Review of Shri Jyoti Star from American Astrology
by Hank Friedman
Reproduced with the permission of the editor of American Astrology
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 (house) and Chandra charts, and charts with 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 nakshatras.
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.[Note: some of these new features are still in the works - Andrew]
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.
About the Author
Hank Friedman is renowned in the San Francisco Bay Area for his
psychic, astrological, and transformative counseling work with
individuals and couples. His in-depth astrology readings blend Western
and Vedic astrological approaches with his intuitive gifts.
Since 1978, Hank has assisted thousands of astrologers, personally and through his software reviews, to find the best software for their needs. Hank has helped all of the major astrology software companies to debug their programs, add new features, and lower prices. He is author of ASTROLOGY ON YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER and has written software reviews for the AFA Bulletin, American Astrology, and The Mountain Astrologer. Feel free to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org call him at 510-525-3399 or visit his website (on links page) where he has a monthly online column called SoftStar News with the latest developments in astrology software, and a monthly tutorial on metaphysical astrology.
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