The life cycle used in this main system of planetary periods (Vimshottari dasha) is 120 years. Naturally, most of us do not live that long and difficult periods limit our lifespan. Those periods coming after death, however, help us determine the nature of the after life state, the sojourn in the astral plane of the respective soul.
Time is not the same on the astral as on the physical. It is more subtle. If, for example, one dies during the middle of a negative planetary period the remainder of that negative influence will affect the after death state.
The Major period, Maha Dasha, varies from 6-20 years of the life depending upon the planet. The average is 13 and 1/3 years.
The Minor period, Bhukti Dasha, varies from 8 months to 2 years and 3 months, with an average of 1 and 1/2 years.
The Subminor period, Antar Dasha, varies from 30-90 days or 1-3 months depending upon the planet, with an average of 60 days. To get these we divide the minor period by the following amounts, starting with the period of the planet which rules the minor period. For the Sun 1/20, for the Moon 1/12, for Mars 7/120, for Rahu 9/60, for Jupiter 2/15, for Saturn 19/120, for Mercury 17/120, for Ketu 7/120, for Venus 1/6.
The Subsubminor period, Sukshma Antar Dasha, varies from 3-10 days, with an average of about a week. We can get these by dividing the subminor periods by the same proportions.
It should be noted that unless the birth time is very accurate, the subsubminor periods may not be exact. For confidence in using these periods the birth must be exact to one minute (which is seldom the case except by careful rectification). An error of two minutes in the birth time will put the subsubminor periods approximately one entire period off. Hence some astrologers do not put so much emphasis on these periods.
Moreover, depending upon the Ayanamsha used the timing of major planetary periods may differ. A difference of one degree in the Ayanamsha will vary the major planetary periods for a year or more, depending upon their length. Hence planetary periods are one of the best testing grounds for the different Ayanamshas.
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