The Hindu calendar system is a lunar calendar and follows the cycles of the Moon. Unlike a Solar month which has either 30 or 31 days, a lunar month has around 29.5 days. Therefore a lunar year comprises of 354 days whereas a solar year is of 365 days. Every year there is a difference of 11 days between the lunar and solar years and this difference increases to 29 or 30 days between 2 to 3 years, thus becoming a whole month. An extra month is added to the lunar calendar to compensate the extra days and make the lunar and solar calendars similar.
In 2018 there is an extra month or Adhika Masa, as per the Hindu (lunar) calendar. This extra month starts from May 16, 2018 and ends on June 13, 2018 and is dedicated to Lord Shri Krishna. The position of this month in the Hindu calendar is not fixed and it can occur between any two months randomly.
The Legends associated with Adhik Maas
The Adhik Maas is also known as the Mal Maas or Londa Maas or Purushottama Maas or Malimmacha. Mal Maas Vrat is capable of absolving all the sins of people. The lunar year has 12 months and to match it with the days and seasons on the solar calendar the rishis and munis calculated and included the Adhik Maas or the extra month. However according to Hindu lore each of the 12 months was represented by a God and this sidelined the Adhik Maas who was called the Mal Maas or Malimmucha. The Adhik Maas presented his plight to Lord Vishnu and sought refuge. Lord Vishnu took pity and assigned Himself to Adhik Maas and named it the Purushottama Maas. Lord Vishnu also said that acquiring merits through good deeds, japa, austerities etc. during the other months can be acquired through japa, austerities etc. carried out within this one month. Since then this month has gotten more significance than the other months.
In ancient times, King Nahush, through the observance of Mal Maas Vrat was freed of all bondages and received the throne of Indra (the king of the gods and ruler of the heavens).
Adhikamaasa katha –Lakshmi Devi once asked Srihari (Lord Vishnu) about how to perform the Adhika Masa puja. Srihari told her that He Himself is the Lord for the Adhika maas, with the name Purushottama. Punya kaaryas or good deeds like snaana, japa, homaa will bring about akshaya phala. He also informed the Devi that those who do NOT perform punya karya during this period will suffer from daaridrya, putrashoka, etc. Those who could not do any punya karya for the whole month can do it at least on the following days: Krishna paksha Astami, Navami, Chaturdashi, Dwadashi, Pournami, Chaturdashi, etc.
What to Do during the Adhik Maas?
During this period people carry out various religious rituals such as observing a fast, reciting religious scriptures, mantra japa, prayers, performing several types of puja's as well as havans. Vrats of different timings (full day, half day, weekly, fortnight, full month etc.) are done as per an individual’s tolerance capacity. These vratas may be of many types such as complete fasting with liquids or without liquids, fasting with fruits only or fasting with one-time vegetarian food. Individuals observe this sacred month by holding a katha series of a holy text. These rituals washes away all the sins accumulated during this life and past life.
Benefits of Adhik Maas Pujas
- Observing a fast during this month is considered to be equivalent to performing hundred yagnas and acts as the medium of attaining happiness, peace and harmony.
- There are many purposes of following this Vrat: appeasing the deities, fulfilling desires, acquiring health and wealth, to get blesses, to procreate, and assistance to get over difficult times.
- Those doing good deeds (satkarmas) master their senses (indriyas) and eliminate their miseries as they escape the cycle of rebirth (punar janam).
- Repenting for one’s sins in any form adds to one’s spiritual merit.
- The malefic effects in horoscope can be countered by performing graha dosha or any specific dosha nivaran puja.
- During this month the sadhaks conduct paaths from the puranas such as the Shrimad Bhagawat puran, Bhavishyottar Purana, Shrimad Devi Bhagavatam, Shri Vishnu puran etc.
- Selfless acts during the Adhik maas adds to the spiritual merit of a person.
- As the Adhik maas is the month of Lord Purushottama it is recommended to chant His shlokas, Vishnu sahasranama and the Suktas.
- To get the blessing of the Lord one has to wake up between 4 am and 6 am (Brahma Muhurta), perform ablution and perform a Sodashopachara puja to the idols of Radha-Krishna or Lakshmi-Narayana.
- Pilgrimage during this period is beneficial so it is advised to perform pujas in nearby temples.
- Any religious ritual done during this period washes the sins of people that they accumulated over the years.
Dussehra / Vijayadashami Festival on 11 th October, 2016 (Tuesday) Dussehra (als
Adhik Maas The Hindu calendar system is a lunar calendar and follows the cycles