Adhik Maas (The extra month)
Ms Vimla Patil, a well known personality, in the literary world is my neighbour, and I am happy to say my friend. She is very knowledgeable, and it is always a pleasure, to spend some time with her.
I got wiser last week as she enlightened me on the significance of the ‘Adhik Maas’
The Adhik Maas comes once in ( more or less) 2 and a 1/2 years to achieve a balance between the Lunar months and Solar months both of which govern the Hindu calendar.
The solar year
has 365 days whereas the lunar has less, because each month is roughly 29 and a
1/2 days only.
To bring the two in sync, the Adhik maas (Extra
month) is added to the year once in approx 2and 1/2 years.
This is the month when the moon is not near any stellar
constellation (nakshatra) and the Sun has not entered any rashi or sign of
Complicated as this is, it is easy to remember that the
Adhik maas balances the lunar and solar calendars.
Also because the earth's rotation around the sun is
slightly slower during the months of July-October, the Addhik maas come in this period.
Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin are the common Adhik Maas
This year, (2004) the Adhik Maas (month) starts on
July the 18th and ends on August the 15th .
This month is considered very auspicious and is especially
dear to Lord Krishna’s heart.
Lord Krishna is my Ishta Devta, which means that: the Deity
that appears to my mind when I pray, is ‘His’
Vimla also told me the following story, connected
with Adhik Maas:
Once upon a time, it so happened that all the 12 months of
the year felt very burdened, by the sins committed by mankind.
The ‘12 months of he year’ went to Lord Krishna (Who is
an Avataar of Lord Vishnu) and complained.
The 12 months begged the Lord to redeem them of this
horrible weight (of sins).
Lord Vishnu blessed them and said: “I shall create an
extra month to carry the burden.
This extra month (Adhik Maas) came to be known as ‘Mal
Maas’: The ‘Unclean Month’.
Naturally no festival would take place during this
‘Mal Maas’ also felt very sad and took his plight to
“Why me?” he cried.
Lord Krishna, was filled with compassion. He said “I
bless you. Henceforth you will be named after me. You will be known as the Month
(Purush means ‘man’ Uttam’ means ‘Great’
It refers to the High Being, who you may call ‘God’)
The Lord further stated: “Whosoever shall pray, fast,
chant, sing…during the month of Purushottam, will be specially blessed, and
get maximum recognition by me…
After I have narrated this story to you, wont you spend a
little time in prayer, to lessen the burden of the ‘extra month’ and endear
yourself to the Lord?
Follows a quote from:
The book 'Celebrations
Festive Days of India'
was published by
India Book House
by Vimla Patil
"What exactly is an Adhik Maas or Khal Maas or Purushottam Maas and how is it
calculated? It is a geophysical phenomenon behind which there is an accurate
lunar months and the solar year. Every month, the sun enters a new
zodiac sign beginning with Mesha or Aries in March. Every month it trasits to
the next sign on a given day. However, astronomical calculations indicate that
there are times when the sun enters a sign a few hours before the
lunar month begins and
leaves it after it has ended. This happens because the solar month spans 301/2
days whereas the lunar month lasts for only 291/2 days. Thus the lunar month
during which the sun does not transit to a new sign becomes the unanimously
accepted extra month or Adhik
Maas. Hence there are two months of the same name in the Hindu year
every third year. To avoid confusion, the extra month is called Adhik and
original month is is Nija. As the earth's orbitting speed around the sun from
April to September is less than average, the sun then remains for a greater
length of time in each zodiac sign. Lunar months falling in this timespan -
namely Chaitra to Ashwin - thus become Adhik Maas more often than other
This year, Vaishakha is the Adhik Maas according to the Hindu Calendar. Though
this is the Lord's month and many people fast or do religous ritials like
bathing in holy rivers, there are usually no weddings etc in this month. It is
also called Mala Maas.