Saturn Mahadasa and Shani Sade Sati are different. Saturn (or Shani) Mahadasa is part of Vimshottari Mahadasa time period, the unique system of timing in Vedic astrology, whereas Shani Sade Sati arises due to transit Saturn passing over the natal moon and its vicinity. The key differences are;
- Shani sade Sati is a period of seven and half years whereas Saturn Mahadasa is a period of nineteen years.
- One cycle of Shani Sade Sati is experienced once within every thirty years of life whereas Saturn Mahadasa may or may not be experienced by an individual during his lifetime, depending on his birth moon constellation (or janma nakshatra). Those born with natal moon in Virgo, Libra and Scorpio are undergoing Shani Sade sati currently while those born, say between 1972-1975, and natal moon in either of Mrigashira, Chitra or Dhanishtha nakshatra are undergoing Shani antardasa in Shani Mahadasa.
- Saturn Mahadasa (especially the first three years of Saturn antardasa within this mahadasa) has intense saturnine effect on the individual and influences the individual much more than the Sade Sati period. Again, those born, say between 1965-1968 and natal moon in either of Rohini, Hasta or Shravana nakshatra are undergoing Shani antardasa in Shani Mahadasa.
- The two periods (Mahadasa and Sade Sati) may or may not coincide. If they coincide, the individual undergoes a period of intense unbearable change and turmoil in his life during this period. For example, those born between 1965-1968 with natal moon in Hasta Nakshatra are experiencing both Shani mahadasa and Sade Sati.
Every individual should be aware of timing of Saturn Mahadasa and periods of Shani Sade Sati in his life from his horoscope so that he can understand the inner meaning of his experiences. Saturn is the guru who teaches us the realities of our earthly existence. Discipline, stamina, hard work, obstacles, delays, failures, frustrations, displacement, loneliness teach us to look beneath the glamor, reputation, achievement, wealth and social connections. Vedic astrology provides us with unique timing of life events.