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  • Writer's pictureVikram Devatha

Insights using Chara Dasha in Vedic Astrology

Astrology helps us understand our lives through a map of the skies above, kind of like the universe telling us a story with the Stars and Planets as the main characters. I have explored various tools and techniques in Vedic Astrology... Each of these has its own set of rules and complexities, and an important tool that I use is that of the Dashas. All major systems in Vedic Astrology use this tool, including the Parashara system, Jaimini system and even the Tajik system in Vedic Astrology.

An analogy for understanding Dashas

Sail boat as an analogy for Dasha
Align to the winds

Think of life as sailing on a vast ocean, where the direction of the wind is represented by the Dashas in Vedic Astrology. Just as a sailor watches the wind to decide how to align the sails, I use Dashas to understand the prevailing winds influencing my journey to a certain goal. When a Dasha changes, it's like the wind changing direction in the sea. To make the most of this new direction, we need to adjust our sails accordingly, meaning, we need to restrategise, since what worked in a previous period may not work in the present period. This doesn't mean our destination changes, but rather the way we get there might change. By aligning ourselves with the current Dasha, we navigate more effectively, focusing on different areas of life, or even changing our strategies and mindset to be more in tune with the energies at play. Just as a skilled sailor can use any wind to reach their destination, understanding and adapting to the Dasha allows us to make the most of life circumstances, guiding us toward our goals with the universe's support.

The usual Dasha system used in Vedic Astrology is Vimshottari Dasha, but this requires knowledge of Nakshatras which is a fairly advanced topic for most beginners. However, Chara Dasha from the Jaimini system iss straightforward, elegant and simple Dasha system. Unlike Vimshottari Dasha, this uses the 12 zodiacal signs, which most people are already familiar with. Also, it considers the qualities of the Signs—cardinal, fixed and mutable—as well as their Elements - Fire, Earth, Air and Water - to interpret each period, making it more profound in its insights.

Mahatma Gandhi's chart analysis

Let's consider an example chart of Mahatma Gandhi.. it's a great way for understanding Chara Dasha. Think of his life as a series of chapters, each one marked by different challenges and milestones. From his early activism in South Africa to his leadership in India's freedom struggel, every major phase of his life can be clearly mapped to a specific Chara Dasha. It seems to almost work like a calendar, pointing out the nature of events that are likely to take placed. In Gandhi's case, this Dasha could map his life with amazing accuracy. For instance, during certain periods when Chara Dasha indicated a time of struggle or transformation, Gandhi was facing significant challenges, like confronting racial discrimination in South Africa or leading peaceful protests for India's independence. See the table below for instance.

Analysis of Mahatma Gandhi's Chara Dasha
Analysis of Mahatma Gandhi's Chara Dasha

Note, I'm taking 2 Oct 1869, 07:11 in Porbandar, India as Gandhi's birth details.

I'm not saying Astrology dictates everything that happens, but rather I'm seeing a synchronocity between the skies above and life on Earth. In Gandhi's life, it's fascinating to see how the major events lined up with his Chara Dashas - we have an example of how Vedic Astrology can offer insights on our lives, showing us when we might face challenges, undergo changes or have opportunities to make a big impact.

Oprah Winfrey's chart analysis

Let's see another example of Oprah Winfrey's chart. We again see a striking synchcronicity between the Chara Dasha and her major life events.

Analysis of Oprah Winfrey's Chara Dasha
Analysis of Oprah Winfrey's Chara Dasha

Chara Dasha as Ascendant

Different Dasha systems have different starting points. In Vimsottari Dasa, the periods are calculated from the standpoint of the Moon, and the interpretation builds on the position of Moon / mind. The Lords of the antar dashas, and their disposition from the Lord of the Maha Dasha will indicate the attitudes and outlook to life in those sub periods. For example, in the mahadasha of Saturn, the mind (since the Moon is the starting point) finds itself in situations where it is forced to learn the importance of humility, patience and hard work (signified by Saturn). However, since Chara Dasha is a Rasi based Dasa system, the interpretations of the Maha Dasha and the Antar Dasha are tied to the Ascendant, or the tangible reality that the person is attempting to manifest in this lifetime. You can read more about different starting points while analysing a birth chart in my other blog post, titled "Multi Ascendants"

Mapping Major Life Events with Chara Dasha

Try this out with your own life events. Determine the Chara Dasha based on your date, time and place of birth, and map the major events in your life to the respective periods. Any major Vedic Astrology software will give the Chara Dasha periods. However, if you would like to calculate it yourself, here are the rules. Note that the Savya Rashis are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. All the others are known as Apasavya.

How is Chara Dasha calculated?

Steps to determine Chara Dasha
Steps to determine Chara Dasha

While counting, the Sign that you count from will be one, the next Sign is two and so on. Calculate the Chara Dasha duration of each Sign using the rules above. There are special rules for Scorpio and Aquarius though, as follows:

Steps to determine duration of Scorpio Chara Dasha
Steps to determine duration of Scorpio Chara Dasha

For individual horoscopy, Vedic Astrology uses Planets only till Saturn, and we don't consider Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Hence, the rulers of Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces are Mars, Saturn and Jupiter respectively (and not Pluto, Uranus and Neptune as in Western Astrology).

Steps to determine duration of Aquarius Chara Dasha
Steps to determine duration of Aquarius Chara Dasha

Once the major Chara Dasha periods are determined, the sub periods and minor periods can be determined as follows:

Steps to determine duration of Chara Dasha sub periods
Steps to determine duration of Chara Dasha sub periods

Think of Chara Dasha is more than just a Jamini Astrology technique.. it's a way to map your journey in life. It offers a clear, straightforward path to making sense of what has happened in our lives. Once you do that, use it as a compass to help you restrategize and align your sails to guide you to your destination.

See if you can map your life with Chara Dasha. You will need to know the basics of the Zodiac Signs and the Planets to help you with this. And I'll be happy to read your reflections in the comments section below.


Jaimini Sutram, Ch 1, Pada 1, Shlokas 25-29

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