Note: at the end of the review of the contemporary Windows version of Shri Jyoti Star, which is an amazingly powerful and easy to use program, I've included the review of the older DOS version, because it reveals some of the capabilities of both versions.|
A shining new star has risen in the Vedic astrology software firmament. Since the demise
of Visual Jyotish, there have only been two professional-level Vedic astrology programs available.
Now Shri Jyoti Star recently transformed from its DOS version is available for Windows 95 &
98 in an incredibly powerful, fast, accurate, and stable new version.
Shri Jyoti Star is both easy to learn and easy to use, with a pull-down menu system and
both extensive tutorials/help screens and the ever-present context-sensitive help (for example,
when you highlight any of the buttons for selecting optional tables, charts, or graphs, a very useful
one line window pops up explaining what each option means).
It is simple to customize the program, too. You can set the default wheel style, planet
colors (by planet or by dignity), the house system, ayanamsa (even customize your own), planet
labels (whether to use glyphs or not), the true or mean nodes, define the method of resolving who
wins in a planetary war, and more. The software includes the complete ACS U.S. and World
atlas, for automatic entries of longitude, latitude, time zone, and time change for over 250,000
cities. When running transits and generating ephemeride and rising sign tables, it automatically
corrects for Daylight Savings time, too.
The data entry screen not only allows easy selection of any number of charts files (called
databases), such as the famous people database that is included with the software, but allows you
to instantly view who in your file has a planet in any Sidereal sign; who has the Sun, Moon, or
Ascendant in a specific Nakshatra, and who has the Sun in a specific Tropical sign. You can also
import Quick*Chart files created by other software.
The primary screen of Shri Jyoti Star uses a worksheet metaphor similar to Parashara's
Light. You can customize your screen to display up to 15 different panels containing charts,
tables, graphs, or dasha listings, and save 9 different layouts, to use again and again, each for its
own purpose. For example, you could create a screen devoted to chart comparisons, another
tailored for varga chart evaluation, a third for differing systems of planetary strengths, etc.
You can select from over 40 tables, 20 divisional and other types of charts (Northern,
Southern, or Western circle styles), 18 graphs, and 17 dasa methods. The variety and power of
the tables and graphs is awesome. You can see graphs of sign or navamsa dignities, alone or
combined, strengths (shad bala, sarva ashtakavarga, and house strengths), aspects and
associations, cross aspects between charts, and graphs of the nakshatra, sign, or navamsa of any
point (e.g. how many people have the ascendant in each nakshatra).
The tables are equally diverse and potent, including tables for ashtakavarga, astronomical
data, Arabic parts, panchang, vimshopak, shadbala, karakas, KP subs, lords, relationships, planet
and house nakshatras, aspects, cross aspects and lords, and more. Throughout the worksheet, you
can display charts in Western wheels, North Indian, and South Indian styles, even combining
different styles on a single screen. Sixteen divisional charts can be displayed, as well as bhava
charts, and charts with Chandra, the karakamsa, arudha, hora, and ghati, as lagna (1st house).
More importantly, this is the only Vedic program that allows you to set up a your screen
to display two different people's charts and tables -- and synastry tables -- at the same time. It is
also the first Vedic program to offer sidereal Composite charts. These are great features for
anyone using Jyotish for synastry.
It is also simple to relocate any chart (and the linked tables) by either entering the name of
the new city (and the atlas looks it up), or by pointing to a place on the world map provided by
the program. You can copy any worksheet in bitmap or vector format to other programs, and
save worksheets as a vector format file. This allows you to add all of the program's tables, graphs,
and screens to any word processor, email them, etc.
In addition to being able to design your own screens, Shri Jyoti Star thoughtfully provides
the means to design your own printouts too. This is of great advantage because while you might
not want to design worksheets with too many panels -- as the type gets smaller as the number of
panels increases -- you may very well want to print out pages with 15 different tables, graphs, etc.
You can create any number of printout pages.
One of the hallmarks of the DOS version, which has been enhanced further here, was the
dynamic bi-wheel. You can place the transiting sky (or Solar Return/Varshaphal) around a natal
chart and then either step forward or backwards in time in steps of virtually any increment that
you want. Shri Jyoti Star also allows you to automate the viewing of the planets moving forward
or backward in time, so that you can watch the changes in both the charts and all of the tables
on the page unfold before your eyes. You can also use it to juxtapose two people's charts,
comparing the planetary positions not just for the natal charts but for all of the divisional charts,
which can be invaluable for synastry work. This is a wonderful tool.
Shri Jyoti Star has a new daily and monthly Panchang report, where you can see (and
print) the daily changes in Nakshatras, Karanas, Tithis, Yogas, Kakshas, KP Subs, planetary
longitudes, sunrise and sunset times, planetary ingresses, lunar day, favorable activities for the
day, and transit-to-natal aspects and conjunctions. You can also view and print monthly ephemeris
pages, as well as tables of the when each sign rises every day for a month.
The speed of this software is phenomenal. When I looked to find out when a particular
combination of planets will appear in the future (e.g. when Mars will be in Cancer while Jupiter
will be in Pisces), or search my files for any charts with Moon aspected by malefics and Mars in
Aslesha, for example, the answers appear almost instantly. For research, this software provides
the best combination of power, ease of use, and speed of any Vedic program.
You can search for any planet, the ascendant, or lord of a house in a Sign, House, in a
specific house from the Moon or Ascendant Lord, Nakshatra, or Navamsa, or in several states
(combust, retrograde, defeated, Vargottama, or associated with or aspected or hemmed in by a
benefic or malefic) or in a specific element, mode, Vedic dignity (e.g. exalted, sign of a great
enemy, etc.), or natural malefic or benefic sign, and more. You can combine any number of
search conditions, with AND or OR logic, e.g. the Moon aspected by malefics or debilitated.
Shri Jyoti Star also can generate several pages of carefully-selected classical Vedic
interpretations for any chart. There are interpretations of each planet in its Nakshatra, house lords
by house, yogas from Phaladeepika, planets in houses, multiple planets in houses, and upagrahas
in houses. These delineations may be viewed on screen or printed, and are well done, and more
types of interpretations will be added to the program by the time you read this.
As if these weren't enough features, the program also can export chart files for use by
other database programs, and chart data such as planetary longitudes, signs, houses, etc. for
analysis in spreadsheets. It can calculate secondary and tertiary progressed charts, and includes an
extensive list of planetary significations (karakas), a listing of major factors in the chart (e.g.
aspects, elements, modes, dignities, and more), an analysis of all the people in a file and the
degree to which they share common factors with a person, and a table of the qualities of the
Shri Jyoti Star is also unbelievably stable and polished. In all of my testing, I did not
encounter even a single program glitch, and all of the features work exceptionally well. By the
time you read this review, the program will have many new features including more interpretation
reports -- such as compatibility and Kuja Dosha/Kutas and expanded sections on planets in signs -
- plus more tutorials including on-screen training videos. There will be a Sudarshan Chakra wheel,
a page with 3 levels of Dashas for a whole life. and a tri-wheel for showing three charts at once.
The famous people database will be expanded, and more ways of searching the data base will be
added, including more custom Yogas. The Karaka list will be expanded. Finally, a planetarium
with the main fixed stars is being prepared.
All in all, Shri Jyoti Star is an invaluable asset to the professional Vedic astrologer, and a
fine tool for beginning and intermediate astrologers, too. Whether you buy it for its incredibly fast
and powerful research features, its wonderful dynamic bi-wheel, its flexible worksheet with all of
the choices of tables, dasa lists, charts, and graphs, or its excellent ease of use and accuracy, you'll
be very happy you own this fine program.
Original Review of DOS version of Shri Jyoti Star:
Shri Jyoti presently runs under DOS, and has an intricate menu system that takes time to learn, but by the time you read this, a much easier to use Windows version should be just about ready for release. Even in its present (DOS) incarnation, Shri Jyoti is an incredibly powerful Jyotish program, and offers most of the computations of the Windows programs reviewed in this article. It runs well on laptops as well as older PCs, without needing extra memory or much disk space. If you are very comfortable with computers and keystroke-driven programs and don't need pretty output, this DOS version will surprise and delight you with its remarkable range of functions.
Shri Jyoti has context-sensitive online help, several different ways to navigate the program, and even an audio tape that walks you through many of the programs functions. All of these are a great, and necessary, help in getting you up to speed with the software. You can customize Shri Jyoti extensively, and can record sequences of jobs (via macros) to replay with a couple of keystrokes.
The centerpiece of Shri Jyoti is its graphic screen, which can show a natal chart wheel with transiting planets moving around it. You can advance the planets either one step at a time or automatically, and simultaneously view one of a variety of tables including Drishti, Ashtakavarga, Nakshatras, Panchang, and sign tables (the latter including navamsha position) that update as the transiting positions change. If you've entered events into an event list, you can instantly switch to viewing one of these dates in the graphic wheel. Rectification is also made simple, as you can adjust the birth time while viewing charts.
You can work with two charts at once in Shri Jyoti, switching back and forth instantly. Its chart comparisons are more extensive than other programs, displaying both charts at once, giving you the choice of two different calculation methods for kutas (Varanasi and Gujarati), an interaspect table, a table of where each person's planets fall in the other's houses, and the ashtakavargas, relationships (e.g. friends sign), and sambandhas between the charts. Bravo!
There are few things the program can't do. The program offers more varieties of dasha systems (16) than any other program in this review. It has an astronomical table including latitude, declination, velocity, and magnitude of each of the standard planets (plus the outers). It provides more systems for ascertaining strength, including Argal and Bhadak balas, and has extensive support for Krishnamurti work, as well as powerful analyses of drishtis, ashtakavarga, Varshaphal, avastas, divisional charts, and Nakshatras. It shows how strong the planets are in Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon) and Rashi (Ascendant) Lagna charts, and even has a body map displaying which parts of the body each house corresponds to in a chart. You can also find Gandant, and Dagda rashis, Yogi point, Yogi, Avayogi, and Duplicate Yogi.
One of the most powerful features in Shri Jyoti is its Find Yoga function. With incredible speed, the program searches forwards or backwards in time for any planet(s) in the sign(s) you select. For example, I asked the software to find when Jupiter would be in Pisces on the same date that Mars would be in Aries, and it did so instantly.
For those who use databases, Shri Jyoti allows you to search for any text in a record, to enter up to 22 life events -- with place, date, and time -- for each person, and to output a research database, usable by other programs, with complete astrological information for every person on file, including sign and house positions, nakshatras, etc.
Shri Jyoti for DOS is an amazingly capable program with a huge range of features.
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