Dasa (cycles) are the main timing system in Vedic Astrology. There are many dasa systems in Vedic Astrology that allow us to foresee the karmic events as they unfold here on Earth. The most prominent is the Vimshottari dasa system. It is a system that uses a 120 year cycle where each planet rules a certain number of years, which is also broken down into sub periods from there. The sub periods (called bhuktis) are in the same order and divided relative to the dasa length below.

For instance Ketu dasa starts with Ketu / Ketu, then Ketu / Venus, then Ketu / Sun, etc. Very accurate results are possible using this dasa system to predict what karmas will unfold at what time.

The planetary dasas in the Vimshottari dasa system unfold in this order. This order is also reflected in the planetary lords of the Nakshatras.

  • Ketu 7 years
  • Venus 20 years
  • Sun 6 years
  • Moon 10 years
  • Mars 7 years
  • Rahu 18 years
  • Jupiter 16 years
  • Saturn 19 years
  • Mercury 17 years

The Moon in the Dasa Scheme.

The start of the first planetary dasa cycle is reckoned from placement of the Moon at birth. The Lord of the Nakshatra (corresponding star in the Moon sign) will determine the 1st dasa period. The percentage of the amount of distance traversed by the Moon through that Nakshatra is deducted from the balance of the mean dasa length to determine the first dasa length. Example – if the Moon had traveled ¼ through the Nakshatra of Bharani, ruled by Venus, then ¼ of the length of Venus dasa would be deducted from it’s mean length of 20 years. Thus the first dasa would be Venus for 15 years.

The Vimshottari dasa is shown from the Moon because it is from the Moon that everything grows, first in our consciousness then later in the world. The Moon is the consciousness; it is the mind that has been with us for time immemorial. It is where our deep mental impressions (called samskaras) reside. When a planetary dasa runs, first we get the samskaras from that planet, based on our past karma with it, and then we act upon those samsaras, creating new karma.

It is important to note that assessing dasa periods in a general way is quite dicey. There are as many possibilities with dasas as there are charts. Venus for instance is a first rate benefic, yet as a dusthana lord or debilitated, her periods can seem like hell. Yet the planets have an innate quality and energy and when their period runs we will feel that energy for good or ill. When referring to these dasa periods we are also referring to their sub periods

Ketu – 7 years. First and foremost the Ketu’s job is to help us complete the karmas we are finishing in this life. His job is to give us only what we need and take everything we do not need in order for our soul to develop.

Medical indications: Ketu can give Mars type of accidents and diseases as well as mysterious illnesses, muscular or nervous system disorders. Psychologically he gives self-doubt as well as a hyper criticism of all he is associating with.

Venus – 20 years. Venus is a time when we will mainly seek worldly happiness and a loving partnership. Coming after Ketu dasa, Marriage is often a theme in Venus dasas or a marriage that has more loving qualities of Venus. Wealth is also an important theme as are Women, children and other people in general. Venus as a benefic will want to give things to us and we must be careful not to fall into the worldly quality of her charms and sensual pleasures.

Medical indications: As a kapha planet she can give illnesses related to internal organs, mainly of the reproductive system, STD’s, as well as the kidneys, diabetes.

Sun – 6 years. The Sun dasa shows the time when the Souls energy burns deeply into the life. We would like to purify and hone our expression down to only that which serves to take us to the heights we have imagined. It is the time when we are finding our true selves. We may experience a crisis of confidence, which spurs the need to seek inner truth.

Medical Indications: The Sun rules the basic vitality and energy in the body, so if he is weak in the chart his dasa period may show an overall decline in vitality. Also he rules the heart and can give heart attacks in his dasa period.

Moon – 10 years. The Moon dasa is a time when we seek connection. Marriage, family and Motherhood (especially for women) will be themes. But also activities involving us with the public and other people will be themes. If the connections to family and children and home are absent, there could be much suffering in Moon dasa. It is also a time when memories of our own childhood can become major themes as the Moon rules our memories.

Medical Indications: The Moon shows the overall constitution and water in the body, the water that maintains our tissues. If the Moon is weak we will have excess vata, which makes for nervousness and anxiety in her dasa period. The Moon also rules the breasts and can show breast cancer or tumors when harmed.

Mars – 7 years The Mars dasa is another hot and fast dasa. It is a time when we will be involved in pursuing our goals with energy and passion. There will likely be a sense of excitement and energy during this time as well as a daring course through the 7 years of Mars dasa. Sports, competition and other interests will be important at this time.

Medical Indications: He brings stress, hypertension and overexertion, so health problems like heart attacks and other stress related ailments might appear during his dasa. Also problems with the blood, like leukemia are possible as Mars rules the marrow.

Rahu – 18 years. Rahu dasa is a time when our material life can spin out of control. Rahu is the planet of our material attachment. Rahu is associated by sign, house and planetary conjunction and aspect with the qualities we are most in need of developing in this lifetime. As his energy eclipses our mind on a subconscious level, his dasa period can feel like things we do not understand are compelling us.

Medical Indications: Rahu creates mysterious illnesses, often time of the nervous system like weird allergies, toxic poisonings and environmental diseases. Physical ailments that occur during Rahu periods are especially hard to cure because of the obscuring nature of this node. Many times a person will not become cured until Jupiter dasa, when suddenly something changes and they are better.

Jupiter – 16 years. After 18 years of Rahu we get the dasa of the great benefic Jupiter. As guru, Jupiter will always teach us something and give us something. His dasa periods bring children, marriage, wealth as well as titles and honors. Jupiter is the planet of hope, faith and optimism that allows us to keep going because we believe our best days are yet to come.

Medical indications: As a planet of expansion and a kapha planet, Jupiter can create obesity. Also he has to do with allergies and excess phlegm. As ruling tissue he can be the excess mass that is shown by the body producing cancer cells.

Saturn – 19 years. The expansive nature of Jupiter gives way to the practical persevering quality of Saturn dasa. Saturn dasa is a time when we will face our limitations. The inescapable truth is that our limited body and mind will perish one day. Saturn makes us aware of this through the aches and pains in our body; the death of our loved ones, chronic illness and the resulting fear of these things getting worse.

Medical: Saturn is the indicator of chronic illness. He is a vata planet that brings pain to the joints and drying to the body. Arthritis, paralysis, constipation, cancer as well as problems with the knees, teeth and bones are possible in Saturn dasa. Psychologically, he brings depression, anxiety, fear, cynicism, bitterness and depression.

Mercury – 17 years. The limitations and restrictions that define Saturn dasa give way to the playful and curious energy of Mercury dasa. Mercury dasa is a time of learning, experimentation, curiosity, mental stimulation and pursuing our interests.

Medical: Lungs, allergies, skin problems, Speech defects, Mercury is a planet of the mind, like the Moon, serious afflictions to him can manifest as mental illness.