CONCEPT OF ADHIKAMASA OR INTER-CALARY MONTH
Month in June-July
year Pramadi has an Adhika or Mala Masa (16-5-1999 to 13-6-1999) and a Suddha
or Nija Masa (13-6-1999 to 13-7-1999) in the lunar month of Jyeshta. The Adhika
and Mala Masas testify to the highly scientific method of calendar-making in
scientific Hindu Calendar, formulated by ancient Indians, is based on the
natural movements of the luminaries. They called the year varsha, meaning
'shower of rains' or time during which the annual seasons completed their
course, taking into account the movements of the sun. The night, on which the
Masa or month becomes Poorna or complete, based on the movements of the Moon,
was called Pournamasi (Pournima). They were perhaps the first to try, as
pioneers in calendar - making right from the vedic times, to fuse, rather
successfully, the solar calendar into the lunar and form a luni-solar calendar.
and Lunar Months
basic observations held sway over the effort of ancient Hindu calendar-making.
The first was the apparent movement of the sun, causing the solar year, on its
re-entry into the first of the twelve Rasis of the Zodiac, from where it
started its annual sojourn and completed a cycle of seasons. The moment of
entry of the sun into a zodiacal sign was called Samkranti, and Soura or Solar
month. Likewise, the period of time between the appearance and
reappearance of either the Full Moon or New Moon was called a Masa or Month.
a solar month, the sun's ingress to the sign alone matters. Therefore, there is
only one its kind. But as the lunar month is either reckoned with the end of
amavasya or Pournami there are two kinds of them. These are namely the New moon
ending and Full moon ending. Those months which end with an Amavasya or New
moon are called Amanta and those which end with Pournima or Full moon are
called Pournimanta. Both the modes of reckoning were in vogue since the Vedic
times. Even now, Pournimanta lunar months are followed in some parts of India.
Only the Amanta system is taken for calendaric calculations for determining
Inter-calary month or Adhikamasa and decayed month or Kshayamasa. These Amanta
lunar months commerce just at the moment of a New moon and end at the instant
of the next New moon.
solar months based on the twelve Samkrantis or solar ingresses into each of the
twelve signs of the Zodiac constitute one solar year. These solar months have
varying periods of 30 to 32 days due to the vagaries of the movement of the
sun, in relatio to the earth. It was found that the twelve lunar months,
varying from 20 to 30 days, based on the occurence and re-occurence of either
the Full moons or the New moons did not converge exactly with this solar
year. The length of an solar year on an average is 365 days, 5 hours, 49
minutes (Surya Siddhanta takes this as 365 days, 6 hours and 13 minutes) and of
a lunar month 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes. So 12 lunar months add to 354
days, 9 hours and lag behind the solar year by about 11 days (10.896 days) per
year. It is evident then that in three years this difference itself will be
more than thirty days resulting in a slide of a month in relation to the solar
Months and Seasons
religious calendar of the Hindus, as of many other faiths over the world, is
lunar and is based on the Tithis or lunar days. If the lunar months are allowed
to recede progressively, [this is allowed in the Islamic calendar] the seasonal
festivals of any particular lunar month will get divorced from their
association of their correct seasons. For the lunar months to move through all
the solar months and to come back to their original position it may take about
321 years. In other words, the religious festivals will harmonize with the
seasons once in about 321 years only. Therefore, there arose a need to
synchronize the religious calendar with the calendar of seasons, mainly to
prevent this problem of shift of festival days. It is only to avert this
contingency the occasional introduction of inter-calary months in the lunar
calendar was devisedby our ancients. When this recession of about 11 days per
year gets accumulated to 30 days or one month, an inter-calary month is
inserted in the lunar calendar to bring it back to its original position in
relation to the seasons. Such extra months can come at regular intervals after
every 32 and 33 solar months, alternately, to maintain the balance. This
procedure was in vogue in the early period of Siddhantic astronomy. However,
later the method adopted is different and is the determined on the basis of
true motions of the Sun and the Moon.
ancient Hindu concept of computation of time stems from the Mahayuga. In a
Mahayuga there are 4,320,000 years, which contain 51,840,000 solar months or
Souramasas and 53,433,336 lunar months or Chandramasas. So in a Mahayuga there
will be 1,593,336 inter-calary or Adhikamasas in the lunar calendar. The
pattern of occurence of the solar and lunar months can be expressed
mathematically,as a continuous fraction based on the fact there are 33 lunar
months for 32 solar months.
the problem does not stop with this. For 423 solar months there will be 436
luner months, an additive of 13. If we take 1692 solar months or exactly 141
years, we get 52 additive months. On the basis of one per 32 years, the
additive month must be 53 for 1696 years. It can be seen that an increase of 4
solar months has brought in another lunar month. So also for 1920 solar
months only 59 Adhikamasas occur. As per the normal rules this must be be 60.
Therefore, one month has to be reduced to make it 59. That is why the need to
identify a Kshayamasas or surpressed month arises to offset the excess. This is
done by just ignoring a count of a lunar month. Kshayamasas occur generally
once in 141 years and again after 19 years, more frequently though they are
possible in other intervals of 46, 65, 76 and 122 years.
is defined as that lunar month which does not have any solar ingress during its
period. It other words Adhikamasa occurs when the sun's stay in a sign or Rasi
is more than the duration of that lunar month. The rule is that the lunar month
bears the same name as the solar month in which the initial New month occurs.
When a lunar month is completely covered by a solar month or in other words
when there are two moments of New Moons one at the commencement and other at
the end of any solar month, two lunar months originate in the same solar month
and both these lunar months derive the same name as per the above rule. So the
lunar month that begins from the first New moon, so occuring, is deemed as an
extra month and termed as Adhikamasa or Malamasa. The lunar month begining from
the second New moon is called the real or pure, otherwise Nija or Suddha. Both
these months bear the same name of the solar month and the first gets the
prefix of Adhika and the next, Suddha.
In the current Pramadi year, in the solar month of Vrishabha two New Moons
occur, causing two lunar months in the solar month. So the first lunar month is
taken as Adhika. The first is Adhika Jyeshta and the second is the Nija
It can thus be seen that an inter-calary month comes after two to three years
in the normal course. Such Adhikamasas generally occur in the period from
Chaitra to Bhadrapada as these solar months have a longer duration than the
lunar months. No religious festivals are observed in these Malamasas or
is a Kshayamasa or suppressed month? At times, a lunar month can completely
cover a shorter solar month. Then the Sun's stay in a Rasi will be less than
the duration of a lunar month. This will result in two Samkramanas or solar
ingress occuring in a particular lunar month. In such a contingency there will
be no New moon in that particular solar month. Therefore, there will be no
lunar month to be named after that solar month. Obviously this will create a
gap in the sequence of names of the lunar months, missing out one name. This
dropped out month is callled Kshayamasa or decayed month.
years when a lapsed month occur (this happens less frequently) there will be
two inter-calary months or Adhikamasas, one before the Kshayamasa and the other
after that, within a span of three months on either side. The inter-calary
month occuring prior to the Kshayamasa is called Samsarpa and this is generally
exempted from the injunctions of performance of religious festivals in that
month, as attributable to normal Adhikamasa. The latter inter-calary month is
called Amhaspati and this second Adhikamasa will be the correct Adhikamasa, as
it occurs after 30 months of the previous Adhikamasa.
the average length of a lunar month is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, it
actually varies from 29 days, 5 hours, 54 minutes to 29 days, 19 hours, 36
minutes depending on the position of the New moon of the lunar perigee (Surya
Siddhanta gives the limits as 29 days, 6 hours, 18 months to 29 days, 19 hours,
6 months). as the months of Vrischika, Dhanus and Makara have their lengths
between these two limits, only the lunar months of Margasira, pushya and Magha
can become Kshaya more often than the other two and Magha, the least.
summarise, a Malamasa or Adhikamasa occurs when there are two New Moons in a
solar month creating a situation of absence of any solar ingress or Samkramana
in that lunar month. For an Adhikamasa to occur, a solar ingress must take
place just before a New Moon and the next ingress must be just after the next
New Moon. Or in other words, a lunar month with no Samkrantis of the Sun
occuring in it is called a suppressed month, Kshayamasa or Amhaspati.
decayed month or Kshayamasa occurs when there is no New Moon in any solar month
creating a situation of two solar ingresses or Samkramanas happening in that
lunar month. For a Kshayamasa to happen the solar ingress must happen just
after a New moon and the following solar ingress must take place before
the ending of the next New Moon. In other words a lunar month will two
Samlrantis of the Sun occuring in it is called a suppressed month, Kshayamasa
variance in computational factors is found in the different ancient
astronomical treatises as regards the length of the solar year and the like.
Different Siddhantas are followed in different regions of different people. The
opinions expressed in various Sastriac texts are also in variance with regard
to the observances of religious festivals. Therefore there is difference of
opinion amongst scholars in determining some of these Adhika and Kshaya months.
Only some of the basic principles have been discussed here to give the reader a
general but clear idea about the subject, without going into the intricacies.
exactly is a Blue Moon? The 'Blue Moon' does't have anything to do with color.
The second full moon that occurs within a given calendar month is called a Blue
Moon. An ancient tradition calls the fourth full moon, in a season, as Blue
Moon. Each of the four seasons in a year will have three months and usually
three Full Moons. Each of these 12 Full Moons, of a year, has its own name in
folklore, like "Harvest Moon," "Hunter's Moon" etc. When, however
occassionally,a season got four Full Moons, it was called "Blue Moon", as there
was no name for this occassional Full Moon. "Harvest Moon" is the Full Moon of
Harvest time or more exactly, occuring just before the autumnal Equinox on
about September 23. As the continuance of the moonlight after sunset was useful
to farmers in northern latitudes, who usually harvest their crops, the name
stuck. The Full Moon following the Harvest Moon, which exhibits the same
phenomena in a lesser degree, is called the Hunter's Moon.
the Moon about on an average of 29 days, 12 hours, 44.05 minutes to circle the
earth, once in its orbit. Occasionally therefore, two Full Moons can
occur within a same calendar month. If a Full Moon occurs on the 1st or 2nd day
of the month, there is a good chance for a second Full or Blue Moon by the end
of that month. Such was the case in January 1999, when the Moon was the full on
the 2nd and the 31st, making the second Full Moon on the 31st a 'Blue Moon'. On
an average, this takes place once every two and a half years. This time,
however, we did not have to wait so long for another Blue Moon which appeared
in March 1999, with two Full Moons on the 2nd and the 31st of March. The next
Blue Moon will be in November 2001, then in July 2004 and thereafter in 2007
June and so on. On an average, in a century, there will be 41 months, which can
have two full moons. Therefore once in a blue moon actually means only once
every two-and-a-half years, which is not a rare occurence either to justify its
imort or undue excitement. To see two Blue Moons in one year, next, we have to
wait until 2018. Once in a double Blue Moon, may be a better idiom then.
civil calendar is artificial and arbitary. There is nothing scientific or even
significant in trying to identify a second Full Moon in a month of a civil
calendar and give it a name. Full Moon and New Moon are natural phenomena and
identifying their occurence twice in a solar month, a natural time division,
will be more scientific and definable astronomically.
|It can be seen
that the Hindu calendar is natural, purposeful and scientific, sans sensations
like Blue Moons. We must not leave our posterity oblivious to the attaiments of
our ancestors in the fields of mant of these exact sciences. But for some in
India, anything Indian is unscientific, be it mathematics, astronomy, positive
sciences, astrology or even religion. For such agnostics, unless they try to
understand the heritage of this great land of Bharata, the freedom they have
gained at mid-night can never see the dawn.