The concept of Adhika Masa is unique to the traditional Hindu lunar calendars. In 2020 Hindu calendar, there is an Adhika Masam or Adhik Masa or an extra month. This Adhika Masa is from September 18, 2020 to October 16, 2020 as per North Indian Calendar. This Adhika Month is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
The concept of Adhika Masa is unique to the traditional Hindu lunar calendars. In 2020 Hindu calendar, there is an Adhika Masam or Adhik Masa or an extra month. This Adhika Masa is from September 18, 2020 to October 16, 2020 as per North Indian Calendar. In Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Adika Masa is also from September 18, 2020 to October 16, 2020. This extra month is known as Adhik Ashwin Maas or Adhik Ashwin Mahina. The Adhika Masa is dedicated to Sri Krishna.
So in 2020 there are thirteen months in Hindu Lunar calendar. Apart from the normal 12 months, there is an an Adhik Ashwin Masa. It must be noted here that there is no Adhika Masam in the calendars followed in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu as it is based on Solar Calendar.
Why There is an Adhika Masa?
The Hindu calendar is a lunar calendar and is based on the cycles of the Moon. A lunar month is around 29.5 days long. Now, a solar month, that is the usual calendar, is 30 to 31 days.
The lunar year consists of 354 solar days and solar year consists of 365 days. So, as years pass by each lunar month starts earlier to the corresponding solar month. There is a difference of 11 days between the lunar and solar year. In every two or three solar years the difference between the two calendars becomes a full month or around 29 days. To compensate and get the two calendars similar an extra month is added.
Vasishta Siddhanta, a treatise of Sage Vasishta, says that the Adhika Masa occurs after every 32 months, 16 days and 8 Ghadis. A Ghadi is 24 minutes. In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat the lunar month begins and ends with the new moon or no moon (amavasya). In North India, the lunar month begins and ends with full moon (purnima).
How is Adhika Masa Calculated?
The sun changes its sign or rashi (like Mesha, Vrishabha) every month in Hindu astrology system. The day it enters a Rashi is called as its ingress into a Rashi. A lunar month in which there is no sun ingress into a Rashi is considered an Adhika Masa. Adhika Masa occurs once in 32 solar months and 16 days.
For an average devotee, the Adhika Masa means some change in the temple celebrations in the States following the lunar calendar. For example, due to the Adhika Masam, there will be two Brahmotsavams in Tirupati this year. And the Adhika Masa is dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Adhika Masam as a Spiritual Month
For all kinds of spiritual and devotional purposes Adhika Masam is the best month. Once upon a time, Adhika Masam came to this world. Every one took this month as the most inauspicious. It was constantly cursed and rejected by everyone as an improper time for any auspicious activities. Being rejected by the human beings, Adhika Masam became very sad. She came to Vaikunta to explain her sorrowful condition to the Lord.
Seeing Lord Vishnu on His throne, she fell down at His lotus feet in a mood of depression and grief. Tears were falling profusely from her eyes. She prayed to the Lord, “Oh! Ocean of Mercy! I have come to You because I am helpless. I have been rejected and cursed by the people of the world. Please protect me and shower mercy on me.”
Saying these words, the Adhika Masam continued crying in front of Lord Vishnu and sat down before Him in a dejected mood. Lord Vishnu became merciful towards her. He told her, “Do not lament, I shall give you protection from all of your miseries. It is not proper to lament after taking My shelter”.
“I shall make you just like Me in quality, fame, opulence, realization, success and in giving benediction to the devotees. I bestow all of My divine qualities on you. Named after Me, you will become famous as Purushotham month in this world. You have imbued My qualities, I Myself will become the husband and protector of this Purushothama month. You will be the master of all other months.
“You will be adored by one and all. Everyone should pay their devotion and respect to you. Everyone should worship you. This month is equally as powerful as Me to give any type of benediction to its observer. He who worships this month will be able to burn all his sinful reactions to ashes, and after enjoying a blissful life in the material world, he will return to the Supreme Godhead.
“An unfortunate ignorant man, who does not perform any ‘japa’, does not give any charity, does not pay respect to Lord Krishna and His devotees, does not behave properly to the spiritually endowed, makes enmity with others and who disrespects the Purushotham month will go to Hell for an unlimited period.” A person who is fully engaged in sensual gratification and does not give any special importance to this sacred month will go to Hell.
“All human beings should perform some devotional service in this Adhima masam by worshipping the Lord, by chanting His holy name, by studying the Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-Gita, particularly the 15th chapter called Purushothama Yoga, giving charity and offering a ghee lamp daily.
“A fortunate person who follows My instructions and observes this Purushothama month properly, and in a faithful way worships Me will attain fame, opulence and a dutiful son in this life. After enjoying a happy life, he will return to Goloka. By following My instructions, everyone should worship this sacred month. I have made it the best among all other months.”
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