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Om! Gam! Ganapathaye! Namaha!

Om! Sri Raghavendraya Namaha!


Om! Namo! Bhagavathe! Vasudevaya!
Om! Ham! Hanumathe! Sri Rama Doothaya Namaha!

CONCEPT & SIGNIFICANCE OF


ADHIKA MASAM
With the transit of Sun into Aries (Mesha Sankramana) on 14 th of April 2010
it is going to be a special period known as Adhika Masam in Hindu Lunar
Calendar for a period of 30 days starting from 15.04.2010 to 14.05.2010.
Incidentally it is coinciding with Vaisakha Masam of Hindu Lunar Calendar
and hence it is referred to as Adhika Vaisakha Masam. Generally we keep
hearing the word Adhika Masam once in every two/three years. Last time
an Adhika Masam occurred was in the year 2007 when it was Adhika Jyesta
Masam. In our Lunar calendar we have only 12 months starting from
Chaithra Masam and ending with Phalguna Masam, in Solar calendar starting
from Mesha Masam to Meena Masam, and January to December in case of
an official calendar. When such is the case, what is this Adhika Masam, why
is it, what is its significance, when does it occur, let us try to understand.

What is Adhika Masa?


Literally Adhika means additional, extra and Masa means a month. Adhika
Masa means an extra month. We would have observed that in Western
Calendar there is a concept called Leap Year which occurs once in every four
years when we find an extra day is added to the month of February and the
calendar year will have 366 days instead of regular 365 days. Something
similar to that, we find in Hindu Almanac where, a time compensation of one
month is made to adjust the time movement and to make necessary
corrections to the calendars we follow. This is something in vogue and
followed in Hindu religion since time immemorial initiated by our ancient
seers with their vision and forethought.

Generally we find only one new moon (Amavasya) and one full moon
(Pournami) in a Luni - Solar month. If in any solar month two new moons
occur, which normally does not, then both the Lunar months will have to be
reckoned. When there are two new moons one at the commencement and
other at the end of a solar month then two lunar months would be
originating in the same solar month. Then both the Lunar months will have
to bear the same name as of the solar month. Then the Lunar month that
begins from the first new moon is deemed as an extra month. This is called
Adhika Masa or Malamasa. The Lunar month beginning from the second
New Moon is called as the real or pure and is referred to as Nija Masa or
Suddha Masa with both the months bearing the same name. In short an
Adhika Masa is a Lunar month during which there is no Surya Sankramana
or solar transit. Therefore, when Adhika Masa occurs, Sun’s stay in a
particular sign or raasi will be longer than the duration of that Lunar month.

Sun and Moon are called Luminaries which are visible in our day to day life.
Their phases viz… Full Moon (Pournami) and New Moon (Amavasya) helped
our ancient seers to establish a suitable time division of Lunar Month on
which our religious calendar (Almanac) is based. Lunar month commonly
observed in our Lunar Calendar is known as Amaanta starting from the end
moment of New Moon (Amavasya) to the end moment of the next New
Moon. A Lunar month is a period starting from Sukla Prathama (Paadyami)
and ending with Krishna (Bahula) Amavasya. Similarly another noticeable
feature was the occurrence and recurrence of seasons known as Ruthus.

These phenomena made our seers to notice the obvious movement of the
Luminaries on a clear cut path known as zodiac that is divided into twelve
signs or Raasis. Movement of Sun from one sign to the other in the zodiac is
reckoned as Sankranthi or Sankramana. The period between two Sankrantis
(transit of Sun from one sign or raasi to the other) is taken as Soura or a
Solar month. One complete cycle of Sun around the zodiac starting from
Aries and ending with Pisces is known as a Solar year. Since Vedic times our
ancient seers are perhaps the pioneers to combine successfully the solar
calendar into the lunar one and take it as a Luni – solar calendar so that it
can be used for both religious/spiritual and social purposes.

Technicalities of Adhika Masa


It was found by our ancient seers that a Lunar month will have duration of
29 days 12 hours and 44 minutes that add up to 354 days and 9 hours in a
year, falling short of the solar year of 365 days by about 11 days (approx).
Accumulation of this difference of more than 30 days in a span of three
years results in sliding of a Lunar month in relation to solar calendar. Such
progressive recession of Lunar months leads to disparity in the celebration of
festivals and the seasons they occur which are dependent on Solar Calendar.
Therefore in order to synchronize the Lunar months with Luni-Solar calendar
and to keep in pace with the seasons our ancient seers have formulated a
concept or technique of restraining Lunar months and devised an intercalary
month for the Lunar Calendar. Thus, as and when there is an accumulation
of recession by about 30 days, a Lunar month is added to the year. This
extra month known as Adhika Masam occurs at regular intervals of 32 or 33
solar months to maintain the balance between Solar and Lunar Calendars.
Thus it can be seen that an intercalary month (Adhika Masa) occurs once in
two/three years in the normal course.

Kshaya Masa
In the process of synchronization between Lunar and Solar calendars there is
also a possibility of adding more months over a longer period of time.
Under this concept it is said that for 1920 solar months, 60 Adhika Masas
will be added when 59 would be adequate. Hence, in order to bring in
further refinement and to suppress this excess in Adhika masas our ancient
seers have also devised a concept wherein one month is reduced or dropped
in the Lunar Calendar by ignoring the count of Lunar month at appropriate
intervals. This concept of reduction or dropping of a Lunar month is known
as Kshaya Masam where, in such an eventuality there will be no new Moon
(Amavasya) in a particular solar month. Sun’s stay in a particular raasi or
sign will be less than the duration of a Lunar month and it results in two
Sankramanas or Solar transits taking place in a particular lunar month. It is
said that Kshaya Masa occurs generally once in 141 years and again after 19
years. It doesn’t occur at short intervals of time. Generally Kshaya Masa
occurs in one of the Lunar months of Kartika, Margasira and Pushya Masa.
In the year when Kshaya Masa occurs there will be two Adhika Masas, one
before and the other after the Kshaya Masam.

In simple terms an Adhika Masa occurs when there are two New Moons in a
Solar Month and there will be no Sun’s transit or Sankramana in that Lunar
month. In such a situation we find Sun transit or Sankramana happening
just before and just after the Adhika Masa. In other words a Lunar month
with no Sun transit or Sankramana is referred to as Adhika Masa or Mala
Masa. Generally, Adhika Masa occurs in the period from Chaithra to
Aaswayuja the first seven months of the Hindu Lunar Calendar.
Significance of Adhika Masa
Having understood the concept and technicalities of Adhika Masa let us try to
understand what Adhika Masa signifies in a religious and spiritual way. Lot
of solemnity is attached to the Adhika Masa in Hindu religion and spirituality.
Adhika is a Sanskrit word, that also means the best, the greatest, powerful,
and extraordinary. It is measured more glorious than all other months in
terms of its merits. Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is considered as the
presiding deity of Adhika Masam in the name Purushottama. Hence,
Adhika Masa is also referred to as Purushottama Masa. Purushottama is
one of the thousands of names of Lord Sri ManNarayana. It means the best
among the beings in the Universe. Lord Sri Rama is called as Purana
Purushottama. Adhika Masa is the most sacred month dedicated to the most
sacred person Lord Sri Maha Vishnu.

Austerities during Adhika Masa


Adhika Masa is considered as the most auspicious month to perform certain
austerities for spiritual advancement. Some of the austerities prescribed to
be observed during Adhika Masa Vratha are,

Parayana: Reading of sacred scripts especially Bhagavatha during Adhika


Masam is given high significance and considered as highly meritorious.
Apart from this one can also read other scripts like Bhagavat Geeta, Sri
Vishnu Sahasra Nama Sthothram etc…during Adhika Masam.

Naktha Bhojana: Eating one time meals at night with complete fasting
during day time and avoiding eating of Urad/Urad dal and preparations made
out of it during this period.

Eka Bhuktha: It is opposite of the above, eating only once during day time
and not taking any food till next day.

Uposhana: Completely avoiding meals and taking only milk and fruits
during the vratha period.

Mouna Vratha: Observing total silence and not talking to any one for a
specific period of time every day during the vratha period.

Akhanda Deepa: Lighting a lamp (Akhanda Deepa) in Pooja Room and


allowing it to glow continuously through out the vratha period (day and
night). Only Ghee or Thil Oil should be used for lighting of Deepa.
Dharana – Parana: Fasting on one day and eating on the next day during
the vratha period.

Apart from the above some of the other austerities include, eating food
without salt, sleeping on the floor avoiding cot and bed, Lakshavarti
(preparing one lakh cotton wicks and lighting lamps with it), avoiding cutting
of nails and hair etc…

One can also take up any other austerity that pleases Lord Sri Maha Vishnu.
In this regard one can consider writing of Sri Rama Nama during the Vratha
period the simplest austerity with great benefits. While writing Rama Nama
one should also recite the same silently.

Charities during Adhika Masam

Lot of significance is given and is considered highly meritorious to give


charity during Adhika Masam. Adhika Masam – Anantha Phalam. Charity
should always be accompanied with proper Dakshina according to ones
capacity. Some of the charities prescribed to be given during Adhika Masam
are as follows;

Apoopa Dana: Apoopa means a sweet dish made with Rice flour, jaggery
and Ghee. Such sweet dish 33 in number should be given as charity to a
Brahmin along with a Brass plate. According to ones capacity this can be
given on every day or during specified days or at least on one of the
specified days during the vratha period. This type of charity is considered to
be highly meritorious and bestows significant results.

Phala Dana: Seasonal fruits or Banana 33 in number can be given as


charity as said above.

Thaamboola Dana: Betel leaves + Areca Nut + either a fruit or a Coconut


+ Dakshina should be given to Brahmin couple (33 in number) as said
above.

Other charities prescribed during Adhika Masam are Anna Dana, Deepa
Dana, Baagina Dana, Pusthaka Dana (Sacred scripts like Bhagavatha),
Sayya Dana (Bed Sheet + Blanket + Pillow) along with Lakshmi Narayana
Prathima, Godana (donating a Cow), Thila Dana along with a Brass vessel,
Vasthra Dana (Clothes), etc…

Apart from the above one can also give any other charity that suits to the
season. For example Vaisakha Masa being a summer month one can donate
Water, Umbrella and Chappals etc… according to ones capacity. Whatever
you do it should be done with all sincerity, devotion and without expecting
any results.

Specific days for giving charity are Dwadasi (both Sukla & Krishna Paksha),
Pournami (full Moon day), Amavasya (New Moon day), Astami, Navami and
Chaturdasi days during the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha), Vyatheepatha,
and Vaidruthi days.

Pithru Karma during Adhika Masa


Nitya Karma, Amavasya, Yugaadi, Manvaadi related Pithru karmas should be
performed both in Adhika Masa as well as in Nija Masa.

If annual ceremony of deceased known as Prathisaamvatsareeka Sraaddha


falls during the month when Adhika Masam occurs it should be performed in
Adhika Masam provided the concerned Pithru had expired during Adhika
Masam. Otherwise it should be performed only during Nija Masam. Also
means to say that, in case the deceased had expired in Nija Masam in
normal course the shraaddha should be performed during Nija Masam and
not in the Adhika Masam.

In case Adhika Masam coincides with Maasika (monthly) cermonies during


the first year of Pithru’s death, the concerned Maasika shraaddha should be
performed twice both in Adhika masam as well as in Nija masam.

In case if the 12th month ceremony coincides with Adhika Masam then that
Maasika ceremony should be performed twice both in Adhika Masa as well as
in Nija Masa and the first annual ceremony (Prathamaabdeeka) should be
performed in the 14th month.

In case Adhika Masam coincides with Dasa Dina Karma all the related
ceremonies including Sapindeekarana should be performed only during
Adhika Masam.

In case the first annual ceremony happens to fall during Adhika Masam it
should be performed during Adhika Masam only even though they had
expired during Nija Masam.

Adhika Masam – Prohibited Activities


Adhika Masam is also referred to as Mala Masam (inauspicious month).
Though Adhika Masam is considered as very auspicious and sacred for
religious and spiritual pursuits it is considered as inauspicious for performing
certain other rituals. Some of the activities to be avoided during Adhika
Masam are Upanayana samskara, Vivaha, Gruha Pravesa, Shasti Poorthi and
Devatha Prathista etc… However, rituals like Garbhadaana, Pumsavana,
Seemantha, Naamakarana, Annapraasana etc…can be performed during
Adhika Masam.

Brahmotsavam at Tirumala during Adhika Masam:


We are aware that every year the annual Brahmotsavam of Lord Sri
Venkateswara Swamy takes place at Tirumala during Kanya Masam that
coincides with Navarathri festival during the Lunar month Aaswayuja Masam.
If Adhika Masam is coinciding with Aaswayuja Masam then the nine day
festival Brahmotsavam at Tirumala is held twice, both in Adhika Masam as
well as in Nija Masam.

Specified dates in the Current Adhika Masam


15.04.2010: Commencement of Adhika Vaisakha Masam
26.04.2010: Sukla Dwadasi
28.04.2010: Pournami (Full Moon day)
29.04.2010: Vyatheepatha
06.05.2010: Bahula Astami
07.05.2010: Bahula Navami
11.05.2010: Bahula Dwadasi
13.05.2010: Bahula Chaturdasi
14.05.2010: Bahula Amavasya (End of Adhika Masam)

Namo! stvananthaaya Sahasra Muurthaye


Sahasra Paadaakshi Shiroru baahave
Sahasranaamne Purushaaya Shaasvathe
SahasraKotii Yugadhaarine Namah

Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu

bhargavasarma