Volume I Number I
TimeKeeping, though very usual it may sound, has been an essential part of our lives. It has helped mankind to keep up with his scheduling, his endeavors, his researches and what not; ultimately with his successes. But the discovery of this very concept is no usual at all, as it took a galore of calculations as well as astronomical computations for us to reach at a stage where we were able to device mechanisms that helped us to keep track of time: ergo, the calendars. The various cultures use either Solar calendar (runs on Sun’s course) or the Lunar calendar (runs on Moon’s course); while many cultures, use Luni-Solar calendars (that follows both the Moon phase and the time of the Solar year). In ancient times, sages used to derive the movements of planets in order to determinethe auspicious timings or muhurts, for performing rituals, prayers and studying horoscope and so on. These readings of the sages have been so accurate that if compared to modern scientific calculations, were found correct.
Since we are at current in the Adhik maas of Hindu calendar, it seems the right moment to bring the legend and significance of this month:
Purushottam Maas, also known as adhik maas or mal maas, is an extra month in Hindu calendar, which is added in every 32.5 months (approx.) to keep the lunar & solar calendars aligned. Before we move on further, let’s take a look at the mythological legend behind this unique month:
Legend: In the initial era of Satyuga, there were only 12 months in a lunar year. These 12 months were assigned to 12 deities. Lately, the far-sighted Rishi-Munis, while doing the calculation during reading astronomy, found discrepancies and hence facilitated an Adhik Maas (extra month). But there still remained an issue, with this newly formed month. Each of the 12 months was assigned to 12 different deities, but the 13th extra month was not assigned to any deity. Adhik Maas felt sadness and approached Lord Vishnu, he offered the palanhara (preserver; among the supreme trinity of Hinduism, Vishnu dons the role of preserver) his prayers and requested that since no deity was assigned to him (Adhik Maas); he was often addressed as Mal Maas or Malimmacha. He further expressed his anxiety and despair, asking Narayan to redeem him from the agony.
Lord Vishnu took pity on him. He smiled and assigned himself as the deity for Adhik Maas and gave the name ‘Purushottam Maas’ to this month. Since then, every third year, we celebrate this month as the holy month of observing fast and austerity; to pray Bhagwan Vishnu for his benevolence.
Significance: Although, auspicious activities viz. marriages & moving to a new house are prohibited in this month; yet, adhik
maas is the month for praying and worshipping. It is said that observing adhik maas vrat, performing havans & prayers in this months, adds to the devotee’s punya and he/she’s blessed with bhakti; a devotee with pure devotion also attains liberation from the life-death cycle.
Do You Know: A month-long fair is celebrated in Machhegaun village in Nepal during AdhikaMaas. It is general belief that one can wash away all his sins by taking a bath in the pond at Machhenarayan temple. This historical temple is said to have been established by King Manu (progenitor of humanity) himself in reverence of Bhagwan Vishnu’s Matsya Avatar.