A Memorial Tribute to
Jyoti Shankar
Jyoti Shankar
I am officiating this remembrance of Jyoti. We will begin
now. We are here to remember our friend and fellow GodBuster Jyoti Shankar.
His death was sudden and unexpected, and we miss him but let us remember
that Jyoti's influence will be felt as long as we remember him.
We light our candle today to honor the life and living of Jyoti Shankar.
* Godlessheathen lights a candle
* AtheistStar lights a candle
* DirtyOl`Man lights a candle
I would now like to read a quote by Sheldon Kopp: "We all
suffer some unavoidable losses. People we love die, close friends move away,
and, despite our best efforts, some of the venture we undertake don't work
out. What's a person to do when he or she suffers a bad break? We can
complain, but fussing doesn't change anything.
If we accept our losses, we grieve by crying about them.
Crying doesn't help either. that's why we cry - because nothing helps. but
grieving does allow us to bury our dead and to get beyond our
This leaves room in our hearts that we may be able to fill
with love for someone else or hope for some new undertaking, but we cannot
hurry our pain to rush our willingness to begin anew.
We need to move on in our lives in search of whatever is
available that makes us happy, but a major loss leaves a hole in our
hearts - a hole that can never be completely refilled.
I would now like to say something in my own words: Jyoti
was very active in the freethought community, even earning a place on the
Atheist Celebrity's list. He had his own on-line atheist magazine, Bubbles,
he was on our GodBusters list, and he was the Vice-Chair to the thwart
list's EARTHWARD project out of his concern for the many victims of
religiously motivated violence around the world.
He was an intelligent and caring person. This is doubly sad
because we've lost both a friend and another voice of reason amidst all the
irrationality that surrounds most of us.
 "Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers
the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break."  William Shakespeare
 It is now time to share our thoughts.
I decided long ago that if, on the occasion of my death, my
friends and relatives were to gather sorrowfully to mourn my death, that I
would simply refuse to attend.  I would much prefer a farewell party to a
depressing funeral (even a non-religious one).  Of course Jyoti will be
missed, but I elect to focus on celebrating his life, rather than mourning
his death; on how we, among others, have benefitted from his presence
rather than how we will suffer from his absence.
As you (probably) know, God Busters has existed for just over
a year.  It was my first activist endeavor, and I am pleased that it has
gone reasonably well and made some worthwhile contributions to the cause.
Jyoti, however, has been God Busting since 1964.  That would
be about the time my fourth grade teacher conned me into going to church.  I
wasted the next seven years of my life trying to believe the unbelievable.
I suspect the contributions Jyoti has made in the last 36 years far outweigh
the rest of us combined.  Here are a few of those contributions:

He founded two atheist magazines in India:
1.  Freethought in 1964
(english monthly for the Freethinkers Association, Madras, India)
2. Path of Reason (tamil) for the Tamilnadu SelfRespect Movement (Atheists)
He was President of The Freethinkers Association (Madras, India) 1964 - 1968.
He was General Secretary of the Indian Rationalist Association 1967 to 1976.
He became the Vice President of the Indian Rationalist Association in 1977.
He was Vice President of the Atheist Society of India,
Visakhapatnam, India in 1977.
He established Atheist Center in Sanford, Florida in 1984.
He started Bubbles Magazine in 1994 and went online in 1996.
He had three books published:
   1. God Bubble Pricked (1964) 
   2. Satan's Poems (1972)
   3. Dr. Kovoor's Challenges and Achievements in 1976.
Recently he was a member of Atlanta Freethought Society, AHA, and FFRF
If any of us can accomplish half as much in our lifetime, we
will have done well.
I didn't know Jyoti very well.  I, sadly, know more about him
after his death.  But I can tell you how he touched me ..
When I first joined the list.. his welcome message was so
nice.. he asked if he could include my webpage on his online magazine.. It
was the first time online that an atheist had really reached out and taken
an interest in me. Made me feel like my little page was special.
I have now read of all his accomplishment.. and am a little
prouder to call my self an atheist... like him.
We would also like to extend our condolences to Jyoti's wife and child.
 It is done. We have bid a loving farewell to Jyoti. We are
glad that he lived. Let us cherish his memory by living more fully, and
proceed from here with an appreciation of life, and an abiding peace.

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Innaiah Narisetti