Importance of Adhik mas (Purushottam mas)

Vrats and meritorious deeds to be performed during Adhik mas and the underlying science !

Mrs. Prajakta Joshi

This year, the period from 18.9.2020 to 16.10 2020 happens to be the adhik mas (Intercalary month of the Hindu lunar calendar). Adhik mas happens to be the thirteenth month of a lunar year every two or three years. An adhik mas is named after the month that follows the adhik mas, for example. The adhik mas that precedes the month of Ashwin this year is termed as Ashwin adhik mas and the month that follows adhik mas is termed as nij Ashwin mas (in this case). Adhik mas is like a big parva (auspicious period). Hence, religious rituals are performed during this month and the text ‘Adhik mas mahatmya (Glory of Adhik mas).


1. What is an adhik mas ?

1 A. Chandramas

The new moon day happens to be the day of sun and moon conjunction. The period from one such conjunction to the next, meaning from one Amavasya (New moon) till the next is termed as chandramas. All the rituals prescribed in Hindu Dharma such as various religious festivals, Holy festivals, vrats, havans (Sacrificial fires), shanti (Deity appeasement ritual), marriage ceremony etc. are according to chandramas (speed of moon). The chandramas have been named after the prominent star on the Pournima (full moon day) during that month. For example, on the Pournima of the month of Chaitra the prominent star is Chitra.

1 B. Chandravarsha

The 12 month period from lunar month of Chaitra to lunar month of Phalgun is termed as chandravarsha. There are approximately 354 days in a chandravarsha and one with an adhik mas has 384 days.

1 C. Sauramas

The period from one Surya sankranti to the next is termed as sauramas. A suramas is made up of 30 or 31 days.

1 D. Sauravarsha

Sauravarsha is a period when the sun commences its journey from Ashwini nakshatra (Lunar asterism) and comes back to the same spot again.

1 E. Adhikmas – a provision for aligning chandravarsha and sauravarsha

Chandravarsh is made up of 354 days whereas, sauravarsha is made up of 365 days, implying that there is a difference of 11 day between the two years. So that this gap is compensated and chandravarsha and sauravarsha are aligned, an adhikmas is introduced after approximately 32.5 chandramas. In other words, there is an adhikmas after every 27 to 35 chandramas.


2. Other names of adhik mas

In Marathi, adhik mas is also termed as malamas or dhondyacha mahina. In an adhik mas, instead of performing sacred ceremonies, special vrats and meritorious rituals are performed; hence, this month is also termed as Purushottam mas.


3. Which month does adhik mas precede ?

A. Adhik mas appears as an additional month preceding one of the seven lunar months from Chaitra to Ashwin. (The month after the adhik mas will called nij Chaitra, nij Vaishakha and so on.)

B. On rare occasions, adhik mas can precede the lunar month of Phalgun as well.

C. Adhik mas never precedes the months of Katik, Margashirsha, Pousha and Magha.


4. Kshaymas (lost month)

Just as there is adhik mas (additional month) there can also be a kshay mas (lost lunar month). Of the three months Katik, Margashirsha, Pousha, anyone can become a kshay mas. It is rare occurrence and occurs once in 140 or 190 years. This is because, around January 5, when the earth is near Perihelion, its speed of revolution is higher than normal. As a result, while passing the sun there could be two suryasankrantis (Appearance of sun in two rashis consecutively) during a chandramas. At such times the month is termed as kshay mas.

Lunar month of Magha is never a kshay mas.


5. Science underlying additional vrats
or meritorious deeds performed in adhik mas

The sun transits through a zodiac sign every month; however, during adhik mas the sun does not transit through any zodiac sign, effectively meaning, there is no surya sankranti in adhik mas. As a result the speed of moon and sun varies and the environment too develops changes as per the eclipse. So that this harmful environment that is changing does not affect our health, makers of the scriptures have advised to perform vrats and meritorious deeds in this month.


6. The vrats and meritorious deeds to be performed during adhik mas

A. During adhik mas fast for the entire month as devotion towards Shri Purushottam, have ayachit bhojan (Going for meal to someone’s place at the eleventh hour), have nakta bhojan (fasting during the day and having meal just once in the first prahar of the night [period approximately from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.]) or remain ekabhukta (having only one meal in the entire day). Weak individuals should perform any one of the above mentioned vrat for at least three days or for one day at least.

B. Have only one meal a day. Do not talk during meals. It enhances the Power of the soul. Having meal in a state of moun (State of being silent) results in elimination of demerit.

C. Bathe in Holy water in pilgrimage centre. Bathing just once in the Holy River Ganga eliminates all the demerits.

D. Scriptures advise that, one should donate every day during the entire month. If that is not possible, then one should donate on the tithis of Dwadashi of Shukla and Krushna Paksha; Pournima; Ashtami, Navmi and Chaturdashi of Krushna Paksha and Amavasya.

E. Perform Puja as well as chant the Name of Shri Purushottam Krushna every day. Make efforts to remain in communion with God continuously.

F. Perform Deepadan. If an oil lamp is lit in front of Deity in temple at home, one earns wealth.

G. Go on pilgrimage. Have darshan of Deities.

H. Donate tambul (betel leaf and monitory offering). Donating tambul for entire month helps earn saubhagya (marital status)

I. Worship and feed cow.

J. Perform Apupadan (Donation of Anarase – a fried sweet made by processing rice grains)


7. Which karmas to be performed during adhik mas ?

Perform daily and occasional karmas. Perform those that cannot be avoided. Chanting continuously in adhik mas results in grace of Shri Purushottam Krushna.

A. Perform kamya karmas (Karma performed with expectation of fruit) such as Jwarashanti, Parjanyeshti, etc.

B. If for some reason such as rebuilding of the temple, etc. the Idol of the Deity has been shifted, then reinstating the Deity can be done in this month.

C. Rituals such as Grahanshraddha, Jatkarma, Namakarma, etc. or sanskar such as Annaprashan can be performed.

D. Perform shraddha related rituals such as manvadi and yugadi. Tirthashraddha, darshashraddha and nityashraddha can be performed.


8. Which tasks not to be performed during the adhik mas ?

Other than the routine work, no other work should be commenced or ended during an adhik mas. Do not perform Mahadan (Very big donation), Apurva devdarshan (Paying a visit to the Deity at a place that was not visited earlier), commencing construction of house, vastushanti, taking sanyas, nutanvastra grahan diksha, marriage, thread ceremony, choul (First haircut of a new born child), Pratishthapana of a Deity, etc.


9. What to do if the birthday is in adhik mas ?

If the month in which a child is born happens to have an adhik mas for a particular year, celebrate the birthday in the nij mas. For example, a child is born in the month of Ashwin in 2019. Since there is an adhik mas for the month of Ashwin this year, celebrate the birthday in the nij mas for the same tithi and not in the adhik mas.

A birthday of the child that is born in the adhik Ashwin mas this year should be celebrated on the same tithi in Ashwin mas every year.


10. When there is adhik mas, when should the shraddha be performed ?

A. If an individual passed away in the month of Ashwin, shake 1941 (last year), then his first yearly shraddha should be performed in the adhik Ashwin mas of shake 1942 (this year).

B. If the individual has passed away long ago then his yearly shraddha in the month of Ashwin should be performed in nij Ashwin month. However, if the individual had died in the adhik Ashwin mas earlier, then his yearly shraddha should be performed in the adhik Ashwin mas.

C. The first yearly shraddha of those who have passed away last year (shake 1941) in the months of Katik, Margashirsha, Pousha, etc. should be performed on the respective tithi of the respective months. They should not perform it a month earlier because of thirteen months in the year.

D. If someone dies this year in adhik Ashwin or nij Ashwin mas, then their first annual shraddha should be performed on the respective tithi of the month of Ashwin next year. (Ref. : Dharmasindhu – Malmas nirnay. Varjavarja karme vibhag)’ (Ref. : Date Panchang)


11. Method of deciding the adhik mas

A. The month in which the Krushna Paksha Panchami will have surya sankranti, will be the adhik mas the next year; however, this is only a general rule.

B. Multiply Shalivahan shak by 12 and divide the number obtained by 19. If the remainder is less than 9, then that year will have an adhik mas.

C. One more method (more reliable) : Add 24 to the Vikram samvat and divide the total by 160.

If the remainder is 30, 49, 68, 87, 106 or 125, the adhik mas will be Chaitra;

If the remainder is 11, 76, 95, 114, 133 or 152, the adhik mas will be Vaishakha;

If the remainder is 0, 8, 19, 27, 38, 46, 57, 65, 84, 103, 122, 141 or 149 the adhik mas will be Jyeshtha;

If the remainder is 16, 35, 54, 73, 92, 111 or 130 or 157 the adhik mas will be Ashadha;

If the remainder is 5, 24, 46, 62, 70, 81, 82, 89, 100, 108, 119, 127, 138 or 146 the adhik mas will be Shravan;

If the remainder is 13, 32, 51 the adhik mas will be Bhadrapad and

If the remainder is 2, 21, 40, 59, 78, 97, 135, 143, 145 or 166 the adhik mas will be Ashwin

If the remainder is any other number, there is no adhik mas that year.

For example, it is Vikram samvat 2077 this year.

2077 + 24 = 2101

Dividing 2101 by 160, the remainder is 21

Hence, this year the adhik mas is Ashwin (Point 7 above)


12. The table for the adhik mas in near future

Shalivahan shak   Adhik mas  
1942 Ashwin
1945 Shravan
1948 Jyeshtha
1951 Chaitra
1953 Bhadrapad
1956 Ashadha
1959 Jyeshtha
1961 Ashwin
Compiler : Mrs. Prajakta Joshi (Jyotish Phalit Visharad and Ankashastra Visharad), Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay, Jyotish Vibhag Pramukh, Sanatan Ashram, Ramnathi, Goa. (18.7.2020)

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