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The Light Within
Reginald. P.Dy.G. D of C, P.Dy.R.G.M.
Members of this great fraternity, which has stood the test of time, the honour
and excellence of which, surpasses comparison with any other order in existence,
have an obligation to study and reflect on the symbolism of the teachings of
such an elite fraternity. This fact is emphasized to a great extent in our
rituals, that it is ineffable, even to a casual researcher or contemplator of
the mysticism of our order, to stop and ponder over these facts. If knowledge
is wisdom, darkness which shrouds that understanding should be lifted off, so
that the true light becomes visible.
apt is the aphorism, “It is the mysterious ‘veil’, which the eye of human reason
cannot penetrate unless assisted by that light which is from above”. Immediately
it focuses our interest on the word ‘Veil’ and the word ‘light’. Is there a
dichotomy between these two or should we separate the two and consider them as
different and distinct entities for pursuit of knowledge? It is necessary, that
we recognize the nature of the veil to understand, the strength and significance
of the ‘light’.
Masonry, as we
understand, for its esotery, is fundamentally mystical. There is enough
ignorance surrounding this phenomenon, for any beginner, but as our great
philosopher J.Krishnamurthy has urged “the moment you are aware of your
ignorance, you are no more ignorant”. If you consider the ‘veil’ as “maya” we
should reconcile to the fact that ‘truth’ or ‘light’ would be visualized for
your perception, only when this Veil or maya is lifted. Then only the splendor
of the great light offers itself to human perception.
did this Maya come to encompass human nature? Some authors describe this as the
‘fall’. It is an allusion to the primal spiritual catastrophe, which ruptured
the cosmic harmony and resulted in the lapse of man into mortality, with the
subsequent confusion and chaos of human existence. The spiritual catastrophe
consists of our passions, unworthy motives, aggression, greed, jealousy and the
like. These forces build a smoke screen between truth and untruth, between
light and darkness, between reality and nothingness. It is this smoke screen,
that should be lifted, to behold the splendor of the resplendent ‘Light”.
During the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is brought into the temple in a
state of darkness to signify that unpolished mind of his timorously picking its
way through perilous path, in its quest of real light. In this situation, that
which precludes him from seeing material light is physical, but it is
symbolically explained that it is the manner in which purification of his mind
is enacted in a dramatic and impressive form, that when the physical obstacle is
removed, he sees for the first time, those celebrated and great, though
emblematical lights in Freemasonry.
clearly explains that to see actual light one has to lift the maya and walk in
the direction of ultimate truth and knowledge. Therefore it could be concluded
that “self realization and union with Brahman are taken in the light of the
quest for immortality and not in the unfolding truth”. The mysticism of Islam
has again been explained in similar terms by philosopher Mohamed Peerali. What
then is ultimate bliss? Is this ‘Ananda’? According to Dr. Sarvapalli
Radhakrishnan, great philosopher of our days, “if reality is defined as ‘ananda’
we have to say ‘ananda’ is not the highest reality, but only the highest
conceivable, by the thought of man”.
According to ‘Advaidham’, the unreal is that which was not and which shall never
be, but only apparently exists. This otherwise could be termed the ‘veil’ or
‘maya’ or in simpler term, the ‘illusion’.
Freemasons, instructed to make daily advancement in Masonic knowledge, we
should, therefore, understand the mystic nature of our order and endeavour to
seek the truth and light. Though the light has been explained in our rituals,
we, often turn a deaf ear to those facts and stay away from comprehension of
truth and knowledge, not allowing the inner light within us to be put in the
proper perspective of rendering knowledge to ourselves and percolate the same to
One of the
greatest teachings in freemasonry is knowledge of self. We have been exhorted to
contemplate on our inevitable destiny and guide our “reflections to that most
interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself”. When we declare,
that geometry, (measurement of earth) is one of the fundamental basis on which
is rested our order, we should immediately realize that “the human organism is
compounded of four elements
proportions, water representing the psychic nature, air, the mentality, fire the
will and nervous force, whilst the earth is the condensation in which the other
three become stabilized and encased”. But the physical body has an ethereal
counterpart in the astral body and the same four elements are in an impalpable
and more tenuous form”.
After the purification accorded to the first degree, comes contemplation and
enlightenment. The secrets of ones mental nature and the principles of
intellectual life becomes at this stage gradually unfolded to one’s view. This
inner light enables one to acquire complete control over his passions and his
lower physical nature and enables him to study more interior faculties which
ultimately connect with and terminate in, the Divine itself. At this stage the
Mason is said to have been enabled to discover a sacred symbol, placed in the
centre of the building which alludes to the G.G.O.T.U. It is obvious that the
building alluded to, is not the temple we meet in, but is our own selves and the
sacred symbol exists at the centre of ourselves. It is the spark of God himself
imminent within us. How true are the words written over the old temples of the
mysteries, “Man, know thyself, and then thou shall know the Universe and God”?
This unspeakable light within us naturally endues us with complete moral
rectitude, utter exactness of thought, word and action, exemplified by rigid
observance of the square, level and plumb rule.
Once the light within burns with incandescent splendor, one is enabled to
overcome the obstacles of material life hindering the way of spiritual life and
prepares the human mind to persist with fortitude and with prudence to develop
within himself the highest state with fervency and zeal. This light also shows
that man can be made perfect only by toil and suffering and makes him learn that
difficulty, adversity and persecution serve only a beneficial purpose. The man
now passes away from darkness and imperfection and stands in the meridian
sunlight of moral illumination. This light within, my brethren has been
achieved with great effort and toil and should be preserved at all times, pure
and unsullied until the latest hours of our existence. It prepares us for the
last and greatest trial by which alone we can enter into the great consolations
and make acquaintance with the supreme reality of existence.
light within should ever shine in every brother Mason, so that the popular world
will reconcile to the fact that emulating the life and actions of this worthy
brother, one would certainly accomplish the greatest of spiritual attainment and
immortality of the soul.
Naturally the next question that comes to our mind would be, ‘What practical
significance can this knowledge serve in our daily life?’. We notice that in the
present scenario; the world is tormented by conflict and confusion, terrorism
and violence, corruption and confabulation, resulting in total annihilation of
human values and devastation of moral status. At the recent meeting of World
Conference of Grand Lodges held at New Delhi, this disturbing state of affairs
was touched upon by Grand Masters of various countries and indubitably the
solution for this malady can only be the firm faith in the tenets and principles
and practice of Freemasonry.
cannot be denied that the basic solution to this abominable catastrophe lies in
the understanding of human nature, its aspirations, the need for tolerance,
sympathy towards fellow creatures and above all, to adorn the mantle of
charity. Which other order can afford this state of happiness and solace? The
only answer will be – That is Freemasonry.
When the darkness is dispelled and the light starts shining the advantage occurs
in two main areas, to your own self and to the society which afforded your
existence and infant nurture. The clouded and unpolished mind undergoes a
thorough transmutation into one of fineness and lustre, viewing the world in an
entirely new perspective.
peace and tranquility of the mind is reflected in your tolerance towards others,
your compassion towards the needy and readiness to render yourself extensively
serviceable to your fellow creatures. This will result in appreciating and
rendering relief to even total strangers, enthusing and quickening your
faculties to direct your attention in the path of virtue. Wisdom arising out of
knowledge will only further enhance human understanding and mutual
appreciation. The thinking process of human race, which, at the moment is
engaged in inventing and propagating high technology of destructive weapons,
will certainly be directed towards creative endeavours, which would result in
beneficial effects to society. The knowledge and intellect born out of such
teachings of Freemasonry will always steer the mind towards human betterment and
my dear brethren, may the GAOTU, lift up the curtain of maya, to be illuminated
and blessed by the glorious ‘Light’ that has hitherto been enshrined and dormant
into our own selves and make everyone lead a life that will glorify God and make
this world a better place to live.
I must place on record that the knowledge for this paper has been sourced from
Masonic writings of W.L.Wilmhurst and Mathews Philips, who have extensively
written on symbolism of Freemasonry and the significance of our order.
It has always seen a pleasant experience to be amongst brethren tasting the wine
of Masonic knowledge. May the light of masonry so embellish our thoughts and
actions that when we leave this sub lunary abode, and summoned into the
presence of the Almighty, we would be confident, that having marked well, we
should be fit to receive from his hands, the crown of glory, the colour of which
will never fade.