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Adhik Maas means Extra(Adhuk) Month(Maas)and is also known as Purushottam Mass and Mal Maas, is the month for Vishnu puja.Indians follow two type of calendarsis ie Lunar and the Solar. A lunar month(Hindu) is on average 29.5 days period and the solar month,is 30 or 31 days.
The lunar calender year consists of 354 solar days and solar year consists of 365 days,6 minutes.Hence there is a difference of 11 days between the lunar and solar year.
So in three years time this differance becomes about one month period.So to match the two calendars, an extra month is added. This is the thirteenth month of the lunar calendar,called 'Adhik Maas'
The Adhik Maas is added when the Amvasya and the Surya Sankranti coincide.The day 14th April 2010 is Amvasya and the zodiac sign is changing from Pisces to Aries hence it is an Adhik Maas this year.
So,the month of Vaishakh which starts on 30th of March 2010 and will end on 30th of May 2010 lasting for two months instead of the regular one month duration.
Just as there is the lunar year with the extra month (Adhik Maas), so is there a lunar year with a diminished or reduced month (Kshaya Maas), with only eleven months in the year. The lunar year comprising of eleven months only is very rare indeed.
But the extra month or Adhik Maas comes every third year. Adhik Maas adopts the name of the month that follows Adhik Maas. Whenever Sankranti does not fall within one month then Adhik Maas occurs. When there are two Sankrantis within one month then it becomes the lunar year with one reduced month.
In Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Adika Maas is from April 15, 2010 to May 14, 2010, as the new month for these people start from the new moon.Shri.
Krishna is the Lord of this adhik maas.Lord Vishnu is the symbol of the month Vaishakh hence this Adhik Maas in 2010 very auspicious.
Instead of extra month,here is also a lunar month with 11 that is diminished month, which is called 'Kshaya Mass'.This occurs very rarely ie once in 140 or 190 years.
As per the lunar year, there were 12 months,which were assigned to 12 gods.The Rishi-Munis calculated Adhik Maas and explained its importance but the 13th extra month was not assigned to any god.
Adhik Maas was very sad and approached Lord Vishnu saying that that no god was assigned to him he was called Mal Maas.Lord Vishnu had pity on him and assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and it was named as Purushottam Maas.
Lord Vishnu further advised that acquisition of merits during other months through good deeds, japnam etc can be achieved by observing Adhik Maas Vrat.So it has gained a greater importance than the other months.
It is believed that the Adhik Maas Vrat is capable of excusing all the sins of the followers.People observe fast and give donations like clothes etc. to needy,as charity.
During the Adhik Maas, readings of scriptures,selfless actions, without the expectations of results, are to be performed.The recitation of Srimad Bhagavat Purana and Shrimad Bhagavad Gita during this month produce top meritorious results.
The Adhik Maas Vrat is observed from the first day to the last day,by waking up between 4 am and 6 am, during the Brahma Muhurta hours.A statue of Radha-Krisha or Lakshmi-Narayan is worshipped with Sodashopachara puja.During this period,vegetarian food,at night time is eaten.
In this month,Purushottama Granthis read or listenedby people to acquire high merits.Shri Krishna has also appreciated Adhik Maas Vrat which produce unfailing results and all sorts of mishaps and obstacles are removed.