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Adhik Maas

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Adhik Maas or Mal Maas or Purushottam Maas
see also       Blue Moon,    Sankraanti    
"Origin  and Development of Calendars in the World" under the Calendar, Vaidik

There are at least five different types of years followed. They are:----
Chandra Samvatsar, based on Lunar months, 12 Months consisting of 354 days.
Saur Samvatsar, based on Solar months, Meshaadi Saur Sankraman 12 Months consisting of 365 days.
Saaman Samvatsar, based on thirty days for each month consisting of 12 Months of 360 days.
Nakshatra Samvatsar, each month starting with Ashwinee etc 27 Nakshtra, 12 Months consisting of 324 days. and,
Baarhaspatya Samvatsar, based on the movement of Jupiter, 12 Months consisting of 361 days.

Adhik Maas : In Chandra Maas Samvatsar when in two consecutive months there is no Sun Sankraman (Sankraanti), that month is called Adhik Maas.
Like wise in Chandra Maas Samvatsar when there are two Sun Samkraman (Sankraanti), that month is called Kshaya Maas.

Kaaldarsh Varsh
There is more than one Hindu calendar. The most popular Hindu calendar is Vikram Samvat. Its days and months are based on the Moon, while the Gregorian year is based on the Sun. Since the year of the Sun consists of 365. 25 days; and the year of the Moon takes only 354 days, there arose a need to come up with the leap month every so often to take 29.5 days. Therefore 32.4 lunar months would equal 31.4 Gregorian calendar months. It means that every 32.4 lunar months, a lunar leap month is to be added in order to catch up with the solar year. This is what Hindu calendar does.
[Aangiras, p 104]

The Adhik Maas (additional Lunar month) or Mal Maas (unclean Lunar month) or Purushottam Maas comes once more or less in 2 and a 1/2 years, or precisely every 31.4 Lunar months in Lunar calendar in order to achieve a balance between the Lunar months and the Solar months; both of which govern the Hindu calendar.

Normally Adhik Maas must be decided vis-a-vis solar Madhu, Maadhav etc months (see Hindu Lunar Calendar). The Solar year has 365 days whereas the Lunar year has fewer days, because each month is roughly 29.53 days only according to Moon's speed. To bring the two years in sync, the Adhik Maas (an extra month) is added to the Lunar year once in approx 2 and 1/2 years. This is the month when the Moon is not near any Nakshatra (stellar constellation) and the Sun has not entered any Raashi or Sign of Zodiac. Complicated as this is, it is easy to remember at 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 Adhik Maas comes in this period only. Shraavan, Bhaadrapad, Aashwin are the common Adhik Maas months. In the year 2004, the Adhik Maas (month) started on July 18 and ended on August, 15.

Legend Behind Adhik Maas
This month is considered very auspicious and is especially dear to Lord Krishn's heart. The following story, connected with Adhik Maas, is popularly known -

Once upon a time, it so happened that all the 12 months of the year felt very burdened by the sins committed by mankind. So all the "12 months of the year" went to Krishn and complained about it. 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) will be known as "Mal Maas" - Mal means "Unclean". Because of being an unclean month, naturally no festival would take place during this month."

Hearing this, "Mal Maas" felt very sad and took his plight to Lord Krishn. He cried - “Why only me to carry the burden of all the sins?” Lord Krishn was filled with compassion. He said - "I bless you, O Mal Maas. Henceforth you will be named after me. You will be known as the Month of Purushottam (Purush means "man", and Uttam means "the best" - thus Puroshottam refers to the Highest Being, means 'God or Paramaatmaa), so you will be known as "Purushottam Maas" from today."

The Lord further stated: “Whosoever shall pray, keep fast, chant, sing, worship during the month of Purushottam, will be specially blessed, and get maximum recognition by me." Adhik Maas got very happy to hear this and never got sad after that.

Understanding the concept of Adhik Maas / Adhik Masa
Adhik Maas or Adhik Masa is an additional month that appears in the Hindu Lunar calendar. A year with an Adhik Maas will mean that it has 13 months instead of the usual 12 months. The Adhik Maas appears only in calendars that consider it. Hence, the local / regional calendars that are followed in Tamilnaadu, Kerala, Orissa, Bengal and Assam will not have them since they follow the Solar Calendar.

Any Solar calendar has 365 days. However, a Lunar calendar has only 354 days. These difference in the days, over years, make up for the additional month upon which there will be a sync between the two calendars. Generally, an Adhik Maas comes every years (32 months, 16 days and 8 Ghadee to be precise). A Ghadee is 24 minutes.

Adhik Maas is followed by any Hindu regional calendar that follows the Lunar-based calculations. The regional calendars of the states of Aandhra Pradesh, Karnaatak, Mahaaraashtra and Gujaraat will have the lunar month which starts and finishing with the new moon (Amaavasyaa day) while the states of North India have their lunar month starting and finishing with a Full Moon (Poornimaa day).

While the concept of Adhik Maas is really technical in nature, for the common man, it would mean that there might be slight changes in which celebrations are conducted at the temple. For instance, there might be two Brahmotsav at popular temples, such as that at Tirupati. Tirumala Tirupati Dev Sthaan for instance celebrates two Brahmotsav during the Adhik Asauj. Further, Adhik Maas are often special prayer time for the devotees of Krishn.

By AK Kaul
Depending on the Ayanaansh that these Phalit-waalaa choose, there can be an Adhik Maas in any year of their choice.

First of all, for this purpose, we have to clarify the definition of an Adhik Maas, and it is: --
"Whenever there are two New Moons (Amaavasyaa) between two solar months (Sankraanti), there is a lunar Adhik Maas."
It has absolutely nothing to do with any Lunar Nakshatra or even solar Nakshatra,

Example is better than precept,
(1) Lahiri solar Shraavan started on July 16, 2012, at about 9.36 am IST. Phalit-waalaa call that solar month by the name of (Lahiri) "sidereal" (sic) Karkat (Kark or Cancer) Sankraanti.

New Moon was on July 19, 2012 at about 9.56 am IST. That means Lahiri Lunar Shraavan started from July 19, 2012, three days after Lahiri "sidereal" solar Shraavan had started.

(2) Lahiri solar Bhaadrapad started at 6.00 pm IST of August 16, 2012. Phalit-waalaa call that moment as Lahiri "sidereal" (sic) Sinha (Leo) Sankraanti.

New Moon was on August 17, 2012 at 9.26 pm IST. That means Lahiri Lunar Bhaadrapad started about 27 hours after Lahiri Solar Bhaadrapad.
As there was only one New Moon between Lahiri Shraavan and Lahiri Bhaadrapad Sankraanti, there was no Lahiri Adhik Shraavan Maas
Thus Lahiri Lunar Bhaadrapad started on August 17, 2012 at 9.26 pm, ie. about 27 hours after Lahiri Solar Bhaadrapad started.
We also have to note that Lahiri Lunar months of the same name started only after Lahiri Solar months had already started.
Thus these Lunar months have absolutely nothing to do with any Amaavasyaant or Poornimaant Nakshatra.

(3) Lahiri Solar Aashwin month starts from September 16, 2012 at about 5.50 pm IST. It is also known as Lahiri "sidereal" (sic) Kanyaa (Virgo) Sankraanti.

There will be a New Moon on September 16, 2012 at about 7.40 am IST, ie about 10 hours before the Lahiri solar "sidereal" (sic) Aashwin stars.

And that is the fly in the ointment.
As already seen, a Lunar month of the same name can start only after the Solar month of the same name has already started, but here though there is already one New Moon after the Solar Lahiri Bhaadrapad, there is yet another New Moon before the start of Lahiri Solar Aashwin.
So we cannot name the second New Moon as Lunar Aashwin Maas since it is before the start of the solar Aashwin Maas (Nakshatriya- waalaa", pl note)
Thus there are two Lahiri Lunar Bhaadrapad months in one and the same Lahiri Solar Bhaadrapad Maas.

And the first one is. therefore, a Lahiri Adhik Maas, also known as Mal Maas. This will last till the next Lahiri Lunar Bhaadrapad starts, i.e. September 16, 2012.
The second month will be "Shuddha" or "Nija" Lahiri Bhaadrapad Maas.

Now the question arises as to how long will the Shuadha Lahiri Bhaadrapad Maas last?
As seen above, Lahiri Solar Aashwin Maas will start on September 16, 2012, 5.50 pm IST and the first New Moon after that will be on October 15, 2012 at about 5.34 pm IST.

Lahiri Solar Kaarttik will start on October 16, 2012 at 2.43 pm IST. Phalita-waallaa call the same as Lahiri "sidereal" (sic) Tulaa (Libra) Sankraanti.

Thus you can see it for yourself that Lahiri Lunar Shuadha Bhaadrapad will last from September 16, 2012 to October 15, 2012.
So, you see, these lunar months, whether Mal Maas or Shuddha Maas, have absolutely nothing to do with any Nakshatra whatsoever. They are just the Lunar months of those very names as the solar months precede them.

You are well within your rights to ask me as to why I have all along been saying "Lahiri" solar or Lunar Shraavan or Bhaadrapad etc.
The simple reason is that no other Shraavan or Bhaadrapad Maas etc. etc. starts on those dates, since all the other Ayanaansh, whether Raman or Chandra-Hari or Fagan or Yukteshwar or Raivat Paksh etc. etc. are plus/minus  "almighty" Lahiri Ayanaansh by several degrees.
That means that all the other "sidereal" (sic) Solar months will start on entirely different days.
And that also means that there is no other Adhik Lunar Bhaadrapad Maas whether Raman or Yukteshwar or Raivat or even Chandra-Hari since there is only one New Moon (Amaavasyaant) between those two solar months.

But ironically, all the sidereal-waalaa including the much touted Chandra-Hari and Chandra-Hari waalaa will observe Lahiri Adhik Lunar Bhaadrapad Maas, if they observe any Adhik Maas at all.

In other words, none of these stalwarts has any faith in his own Ayanaansh. And that is why I call "Lahiri" Ayanaansh as almighty. It overrules every other Ayanaansh, though all these Ayanaansh-waala claim to be siderealists, with their special Ayanaansh having some special qualities.

Now coming to the real Vaidik Adhik Maas in 2012.
The Vaidik Solar Aashaadh-cum-Shuchih started on May 20, 2012 at 8.46 pm IST. The first New Moon (Amaavasyaa) after that event was on May 21, 2012 at 5.19 am IST. That was the start of Vaidik Lunar Aashaadh. The Vaidik Solar Shraavan-cum-Nabhas started on June 21, 2012 at 4.36 am. But prior to that there was a New Moon on June 19, 2012 at 8.34 pm. So the Vaidik Lunar Aashaadh Maas that started on May 21, 2012 was an Adhik Aashaadh Maas as there were two New Moons between the Vaidik Solar Aashaadh Maas and Shraavan.

The Adhik Vaidik Aashaadh Maas lasted till Jun 19, 2012, and the Nija or Shuddha Vaidik Lunar Aashaadh Maas started from that date, which lasted till the next New Moon (Amaavasyaa) that was on July 19, 2012 at 9.56 am.

I hope the gamut of Lunar calendar vis-a-vis Solar calendar has become very clear now and the people will understand that Lunar months are named as per Poornimaant Nakshatra. It has been proved by now that Lunar months of the same name follow only after the Solar months, and it is not the other way round.

In 1974 AD, a similar situation arose when Lahiri Lunar Bhaadrapad was an Adhik Maas. At that time even the Lahiri "sidereal" (sic) months started only after the same Lahiri Solar months had starte, eg. Lahiri Solar Bhaadrapad started on August 17, 1976, whereas Lahiri Lunar Adhik Bhaadrapad started on August 18 of the same year, and Lahiri Nija or Shuddha Lunar Bhaadrapad Maas started on September 17, 1974. Similarly, Lahiri Solar Aashwin Maas started on September 18, 1974 but the same Lahiri Lunar Aashwin Maas started on October 16 of the same year.

List of Adhik Maas up to 2027
Vikriti Naam Samvatsar in 2010-2011 during Vaishaakh Maas
Nandan Naam Samvatsar in 2012-2013 during Bhaadrapad Maas
Manmath Naam Samvatsar in 2015-2016 during Aashaadh Maas
Vilamb Naam Samvatsar in 2018-2019 during Jyeshth Maas
Shaarvaree Naam Samvatsar in 2020-2021 during Asauj Maas
Shubh Krit Naam Samvatsar in 2023-2024 during Shraavan Maas
Paraabhav Naam Samvatsar in 2026-2027 during Jyeshth Maas
(see the whole List of Baarhaspatya Samvatsar)

Adhik Maas or Blue Moon
Now when this extra month is inserted between certain lunar months is as follow -

According to sidereal zodiac system Sun enters the first zodiac sign Aries (Mesh) on about April 15 of every year. And as the Sun takes 1 month (30 days) to move to another Sign, he moves in the next Sign about 15th of every month. For example, on Makar Sankraanti, about January 14, the Sun enters the sidereal zodiac Sign Capricorn. While Sun remains in a zodiac Sign for approximately 30 days, the Moon travels through the zodiac Sign in about 27.5 days. As a result, on average, once about every 2 and 1/2 years, the entry of the Moon in the same zodiac Sign occurs twice while the Sun remains in the same sign.

In other words, when the Sun is traveling through the same zodiac Sign, in whichever month during which two new moons (Amaavasyaa) occur, happens once about every 2 and 1/2 years. The lunar month corresponding to the period between these two new moons is treated as the extra month or the Adhik Maas. Thus, if the Adhik Maas occurs at the beginning of the lunar month Chaitra, then it’s called as Adhik Chaitra, and the following lunar month would be then the regular or Neej lunar month Chaitra.

The concept of this Adhik Maas (the extra month) is similar to the “Blue Moon” in the West, which occurs almost with the same frequency of 2 and 1/2 years. Blue Moon is the second Full Moon when two Full Moons occur in the same month. Naturally the Blue Moon must occur towards the end of month (some where between 29th, or 30th, or 31st of the month).

Normally the entry of Sun in a sidereal zodiac Sign occurs around the middle of the calendar (solar) month (near 15th of the month), thus, the Sun stays in a sidereal zodiac Sign from about 15th of one month to about 15th of the next month. Since for Adhik Maas to occur, two New Moons must occur during when Sun remains in the same zodiac Sign; consequently, those New Moons must occur near 15th of the successive months. As a result, around the time of Adhik Maas, the successive Full Moons are very likely to occur near the beginning and the end of the same month. Thus the occurrence of the Blue Moon usually precedes the Adhik Maas.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 08/30/12