S N Rao
The dasha system used most commonly is called the Vimshottari Daha System. The dashas are the planetary cycles of a life based on the placement of the Moon at birth. There are 9 cycles which include the 7 planets, plus the north and south nodes (Rahu, Ketu). The outer planets are not used. Each cycle has a designated allotment of years all combined equal 120 years. The ruler of the ruling planet of each dasha is determined by the 27 constellations called the Nakshatras.
The natural quality of the planet that rules the Maha Dasha (main cycle) is considered. Is the planet generally malefic or benefic? This means its natural qualities aside from what houses the planet may rule in a particular chart. The maha dasha of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon will be easier than the maha dasha of malefic planets Saturn, Mars, Rahu, Ketu, and the Sun. Jupiter will give some benefit because of its expansive nature, and Saturn will cause delays and setbacks because of its restrictive qualities. Each planet is the indicator (karaka)
for certain things in life generally. This called stirra karakas (fixed) meaning they represent the same things for everyone. The planetary karakas are: Sun- Father, Moon- Mother, Mercury-aunts/uncles Mars- brothers, Venus- relationships, fixed assets Jupiter-children, wealth Saturn- death, old age. But that is only part of the situation. There are specific qualities that each planet will take on depending on each individual chart. The planetary rulerâ€™s house placement will be the predominant area of life that will be the focus for that entire period of time. If you are in Jupiterâ€™s maha dasha and Jupiter is in the 7th house during the next 16 years marriage and its issues will be the main focus during this period. The houses the maha dasha ruler rules will play into this cycle and how the issues of marriage transpire.
For further verification the Moonâ€™s chart must be assessed. The Moon chart will give the perspective from the mind of the individual, what are they feeling during this period. After the dasha ruler has been analysed completely following all these steps then these steps must be repeated using the Moonâ€™s chart. This means take the same chart and make the Moon the ascendant (Lagna). If the dasha ruler is good from the Moon chart and the rashi chart, you will be assured a positive dasha cycle.
By far the most important factor in determining what effects a dasha will have will depend on the house or houses it rules. The period will produce the characteristics of both houses giving a mixed result. If it rules a triconal house it will bring the blessings and good luck of this house, but if it rules a dusthana house as well it will have the experience of both.
Within a maha dasha there are sub cycles called the bhuktis or antara dashas. Each maha dasha is divided into 9 sub cycles that are ruled by planets as well. Again these bhuktis have sub divisions within them called antara dashas. There are divisions that go down to at least 7 levels. A proper mix and understanding of the house positions, karakas will provide an idea of events that will unfold in the life of an individual.