|| Significance of Purushottam Maas ||
ADHIK MAASA -The Extra Lunar Month. Also Known as Adhik Maas, Mal Maas, and Purushottam Maas.
The Vedas call upon the inhabitants of this world to re-unite with the spiritual entity of one’s prakruti (comprising of the panch bhootas namely: earth, water, fire, air, and ether, the mind-manas, the intellect-Buddhi; the ego-aham; and the soul divine – atman). Purushottama Maasa is the month where humankind is privileged to become divinely spiritual.
This is the month for self-development, self-revaluation, self-assessment, self-reflection, self-retrospection and Introspection. It is a time for one’s own soul, one’s own spirit of life and no one else. It is a communion between the human earth and the celestial. We pray for abundance of goodness and materials.
Time is a valuable gift that flies as seasons come and go. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace truly means that in the middle of noise and haste, we can bear all our adversities with calmness and serenity. If we are unmoved by pain and pleasure, we are at peace. God grants us the boon of Adhik-Maasa to recuperate our losses in spiritual terms. This chance comes once every three years. So we must really take fullest advantage of this grandeur.
:: Astronomical Significance ::
The concept of Adhika Maasa is unique to the traditional Hindu lunar calendar, which is based on the cycles of the Moon. A lunar month is around 29.5 days long. A solar month is 30 to 31 days long. The solar year is made up of 365 days & 06 minutes and the lunar year is made up of 354 days. So, as years pass by, each lunar month starts earlier than the corresponding solar month. Thus both the solar and the lunar years have a gap of 11 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes and 12 seconds. As this gap increases each year, it approximates in three years to become one month. So to match the two calendars, an extra month is added. This is the thirteenth month of the lunar calendar, called 'Adhik Maas'. The Adhik Maas is added when the Amvasya and the Surya Sankranti coincide. It adopts the name of the month that follows Adhik Maas.
Just as there is the lunar year with the extra month (called Adhik Maas), there is ALSO a lunar year with a diminished or reduced month called the KSHAYA MAASA, with only eleven months in the year. The lunar year comprising of eleven months only is very rare indeed, occurring as rarely as once in 140 or 190 years. But the extra month or Adhik Maas comes every third year. Whenever Sankranti does not fall within one month then Adhik Maas occurs. When there are two Sankrantis within one month then it becomes a lunar year with one reduced month or a Kshaya Maas.
[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.]
Vasishta Siddhanta, a treatise of Sage Vasishta, says that the Adhika Masa occurs after every 32 months, 16 days and 8 Ghatis. A Ghati is 24 minutes. The Kshayamaas first arrives after 141 years and then after 190 years.
असंक्रान्तिमासोअधिमासाः स्फुटः स्याद
द्विसंक्रान्तिमासः क्ष्याख्यः कदाचित
Meaning: The month that does not carry Surya Sankranti is called Adhik maasa and the month carrying two Sankrantis is called Kshayamass.
:: Adhik maas dates in 2012 ::
In the 2012 Hindu lunar calender, adhik maasa is from 18 August 2012 to 16 sep 2012. This additional time unit of approximately 30 days is called Adhik Bhadarapad Maas or Adhik Bhadrapada Mahina. So in 2012 there are thirteen months in Hindu Lunar calendar apart from the normal 12 months.
Adhik masa is celebrated as sacred month. People perform extra malas, pradakshinas, pilgrimages, scriptural reading and parayans. All efforts with the intention of worldly gains are strictly prohibited during Adhikamas as mentioned in scriptures –“न कुर्यादधिके मासि काम्यं कर्म कदाचन.”
During this period, marriages, tonsures (mundan), inaugurations of new home, fasting with desire of some worldy gains, buying new ornaments and vehicles are prohibited.
In a book called Purushottama Granth, also called Purushottam maas Mahatyam, many aspects of the special religious significance of this month are found. Many people read or listen to this book during Purushottama Maas . By reading and listening, high merits are acquired. There are lots of lovely stories connected with the special significance of this month..
It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that fasting or eating once a day should commence on the first day. According to ability, distribute charities and do good deeds: daan, jaap, vrat , path and poojas to be blessed by Bhagvan Purushottam.
Adhik Maas/Mal Maas Vrat is capable of washing away all the sins of people who observe the Vrat.
It is written in the Devi Bhagavat that charitable and meritorious acts and fasting etc. carried out during the Adhik Maas, produce fruitful results. Just as atomic sized contents within a seed produce a giant and long-living Banyan tree, in the same manner even a little charitable act done during this Maas produces big results.
:: LEGENDS ::
1. As mentioned before, Mal Maas or Adhik Maas is also known as Purushottama Maas. There is a nice story about this. According to the lunar year, there are 12 months. So that the lunar and the solar years match 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 sadness and approached Lord Vishnu and said that no god was assigned to him, as he was an extra , and for that reason he was called Mal Maas or Malimmucha. Adhik Maas further spoke to Lord Vishnu: ‘ I am filled with anxiety and I have therefore come to seek your refuge and help.’
Lord Purushottam bhagvan- Vishnu took pity on him and assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and gave it the name Purushottama Maas. 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.
2. A beautiful story relates to how, in ancient times, through the observance of Mal Maas Vrat, king Nahush was released from all bondage and acquired the throne of Indra. (the ruler of gods in heaven).
3. Adhikamaasa katha –
Once Lakshmidevi asked Srihari how to perform the Adhika Maasa pooja and what are the daanaas to be during Adhikamasa.
Then Srihari told her that he himself is the God for the Adhika maasa with the name Purushottama. Punya kaaryas lika snaana, japa, homaa will bring akshaya phala. He also told Devi that those who do NOT do any punya karya during Adhika Maasa will be getting daaridrya, putrashoka, etc
Those who could not do for the whole month can do it atleast on Krishna paksha Astami, navami, chaturdashi, Dwadashi, pournami, chaturdashi, etc.
4. Earlier there lived a brahmana by name Kaushika who was a jitendriya. He had a son by name maitreya who was addicted to drinking and was a kamaandha. One day Maitreya went to forest. He killed a brahmana in Sourashtra and snatched all the money from the Brahmin. Because he killed that brahmana, the whole City itself was burnt. As he got brahma hatya dosha, Maitreya was taken by Yamadoothas and was thrown in Krumeekunda. He was in Hell for more than 10000 years. After a long period, Kaushika, the father of Maitreya came to know about the same. Kaushika searched all the shruthi – shaastraas and found a remedy for brahmahatya parihara.
He did the Vratha named Adhikamasa Vratha and gave 33 apoopadaana and his son was saved from the Hell.
As such, the Adhikamasa vratha, if done with proper anusandhana, can remove brahma hatya dosha also.
:: Adhik Maas: Religious significance ::
The great culture of India always conveys the message of internalization of virtues. The significance of worship, fasting, charity, chanting of Mantras and austerity is mentioned in all ancient Hindu scriptures. Although there is utmost importance given to charity, virtues etc in Vedic religion throughout the year, it is icing on a cake when these rituals are performed during “Adhik Maas”.
During the period of Purushottam maasa, people perform various types of religious rituals such as keeping fasts, recitation of religious scriptures, chanting mantras & prayers, and performing various types of puja's & havans. Also, individuals observe this sacred month, which arrives after every thirty-two months by performing parayans, holding a Katha series of sacred texts, attending satsanghs and discourses. Vrats of various duration (full day, half day, weekly, fortnight, full month) are carried out as per the tolerance/capacity of individuals. These vratas may be: fruit fasts, a complete fast with or without liquids, or a one-time vegetarian food.
:: Benefits of Adhik Maas Vrat ::
• Keeping fast during this period is equivalent to performing a hundred yagnas, which acts as a path to attainment of complete bliss, delight and peace.
• The purpose of this vrat is to propitiate deitys to fulfill desires, to acquire divine grace and blessings, to regain lost health and wealth, to beget offspring, to get divine help and assistance during difficult periods in one's life.
• Persons performing good deeds/satkarma in this month conquer their indriyas/senses; their miseries are eradicated and they totally come out of punar janam i.e. cycle of rebirth.
• Performing penance knowingly or unknowingly in this adhik masa in any form adds tremendously to spiritual merit.
• Any graha dosh or specific dosh nivaran puja performed in Purushottam masa to counter malefic effects in the horoscope, multiplies the good result by ten times.
• During the entire month of Adhik maas, Paaths of the Puranas such as Shrimad Devi Bhagavatam, Shrimad Bhagawat puran, Shri Vishnu puran, Bhavishyottar Purana etc are carried out by sadhaks. These reign in a lot of religious merit and also bring about transformation for the better in individuals.
• Selfless actions, without the expectations of results, are to be performed during Adhik Maas.
• Adhik Maas is the month for Vishnu puja. The recitation of Srimad Bhagavat Purana and of the Bhagavad Gita during this month produces top meritorious results. Singing and listening to the praises of Lord Vishnu, Chanting the Vishnu sahasranama and the Suktas are recommended.
• Waking up during the hours of Brahma Muhurta (between 4 am and 6 am), performing the morning ablutions, and Sodashopachara puja to murti of Radha-Krisha or Lakshmi-Narayana and perform.
• If there is a temple nearby, then perform puja to the deities there. Pilgrimage undertaken during this time is considered to be very beneficial.
• These religious rituals are capable of washing away all the sins of people accumulated during this life and past life.
Duties during Adhika Maasa –
1. Maasa snaana - Throughout the month, we have to get up in arunodayakala itself [or Brahma Muhurta] and do the snaana in rivers, and thirthas or atleast in wells. (Even when we are doing the snaana in a Pipeline water supplied by water supply board, we have to do the chintana of Ganga sankalpa and do it).
2. Nakta Bhojana - We have to do the fasting till night and do the bhojana only in the night.
3. Ayachita Vrata - We must not ask anybody anything. We have be yadrichchaalaaba santrupta.
4. Dharana parana – One day upavaasa (DharaNa), next day (PaaraNa) – with this 15 days upavasa and 15 days bhojana.
5. Tambula Daana – During Adhikamasa, if we give tamboola daana to brahmanas and Suhagans/suvasinis, our dourbhagya will be removed and we will get soubhagya.
6. Deepa daana - During this month we have to light “Akanda deepa” in the Pooja room or mandir. We must ensure that the deepa never goes off throughout the day-night.
7. Apoopa daana - During this month, one has to give apoopadaana of 33 apoopa to brahmanas daily. However, we can give more than 33 also, but not less than 33. If it is not possible to give apoopa daana on all the days, then, one can give it on any particular day. It must be accompanied by same number of beetel leaves, and dakshine. If one is giving an apoopa dana on a single day, then – Shukla dwaadashi, pourNami, Krishna Dwadashi, amavasye, Krishna paksha astami, navami and chaturdashi is preferable.
Apoopa must be made up of Rice, jiggery, ghee. By giving the APOOPA DAANA, we will get the punya equal to pruthvi daana.
8. Phala daana - Actually apoopa daana is the Best. But we can give daana of Fruits, like mangoes, bananas, etc. Each fruits must have alongwith 33 separate beetel leaves, 33 coins [tambola villedele, 33 dakshine,] etc.
9. Kamyakarma shiddha - During Adhka Maasa, Marriage, Upanayana, Gruhapravesha, choula, sanyasa sweekara, annaprashana, - must NOT BE DONE as these are kaamyakarma. However Homa – Havana done with the intention of pleasing srihari, bhagavat-poojartham can be done. If we have already started any kaamyakarma prior to adhika maasa, it can be continued, but new karmas MUST NOT BE STARTED.
10. Shraddhas - Samvatsarika shraddha if it is falling during a month of Adhika maasa, it has to be done in Nija maasa. Eg. Shraaddha falling during Vaishaka Maasa must be done in regular vaishaka maasa and not in Adhika Vaishaka Maasa.
11. Shraaddhaas – monthly shraadhaas during Adhika Maasa - If one has died in a year and his monthly shraaddha to be done in Adhikamasa apart from regular monthly shraddha.
12. Chaturmasya – If during Chaturmasya, Adhika maasa comes, then we have to observe Chaturmasya + Adhikamaasa. I f during Shaka vratha adhikamasa comes, Shaka Vratha must be done for two months.
13.Mahalaya Maasa - If during Bhadrapada Maasa adhika Maasa, comes, then Mahalaya Paksha to be done in both Adhika and nija Bhadrapada maasa.
:: Some Do’s and Don’t’s to be observed during adhik maas ::
Adhik Maasa is made up of glory, dancing, singing, hymns, rhymes, poetry, shlokas, mantra-jaapas, prayers, sacrifices, holy baths, rituals, rites, homams, piligrimage, recitals of Holy Scriptures, charity, donations and humanitarian works, to wash away our sins.
During the period of the observance of the vrat, please keep the following in mind:
-Either complete or partial fasting is recommended on certain specific days. It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana, that fasting or eating once a day should commence on the first day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and end on the last day of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha).
-Physical and mental cleansing
-Speaking the truth
-practicing patience, speaking less,
-looking for avenues to be helpful
-doing charity according to one’s capability
-avoiding getting angry, being negative, and non-vegetarian foods ..and
-conscientiously perform all the rituals. Rituals include Poojas, Paaths, havans and Vrats
-One can light a deepam/diya at dawn and dusk in container of rose water and offer the same in four directions and one in the middle of the house with flowers (red and yellow).
-Daily contemplation at the dawn and the dusk and pujan comprising of Ganesh, Ishtha devata, one’s Nakshattara, one’s Kula devata, one’s pitrus, followed by Gayatri Mantra, Nava-Graha Shanti shloka, Maha-Mrutyunjaya Mantra, and shantih Mantra.
-In the morning, recite Vishnu shlokas
-At the dusk, recite the Shiva and Durga shlokas.
-Hanuman Chalisa may be recited every evening.
-It is preferred for the family to pray together.
-According to Bhavishyaottar Puran, one should observe fast or take only one meal per day or donate something daily. If one is unable to observe fast for 30 days, then people should take bath, remembering lord Vasudev, observe fast on any day; the idol of Laxmi Narayan should be installed on a Kalash and worshipped.
-According to Hemadri, one should worship Lord Sun every morning during the Adhik Mass. One should donate grain, ghee and molasses too.
-According to some scholars, one should also recite chapter 15 of the BhagavdGita (Purushottam Yoga) during Purushottam Mass.
-There is also significance of circumambulation (Pradakshina) of Shri Giriraj Parvat situated at Braj Govardhan (Mathura).
-Chanting the Vishnu Sahasranaam and the Suktas is very beneficial
-According to Astrology, if a native belonging to a certain zodiac sign follows the do’s and don’ts as given below, one gets immense divine blessings and reaps infinite virtues (punya). However, make it a point not to do these things with any desire of worldly gains.
Natives of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius should recite “Aditya Haridaya Strota” and should perform Arghya in honor of lord Sun.
Natives of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces should take holy dip into the Ganga and should worship lord Varun.
Natives of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius should worship lord Hanuman.
Natives of Scorpio, Virgo and Capricorn should meditate and chant mantras sitting on an ‘asana’ spread on earth.
All acts like worship, fasting, donating alms, austerity, piligrimage and holy bath etc. carry more Blessings and Grace and eliminate the sins of previous births.
From the falsities of all the worldly samsaar, lead us onwards towards the light of thousand delights; oh Divine Vishnu, may thou illuminate our intellect.
From the darkness of ignorance, lead us progressively with love and compassion to learn to love others, to give love to others- even our enemies and our ill wishers.
Let us learn to be free from the wretchedness of jealousy, envy, hatred, anger, greed, lust, attachments, obsessions, possessions, and inconsideration.
Let us learn to be humanely kind, loving and compassionately caring to every single human being especially those who do not show us love and affection.
Let us learn to let go of those who misunderstand us, but at the same time pray for their welfare.
From the mortal earth lead us onwards onto immortal spiritual freedom!
Om asatOma Sadgamaya
Om shantih shantih shantiHi