Dashas (Periods)

Meaning of Dashas?

The Horoscope or birth chart, gives the basic indications for an individual or event. For example, Mars in the 3rd house (bhava) means success through one's own efforts. The question then arises as to when this will occur; in one's youth, middle-age, old-age, or in a mixture of these timeframes?
It may also happen that contradictory indications occur. How can these occurrences be reconciled? If Mars is indicating success, but Sun indicates obstructions, how do we integrate these opposing forces to arrive at a consistent picture of the birth chart?
The answers to these questions can be found in the dashas, which are systems used for timing of events in Jyotish. If two grahas show opposing indications, it may indicate that each will occur, but at different times. Part of one’s life may show success and rise in career, while other parts may show obstructions and struggle. The dashas allow a determination of when these periods will express themselves, and to what degree. Both influences may also occur simultaneously (success, but with much effort).

Planets Family
Planets Family

Vimshottari Dasha

There are many dasha systems available in Jyotish. Based upon the birth chart each system has its own particular uses and rules for when they should be used. The most popular dasha system is Vimshottari. This belongs to a class of dasha systems that are nakshatra-based . Nakshatra-based systems use the nakshatras to calculate the start of the dasha cycle.
Vimshottari dasha, is calculated based upon the nakshatra position of Moon at birth which determines the start of the dasha, and each graha from Sun - Ketu has a dasha period associated with it. Suppose Moon is in Pisces at 16-10 (16 degrees, 10 minutes of arc) at birth. Since there are 27 nakshatras of extent 13-20, this corresponds to the 26th nakshatra, which is Uttara Bhadrapada, whose ruler is Saturn. Hence, this person was born into the Saturn Vimshottari dasa period.
The length of each graha dasha period is given below.

Vimshottari Dasha Periods

Planet Graha Length
( in years)
Sun 6
Moon 10
Mars 7
Rahu 18
Jupiter 16
Saturn 19
Mercury 17
Ketu 7
Venus 20

The vimshottari dashas occur in the order shown above. Summing the lengths of the dasas, we arrive at 120 years; this is taken as the "natural" lifespan of a person living in Kali Yuga, or current world cycle.


Life consists of cycles within cycles within cycles. This is reflected in the dasha scheme through the sub-dashas or sub periods known as Bhukthi or Antardasha. Just as there are 9 major dasha periods, called mahadashas (maha means great, so mahadasha means great period), there are also sub-periods. There is no limit to the number of sub-periods that can be considered, but in most cases 2-4 are considered.
Each sub-period consists of the 9 graha periods, in the same order as shown above, starting with the mahadasha period. For example, the Mercury dasha starts with the Mercury sub-dasha, followed by Venus, Ketu, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, and ending with Saturn. After this the Ketu mahadasa begins, with the sub-periods being Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury.
The length of each sub-period maintains the same ratio as the length of the mahadasha period. For example, the Mercury mahadasha lasts 17 years, which is 17/120 of the entire Vimshottari dasha cycle. The Mercury sub-period of the Mercury mahadasha is therefore 17 x 17/120 = 12 months. The Venus sub-period of Mercury lasts 17 (length of Mercury mahadasa) x 20 (length of Venus mahadasa)/120 = 2.83 years. In a similar way, the lengths of all the sub-periods, sub-sub-periods, and so on can be calculated.

General indications during Dashas – Planetary Periods

SUN - Dasha

The 6 year Sun dahsa will bring events relating to popularity, career advancement, authority positions, influence and power, fame, recognition from elders and authority figures, and dealings with the government. One's father may come prominently into focus, and if the Sun is well disposed the father's life will improve. If afflicted, the opposite occurs. If the Sun is weak and marred, there may be troubles with eyesight or the heart.

MOON - Dasha

Because the Moon is such a personal influence, this 10 year dasa is generally an extremely significant period in the person's life. Therefore it will have to do with the person's physical being, recognition from others, fulfilling one's greatest desires, and the most intimately connected facets of life, whatever they may be for the individual. All of the Moon's significations of course come into play, so one may expect dealings with females and the mother, whose life will also be affected for better or worse, depending on the Moon's disposition. These 10 years will be decidedly emotional, with more romance, sensitivity and moodiness. This is an excellent time for working in the public eye and gaining a widespread reputation, if the Moon is well disposed. In such cases it is also a common time for marriage and great happiness. If the Moon is afflicted, this will be a very difficult period as far as mental peace and general well being are concerned. The person would be susceptible to slander, humiliation, accusations, personal downfall, and victimisation by others. Physical ailments might involve the stomach, breast, or brain.

MARS - Dasha

During the 7 year Mars period, one generally has great energy and motivation for whatever endeavours are indicated. Thus there may be rapid advancement and success. It is also a common time for giving birth to sons, acquiring property, and associations with siblings (mainly brothers). Many become independent or powerful. There may be greater sexual passions and the possibility of surgery, accidents, injuries and physical ailments. Mars periods favour mechanical or technical jobs as well as affiliations with military and the police force. If the planet is afflicted, there is a danger of accidents, violence, cuts, burns, etc. There might also be arguments, a rash temper, and illnesses of the blood, bone marrow, or muscular system.

RAHU - Dasha

This period generally brings on a time of strong desires relating to Rahu's house placement and the person's nature In general it is a long dahsa 18 years and thus is an indication of deep and intense experience. In general, Rahu usually causes powerful misery during the lst and last 2 or 3 years of its dasha. The nature of the results may vary tremendously. In some cases the onset of the period brings the death or separation of a loved one, while for others there may be scandal or personal downfall. But such events are difficult to pinpoint beforehand with any certainty.

If there are aspects from benefics, or if Rahu is well placed, there may be great worldly success and benefits. The person could be raised to a very high position of authority. This may also occur if Rahu occupies a kendra or trikona and is aspected by the lord of any kendra or trikona. If Mars, Saturn, or the lord of the 12th house aspects Rahu, the period may give more than its usual share of difficulties.

Ancient Hindu sages have declared that in a Rahu dasha one may expect financial losses, danger from snakes or poison, many illnesses, a troubled mind, humiliation, and failure. However, in the 3rd, 6th, 10th, or 11th houses, where malefics are welcomed and in either of Mercury's signs, excellent results will be reaped. Because Rahu is not an actual planet and therefore does not signify a directed intelligence, the period is more a time of applying already developed abilities rather than learning new talents. Hindu scriptures also maintain that even when Rahu is well disposed, the benefits gained during the period will all be lost during the close of the dasha. As Rahu represents a demon bent on sense gratification, its dasha often causes even spiritual seekers to eat non vegetarian food.


Unless Jupiter is afflicted, this 16 year dasa brings a period of prosperity, happiness, and honor. There will be accomplishment and the fulfillment of one's desires. It is also generally a time of spiritual growth and higher learning. As Jupiter rules children, this is a common time for giving birth. If children are older, they will come more directly into the life, and the eldest child may be affected for better or worse, depending on the condition of the planet. As a benefic, Jupiter often gives many different kinds of opportunities, and marriage is therefore common in this period. Also, one's standard of living may improve, and the person will enjoy greater luxuries and comforts. Acquisition of finer cars is possible, as is the opportunity to acquire property. In a spiritual country such as India, this period greatly favors associations with Gurus and religious figures. One may undertake many holy pilgrimages. Long distance travel is favoured in any case. If Jupiter is afflicted, all kinds of miseries are possible, as one's luck is devastated and nearly all undertakings are subject to failure. There would also be ailments involving allergies and the liver.

SATURN - Dasha

The Saturn dasha lasts 19 years and is characterized by sustained hard work in one's career. Unless afflicted, this period may bring honor and advancement based upon one's present and past efforts. It is a time of great discipline and of establishing a solid base for one's career. The person may at this time build whatever tangible form and structure elements are necessary for the years to come. Saturn dasha may also give gains in wealth, authority, and power. There may be money from inheritances or from involvement in real estate. As a malefic, Saturn gives excellent results in the upachaya houses (the 3rd, 6th. 10 th & 11 th), and when well aspected or well placed by sign.

If Saturn is afflicted, this dasha will bring restrictions, delays, poverty, hardship, illnesses, and injuries. There may also be professional downfalls, loss of honor, and danger from rheumatism or paralysis.


During the 17 year Mercury dasha, one will experience a great emphasis on learning, writing, speaking, and all intellectual endeavours. The person will delve deeply into the mind and appreciate continuous psychological insights. Mercury is a planet of trade and commerce, and therefore it is a common time of beginning business ventures or studies related to business and commerce. There may also be involvement in radio, television, accounting, publishing, sales, marketing, teaching, giving lectures, speeches and other such Mercurial activities. If Mercury is unaspected by the Sun or any other malefic, then as a benefic it promises happiness, prosperity, and other favourable effects. There will be excellent results regarding the acquisition of all kinds of knowledge. For this reason, this dasha confers successful associations with Gurus and spiritual teachers. In India, a person entering this period is very likely to learn new mantras or yoga techniques. For the Westerner, there is a strong chance of returning to college or night school.

If Mercury is afflicted, there will be mental troubles, depression, or instability. There might also be nervous exhaustion as Mercury rules the nervous system. Merchants would be subject to business losses commensurate with the degree of planetary affliction.

KETU - Dasha

Out of all the plantary periods. that of Ketu is perhaps the most difficult to accurately predict. Ancient Hindu scriptures describe all sorts of miseries, such as poverty, sorrow, humiliation, slanders, poisoning, strange illnesses, etc. In actuality, this 7 year dasha is apt to produce some difficulties regarding the significations of Ketus house placement. Naturally, such negative results are reversed if Ketu occupies either the 3rd, 6th. 10th. or 11 th house the bhavas where malefics are welcomed.

As Ketu is otherworldly, it does not at all favour material benefits, but is an influence of asceticism and non attachment. Like Rahu, if this shadowy planet is aspected by Mercury, Venus, or Jupiter good effects will be reaped during its period. If Ketu occupies a kendra or trtkona and is aspected by a lord of a kendra or trikona, then good effects again may be expected. In the horoscope of a spiritual seeker, the dasha of Ketu will give excellent spiritual, mystical, or psychic experiences.

VENUS - Dasha

The 20 year Venus dasha favors enjoyment of luxuries, comforts, romance, and married life. When unafflicted, Venus gives abundant wealth, happiness, and pleasant associations. There may also be involvement in artistic endeavors. This is a highly beneficial period for actors, musicians, singers, and dancers. One's business activities may turn to dealings with jewellery, sweets, entertainment, beauty salons, etc. In general, a person's attention during Venus dasha is mainly on marriage and affairs of the heart. If Venus is ill disposed, such activities will bring disappointment, sorrow and grief. Happiness is destroyed, and money matters would also suffer. Illnesses might involve the reproductive system or kidneys.

The descriptions given above for dashas are similarly applicable for bhuktis. It must be understood that the dasha result is strongest, while the bhukti, which has a powerful effect, is secondary in its influence. As has already been mentioned, the most specific consideration in delineating dasha bhuktis are the houses ruled and occupied by the planets involved, as well as planetary aspects.