Adhik Mas

The story of Adhik Maas

This year, in 2018, the Hindu calendar has an extra month called Adhik Maas. The word adhik means extra, maas means month. So why do we have an extra month?

The Hindu calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. A lunar month is 29.5 days. A solar month of our usual Gregorian calendar has 30 or 31 days. The lunar year is thus made of 354 days, while a solar year is made of 365 days (except in a Leap year). Therefore there is about 11 days difference between the two calendar years. Every three years, this difference is approximately one month. This difference is resolved by adding the Adhik Maas to the Hindu calendar every three years.

We also call this month ‘Purushottam Maas’. In Hindu astrology the sun changes its sign or Rashi every lunar month. The adhik maas has no Rashi so it is also called Mal Maas, meaning a wasted maas. In olden days, people considered it an inauspicious month. It is said that grieved by this, Adhik took a human form and went to Vishnu in Vainkuth and asked to be delivered from from this ignonimiity. Merciful Vishnu blessed him and said he would give Adhik the same status as himself, and gave him his own name – Purushottam. Lord Visnu promised that whoever performs satkarmas (good deeds) in this Purushottam maas will be freed from all miseries.

The month is therefore a holy month for the performance of Vishnu Pooja, singing and listening to the praises of Lord Vishnu, and the recitation of Shrimad Bhaagwat and other holy texts. People refrain from addictions such as gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and even non-vegetarian Hindus refrain from eating meat fish chicken and eggs during this month. Many Hindus undertake different vratts (austerities) such as fasting, and give to charity according to their ability. Most people try to fast either without any food, or having just one meal a day, for as many days as possible in this month. People also try to eat only ‘Satvic food’ such as fruit, nuts, grains, vegetables and milk, to help them focus on Lord Vishnu and the spiritual path.

In a treatise called Purushottam Granth, there are lots of lovely stories connected with the significance of this month. By reading and listening to these stories, it is believed that more Punya (spiritual merit) is acquired.

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