. The moon is still making one complete orbit (circle) in 27.3 days. But to line up with the earth and sun to become a full moon again it takes 29.531 days. 29.531 day Lunar months = 354.372 days per lunar year. Thus we arrive at a difference of 10.87 days a year between a lunar year and a solar year of 365.2422 days per year.]

Spiritual significance of Adhik Maas

Adhik Maaas Vrat is capable of washing away all the sins of people (who observe the Vrat). During this month austerities, fasting are undertaken and clothes, charity etc. are distributed to the needy.

It is written in the Devi Bhagavat that charitable and meritorious acts and fastings etc. carried out during this Adhik Maas, inevitably produce results. Just as an atomic sized seed contains within it the power to produce a giant and long living Banyan tree, so in the same manner even a little charitable act undertaken during Adhik Maas produces huge results.

There is also a legend that Hiranyakashipu had asked for a boon that no man, animal or sura, asura should cause his death; further he asked that he should not meet his death in any of the 12 months of the year, in the morning or night, not inside the house nor outside, nor by any weapon.

He thought he was being very clever. But the Supreme Lord outwitted him and appeared in Narasimha form, in the evening, during Adhik Mass and dragged Hiranyakashipu to the threshold of the palace (neither inside nor outside) and ripped open his chest with his claws.

Therefore, during Adhik Maas no auspicious festive activity such as marriage, havan, puja anushthan etc., should be performed. Only naam japa, charity and Bhagavat katha yagya is generally done.

Adhik Maas is also known as Purushottama Maas. There is a nice story about this. According to the lunar year, there were only 12 months. Each of the twelve months was assigned to 12 gods. So that the lunar and the solar years do not get out of step with days and seasons, the far-sighted Rishi-Munis calculated and facilitated Adhik Maas (extra month) and showed its importance.

But one problem still remained. Each of the 12 months was assigned to 12 different gods. But the 13th extra month was not assigned to any god. Adhik Maas felt sad and approached Lord Vishnu and said that no god was assigned to him (Adhik Maas) and for that reason he was called Mal Maas (Unclean month). Adhik Maas further prayed to Lord Vishnu: ‘ I am filled with anxiety and I have therefore come to seek your refuge and help.’

Bhakta vatsal Bhagawan Sri Hari took pity on him. The Lord assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and gave the name Purushottama Maas to this month. Lord Vishnu also said that acquisition of merits during other months through good deeds, japa, austerities etc can be acquired by japa, austerities etc. carried out within this one month. Since then it is known as the Purushottama Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.

The Puranas also sing high praises about Adhik Maas and indicate puja, readings of scriptures etc. during Adhik Maas. Selfless actions, without the expectations of results, are to be performed during Adhik Maas. Mal Maas (Adhik Maas) is the month for Vishnu puja.

The recitation of Srimad Bhagavat Purana and of the Bhagavad Gita during this month produce top meritorious results. In addition to singing and listening to the praises of the Lord (Vishnu), serious sadhakas undertake Adhik Maas Vrat also.

This Vrat is to begin from the first day and ends on the last day of Adhik Maas. Waking up during the hours of Brahma Muhurta (between 4 am and 6 am), after ablutions, the devotees place a murti of Radha-Krisha or Lakshmi-Narayana and perform Sodashopachara puja.

If there is a temple nearby then perform puja of whatever deities are usually worshipped therein. During the entire month of Mal Maas Vrat Sattvic food (vegetarian meals, milk, fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables) is to be eaten. One meal at night is recommended.

It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that Sri Krishna Himself has said regarding Adhik Maas Vrat that by carrying out the Vrat with the sole aim of worshipping God, through fasting, cleanliness, charity, puja etc. merits are acquired which produce unfailing results and all sorts of calamities are overcome.

Sri Purushottam maas ki Jai !!

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !