Purushottam Mas (Adhik Mas)
The Hindu calendar is lunar based, unlike the Gregorian (Western) which is solar based. Since the lunar based calendar lags slightly, an intercalary month is added approximately every 2.5 years. This is known as Adhik (extra) mas. It is considered even more auspicious than Shravan.
The lunar month in which the sun does not transmigrate clearly, is called Adhik Mas or Purushottam Mas – additional month.
There are several kathas related about the glory of Purushottam Mas in the Narad Puran
In ancient times, the rishis Asit, Deval, Angira, Vamdev and others gathered at Naimisharanya Kshetra. Soon Sutpurani too arrived, while on a pilgrimage. Welcoming him, the others requested him to do katha which would imbue moksha.
Sutji replied, "Once Naradji visited Nar-Narayan rishi's ashram. He humbly prayed, "O Prabhu! What is the way to moksha in this KaliYuga - age of darkness, which is plunging in ever increasing hedonism?"
The rishi replied, "O Muni! If man was to listen to the divine lila of Purushottam Narayan, then even in Kali Yuga, He will grant moksha."
Therefore the rishis listened to the lila in Adhik Mas, henceforth also known as Purushottam Mas.
There are other similar stories in the Padma Puran extolling Purushottam Mas's glory.
- In this month, devotees awaken at brahma muhurt – around 4.30 a.m. After the ritual; ablutions, they perform puja.
- They should do pranayam for physical and mental purity. If circumstances are favourable, devotees should offer shodshopchar puja – worship with sixteen different types of pujadravya, materials for puja.
- Those with robust health should do farar or ektana – one meal a day. One should listen to katha with bhaktibhav.
- The merit of this vrat is greater than that of performing a hundred yagnas, since this leads to attainment of Paramatma’s abode (Bruhad Naradiya Puran 22-23).
Bhagwan Swaminarayan has also enjoined the observance of Purushottam Mas by offering special devotion. The unparalleled feature of this month is that each tithi – date of this month celebrates a sacred festival which falls on that tithi during the year.
Hindus worldwide celebrate this sacred month, which arrives every thirty-two months, by performing extra malas, pradakshinas, pilgrimages, scriptural reading and parayans - holding a katha series of a sacred text.