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Article # 100
The Light Within

Author: W.Bro.Dr.John Raginald P.Dy.G.D of C., P.Dy.R.G.M.    Posted on: Sunday, August 8, 2004
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The Light Within

W.Bro.Dr.John 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.

How 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.

How 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.

It 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’.

As 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 others.

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

in balanced 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.

The 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.

It 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.

The 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 universal understanding.

So 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.

W.Bro.Dr.John Reginald is an outstanding Neuro Surgeon and Professor in Neuro Surgery. He is a great Masonic Scholar and writer, held in very high estimation by Freemasons in India and the live wire in “Acacia”, an institution devoted to Masonic Research. The Transactions of Acacia are prepared by him in every quarter. We are very thankful to him for this scholarly article, which is the 100 th article in this website.

Click Here To Post Your Comment

Sai wrote on Sunday, August 8, 2004:

Subject: 100 th article

A brilliant article.I congratulate W.Bro.John Reginald for this thought provoking article, which deserves to be the landmark of 100 th article. W.Bro.D.Seshaasai

Madhavan wrote on Monday, August 9, 2004:

Subject: The Light Within

A brillinat article, fully in keeping with Dr. Reginald's high standarads both in content and language. I enjoyed reading it. Madhavan

jkyacht wrote on Wednesday, September 15, 2004:

Subject: The Light Within

Thank you for this wonderful article. Joseph Killian FL, USA

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