Note: This article was written a very long time ago, and most of the programs mentioned have changed significantly since then (not always for the better). Please contact me by clicking here
if you want current information.
We are at beginning of an incredible awakening of Western astrologers to Vedic
astrology. During the last 10 years, fueled by more openness and a greater understanding of
the depth and value of Indian methods, astrologers have become more and more drawn to
Jyotish (aka Vedic astrology). Several of the excellent rediscoveries of Project Hindsight,
including such ideas as whole sign houses, sect (diurnal/nocturnal strength) and planetary
periods, have been used for thousands of years in the East. And for the Western astrologer,
many of the Vedic insights and methods are completely applicable to Tropical work, e.g., the
idea that planets aspect empty houses. Vedic astrologers understand the twelve houses to a
remarkable degree, and their insights have much to offer. E.g. Western astrologers are
generally unaware of the Vedic practice of looking for older siblings in the 11th house, or
for discernment in the 5th house. It's no wonder that Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda's
exquisite new Jyotish astrology book, Light on Life, sold out in its first printing.
Astrologers who study and/or practice Jyotish are incredibly fortunate to have several
world-class computer programs available to help them with their efforts. Jyotish software is on
par with the very best Western programs -- like Solar Fire and WinStar -- in speed, accuracy,
ease of use, and range of functions. Vedic chart analysis is much more elaborate than
Western methods, so the software must perform many different functions to meet the needs of
a practicing Jyotishi, and the packages reviewed in this article succeed admirably.
For those who are new to Jyotish, a few words of background are in order. Besides
examining sidereally-based Rashi (natal) charts and Gochara (transits), the Jyotishi looks at
divisional charts (akin to harmonic charts), Dashas (periods of time ruled by specific planets),
the strengths of planets and houses (using methods called Shad Bala, Vimshopak, and
Ashtakavarga), Nakshatras (lunar mansions), Drishtis (aspects calculated by Jyotish rules), kuta
analysis (compatibility based on lunar factors), Varshaphal (Solar Returns), Muhurta (Electional
astrology), yogas (special combinations of planetary positions), relations between planets
(based on rulerships and house positions), Prasna (Jyotish Horary), karakas (significators), and
All of the programs reviewed in this article can display and print out Vedic charts,
save chart files, and allow you to select an Ayanamsa (the difference between Sidereal and
Tropical positions), the length of a year (360 or 365 days), True or Mean Lunar Node, and
North Indian (house-based) or South Indian (sign-based) chart formats. They also do divisional
charts, Ashtakavarga, Shad Bala, Drishtis, Varshaphal, Vimshopak, planetary relations,
Nakshatras, Vimshottari Dashas, user-defined ayanamsas, dynamic transits (showing planets
circling a natal chart at user variable rates), and can access the ACS Electronic Atlases for
automated entries of the longitude, latitude, and time zone.
Two of the programs reviewed here -- Parashara's Light and Goravani's Jyotish-- run
both on Macintosh computers and on PC-Compatibles under Windows. Haydn's Jyotish runs
on PCs under DOS and on Macintosh systems, and Shri Jyoti presently runs on PCs under
DOS. All of the programs except Haydn's Jyotish can do kuta (compatibility)
by Michiel Boender
Note: This is a review of an earlier version of Parashara's Light. Please contact me
via email if you're interested in the latest version.
Parashara's Light is superbly interactive and a joy to use. Here is a program you can
tailor to your needs, designing both screen displays and printed pages. You can view any of
four "worksheets" of data onscreen, and change what's in each to your heart's content.
Imagine your computer screen divided into four sections, two across and two down.
Each panel can contain a chart, a table, or a graph. By clicking on any panel, a menu pops
up and lets you select what you want to see in that panel, e.g., a predictive chart, a dasha
listing, a graph of Shad Bala, a table of lordships, etc. You can choose any divisional chart
(including Parashara, Tajika and Nadi Vargas), Ashtakavarga, alternate lagna charts, a
planetary data listing for any chart, Gochara, Varshaphal, progressions, Prashna information, a
variety of tables, notes you've attached to a person's chart, and more. As you look at a chart
in the worksheet, you can click on any planet and a new screen pops up, showing you
information about the point's rulerships, avastas, aspects, and dignity. This screen also allows
you to view delineations on a planet's Nakshatra and the effects of its lordship(s), plus the
karakas (significations) of the planet, its sign, its house, and its drekkana. Amazing.
In addition, you can easily switch between viewing worksheets of four panels (2 by
2), six panels (2 by 3), nine panels (3 by 3), twelve panels (3 by 4), and sixteen panels (4
by 4), i.e., zoom in to see the panels displayed larger, or zoom out to see more panels at
once. You can, for example, create a screen with sixteen different divisional charts on it,
arranged just the way you want. You can print worksheets, as well as save any worksheet
format you create to reuse later.
Parashara's Light offers a very large number of dasha systems (13), and allows you to
base the calculations on any point, e.g. from the Lagna (Ascendant) instead of the Moon.
While looking at a dasha listing (in a worksheet), you can mouse-click to view earlier or
later dates, change the number of dasha levels displayed (e.g. mahadasha, bhukti, antardasha,
etc.), or even change the dasha method itself. The worksheet uses a smart pointer to help
you. When you move the pointer to the symbol for moving the dasha date backwards in
time, it displays the word "earlier", while if you move it to the symbol for decreasing the
number of dashas shown, it shows the word "fewer". This is a very nice touch. The
worksheet is one of the most outstanding and effective tools I've ever seen in an astrology
With the new Design Tool you can create your own pages for printing. You can
select from a large variety of charts and tables, much like the worksheet, and arrange them
any way that you like on a page. You can view pages as a full page, actual size, or
enlarged, create charts and tables of virtually any size, and position them quite precisely. In
the planetary data list, you can specify what you want listed, including avastas, nakshatra
information, sign and degree position for each planet, lordship, balas (shad and vimshopak),
and dignity. The design tool is simple to use and a very powerful addition to the
The full program comes with the complete text of four Vedic classical references,
including the foremost Brihat Parashara Hora Shasta. Not only can you read these works
onscreen and search for any keyword, you can also view (or print out a report of) all of the
sections that apply to a chart. The Dasha Effects module also uses classical references to
interpret each dasha, bhukti, antardasha, etc. for a person's chart. It shows when all of the
periods and subperiods start and end, and you can effortlessly switch to a new mahadasha or
subperiod, and see delineations for that. The program also finds all of the yogas for a
person's chart from B.V. Raman's 300 Important Combinations, complete with
Parashara's Light offers a wide variety of predesigned printouts, including divisional
charts, vimsopaka bala, planetary relations, Varshaphal, Prashna, Dasha listings, Shad Bala,
Aspects, Avasthas, Ashtakavarga, Health, Astronomical data, Pancha Pakshi, Sahams, and
Krishnamurti and K.N.Rao pages. One of my favorite features is that you can view all of the
charts throughout the program in the round wheels chart format that Western astrologers are
used to, instead of square wheels. No more trying to figure out where a house or sign is.
This is an invaluable feature for those just breaking into Jyotish.
In its dynamic transit viewing section, Parashara's Light shows you each point's
degree, nakshatra position, relationship, sarva Ashtakavarga, kakshas, and strength as it
changes with time. You can also view or print ephemeris tables, a monthly graphic
ephemeris, and a monthly calendar showing the changes in dasha subperiods.
Parashara's Light has a revolutionary new transit report designed specifically for Jyotish
work. You select a date range and the transiting & natal points to use, including the Moon's
nodes, upagrahas (shadow points) and the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), and
transits to all of the house cusps, the angles, and the Yogi Point. The program displays (or
prints) the entries into new signs, Nakshatras, and Navamshas, and transits into a point's sign,
Nakshatra, Navamsha, or degree. It can use Vedic aspects, exact trines, squares, oppositions,
and conjunctions, and show changes of dashas (up to five levels for any of the dasha
systems). You can include Lunar phenomena such as changes of tithi (lunar day), karana
(lunar half-day), and yoga (Sun plus Moon point), Moon phases, Moon rise, and Sun rise. You
can turn on any points or searches, and name & save the searches that you design, to use
again later. This module is awesome in its capabilities.
The program also has superlative research functions. It can search a set of charts for
factors such as a planet, house lord, or planet's dispositor in a specific sign, Nakshatra,
house, or dignity (e.g. exalted), or combust, conjunct a malefic or benefic, in a kendra or a
trikona, conjunct or aspecting a planet or house lord, or Vargottama, or for factors like a
sign or house occupied by or aspected by a planet or house lord. You can combine queries
with and & or, such as, "Who has Vargottama Jupiter and a debilitated Moon." This module
can also analyze groups of charts, displaying -- graphically or as a table -- the distribution of
the planets in each of the signs, Nakshatras, or dignities, for all of the planets, nodes, and
the Ascendant; or show aspects or conjunctions between these points. This is a very fine
Parashara's Light greatly helps astrologers rectify a birth time. Its rectification module
shows the changes in Vimshottari, Yogini, and Astottari dashas -- to five levels -- for five
different dates in a person's life, for ten time segments before and after the birth time. You
can look at segments that are one, five, ten, or sixty minutes apart.
The new file manager can import charts from the Quick*Charts files, save charts to
new sets, copy files, delete charts, and load multiple charts quickly. I especially like the
browsing function, i.e. going down the list of names and seeing a chart instantly for
whomever's name is highlighted.
The program has a very useful and attractive Muhurta page, for finding optimal dates
for activities. It displays Rashi and Navamsha charts, positions of the planets by degree, sign,
nakshatra, pada, relationship, avasta, kaksha, Ashtakavarga, and sarva, plus tarabala,
chandrabala, tithi, karana, yoga, five levels of Vimshottari, Yogini, and Chara dashas,
interpretations of the nakshatra and tithi, and an image of a thermometer showing the general
auspiciousness, as well as the auspiciousness for travel and/or marriage. It even has a tool to
shift the time forwards or backwards by a minute, ten minutes, an hour, day, week,
Ascendant sign, or Navamsha sign, or to a new date and place. This is a great electional
Parashara's Light is a consummate Vedic astrology program. Its accuracy, flexibility,
classical texts, wide range of functions, speed, and ease of use should satisfy everyone
interested in or practicing Jyotish.
by Das Goravani
from Goravani Astrological Services at 800 532-6528
211 Crest Dr.
Eugene, OR 97405
the demo version (fully functional w/o ability to enter new charts) is $15
the student version costs $145 (no transits, compatibility, research)
the professional version (reviewed here) is priced at $295
Imagine a program with the power and flexibility to print out incredibly
comprehensive interpretive reports for birth charts and transits, and over 40 additional
exquisitely designed charts, graphs, reports, listings, and tables for an individual's chart. Add
to this the full texts of the Bhagavad Gita and David Frawley's Astrology of the Seers, and the
charts of 2500 famous people and 1000 cities and countries from the Penfield Collection, and
a built-in atlas of 3500 cities, with U.S. time changes after 1967, and you get a small idea
of just how much Goravani's Jyotish offers.
All of the program's printed output looks outstanding. Each page is perfectly arranged,
listings and tables are neatly boxed, the text fonts are easy to read, the planet and sign
glyphs are beautiful, and there's page numbering for multiple pages. Several of the printouts
include excellent explanations of the meanings of the portrayed chart(s). The graphs -- of sign
and house strengths -- are stunning, and for those with color printers, the program can
produce gorgeous multi-color mandala-quality charts. Also offered are Krisnamurti charts and
data pages, a K.N. Rao format page, a page of Vimshottari, Yogini, and Chara dashas, and
Lotus Medicine & Bhrigunadi Progressions listings.
Goravani's Jyotish is almost an encyclopedia of Jyotish. It's reference section contains
tutorials on Jyotish basics, Vedic philosophy, Varshaphala (Jyotish Solar Returns), derived
houses, lords of houses, Yogini and Mudda dasha systems, karakas, and more. There is a
built-in glossary of over 280 Jyotish terms, superb tables of nakshatras, tithis, orbs for
combustion, lordships, house types, avastas, aspects, planetary friendships, and more, and the
complete text of the program manual explaining every feature of the software.
The incredibly comprehensive list of karakas (for example: what planets, signs, or
houses signify accidents) is over 5000 terms long, plus there's a scaled-down listing for
individual charts with three columns of 25 karakas each, for a planet, its sign, and its
The program takes up 28 megabytes of disk space, and runs best on a fast 486 or
Pentium on a PC with a SVGA color monitor, or on a color Mac running system 7.0 or later.
Goravani's Jyotish calculates charts from 1 A.D. to 2500 A.D. with unsurpassed accuracy.
Goravani's Jyotish can be customized in more ways than we can list. You can edit
the interpretive text and add your own material. You can create custom sets of which pages
to print out. You can include the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) and choose
which house system to use in the Western wheel display. You can add your own name and
address to printouts.
The main Charts screen in Goravani Jyotish is the gateway to most of the program's
functions. It shows a birth chart, which can be easily switched to a navamsha, bhava,
chandra, or divisional chart, or changed to a different rising sign, or to the chart of someone
you recently worked on. The program can display charts as Yantras, i.e. beautiful wheels
with divisions that look like a six-pointed star. The main screen also has a listing of the
charts on file, a data entry area to enter, edit, find, or delete charts, a table of the planets in
the chart, with different views of their positions e.g. by sign, degree, and nakshatra; a varga
summary, or a bala table. There are fifteen buttons onscreen allowing you to switch to any
of the program's major modules, and a compact Vimshottari dasha table where you can
change the planet used to generate the dasha, use different house cusps, set the starting
date and number of subperiods (e.g. Bhuktis, Antardashas, etc.), and whether to use a 360 or
365 day year. Finally, there's a list of the yogas found in the person's chart. You can view
interpretations for any of the yogas, see what famous people have the same yoga or
positions, and what factors create each yoga. The Charts screen is not only incredibly
functional, but easy to use as well. This has got to be the most powerful single screen in all
of astrological software.
There are literally dozens of different screens within the program, from graphs of
planetary and house strengths; to a grid of divisional charts factors, tables of strengths,
friendships, and lordships; and detailed information screens for each of the planets. The
overlay feature displays three different charts concentrically in a tri-wheel. You can place two
people's charts, any divisional chart, the Chandra lagna (Moon as Ascendant), or any sign as
the lagna in each of the three wheels.
Goravani Jyotish's transit module is very powerful and well thought out. You can
move the transiting planets forward or backwards in time one step at a time or automatically.
You can view transits over divisional charts or for any lagna (e.g. the Sun as ascendant), set
the local coordinates, print out the biwheel, and view or print out well-written interpretations
of the transits (even by the outer planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto!) for any date, time,
and place. Perhaps its most remarkable feature is the ability to search for the date when a
planet reaches a specific degree of a specific sign. The program finds the date and
immediately shows you the transiting positions around the natal chart, as well as the four
levels of dasha operating at that time. This is a great tool.
The compatibility module allows you to compare a person's chart with any number of
charts of members of the opposite sex. You can then review each comparison, or look at a
list of who matches the person best. You can print out the compatibility reports for many
charts at once or individually.
Goravani's Jyotish has outstanding strengths in working with your chart files. You can
use the Roster to step through the charts in a file and immediately view not only a chart for
each person, but also any of six different tables showing the birthdate, placement of the
house lords for each of the houses; the Sun and Moon's sign and house, the Ascendant and
Moon's lord and sublord or Nakshatra, and the mahadasha each person is in and its ending
date. You can sort a file by any of these factors, e.g. have the list show you who has the
same lunar nakshatra, or is in the same mahadasha. What a fine resource! You can import
charts from the Quick*Charts format, and export charts as a backup. To save disk space, you
can import charts to an archive file, and retrieve them as needed. You can print out pages
with six people's charts per page, which is wonderful for preparing a notebook of charts; or
generate a compact list of all of the people in your chart file, showing on one line each
person's birthdate, Ascendant and Moon's sign, nakshatra, lord, and sublord; Lotus
constitution, current dasha-bhukti-antardasha with the ending date of the antardasha, Sun sign,
and house placement of the first, fifth, ninth, and tenth house lords, over 50 names per
Goravani's Jyotish is a world-class Vedic program. Its reference materials,
stunning output, huge range of features, ease of use, and beautiful screens make it a winner
for anyone interested in Jyotish.
An Important Update on Visual Jyotish.
Visual Jyotish program was reviewed in my original article in TMA; but the
manufacturer -- C&D Software -- has discontinued selling the software. Since the program is
also copy-protected and cannot be moved to a new computer, previous owners of Visual
Jyotish are unfortunately out of luck. (They can still try and call 800-RAJ-YOGA to see if they
can get help, I couldn't.)
by Haydn Huntley
Price: $110 from Haydn Huntley 515-472-7025
P.O. Box 1161
Fairfield, IA 52556
Demo disk available ($10)
Haydn's Jyotish Demo Free Online
While this DOS program may not offer astrological glyphs, graphics, or as many
functions as the other Vedic programs in this review, it is incredibly well designed, effortless
to use (even without looking at the manual), lightning fast, and perfectly suited for laptops,
older computers, and for people who dislike complexity. The menuing system is ingenious
and intuitive, and the program always shows you what keys to use.
Haydn's Jyotish has many capabilities. In addition to all of the basic functions
common to all of the programs reviewed here (mentioned at the beginning of this article), it
can calculate Vimshopak, Bhava and Chaleta Bhava charts, alternate lagna charts for any
planet as the first house, partial aspects, three methods of Ashtakavarga (Parashara, Saravali,
and Brihat Jataka), two methods of Shad Bala (Raman and Parashara), Bhava Bala, tertiary
progressed charts, and Vimshottari dashas to three levels. While viewing a chart, you can
move the birth time forward or backwards for rectification, and shift transiting planets a step
at a time, too.
What I like best in Haydn's Jyotish are its comments on each planet and house and
the highlights for the chart. The program displays many factors about each placement,
including the sign, house, positional strength, and aspects for each planet in both the Rashi
and Navamsha charts, the planet's age, Jaimini karaka, lordship(s), dignity, the houses it
signifies and it aspects, and the age at which it gives its full effect. It also points out any
planets that are Vargottama, Raja Yogakaraka, close to the edge of a sign, within different
signs but conjunct, in mutual reception, and combust. It also shows the Yogi point, Yogi,
duplicate Yogi, Avayogi, Soli-Lunar Yoga, Lunar Nakshatra and Tithi, the Dagdha signs,
Kujadosha, and the proximity of planets to their deepest point of exaltation or fall.
The birth chart screen looks simple but actually is cleverly designed to show you an
amazing amount of information. It can display the degree and minute positions for each
planet or show codes that reveal the planet's relationship to the sign its in, and whether it's
stationary, slow moving, retrograde, close to the edge of a sign, combust, Vargottama, a Raja
Yogakaraka, in mutual reception, rules a trikona, has positional strength, or losing a planetary
war. Because each code is one letter, the screen remains uncluttered, while packed with
information. You can even view transiting planets for any date placed within a Rashi chart,
shown in a different color alongside the natal planets, complete with their codes. Pretty
Haydn's Jyotish has several other niceties. It makes it simple to load, rename, delete,
save, edit, or create a chart file. It comes with a utility to convert Quick*Chart files to the
program's own format, letting you import files from most other programs. The built-in spooler
expedites printing, and you can batch print any or all of the possible printouts, and even
create a custom set of charts to print out. The program is very easy to customize, i.e. to
select the chart format, length of the dasha listing, true or mean node, etc.
In summary, Haydn's Jyotish is a delightful program to use for fast, accurate, and
effortless Vedic calculations. It offers all of the basic functions, and shows you many of the
relevant and distinguishing qualities of each chart. As such, it's great for beginners and
practicing Jyotishis alike.
by Andrew Foss
Important Note: Shri Jyoti is now available for Windows 95 and 98 and is much easier to use
and much more powerful. Go to the newest review
by clicking here
This program for Macintosh computers is available from SynEnergy (800-621-2633) for
$89.95. It displays both Western and Vedic charts for the twentieth century quickly,
colorfully, and accurately. Charts can be calculated for earlier and later centuries, with
diminishing accuracy. The Western astrology features include showing an aspect grid and an
element & mode table, or a second chart around a natal wheel. The second chart can be
the present positions (updating in real time), the positions on a specific date, or secondary
progressed or solar arc positions. You can set the aspect orbs, a chart's harmonic, program
colors, and the (Western) house system from six choices. SkyClock's Jyotish abilities include
showing Rashi (birth) and Navamsha charts and Vimshottari mahadashas all on the same
screen. You can specify what ayanamsa to use, and also view a screen of both mahadasha
and bhukti levels of Vimshottari Dashas. This remarkably inexpensive program is great for
color laptops, simple to use, and enjoyed by many Jyotishis.
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