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Purshottam Maas “पुरुषोत्तम मास”

In the 2015 hindu lunar calender this Purushottam Maas is from 17 June 2015 to 16 July 2015. This additional time unit of approximately 30 days is called Adhik Ashad Maas or Adhik Ashada Mahina. So in 2015 there are thirteen months in Hindu Lunar calendar apart from the normal 12 months. Adhik masa is celebrated as sacred month. People perform extra mala japas, pradakshinas, pilgrimages, scriptural reading and parayans.

Adhik Maas or Purushottama Masa is the extra month added to a Hindu lunar calendar once in 32 months to make the lunar calendar similar to the solar calendar. There is an interesting story that associates Adhik Maas or Purushottama Masa with Hindu God Vishnu.
The 12 months in a traditional calendar is assigned to particular Hindu God. But when the 13 month in a lunar calendar was created by Rishis and Saints, it was not assigned to any God. Thus it acquired the name of Mal Maas or Malimmucha. This was like a stigma to the extra month.
Now the Adhik Maas felt disillusioned and sad and approached Lord Vishnu. Adhik Masa complained that as he was not assigned to any God he will be rejected by humans. So the Adhik Masa sought the help of Lord Vishnu to escape from this tricky situation. Lord Vishnu took pity on Adhik Masa and assigned it to him especially to Lord Krishna. He also gave the name Purushottama Maas to the month. Lord Vishnu also said that the merit acquired in this month through good deeds, japa, charity, austerities etc is equal to such acts performed in all the 12 months of a year. Since then it is known as the Purushottama Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.

History

Adhik Maas or Purushottama Masa is the extra month added to a Hindu lunar calendar once in 32 months to make the lunar calendar similar to the solar calendar. There is an interesting story that associates Adhik Maas or Purushottama Masa with Hindu God Vishnu.
The 12 months in a traditional calendar is assigned to particular Hindu God. But when the 13 month in a lunar calendar was created by Rishis and Saints, it was not assigned to any God. Thus it acquired the name of Mal Maas or Malimmucha. This was like a stigma to the extra month.
Now the Adhik Maas felt disillusioned and sad and approached Lord Vishnu. Adhik Masa complained that as he was not assigned to any God he will be rejected by humans. So the Adhik Masa sought the help of Lord Vishnu to escape from this tricky situation. Lord Vishnu took pity on Adhik Masa and assigned it to him especially to Lord Krishna. He also gave the name Purushottama Maas to the month. Lord Vishnu also said that the merit acquired in this month through good deeds, japa, charity, austerities etc is equal to such acts performed in all the 12 months of a year. Since then it is known as the Purushottama Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.
Regarding Adhik Maas (Mal Maas) Hemadri says that Mal Maas Vrat (Adhik Maaas Vrat) is capable of washing away all the sins of people (who observe the Vrat). During this month mukta, nakta, fasting etc are undertaken and garments etc. are distributed to charities. A beautiful story relates to how, in ancient times, through the observance of Mal Maas Vrat, king Nahush was released from all bondage and acquired the throne of Indra (the ruler of gods in heaven).
It is written in the Devi Bhagavat that charitable and meritorious acts and fastings etc. carried out during this Mal Maas (Adhik Maas), inevitably produce results. Just as atomic sized contents within a seed produce a giant and long living Banyan tree, so in the same manner even a little charitable act done during Mal Maas (Adhik Maas) produces big results.
As mentioned before, Mal Maas or Adhik Maas is also known as Purushottama Maas. There is a nice story about this. According to the lunar year, there were only 12 months. Each of the twelve months was assigned to 12 gods. So that the lunar and the solar years do not get out of step with days and seasons, the far-sighted Rishi-Munis calculated and facilitated Adhik Maas (extra month) and shown its importance. But one problem still remained. Each of the 12 months was assigned to 12 different gods. But the 13th extra month was not assigned to any god. Adhik Maas (Mal Maas) felt sadness and approached Lord Vishnu and said that no god was assigned to him (Adhik Maas) and for that reason he was called Mal Maas or Malimmucha. Adhik Maas further spoke to Lord Vishnu: ‘ I am filled with anxiety and I have therefore come to seek your refuge and help.’
Lord Vishnu took pity on him. The Lord (Vishnu) agreed and assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and gave the name Purushottama Maas to this month. Lord Vishnu also said that acquisition of merits during other months through good deeds, japa, austerities etc can be acquired by japa, austerities etc. carried out within this one month. Since then it is known as the Purushottama Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.
In a book called Purushottama Granth can be found many aspects of the special religious significance of this month. Many people read or listen to this book during Purushottama Maas (Adhik Maas). By reading and listening, high merits are acquired. There are lots of lovely stories connected with the special significance of this month. It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that fasting or eating once a day should commence on the first day of the bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and end on the last day of the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha). According to ability, distribute to charities and do good deeds.



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