Hindu calendar follows the cycles of the Moon, and therefore there are around 29.5 days in a month. While there are 30 or 31 days in a Solar month. Hence, there is a difference of 11 days every year in both these calendars (Lunar and Solar) and this difference comes to 29 or 30 days in every 3 years, and becomes a whole month. To keep the lunar and solar calendars aligned, an extra month is added every three years. This extra month is known as Purushottam Maas since the main deity of this month is Lord Vishnu, who is also known as Lord Purushottam. This month is also known as Adhik Maas or Mal Maas.
In 2023, the Purushottam month is starting from Tuesday, 18th of July and ends on Wednesday, 16th of August, which falls in the month of Shravan. Therefore it is also called Shravan Purushottam Maas or Shravan Adhik Maas this year.
Purushottam Month is considered as a Holy month, and the benefits of this month are innumerable. The Puranas also sing high praises about Adhik Maas and indicate puja, readings of scriptures etc. during this month. Selfless actions, without any expectations of results are to be performed during Purushottam Maas. It is believed that a person can be bestowed with all the necessities of the life, as well as after leaving this world, he will be taken to the abode of Lord Krishna. The recitation of Srimad Bhagwat Purana and Bhagavad Gita during Adhik month is considered auspicious. Even the recitation of Lord Vishnu Sahastranaam Path during this month is considered highly beneficial.
Legend Behind Purushottam month :
In Hindu Calendar, each of the 12 months are ruled by 12 different Deities. But the Adhik Maas or Extra month was not ruled by any God and for which, he was called Mal Maas (unclean month). Due to which, Adhik Maas felt bad and took his plight to Lord Vishnu and prayed to Lord Vishnu to seek his refuge and help. Lord Hari heard his plea and assigned himself to Adhik Maas, and gave him the name of "Purushottam Maas". Lord Vishnu also said that the significance of Japa, Homa, Vrat, Katha and other Good deeds done during the Purushottam Maas will be more fruitful than the prayers and good deeds done during the other 12 months. It is said that ages ago, King Nahush was freed from all bondages by keeping the Adhik Mass vrat and got the throne of Lord Indra, who was the king of Heaven. Apart from this, once Goddess Lakshmi asked Sri Hari Lord Vishnu the procedure of performing Adhik Maas Puja. Lord Vishnu replied that he is the Lord of Adhik Maas and named it Purushottam Month, and therefore by doing Good deeds and virtues like Japa, Homa, Vrat will help to bring most fruitful results.
Significance of Purushottam Maas or Adhik Maas :