There are certain periods in our life that are particularly transformational. Such phases can bring about events or situations that have a powerful effect in shaping our character, or the course of our lives. Astrologically, there are many ways to identify these periods in your life, and one of those ways is by understanding ‘Dashas’, or planetary periods, which are found by many to be one of the most unique and interesting topics in Vedic Astrology.
Maha Dasha - Life’s Great Planetary Phases
A Maha Dasha, or “great period” is a span of time in an individual’s life that is ruled by a particular planet, and provides a system to judge the effects of the planets through a person’s lifetime.
According to the sage Parashara, who is renowned as the father of Jyotish or Vedic Astrology, each of the Navagraha, or nine planets, controls a particular time period. The nine planets include the seven classical planets plus Rahu and Ketu, the north and south nodes of the Moon. According to the Dasha system used most commonly by Vedic astrologers – the Vimshottari Dasha system – the age of a human being is considered to be 120 years. This span is divided into nine periods, each of which is ruled by a particular planet for a specific number of years. The planets fall into a certain sequence, as follows.
Mars – 7 years
Rahu – 18 years
Jupiter – 16 years
Saturn – 19 years
Mercury – 17 years
Ketu – 7 years
Venus – 20 years
Sun – 6 years
Moon – 10 years
The first Dasha in someone’s life is determined by the ruler of the Nakshatra in which the Moon is placed at the time of birth. Each Nakshatra has one of the planets as its lord. So for example, if the Moon is in Krittika Nakshatra at the time of birth, then the first period will be the Sun’s Dasha, because Krittika is ruled by the Sun.
The length of the first Dasha is based on how far the Moon has traveled through the Nakshatra it is residing in at the time of birth. For calculating this it is vital that the birth time is correct. The initial planetary period will be immediately followed by the next planet’s period, as per the sequence. For example the Sun’s Dasha would be immediately followed by the Moon’s Dasha, which lasts for the next ten years.
Antar Dasha - Phases of our Day to Day Experience
Each Mahadasha is further divided into nine segments which are called Antardashas, and each of these is also ruled by one of the nine planets. While Mahadashas influence the large cycles of your life, or the big picture, Antar Dashas indicate what you are experiencing in your immediate environment.
You can use the Cosmic Insights App to find out which Dasha and Antar Dasha you are running.
Judging a Dasha’s Effect on You
Once you find out which Dasha and Antar Dasha you are currently in or moving into, you will want to understand what that means for you. Whilst a very generalized description of the Dashas can be given, it is vital to look into your own birth chart to understand what to expect, as there are multiple factors to consider.
The effect of a particular planet’s Dasha in someone’s life will depend on the condition and position of that planet in their natal chart. According to the sign (Rasi), house (Bhava), combinations (Yogas or Raja Yogas) and aspects (Drishti) that the lording planet is placed in, positive or challenging effects may be experienced.
When a Mahadasha lord is in its own sign or exalted (strong) then that period will bring good results. Similarly, if it is weakly positioned or debilitated (weak) then that planet’s period or sub period will bring difficulties.
What to Expect in Each Planet’s Dasha - a General Guide
The Dashas activate the planets in the chart. The planet Mars is fast and dynamic and represents energy, so when someone moves into this Mahadasha they could experience a sudden jolt of energy or an abrupt change. It is important to beware of being impulsive or impatient, as this can lead to accidents.
Rahu Mahadasha can often bring a change of residence or other life changes. If Rahu is placed well it can bring money, fame or even sudden marriage, but if badly placed can result in poor decision making or can bring illness, lawsuits or loneliness. As Rahu represents long distances there could be a long distance journey during this Dasha.
Jupiter is known as the great benefic and represents expansion, freedom, wisdom and optimism and is connected with wealth, children and education, so it is thought to be a positive Mahadasha, but it completely depends on the position of Jupiter in your chart. If it’s placed well you will receive many of these things in your life during this phase. Otherwise you may find they are taken away from you.
After leaving Jupiter’s Dasha and entering into Saturn’s it can suddenly feel serious or heavy as you adjust to the new phase. This period could bring delays and setbacks, but if you are mature, hard working and disciplined then this can be an extremely rewarding Dasha, as Saturn grounds you in the reality of the world.
Mercury Mahadasha is likely to be more optimistic than Saturn and can bring opportunities for communication, business and networking in your life. When placed favorably you make good decisions and have the ability to learn new things.
Ketu is about losses but also deals with the spiritual rather than the material world. This Mahadasha can bring a spiritual quest as you seek answers from within rather than from the outer realm.
Venus is a natural benefic so generally its Dasha is thought to be beneficial, but again it depends on its placement. When Venus is placed well in the chart there is happiness and balanced relationships with others. When not placed well, it will bring many life lessons, especially connected with relationships.
During Sun Mahadasha you could get a work promotion or a job or grant from the government, since the Sun represents the government as well as the physical body, ego and self confidence. If the Sun is debilitated, there could be difficulties with job position, government, law or taxes and you need to look out for the health of your father during this time.
The Moon represents the mind and the mother. During this Dasha if the Moon is well placed in the chart there could be some positive gains connected with your mother and you would generally experience a positive mental state, but if placed unfavorably it can cause turmoil in the mind.
The more conscious and aware you are of what each Mahadasha is likely to bring specifically to you as an individual, the more you can balance your mind and energy accordingly. Even if a Dasha appears bad for you in your chart, with your awareness, understanding and remedies, it can be neutralized. Similarly, a Mahadasha that appears neutral can become better with your preparation and understanding.
You can book a detailed Mahadasha consultation with an expert astrologer, who will help you understand how the planets will affect you based on your chart and provide you with suitable remedies that you can follow to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive effects during your Mahadasha.
Exploring the Effects Through Houses and Divisional Charts
The areas of life in which the effects are felt can be studied by looking at the house that the Mahadasha lord is in. For example, if someone is in their Rahu Dasha and has Rahu placed in the 6th house of their chart, they may experience problems relating to their health during their 18 year Rahu period, as the 6th house is connected with health and illness.
The planet’s position can also be analyzed in different divisional charts, or Vargas. For example, job and career is signified in the D10 divisional chart, so if someone is running their Saturn Antar Dasha and Saturn is debilitated and weakly placed in their D10 chart, they may experience problems and troubles related to their job during that phase.
Dasha Sandhi - Transformational Junctions between Phases
Many astrologers claim that entering a new Mahadasha is the most important time in your life. ‘Sandhi’ means junction, and ‘Dasha Sandhi’ signifies the junction between two planetary periods. The last few months of one period and the first few months of the next planet’s period are very transformative. In some cases your whole life changes when you go from one cycle to the next.
During this transition there can be a period of confusion. There are often big changes in work, home or any aspect of life, or you could suddenly start feeling different or emotional. When this happens it can scare you into thinking that your whole next Mahadasha is going to be bad. It is important at this time to stay balanced and not become fearful. Remember that the universe is preparing you for the new phase of life that you are entering into.
You could also experience a positive event or achievement at the time of transition. In either case, give yourself a period of adjustment into a new way of being. Moving into a new Mahadasha is like rewiring the way you think and act in the world.
Knowing in advance when these Dasha Sandhis occur based on your birth chart is extremely helpful to prepare you for the upcoming changes. If you are in a relationship it is useful to know when your partner is changing from one Dasha to another, as you can then understand the changes they are going through as they rewire from one planet’s energy to another.
Learn more about your Dashas in a Mahadasha consultation with an astrologer: