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Article # 13
Bro. Swami Vivekananda

Author: R.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami    Posted on: Sunday, June 16, 2002
General Article | 2 comments  | Post your comment

Bro. Swami Vivekananda


Many brethren have requested that a write up about Swami Vivekananda, as a Freemason should appear in our web site. Hence, this article.

Swami Vivekananda was born in an upper middle class family in Kolkata in 1863.He was named Narendra Nath Dutta. His father Biswanath Dutta was a practicing attorney in Calcutta High Court. After graduation Narendra joined the Office of Bro.Nemye Chandra Bose, an attorney of Calcutta High court. He planned to complete his studies and become an attorney. He had further plans to proceed to England for higher studies.

Freemasonry was introduced in India in 1730 and that too in Kolkata. The first Lodge established in India is Lodge No.72.Unfortunately that Lodge was erased in 1756. M.W.Grand Master Grand Lodge of England granted the warrant for Lodge Anchor and Hope on 1-10-1773 and the Lodge itself was consecrated on 19-10-1773.The Lodge has been regularly meeting since then and it is the oldest Lodge still functioning. At the time of the formation of the Grand Lodge of India, that Lodge opted to function under the Grand Lodge of India, which was consecrated in 1961. Lodge Anchor and Hope was the oldest Lodge in India under the Grand Lodge of India then and hence, it was numbered as Lodge No.1 of the Foundation Lodges of the Grand Lodge of India. Freemasonry in Kokata was well received and was thought as a prestigious institution, because of its tendency to make its members Honourable and to make good persons still better as it continues to do even now.

Narendranath Dutta in his quest for spiritual knowledge was attracted to the tenets of freemasonry and on his seeking the privileges and mysteries of freemasonry, his proposal was well received.. Bro.W.C.Banerjee a distinguished advocate guided and helped him in the initial stages of his career.Narendranath Dutta was initiated on 19 th February 1884. He was passed to the degree of F.C on 15-4-1884 and was raised to the sublime degree of M.M on 20 th May 1884.

It would not be out of place at this stage to refer to the development of Masonic practice in India. The first Indian to be initiated was Omdat-ul-Omrah, the last of the ruling Nawab of Carnatic .In Bengal, Hindus were not initiated on account of by Law 55. Bro.P.C.Dutt was proposed, but his proposal was turned down invoking By Law 55. The matter dragged on for nearly 9 years and finally the M.W.Grand Master held that By law 55 prohibiting the initiation of persons of Asian origin was bad and annulled the same .Thereafter, Bro. P.C.Dutt was initiated in 1872 in the Lodge Anchor and Hope. Narendranath Dutta. had no such problems.

Subsequent to his initiation, he assimilated the teachings of freemasonry. His pursuit of spiritual progress did not leave him much time for progress in freemasonry. He did not acquire the highest honour the Lodge could have conferred on any of its members namely the mastership. He however was deeply imbibed in the teachings of freemasonry particularly the basic tenet of freemasonry namely Universal Brotherhood. He always used to project himself as Bro. Vivekananda and treated others as brothers. His adherence to Universal Brotherhood was reflected, when he commenced his famous address in Chicago in the Parliament of Religions, addressing the audience as “ Brothers and Sisters of America”. A Convention of all the Lodges was held in Chicago at the same time and Bro. Swami Vivekananda could not attend the same due to his participation in the Parliament of Religions. Nevertheless Swamiji met W.Bro.Connor and the latter in his letter dated January 22, 1894 to W.Bro.Gilbert W.Bernard introducing Swamiji had written as follows.

I take very great pleasure in introducing to you personally and as a freemason, our East India Brother Swami Vivekananda, whom I examined in the English Work, in which he was made a Master Mason in Anchor and Hope , 236 E.C.” .

Swamiji had thus acted according to the Masonic teaching of “willingness at all times to undergo examination, when properly called on”. He underwent the examination and proved himself to be a Freemason 10 years after his initiation in spite of his spiritual pursuits.

Prior to his leaving for the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swamiji went to Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India and formerly known as Cape Comerin. There is a huge piece of rock jutting out in the sea, being the confluence of the three seas. Swamiji dived into the sea and swam to the rock and spent a few days in meditation and prayers and obtained Divine blessings. A fitting memorial has been erected on that rock with a meditation hall. It has been named Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the same can be reached by the ferry service.

With a view to commemorate the holy visit to Kanyakumari and to honour the memory of such a distinguished brother, a Lodge named after him was consecrated on 12 th February 1985. It is Lodge Vivekananda (No.254) and it meets on 2 nd Saturdays in Kanyakumari.

Bro.Swami Vivekananda practiced the teachings of Freemasonry in his life. His writings reveal his exemplifying the principles of freemasonry. He was a noble son of the country, very respectable in life, was very useful to mankind and he was the brightest ornament of the Fraternity in India.

Click Here To Post Your Comment

Bro.Jogani wrote on Wednesday, June 5, 2002:

Subject: Swami Vivekananda

DearR.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami, Thank you very much, this article is very informative. If you have more informations on Swami Vivekananda as an Freemason please let me have. Fraternally yours, Mahendra Jogani

jstarke25 wrote on Sunday, May 25, 2003:

Subject: Bro. Swami Vivekananda (Article # 13 )

Thank you so much for posting this article. I am a recently initiated Entered Apprentice Mason in Sacramento Lodge #40 in California, USA. I have been a member of The Vedanta Society of Sacramento for 4 years. I was thrilled to find that Swamiji was a Freemason! I have been searching for light all of my life and my greatest joy is finding the same thread of universal wisdom running through great persons and organizations from all countries and all periods in history. Swami Vivekananda is to me the embodiment of a perfected man and, from what I have learned so far, the perfect Mason. I am glad to find that Freemasonry has such a long history in India. I see so much wisdom in the western mystery schools which seems to be quoated directly from the Vedas, that it is my opinion that India is the source of our technology and all true wisdom. I have only recently learned of the great seeds planted by Pythagoras which so profoundly shaped and continue to shape our western way of life. I can see in him the same kind of Vedic thought that Swamiji would again bring to the west so many years later. I only hope that people everywhere will someday accept the idea that we can all come together and worship at the alter of the same G.A.O.T.U, without regard to what name we give to It. I have saved this site to my favorites list and I look forward to finding more light here in the future.

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