A few of you asked the significance of 33 in Aadhika Masa. It is nice that I didn’t have to research too much and found a great article by Sree Raghavendra mutt Mantralaya. Part of the article is copied here. All credit to the webadmin at Sree Raghavendra mutt Mantralaya. You can read the full article here:
In Hindu religion, each and every God is worshipped in a unique way and there is custom of finding God in each and every festival. All the 12months in the Hindu calendar has its own significance. “Adhika Masa” comes once in 3 years and it holds as a very special month. There are no festivals in this month but the daana(donations) and spiritual rituals done in this month are very sacred. Below is a small description about this month.
According to Vashishta philosophy Adhika Masa comes in 32 months, 16 days, 3 hrs, and 12 mins. The month of moon in which surya sankranti is not there, is known as Adhika masa. Sankranti is the time when sun moves from one zodiac to another. To say in a modern way, Adhika masa is a mixture of scientific and mathematical theorems.
The calculation of time on earth should be in respect with the season of 2 months (ruthu). Revolution of seasons occurs accordingly to the rotation of Earth. Hence the solar measurement of time is dependent on the counting of seasons. Since from ages even the moon is seen at different stages, even the lunar measurement of time is considered. Hence both solar measurement of time and lunar measurement of time are used. Solar measurement of time and lunar measurement is adjusted in accordance to the period or season of two months.
Earth takes 2422 days to complete one revolution. This time is calculated on the basis of solar measurement of time. Moon takes 27.3 days to revolve round the earth. This time is calculated on the basis of lunar measurement of time. That means, earth and moon together takes 27.3 days to go round the sun i.e they complete 1/12th of the sun. Moon takes 2.2 more days from one full moon to another full moon. There is a difference because of the change in the orbit of earth round the sun. Moon takes 29.531 days to revolve from one full moon to another full moon since earth revolves round the sun even when moon is revolving around it. Hence the lunar measurement of time is calculated as 29.531*12=354.372 days.
Solar measurement of time for one revolution = 365.2422
Lunar measurement of time (29.531*12) = 354.372
Difference between solar and lunar measurement of time = 10.8702 days
This difference counts to 32.6106 days for 3 yrs. To balance this difference Adhika masa comes in 3rd year. Which means every 33rd month is adhika masa. On this basis a custom of giving 33 danas came into force.
Adhika masa starts from the next day of full moon and lasts till amavasya in Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. But in North India Adhika Masa starts from the first day of Vyshaka month and lasts till full moon of the month.
Adhika Masa: Sri Vedavyasa has composed 18puranas. Among these, the one which tells about the importance of adhika masa and 33 apoopadaana is “Bruhannaaradeeya Puraana Grantha”. Since it specifies the conversation between God Srihari and Narada, it is famous as “Bruhannaaradeeya Puraanaantargata Adhika Maasa Mahatme”. It’s been described in 21 chapters(1563 shlokas).
Adhika masa is also known as “Malimlucha Maasa”, “Asankraanta Maasa” and “Purushottama Maasa”. This month is known as Asankraanta Masa as sun stays in just one zodiac the whole month. In the Kaala Nirnaya epic it’s been described as:
Chaandramaasohya sankraanto malamaasa prakeertitaha iti malatwancha kaalaadhikyaat |
Taduktam gruhya parishishto-malamvadantikaalasya maasam kaalavidhodhikamiti ||
(Among the 12 months of Hindu calendar, Sun will be in one zodiac not just in adhika masa but also from chaitra masa to karthika masa and the last phalguna maasa. Hence these months are known as asankraanta maasa since sankraanti won’t be there in these months)
The two ekadashi’s which come in every month has its own individual mythological significance. (For e.g. the ekadashi which comes in shukla paksha of chaitra month is known as “kaamadaa ekadashi” and the one which comes in Krishna paksha of the same month is known as “varuthini ekadashi”.) The ekadashi which comes in shukla and Krishna paksha of adhika masa is known as padmini and paramaa ekadashi respectively. Adhika masa is also known as Purushotama masa since both the ekadashi’s of this month is in accordance with Radha and Purushothama.
33 Gods of Adhika Masa:
Ashta – (8) Vasu
Ekadasha – (11) Rudra
Dwadasha – (12) Aaditya
Totally 33 Gods