Shri Jyoti Star 6
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Shri Jyoti Star 6 Mountain Astrologer review by Hank Friedman
Shri Jyoti Star 6 is a professional-level Vedic astrology program for Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 or Macintosh computers with either Parallels or Boot Camp or Intel-based with Windows.
I'm always happy to see great software grow even better, and this latest update of Shri Jyoti Star takes the program to a whole new level. For years, Shri Jyoti Star has set the standard for accuracy, range of capacities, and impeccability. This update has many new powerful features including Muhurta graphs, user-designed tables, special chakra charts, and incredible research and reporting tools. It is also capable of creating truly beautiful charts and pages.
In designing charts, you have the ability to place a picture of Ganesa at the top of chart pages (or anywhere else). Traditionally, Jyotishis in India always place an image of Ganesa at the top of each horoscope, as a reminder to the owner of the horoscope that Ganesa grants us an understanding of each of the categories of life, and a sense of proportion in dealing with the events that befall us.
Shri Jyoti Star adds the ability to precisely place charts, tables, graphs, as well as your own graphics (e.g. a client's photo, a logo, or a galaxy) anywhere on a page. You can add lovely background images, and have total control over each page layout. It's simple to drag-and-drop items to precise positions, and to drag one item to another's position i.e. to swap the two placements. You can also resize charts (make them larger or smaller), by dragging on their bottom right corner, or remove the title of any chart and remove the white space at the bottom of tables (to make them look better). You can design up to 24 different screens and 24 printed pages, undo the last set of changes you've made instantly, and "lock" finished layouts so that they don't get accidentally changed.
People with large computer screens can create layouts with up to 100 different charts and tables on them! Fortunately, this update displays planets (and optionally degrees and minutes too) clearly even in small charts. The program's "resize charts with window size" feature automatically (and proportionately) shrinks every chart and table on the screen as you make the program's window smaller, e.g. to see other applications at the same time.
Additionally, You can control the gap between adjacent charts, to make the spacing look better to the eye, and place an OM symbol in the center of any type of chart. Finally, you can choose from 23 different sets of beautifully colored lotus borders to place around charts. See the example in Figure One.
Beautification is only one of the enhancements in this major update. The completely updated Custom Yogas feature is perhaps the most significant advance. Here you can create sets of astrological factors to search for in your chart database. E.g. a simple search might be, "find all of the charts on file with the Sun in the First House."
You can create much more sophisticated rules, add interpretations to each, write recommendations for those who meet the criteria, and name and save each of your sets to apply later to new charts. Once you have created several different rules, the program's new Custom Report feature will print out a report for a person's chart, which contains the paragraphs about the conditions the chart fulfills, with a cover page and a title for each rule, the rule's astrological conditions, and the interpretations and recommendations you've written, or any combination of these. In other words, Shri Jyoti Star has become a sophisticated report generator, too! New reports on topics such as compatibility and finances will also be available with the program.
The number of factors that you can search for has been greatly increased. The points you can use include houses, special ascendants, planetary lords (dispositors), arudhas, and (a minimum of) a specific number of planets in a specific house or sign, etc. or no planet in a specific sign or other condition, etc. There are also more astrological qualities that you can specify for each point, such as House Groups (like trikonas, dusthanas, etc.), from House Lords (e.g. Jupiter if the 5th house from the 4th House Lord), from other planets (e.g. the Moon five houses from Jupiter), and aspected by (e.g. the Sun aspected by Saturn).
You can conduct searches in any divisional chart, or even between divisional charts (e.g. the lord of the Ascendant in the 10th house in the Navamsa). There is also a whole set of Panchang criteria such as lunar days and half-days, yogas, waxing/waning Moon, days of the week, etc. An example of a more advanced set of rules could be, "find all of the people on file born on a Thursday with Jupiter in a Trikona in the rashi chart and in a kendra in the bhava chart, and Jupiter not aspected by malefics, and Jupiter exalted in the navamsha." Once a search is finished, you can view both the chart and chart data for each person who met the criteria.
You can create different sets of astrological configurations for the Custom Yogas to use, in which you can specify -- for each set -- whether to include the Sun, and Rahu and Ketu, as natural malefics, whether the Moon is a natural malefic and if so, under what conditions, and which definition of combustion, what house system, and what aspect method and orb to use. The Custom Yoga module will allow astrologers and students of astrology to conduct research to their heart's content, and to codify their insights and re-apply them to additional charts. This is an incredibly powerful astrological tool.
I have long been frustrated that Vedic programs have been limited to displaying charts and tables for only one or two people (or events) simultaneously. In Shri Jyoti Star 6, you will be able to view charts, tables, graphs, and listings for up to 20 different people on the same screen. Hooray!
To make the program easier to use, many of the menus and selection screens have been reformatted, and the tables are now listed alphabetically, some with additional alternate names, so it is simple to find the table you want. Shri Jyoti Star has always excelled in its incredible variety of useful tables, and the new version adds many tables including one showing the keys for interpreting shadbala or six-fold strength, and a second called the Graha Samayam table, which shows the specific effects of each planet's dasa for a person's chart (using either Saravali or Iyer methods). Most importantly, you can now create your own custom tables.
The Custom Tables feature is wonderful. You can create a table up to 30 columns wide, for over two dozen astrological factors, including the planet's name, abbreviation or glyph, celestial longitude in degrees and minutes, latitude, magnitude, degree of combustion, retrograde or direct, in a planetary war, sign, house, house lordship, dignity, navamsa placement, navamsa dignity, nakshatra, pada, nakshatra lord and sublord, two types of avasthas, Jaimini karaka (both name and person represented), strength via Shad Bala or Vimshopak, Bindus in own Ashtakavarga, and Sarva Ashtakavarga, both natural and functional benefic status, and more. You can place items in whatever order you want and easily add or remove items from the list, or start over with an empty table. This will enable astrologers to create tables with only the factors they use, in the order they want. Bravo!
Selecting which planets and points to include in each chart is now both much simpler and more powerful. You can turn on or off (place in -- or remove from -- a chart) any or all Special Ascendants (Bhava, Hora, Ghati, Shri, and Indu Lagnas), any or all Upagrahas, Outer planets, All Bhavas (house cusps), the MC, All Arudhas or the Arudha Ascendant and/or the UpaPada, the nodes, the Yogi Point, up to three Sahams (Arabic Parts), or even display only the Ascendant and no planets (with or without any of the points already mentioned). For ease of use, there are even buttons to turn off previously selected points, to make choosing points for the next chart faster. Great feature!
You can also click on the date in any dasa listing to keep the focus on it. This moves that dasa/bhukti to the top of the list, where it stays when you choose more or fewer levels to explore. Shri Jyoti Star 6 also shows which dasa systems apply to each person's chart. The update allows you to completely control the height and width of dasa listings.
The program offers many additional charts, including two new Drekkana options (Jaganath and Somnath), a Sudarshana Chakra "tri-wheel" (showing planetary placements from the Udaya, Chandra, and Surya Lagna charts), and three different Chakra charts.
The Sarvato Bhadra Chakra allows you to click on any nakshatra or planet and see what planets, nakshatras, sounds, and days of the week it forms Vedhas (special aspects) on (see Figure Two). For example, you can see where the first letter of your name appears, and see if it's under any benefic or malefic influence from transiting planets. The Kota Chakra allows you to quickly see the Tara Bala values for each star, i.e. the auspicious and inauspicious placement of the planets with respect to the natal Moon. The Kala Chakra shows the Tithis (lunar days) and deities and rulers of the directions, and their connection with the planets. The program's extensive help section includes articles on the use of these chakras, a full glossary of Vedic astrological terms, and more. There is also an All Divisions Chart, which allows you to quickly switch between each of the divisional charts with a single click.
Shri Jyoti Star 6 can import Solar Fire 5 files, and if these files have notes (such as biographies exported from AstroDatabank), they will also be imported. You can also open the new larger note screen and add notes while you are viewing the main screen's charts and tables, or even cut-and-paste text from emails or your word processor into notes. The new Search Data File screen allows you to find people on file by name, birth month, year, or place, or by any words in the notes you've entered for each chart. You can also effortlessly email any chart, table, graph, image, or list as well as entire pages.
Version 6 offers teachers of Jyotish a very useful tool: Teaching Example Charts. With this function, you can place a blank chart on a page, and specify its Ascendant, and then place any planets you want in any houses, to serve as example charts for teaching purposes. You can create any number of example charts. As a Vedic teacher, I've been looking for a program to do this for a long time.
The new version also has several powerful and innovative graphical Muhurta (electional astrology) and Gochara (transit) functions. Uniquely, these can be combined in any way you like with other charts and tables and you can zoom in on good times with a single drag or click of your mouse. Each graph shows the strength and auspiciousness of various factors along with a ‘thermometer’ for the moment under focus and a score for it’s Ascendant.
The Panchanga and Tara Bala graph, for example, allows you to create Daily, Weekly, or Monthly graphs that show the positive, neutral, or negative value of the Solar Day (Vara), Lunar Day (Tithi), Half Lunar Day, Nakshatra, Yoga, Tara Bala, Waxing or Waning of the Moon, and special (NTV) yogas. Besides being able to view this graph for general auspiciousness, you can alternately select graphs for 40+ themes such as marriage, making a purchase, opening a shop, lending and borrowing money, starting education, etc. You can use Shri Jyoti Star's excellent time shift buttons to move the time and date forward or backwards (from one second up to years), as well as choose between two different color schemes, where colors show the degree of auspiciousness. See Figure Three: The Panchanga and Tara Bala Graph.
The "Transit Planetary Strengths" graph shows the strength of the Ascendant and each planet for specific life arenas. This uses either a multi-factor scoring system created by the author or benefic or malefic nature of the dispositors. Other new graphs are "Transit Impact on Natal Planets", "Transit Impact on Natal Houses", "Retrogression" and "Eclipses". "Retrogression" shows the Retrograde cycles of all of the planets for one month or one year while "Eclipses" shows when transiting planets enter the orb of previous Solar or Lunar eclipses, enabling astrologers to easily see, both for natal charts and current events, when planets trigger these sensitive points.
Shri Jyoti Star version 6 is a huge update to an already superlative program. Its new page design features will please everyone, and its other too-numerous-to-list enhancements will empower jyotishis from complete beginners to the most advanced practitioners. In particular, the ability to add tables showing just the factors you use, the many new Muhurta functions, and the world-class research and report features are but a few of the stunningly valuable additions. I cannot thank its author enough for giving us this amazing gift.
You can see a great slide show of many of the programs new features by clicking here.
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