Spiritual significance of Adhik Maasa
By Jyotikar Pattni @ www.hanss.co.uk
May 1st 2007
Vedic astrology brings us surplus of days because we follow the lunar system as opposed to the solar system and lunar days are further placed based upon the planetary cosmic sky and planetary cosmic stars (nakshattaras). This year 2007, the Adhik-Maasa has two parts: the first part of the month, commences on May 3rd 2007 and ends on Wednesday 16th May 2007. Astrologically speaking, these next fourteen days are days of worshipping the spiritual and the world of Devas, Devis and planets. So, during this period, Nava-Graha Shantih Pathd is most rewarding form of puja. The second part of Adhik-Maasa is the Purshottam Month which begins on the May 17th 2007 and ends on June 14th Thursday 2007. Effectively the first part of the Adhik Maasa, we cannot see the Moon here from the earth because the moon visits the spiritual and the Deva Lokas. It is during the Purshottam Maasa, from May 17th Thursday to June 14th Thursday 2007 the human earth is blessed with the boon of Varuna, Vayau, Indra, Brahaspatti, Agnee, Chandra, Maruta, Vasus, Vishwakarma, Surya, Somam, Rudra and Shiva. Regarding Adhik Maas is also known as ‘Mal Maas’. Mal Maas Vrat (Adhik Maaas Vrat) is capable of washing away all the sins of human persons (who observe the Vrat). During this month mukta, nakta, fasting etc are undertaken and garments etc. are distributed to charities. No hard and fast rules are there but as such whatsoever one contributes towards the spiritual oblation, the result is proliferated ten fold. 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 fasting, jaapam, carried out during this Mal Maas (Adhik Maas), inevitably produce ten-fold results. Just as atomic sized contents within a seed produce a giant and long living Banyan tree, so in the similar metaphoric manner even a little charitable act done during Mal Maas (Adhik Maas) produces big results. Purushottama Maas is a month for giving love, prayers, mantras, food, clothing, and to undertake all forms of humanitarian works.
Let us invoke a small poem to Lord Shiva:
“Aum Namah Shiva Shivaya Namah Aum”.
Please teach me oh Divine
Eishwaar Cosmic Supreme Rudra, Somamm, Shivo, the Hara of Hari, the
transcendental divine one; I want to know exactly how to pray. I need some
words, which ones are right? Please tell me what to say. I've bowed my head I
have knelt down. But...should I be upright? I've closed my eyes, I've raised my
hands, or...should I fold them tight? Do I stand up? Should I sit down? Dear
Lord...what do you like? Are lights turned on
or are they off? Maybe...candle light? Wear my glasses? Take them off?
Be at my desk or table? Should I whisper? Speak out loud? Do I quote the Bible, the Geeta, the Quran, the Torah, the Vachanamratt? What do you think
about the time? Do you prefer the dawn? Should I pray fast, or keep it slow?
Better short...or long? I'm new at this what are the rules? I want to do it right.
How do I know you'll even hear that I am in your sight? And while I sat there quietly by the banks of the river just watching the water flow, in serene contemplation waiting for some sign, I heard a gentle voice deep inside me:
"Oh, dearest precious spirit of life, do you think I really care about the time of day, or whether you are standing up, or kneeling when you pray? I don't care about your posture, or about the place you choose; just open up your soul to higher order the supreme Godhead. Just clasp away all your thoughts and blockages and embrace the divine glory of God. There are no other rules. Oh spirit of life, tell me what is in your heart without uttering a word but in your quietness I shall understand all. What is it you seek and with what intention?
Tell me of your sorrows and of those things that made you weak. Speak to me in private about what concerns you most. I know about your good deeds.
You have no need to boast. My child, you don't need lessons, Just talk to me each day; Tell me anything you want, dear child! Anyone can pray as long as one’s divine heart is opened up to divinity and embraces divinity in all."
The Vedas call upon the world habitants again and again to re-unite with the spiritual entity of one’s prakrutti (comprising body- five matter namely earth, water, fire, air, and ether, the mind-mannas, the intellect-Buddhi; the ego-aham; and the soul divine – atman). Purushottama Maasa is the month where humankind is privileged to become divinely spiritual.
This is the moment of self-development, self-revaluations, self-assessment, self-reflection, self-retrospection. It is a time for one’s own soul, one’s own spirit of life and no one else. During this Maasa or month, one is allowed to pray for one’s own soul divine and one’s own spiritual proliferations. It is a communion between the human earth and the celestial. We pray that there is abundance and no shortage of grains, wealth and that the pollution be extinguished by the powers of Varuna – the God of compassion and waters, Vayau – the wind god.
The Purusha-Sukta, recited as part of daily worship by Hindus, is a hymn from the tenth part (mandala) of the Rigveda. Literally it means the hymn of man. During Adhik Maasa, Human is actually reflected in the image of God because it is the greatest sacrifice one can offer to God. Unlike the collective life of insects and animals governed only in inborn instincts, the social life of man is partly instinctive and partly a product of human ingenuity. Men live and work together by subordinating individual instinctive behaviour to mutually accepted norms of social conduct, to norms evolved in the interests of peaceful co-existence. Agriculture and social division of labour have been two most remarkable inventions of man. The first enables man to live a settled life, instead of wandering in search of food. The second enables him to improve his skills and output, and to realize the benefits of mutual exchange of goods and services. These two inventions are the very basis of human society; with their help the society lives on forever, independently of the short-lived individuals constituting it, and with norms of conduct evolved over time, and with memories of the past, and with optimism for the future. Ancient poets have glorified this supra-human character of society in many of their compositions. The Purusha-Sukta is a beautiful example of such glorification. The quality of the Sanskrit original is untranslatable, and only its contents may be paraphrased briefly as below.
Let us sing to the glory of society. It has multiplied a thousand-fold. It occupies the whole earth, and rises in spirit beyond. All that we see is because of society whatever was and is to be. The society has gained immortality with its ability to grow its own food. What we see of it now is but a quarter, and the rest of it extends in spirit into the past and the future.
The society supports all this diverse life. All life progresses to conform to its image. The society expands to create cultivable fields and habitable villages. The society evolves by offering short-lived mortal men in its continuing sacrifice. The sacrifice, fuelled by works of each generation, yields the common heritage of mankind and all knowledge helpful to future generations. This eternal sacrifice of perishable men gives human society a life everlasting. In a sense, the society itself is being sacrificed and is born again with renewed vigour. Giving a human form to the society, we may say priests and teachers are its expressive face, rulers and warriors its protective arms, traders and farmers it’s supporting thighs and servants and labourers its transporting feet. To conceive of the world in the image of man, we may say the sun and moon are its eyes and mind, water and fire its mouth, air its breath, sky its head, earth its feet, and the ethereal space its body. This world is itself a continuing sacrifice, in which we see all matter and energy evolving into new forms by consuming whatever existed before. The supra-human powers guiding the advance of society re-enact this sacrifice in the material world in regard to human society with perishable men as the offering, and obtain in return common norms for advancement of society. It is with the help of these norms that mankind rises up to the heavens to attain the status of divine immortality.
Such inspired praise and anthropomorphic deification of society in the Purusha-Sukta finds its parallels in many other ancient hymns. The simplest meaning of the name, ‘Narayana’ for the supreme god means the general will of society as expressed in its customs and traditions. Man is ‘Nara’, and his passage in time and space is ‘Ayaana’, the basis of all customs and traditions. The ancient poets said in effect that Man is incarnate of God’s image and is potentially capable of becoming divinely supreme, evolving from the mundane to the subtle lofty spiritual mode. Spiritual mode is the essential true nature of the Humankind. This is the reminder for the humankind.
Adhik Maasa is made up of glory, dancing, singing, hymns, rhymes, poetry, shlokas, mantra-jaapas, prayers, sacrifices, holy baths, rituals, rites, hommamm, recitals of Holy Scriptures, and much more in charity, donations and humanitarian works, to wash away our sins.
Best form of repentance is carried out in Rudra-Abhishekham with shree Sukta pathd, Gayatree Hommamm, and Vishnoo-pujan. During the Adhik Maasa, if one recites, prays, fasts, chants, sings, worships during the month of Adhik-Maasa Purushottama, one will be specially blessed, and get maximum recognition from the highest order.
Anthological hypothesis about Purshottam Maasa:
Each of the twelve Vedic months are assigned to 12 Vedic 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 showed 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 Vedic 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. The Puranas also sing high praises about Adhik Maas and indicate Puja, readings of scriptures etc. during Adhik Maas.
Selfless actions, without the expectations of results, are to be performed during Adhik Maas. Mal Maas (Adhik Maas) is the month for Vishnu puja.
The recitation of Srimad Bhagavat Purana and of the Bhagavad Gita during this month renders highest meritorious spiritual results. In addition to singing and listening to the praises of the Lord (Vishnu), undertake Adhik Maas Vrat also. This Vrat is to begin from the first day and ends on the last day of Adhik Maasa. Waking up during the hours of Brahma Muhurta (between 4 am and 6 am), after ablutions, place a murti of Radha-Krishan or Lakshmi-Narayana and perform Sodashopachara pujan. If there is a temple nearby then perform puja of whatever deities are usually worshipped therein. During the entire month of Mal Maas Vrat eat Sattvic food (vegetarian meals, milk, fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables). One meal at night is recommended.
It is written in the Bhavishyottar Purana that Sri Krishna Himself has said regarding Adhik Maas Vrat that by carrying out the Vrat with the sole aim of worshipping God, through fasting, cleanliness, charity, puja etc. merits are acquired which produce unfailing results and all sorts of calamities are overcome.
Rituals include; Ganesha Maha Pujan, Vishnu sahastranama Puja; Satya Narayan Vrat Katha; Vishnu Hawan; Gayatri Hommam, Laxshmee pujan, Vrats and much more.
In my professional experience of healing or giving Upayas to subjects of Vedic Astrology, highest spiritual benefits are attained by one who worships in the following manner:
During the first part of the Adhik Maasa: commencing May 3rd and completing on the May 16th Wednesday:
To light deepam at the dawn and the dusk in container of rose water and offering the same in four directions and one in the middle of the house with flowers (red and yellow). Daily contemplation at the dawn and the dusk of pujan comprising of Ganesh, Ishtha devata, one’s Nakshattara, one’s Kula devata, one’s pitru, one’s parents; one’s family; one’s husband or wife; one’s children, followed by Gayatri Mantra, Nava-Graha Shanti shloka, Maha-Mrutyunjaya Mantra, and shantih Mantra.
In the morning, recite the twenty one names of Vishnoo followed by the ridhi-sidhi Ganesh puja. At the dusk, recite the Shiva and Durga shlokas. Hanuman Chalisa may be recited every day in the evening. All together family must pray together. We must NOT take time for granted. This is the message of Adhik-Maasa. So, even God understands that human make mistakes and forget to observe in the fastidious social demands. However, God grants us the boon of Adhik-Maasa to recuperate our losses in spiritual terms. This chance comes once every three years. So we must really take fullest advantage of this grandeur.
Our pride and self-importance cannot be taken away from us but we have to give this quality of egotism up. Patience, serenity, peace, happiness, and divinity transpire out of tribulations, contemplations and spiritual oblations. They cannot be given by God as a matter of things. Blessings are benignly given to us and upon blessings we travel through our lives in the passage of time encountering love and spiritual divinity in form or another in somewhat mystical experiences that are vivid, yet very prominently pronounced upon our higher mind. Let us therefore surrender everything, our whole to the supreme Great cosmic divine spirit of Great life of all lives and pray for ourselves for our loved ones and for our society:
From the falsities of all the worldly samsahr, lead us onwards towards the light of thousand delights; oh Divine Indra, may thou illuminate our intellects as we recite the Gayatri mantra.
From the darkness of ignorance, lead us onwards progressively with love and compassion to learn to love others, to give love to others, even our enemies and our ill wishers. Let us learn to be free from the wretchedness of jealousy, envy, hatred, anger, greed, lust, attachments, obsessions, possessions, and inconsideration. Let us learn to be humanely kind, loving and compassionately caring to every single human being especially those who do not show us love and affection. Let us learn to let go of those who misunderstand us but at the same time to pray for their welfare and to bless them with good health, wealth and happiness.
From the mortal earth lead us onwards onto the immortal spiritual freedom whereat intruders do not prevail!
Vedic Astrological perspective:
As Vedic astrology is divided by 30 degrees and one third of every three year lunar cycle prorates to one portion of the surplus tithis counting 15 days of waning moon cycle and 15 days of waxing moon cycle. As such we do get the opposite of surplus also because of the khand (broken or fragmented) tithis (panchang). This is rare however and it occurs once in 150 to 180 years. When panchang is closely examined, one can deduce that the adhik maassa emanates every 33rd month 16th day and with 8 ghadhi (a ghadhi = 24 minnutes; 60 ghadhis = 24 hours). When there are two Sankrantis within one month then it becomes the lunar year with one reduced month (11 months in the year). Vasishtha Siddhanta (the treatise of Vasishtha) mentions that Adhik Maas or the extra lunar month occurs after every 32 months, 16 days and 8 Ghadis (a Ghadi is a period of 24 minutes and 60 Ghadis equal 24 hours). It is a fact that the solar year is made up of 365 days and about 06 minutes and the lunar year is made up of 354 days. Thus both the solar and the lunar years have gaps of 11 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes and 12 seconds. As this gap increases each year, it approximates in three years to one month. [Note: The moon takes about 27.3 days to make one complete orbit around the earth. The earth orbits around the sun once every 365.2422 days (= earth’s orbital speed of 29.79 km per second). The earth and the moon in 27.3 days have moved as a system about 1/12 of the ways around the sun. This means that from one full moon to the next full moon, the moon must travel 2.2 extra days before it appears full. This is due to the curve of the earth’s orbit around the sun. The moon is still making one complete orbit (circle) in 27.3 days. But to line up with the earth and sun to become a full moon again it takes 29.531 days. 29.531 day Lunar months = 354.372 days per lunar year. Thus we arrive at a difference of 10.87 days a year between a lunar year and a solar year of 365.2422 days per year.]
Time is a valuable gift. Time flies, seasons come and seasons go. The human earth elapses with the withering time as it should; life perishes every second diminishing our form finally into ashes. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace truly means that in the middle of noise and haste, if we can persevere all our adversities, we are calm and serene and un moved by all this that and the other, we are at peace.
Many a times in my life, I have felt very low and very sad by the state of our modern societies that lack so much loving compassion and then I realise that amongst the very noise and haste, there are still unique real persons, in whose company we feel comfortable and at ease. Real people who have long suffered in their own lives reach out to us and in somewhat magical ways heal us when they touch us.
There are many persons out there in our society who are lonely, who need someone to lean on, who need someone to love, who need someone to talk to. Reach out to persons who are weak, reach out to those who are vulnerably sad and lonely and afraid. Let us not judge others just because they have become weaker and afraid and misunderstood and rejected and hurting to come out of their shells. Let us give love and compassion. Love is the highest religion, love is the highest worship.
Of what use is our devotion, prayers and sacrifices when we form personal prejudices and hatred and create enmity with our own?
God grant us the serenity to accept all those yesterdays and all those things that make us sad and hurtful. God grant us the courage and the divine strength to change and alter those issues that we can change today to make our tomorrow a better life, a better hope, and a better love. Love is all that matters. Love is all that there is in life to give and love is all one truly needs. When we give love self-lessly, divinely, with all our riches, loosing to someone who truly needed it, we have truly lived.
“What you have just read, do not forget. Be careful how you live. Go placidly amid the noise and haste; you may be the only HOLY BOOK some people will ever read. Every encounter in your life is a sheer miracle of Divine God; remember to pray, remember to love, remember to give for you were born to give not to take."
Jyotikar Pattni @ www.hanss.co.uk © 01-05-07