As promised in last month's issue here is a full-page resource on the currently available Vedic astrology software. Most programs do all the main calculations, while some offer special features, including interpretative capabilities. Expense varies according to the program's abilities. You generally get what you pay for. As the offices of Hinduism Today use only Macintosh computers, we were not able to try out for review the PC-DOS based software, but have listed the programs available on that platform. Pranams to the religious-minded computer programmers who brought this valuable ancient science into the technological age.
Windows & Macintosh, Student Version: US$145; Professional: US$495.00; Demo: US$25. Call for free brochure or demo software. Das Goravani, 48529 Todd Eymann Road, Miramonte, California, 93641, USA. Ph: 209-336-2628.
If your are looking for a particular feature, this software probably has it. In addition to the usual rasi chart, bhava chart, varga charts, choice of chart styles and dashas, the program also contains a very large database of readings, drawn from numerous classic and modern works, used to interpret a chart. You can ask the computer to assemble all of the text from these readings that pertain to your chart. The text can be read on screen, edited and printed out. If you clic on a planet on the screen chart, a text window pops up telling you everything about the planet's position. Clic on the current dasha and another text window describes what experiences that karmic period will bring. This program is everything a Mac user dreams of and goes beyond our expectations. If you have a color printer, there are a variety of beautiful color charts that can be printed from a separate application that accesses the chart files.
In addition the program includes a fully functioning transit window, with the subject chart on an inner wheel and the current positions of the planets on the outer wheel. A useful tool allows you to find when any planet will transit a specific angle. It continually updates a list of dashas so you know what dasha the person will be experiencing at the time of each transit. There is also a transit readings feature on this window which allows you to read on screen, print out, or copy to another application text describing the transits of all the planets--another feature unique to this software.
The powerful attributes or tags feature saves thousand of pieces of information about the chart, which can then be used to search a massive database for relevant readings. The research feature can use these tags to compare charts of several people to show all shared characteristics of the research group. For students of astrology, the program contains an online Vedic astrology reference, with numerous tables and charts about various aspects of Jyotisha. One's knowledge of Jyotisha is now easily increased by the computer's power!
Goravani Jyotish runs smoothly on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms with full color floating windows that you can manipulate in the usual ways. In contrast to a few of its competitors, it is somewhat slower and requires a whopping 30 megabytes of hard disk space. You need to have at least a 386 PC or an 030 Mac, 8 MB of RAM (either real, doubled or virtual). If you have one of the newer, faster computers, you won't be bothered about the hard disk requirements or notice any slowdown. So, if you have the hardware to run it and are willing to spend a few extra dollars, we feel the fine graphics, unique features and research ability make this program well worth its higher price.
For DOS, Windows and Macintosh, Student Version: $95; Full Version: $285. by Michiel Boender of GeoVision Software, P.O. Box 2152, Fairfield, Iowa, 52556. Ph: 515-472-0855.
This is a wonderful program that is very complete with a nice feel and look to it. The program is user friendly and suitable for both professionals and students. It includes a very useful screen window called the 'worksheet' that allows you to put together any combination of charts, dasha systems or tables to suit your preferences, and it is also loaded with features. A variety of color choices for fonts and chart outlines can be chosen for both screen and printouts. There is a choice of North or South Indian style charts, eleven different dasha systems and a range of ayanamsas. It also has a transit window and on-line-help. To calculate a chart takes only 5 seconds on our old 50mhz Mac II.
There is a "muhurta" window to search for auspicious days which has a visually helpful "thermometer" for the novice that indicates the level of auspiciousness for an individual on any day. It gives all of the necessary details of the day including the tarabala, chandrabala, bindu strength of all planets and helpful descriptions about the tithi and nakshatra, indicating what activities they are good for. This is a nice addition that is not a part of other programs.
The software is sold in several versions. The full version for $285 requires at least 8 MB of hard disk space to accommodate the complete text of Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Saravali, Garga Horaand Hora Sara. It generates over 20 pages of interpretations of a chart, searching from among over 1,900 yogas from the classical shastras. The search and compilation takes only about 90 seconds, which is painless. This is a valuable research tool for the student. For professionals, who may not want to use the database, a version without the text is sold for $175. For those who have a tight budget, there is also a version with only the basic features for $95. A solid program that's fun to use and a good buy.
Macintosh, US$99.95. By Anthony Chang of SynEnergy, P.O. Box 1668, Palo Alto, California, 94302, USA. Ph: 415-327-2633.
As the name indicates, Skyclock features a perpetual screen chart that continuously updates the current positions of the planets. This is especially helpful for newcomers to gain a better understanding of how the planets move through the chart. It has two western wheel formats and a South Indian square chart with the Navamsa and Vimsottari Dasha. It will also calculate progressed and solar arc charts. Nakshatras are given only for the lagna, Sun and Moon, so professional Vedic astrologers might find it rather limited. The use of color allows one to see the inherent energies of the planets and signs. This is a simple and basic program for the Macintosh (soon available for Windows) that requires only 500k and 1 MB of RAM, so it's a suitable option for those who don't have a high-powered computer, or a high-roller's bank account.
DOS & Macintosh, US$95; Demo: US$10.00. Haydn Huntley, email@example.com
Haydn's Jyotish is an inexpensive alternative to the higher-end programs that calculates everything a Vedic astrologer needs to know. It runs from the Mac Plus all the way up to the new Power Macs. The program is simple, direct, quick, requires only 600k and doesn't gouge your pocket book. It calculates a person's birth chart and all of the usual Varga charts, plus a few unusual ones. It also does Shad Bala, Bhava Bala, Vimshottari Dasha periods, and it displays quite a bit of other useful information, organized so that it is easy to understand and use. There are plenty of options allowing you to calculate and display everything just the way you like it. Charts can be displayed in both North and South Indian styles, with English or Sanskrit, with angles or condition codes and in a variety of styles. For each planet in each chart, Haydn's indicates right on the chart whenever a planet is exalted, fallen or combust so that a Jyotishi can quickly evaluate which are the strong and weak planets. Some programs do this for only the Rasi chart, but this program does it for all of the charts, so it is easy to accurately analyze any of the varga or other charts. It is easy to enter new charts (there is a built in, extendible database of latitudes, longitudes and time zones), load saved charts and print exactly what you need. Also, rectifying charts is just a keypress away. Everything can be instantly viewed on the screen and printed out at will.
Mac users need to be prepared for the PC-way of getting around in this one (the mouse is not functional). That said, for the price, this is a very complete Jyotisha program. The author recently added Varshaphal for doing progressed or solar return charts, and is currently working on adding tertiary progressed charts, prasna and transits to his program.
DOS, US$178; Windows 3.1 or higher, US$208. By Charles Druttman of C & D Scientific Software, 1 Ford Avenue, Lynnfield, Massachusetts, 01940, USA. Ph: 1-800-RAJ-YOGA (US only), or 617-334-4967.
This is another solid program that offers a wide range of charts and options. Both versions of Visual Jyotish have a built-in atlas, and the DOS and Windows provide seamless access to the ACS atlas. Both provide for output using English or Sanskrit terms, North or South Indian chart styles, outer planets on or off, and true or mean node calculation methods. Both versions contain all 16 harmonic charts of Parashara, Nadiamsa, plus the Tajaka charts. They include interpretative capabilities and allow for user customization of these features. Available dasha systems include: Vimshottari (the Windows version allows optional calculation from any of the planets plus the ascendant); Chara; Yogini; Mudda and Patyayini. The last two dashas are part of the Varshaphal module, which provides options for using the progressed or solar return methods of calculation. Other features of Visual Jyotish include a number of useful summary tables; a Vedic Calculator for determining the positions of combinations of points; yogas; the upagrahas (Gulika, Mandi, aprakasas), graha and bhava balas; varshabalas; a lunar almanac that calculates the entry times of Moon into each nakshatra, tithi, karana and yoga; a panchanga and many other useful features.
A major strength of Visual Jyotishis the gochara, or transit module. This lets the user pick any natal chart and any time period and then watch the planets move over the natal chart, just like a motion picture. Conjunctions and transits are easily seen in this format, and Visual Jyotish also prints out this information in calendar form for easy reference. We are told that Visual Jyotish will very soon be available for Mactintosh.
Here are comments from K. N. Rao, one of the world's leading Vedic astrologers: "C&D Scientific Software has included all my research models in Visual Jyotish.Starting with apprehension, I have begun to use the computer for my research. Now I am a convert. Visual Jyotishis a gift to Vedic astrology."
BLUE STAR VEDIC
US$150. Matrix Software, 315 Marion Avenue, Big Rapids, Michigan, 49307, USA. Ph: 1-800-PLANETS (US only), or 616-796-2483.
This is one of the first Vedic programs to become available. It incorporates most features, but is not always user friendly.
US$175. Passage Press, 8188 South Highland Drive, Sandy, Utah, 84093, USA. Ph: 801-942-1440.
An easy program to use, with most features. The program is extremely flexible in letting you make any changes or adjustments and for viewing on screen. It offers a choice of house systems, ayanamsa and calculations for the Moon. The print outs are quite basic, but it supports all printers.
US$50. Gopalan, RG & Associates, 44136 Glendora Drive, Fremont, California, 94539, USA. Ph: 510-226-0567.
This is a user friendly program, with Windows-type pull down menus and mouse support. On-line help includes definitions of various terminology. "Panchaang" refers to the Hindu calendar that includes daily tithis, nakshatras, yogas and festivals, which this program specializes in. This software, touted as nothing less than the "lifelong personal religious advisor," has the capability to determine the auspicious days and times in any month, as well as provide the basic Rasi and Navamsa charts, Saptavarga, Vimshottari Dasa and Bhuktis. Panchaang can also indicate the level of compatibility between two horoscopes for marriage purposes.
A king, though endowed with little prowess, starting on an expedition at the proper time, in view of the good positions of the planets, achieves greatness that is eulogised in the scriptures.--Brihat Samhita, 104.60