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EST-Jyotish in Cyberspace Pub April 2007

EST-Jyotish in Cyberspace Pub April 2007

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Published by Rohiniranjan
Rohiniranjan's article published in Express Starteller Magazine (one of the best astrology/jyotish/divination magazines in the world! Uploaded by Author. Please enjoy reading, but kindly do not distribute.
Rohiniranjan's article published in Express Starteller Magazine (one of the best astrology/jyotish/divination magazines in the world! Uploaded by Author. Please enjoy reading, but kindly do not distribute.

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Published by: Rohiniranjan on Mar 28, 2010
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JYOTISH ON INTERNET: SILICON SNAKE OIL OR THE NEW REALITY?ByRohiniranjanOctober 29, 1969 was a fateful day! Around 10:30 PM a child was born in UCLA, LosAngeles. It was a feeble birth, suffering a few gasps and creating some anxious moments in itsbirthing team. A month later, definite growth was noticed. Over the next several years itspotential was seen first by military, then university and by mid to late 90's it had conquered theworld! The name of the child was ARPANET and when it came of age, it began to call itself INTERNET. It was to be known worldwide and loved by mankind to become a household name.“Now we know the rest of the story!”, as a popular radio serial from Chicago says!Around the early 90's Internet began to influence astrologers and astrology. But that wasnot the first brush between the two giants that have changed many lives: Astrology and Internet!As early as mid-80s telecommunication had already been established as a harbinger of the ‘shapeof things to come!’ Recently settled in North America and beginning to get comfortable with thecomputers of those days, Timex-Sinclair ZX-81 and then the more serious phenomenon named asCommodore-64, I was very interested in automating and aiding my long-term interest in Jyotishand was tinkering with programs and routines for calculating jyotish charts for personal interestand also for doing research with my collection of charts. At about that time, I discoveredtelecommunications. Very different from what we are currently used to, there were only BulletinBoard Systems (BBS) available. You dialed a phone number, the modem connected to a BBSwhere you could post messages (just like today’s jyotish lists and forums) and exchanged arudimentary form of E-mail and had access to software utilities written by early IT-afficionados,back then called computer Geeks (still are!). The novelty of the possibilities was exciting butreally basic compared to where we are at now.There were a couple of BBS that catered to those interested in occult subjects and therewere a couple with small areas devoted to astrology; understandably western astrology. My earlyattempts to break ice were well received. People were welcoming and I was somewhat of acuriosity to them (That Indian ‘Joyshi’ guy!). Beyond the first thrill of this new way of communicating, there was really not much that was interesting on BBSs. Then I heard aboutCompuserve Information Service, GEnie (General electrics’ network), Delphi and then came Q-Link (which eventually reemerged as America OnLine or AOL). These were all very expensiveto access from Canada because of the Datapac (packet switching networks) surcharge. It was stillcheaper than calling these services by long-distance, which was the only other option. Pleaseremember that back in 80s long distance charges were really significant and none of the cut-throatcompetition as we see today existed.GEnie, Delphi and Q-Link had astrology forums and in contrast to BBSs, had moresophisticated message systems, email systems and the beginning of what we know as Chat areas.Thousands of members had real-time, simultaneous access (huge VAX mainframes were utilized)and the air was full of electricity. These were the forums where I really began to interact withserious astrologers and exchanged with them what I had learned pretty much by myself, and aidedby Shri B.V. Raman’s books and The Astrology Magazine over the prior decade or two. I was
 
pretty much the only serious jyotishi on some of those forums back then. Though I was amember on Compuserve, I used it reluctantly (most expensive of these services). When I movedat the very beginning of the 90's to a city where there was a local node (no more DATAPAC!),the cost factor became a lot more manageable and I began to frequent Compuserve which had justopened a New Age Forum (spawned from the Religion Forum) by entrepreneur Neil Shapiro andRilla Moulden. The forum soon got so large that it had to be divided into two forums (fora!). Onone of these was the Astrology Section. I became a fixture on that Section! There were a wholebunch of very friendly, very enthusiastic individuals who were very much into astrology (of allkinds). I uploaded my messages, readings, articles I wrote to the libraries, conducted conferencesto teach and introduce jyotish for several years. The Compuserve New Age Forum is still there,accessible through internet but a ghost town compared to those days. It was essentially killed byinternet! While on Compuserve, I served as the librarian and then as a co-leader for the AstrologySection and the Vedic Astrology Section that was formed next.The forum provided a venue for interactions, serious discussions and plethora of researchmaterial. Most people were extremely forthcoming about their lives and details and that I sawwas the biggest advantage of the interactive forums. Most jyotishis, particularly the amateur jyotishis read a lot of books and articles but do not have the test bed to examine what they haveread and learned. Recently, good quality birth data by the thousands has become available oncommercial databases which contain both celebrities and regular people. Databases such asTaegers, IDEA (Rodden’s database now sold as Astrodatabank, probably one of the bestavailable) etc did not exist, and still remain very expensive for many. The collection of data, theopportunity to actually interact with the nativities, hold online readings in real time and to verifyinformation was an incredible resource in my path as a jyotishi. For that I shall always remaingrateful to Compuserve and then to Internet.As Internet became firmly installed by mid nineties, and Jyotish found a home therein, in factmany homes (!), it was natural for people to move there. At first there were jyotish newsgroupswhich were the precursors for what we know now as Jyotish lists or jyotish webgroups. Messagethreads were delivered to your email and you responded to the group. It was not verysophisticated and did not really hold a flame to the much more sophisticated message threadsystem on services like Compuserve. As web-programming and the WWW (world wide web)itself developed with the addition of more graphic and capable web-browsers (Mozilla and all theway to its son Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer) , the internet phenomenon went intohyperdrive! Webspaces sprang all over the domain, many of these were commercial sitesprimarily for advertisement, while a few like mine primarily for providing information. Ieventually was invited to participate in a web-experiment named Astro-Expert. This was anambitious site with astrocalculators, articles, reading areas and technical areas for askingquestions etc. I manned the ‘Please Explain’ area on it. It must have been very popular and I didput in a lot of time and energy into it. So much that people thought the Astro-Expert site wasmine. That it was not. Due to a variety of reasons, the site-owner had to focus elsewhere andAstro-Expert ceased to exist. Before I forget, I must give my thanks to Sri Rajender Krishan of New York who had created a site devoted to writings by and for Indians. The site waswww.boloji.comand it is still growing stronger and more popular. It is a very estheticallypleasing site. In the astro section I used to contribute my writings and he was the individual whointroduced me to the owner of Astro-Expert.

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