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Sunday, 28 June 2015

The significance of Adhika Maas

PURUSHOTTAM MASS

Astronomy

The lunar calendar adds one extra month every third year. This extra month is known by various names: Adhik Maas, Mal Maas, Purushottam Maas. This is the thirteenth month of the lunar calendar. Sankranti means transition. When the sun transits from one Raashi to (Zodia Sign) another Raashi that day is called Sankranti. Since the Sun passes through 12 Raashis (Signs) every year, there are 12 Sankrantis every year – one Sankranti every month. Whenever Sankranti does not  fall within one month then the Adhik  Maas (extra month) occurs.

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 the solar and the lunar years have gaps of 11 days, 1 hour, 31 minuites and 12 seconds. As the gap increases each year, it approximates in three years to one month. Vasishtha Siddhanta ( the treatise of Vasishtha) mention that Adhik Mass 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).

Religious significance of Adhik Mass

There is a nice story about Purushottam Maas. According to the lunar year, there were only 12 months. Each of the 12 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 Mass) felt sad and approached Lord Krishna and said that no God was assigned to him (Adhik Maas) and for that reason he was called Mal Maas. Adhik Maas further spoke to Lord Krishna: ‘I am filled with anxiety and I have therefore come to seek your refuge and help.’



Lord Krishna took pity on him. The Lord (Krishna) agreed and assigned Adhik Maas to Himself and gave the name PURUSHOTTAM MAAS to this month. Lord Krishna also said that acquisition of merits through good deeds during all other months put together can be acquired by japa,austerities etc.,carried out within this one month. Since then it is known as the Purushottam Maas and acquired greater significance than the other months.

In a book called “Purushottam Granth” can be found many aspects of the special religious significance of this month. By reading and listening, high merits are acquired. There are lots of lovely stories connected with the special significance of this month.

DEVI MAHATMYA

Durgaani harti iti Durga (दुर्गाणि हरति इति दुर्गा).
Durgaani (दुर्गाणि,దుర్గాణి ) – The troubles;  harti (हरति, హరతి)– remover; iti (इति,ఇతి) – is itself; Durga (दुर्गा,దుర్గా)– Devi Durga.
A burst of energy emanated from Lord Vishnu and took the form of Devi Durga. All the other Lords contributed their essence into the form. Devi thus emerged as an embodiment of Supreme Energy capable of surpassing any hurdles to our life.
The Devi Mahatmya or “Glory of the Goddess” is a religious text describing the victory of the Goddess of Durga over the demon Mahishasura. As part of the Markandeya Purana, it is one of the Puranas or secondary Hindu scriptures after the Vedas. It was composed with authorship attributed to the sage Markandeya.

Contents

 The Devi Mahatmya consists of chapters 81 – 93 of the Markandeya Purana, which is a set of stories being related by the sage Markandeya to Jaimini and his students. The thirteen chapters of Devi Mahatmya are divided into three charitras or episodes.

The framing narrative of Devi Mahatmya presents a dispossessed king, amerchant betrayed by his family, and a sage whose teachings lead them both beyond existential suffering. The sage instructs by recounting three different epic battles between the Devi and various demonic adversaries ( the three being governed by, respectively Maha Kali ( chapter 1), Mahalakshmi (chapters 2-4) and Mahasarasvati(chapters 5-13). Most famous is the story of Mahishasura Mardini – Devi as “Slayer of the Buffalo Demon” – a tale known almost universally in India. Among the important Goddess forms of the Devi Mahatmya introduced into the Sanskritic main stream are Kali and Sapta – Matrika ( ‘Seven Mothers’).

Chandika Havan

Devi Mahatmya is the ritual text for performing Chandika Havan. This is the one of the most popular Yagnas conducted throughout India.This is performed for the general welfare of the people. Further the items like Bilva Phallam(బిల్వఫలం), Kapita Phallam(కపితఫలం), Madhuka Pushpam(మధుక పుష్పం) etc., which form the ‘Dravyas’ that go as “Ahutis(ఆహుతి)” into Havan are considered to purify the surroundings and highly beneficial for the health of the people participating in the Yagna.

Courtesy: Sri Umesh Purushottam Pai, G.S.B. Sabha, Dombivli, Mumbai.