Masonicpaedia.org - maintained by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Research Circle Masonicpaedia.org - by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Research Circle

About Articles Restricted Archives Register Guest Book Mailing List Awards Links Contact Us
SITE SEARCH
Register  |  Login  [Current Access: General Articles only] Articles
Previous ArticleGo BottomNext Article

Article # 150
Address at Grand Festival

Author: M.W..Bro.Arun Chinthopanth O.S.M, Grand Master    Posted on: Tuesday, December 14, 2004
General Article | 0 comments  | Post your comment

New Page 2

[M.W.Bro.Arun Chinthopanth O.S.M, M.W.Grand Master of India is a renowned Masonic Scholar, well learned in Sanskrit and Vedas and a brilliant orator. His speeches in the Masonic Assemblies both in India and elsewhere have always been treats. His address at the recent Grand Festival at Mumbai is no exception. His parables have  always  made considerable impression provoking us to think and contemplate the Masonic teachings.  In this address, the M.W.Brother  has impressed that  the horizon of Freemasonry  has to be fully comprehended  and not certain parts alone. There is also a beautiful and thought provoking exposition of  the inner conflict between the  Dharmic  and Adharmic thoughts and actions, in  which the former has to succeed with the aid of  Masonic teachings. Please read on and assimilate the advice of the M.W.Grand Master ]

 

 

Address of M.W. Bro.Arun  Chinthopanth  O.S.M, M.W.Grand Master, Grand Lodge of India at the Grand Festival held at Mumbai on 27-11-2004

 

My Brethren,

 

A  very warm welcome to all you to this Grand Festival of the Grand Lodge of India, 2005 at this lovely auditorium in Mumbai.

 

At the outset, I must inform you that this Grand Festival, has begun appropriately with the feeding of the poor. This was arranged yesterday morning at the premises of the Mahalakshmi Temple, the Babulnath Temple and the Shrine of Haji Ali. A Grand Festival well begun indeed.

 

I extend a special welcome to two of our own Past Grand Masters, M.W. Bro.G.R.Divan and M.W.Bro.D.D.Udeshi.

 

And to you my brethren  from all parts of our Country, once again, a very very warm welcome.

 

And now a word of thanks to R.W. the Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Western India,R.W.Bro.Govindlal   Sahu and the Regional Grand Lodge of Western India for hosting this Grand Festival; to the team of organizers lead by the Deputy Regional Grand Master, the Assistant Regional Grand Masters and all those host of brethren who have put in so much effort the last few months in organizing this Grand Festival in such a fine manner.

 

And to each one of you my brethren, a very sincere word of thanks for being here this evening, in spite of the inconveniences of travel and costs. Thank you my brethren for your presence, which, apart from everything else, is most inspiring.

 

I would also like to thank all the outgoing Active Officers of the Grand Lodge, who, for one year, have so ably supported me and the Grand Lodge of India with their dedicated involvement. It looks as if it was only the other day when I had invested them as Active Officers. Yes, my brethren it is already one year, since I was installed at Bangalore as the 12th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India.

 

And during this one year that has gone by, I am happy to inform you that the Grand Lodge and for that matter, the fraternity as a whole, has made considerable strides in many directions.

 

Foremost amongst this has been the pattern of growth of the Fraternity. The one year has seen a positive trend in this direction with almost all Lodges recording initiations. Of course, this is still a far cry from the desired rate of growth and may I therefore take this opportunity to appeal to all of you to address yourselves and your Lodges to this issue and ensure that the momentum that has been established will pick up further and ensure a sustained and healthy growth of the fraternity.

 

Towards this end the Entered Apprentices are being welcomed into the fraternity with a copy of a special 'Hand Book' published for them. Hopefully the data and information about our fraternity in this book will sustain their interest and will reduce the rate of 'drop outs'.

 

In the matter of intra fraternity communications, the launch of the newsletter GLINDIA has been received with overwhelming enthusiasm. However, the generosity of the brethren in making this venture financial viable has, I am sorry to say, been found wanting. I appeal to all of you my brethren to contribute generously so that this newsletter, which has made such an impact within such a short time, may be sustained.

 

And the arm of charity has been very active in giving. All over the country, the fraternity has been active in projecting its charitable disposition. With the launch and acceptance of Dhanya Dhan as a National Masonic Programme, the concept of Masonic Charity has truly taken a new and vibrant form.

 

Masonic Education now forms part of the agenda of all Lodge meetings with the Grand Lodge supplying appropriate papers to the Lodges.

 

Your Grand Lodge was an active participant at the World Conference of Grand Masters held at Santiago, Chile during May this year. Consequent to the decision taken at this Conference, you will recollect, the Universal Brotherhood Day was celebrated at all Masonic Centres in our Country with great fervour and enthusiasm.

 

Under the guidance of the Grand Lodge, many Lodges have now opened their Temple doors to the public on specified days so that the misconceptions and myths about Freemasonry may be set to naught.

 

Brethren, for the first time we have had an All India Inter Region Ritual Working Competition yesterday. And this morning, again for the first time, at an All India level, a Workshop was conducted for the Worshipful Masters, Wardens, Secretaries and Treasurers of all daughter Lodges. I am happy to inform you that the participation at these Workshops was quite encouraging and the outcome very fruitful.

 

In an attempt to encourage Lodge Secretaries, an award for excellence in Lodge summons has been instituted. Not only has the response for this contest been overwhelming, but the talent and skill exhibited by our Secretaries has indeed been thrilling.

 

The call to the Masonic ladies to organize themselves into regular groups has taken shape with the "Freemasons Wives Association" now established at a number of centres with others in the process of catching on.

 

The Grand Lodge has also tried to involve brethren at various centres at different levels in many of the activities of the Grand Lodge. This has turned the Grand Lodge verily into teams of workers spread all over the Country with the Grand Lodge remaining only an instrument in conceiving programmes and in bringing the brethren together. This, my brethren, I think is a very healthy and desirable development. While it gives brethren opportunities to get involved in matters of the fraternity in general and the Grand Lodge in particular, it also brings to fore the commitment and the dedication of brethren of all ages, at all centres and at all levels without any expectations of gains and rewards.

 

I am reminded of story of a man walking through the forest who saw a fox that had lost its legs and he wondered as to how it lived.  Then he saw a tiger come with its kill in its mouth. The tiger had his fill and left the rest for the fox. The next day too, the man observed the same phenomenon. He thought to himself that God had indeed sent the tiger to feed the fox.

 

The man began to wonder at God's greatness and thought, "I too shall lie in a corner trusting the Lord to give me all I need."

 

He did this for a month, and was almost at death's door with starvation when he heard a Voice that said, "O you who are on the path of error, open your eyes to the Truth! Imitate the tiger not the fox."

 

My brethren, beginning to imitate the tiger, has been made. We should not be like this man, imitating the fox, waiting for others to do unto us. We need to imitate the tiger and serve ourselves, the Grand Lodge and the whole fraternity.

 

In the midst of all this activity and fervour a tragedy struck us when R.W.Bro.Somesh Sen Gupta, the Regional Grand Master of Eastern India was so suddenly called to the Grand Lodge Above. A true and committed Freemason till the end he, in fact, left us almost while on Masonic duty.

 

We pray for his peaceful sojourn in the Grand Lodge Above.

 

Consequent to this unfortunate event my brethren, I must inform you of my decision to appoint R.W.Bro.Girish Sastry as the next Regional Grand Master of the Regional Grand Lodge of Eastern India.

 

It is also almost time for a new Regional Grand Master to take over the Southern Region and I have appointed R.W.Bro.G.K.Selvarajan as the next Regional Grand Master of this Region.

 

My brothers Girish Shastry and Selvarajan, a great responsibility is sought to be placed upon both your shoulders, which, without doubt, I may add are broad enough to carry it. I am quite aware of your leadership qualities as also your popularity with the brethren and I am sure that you will both not only justify my choice but will also endear yourselves to your brethren as their Regional Grand Masters. I wish you both very well in this new "avatar" you will soon be taking.

 

My brethren, during this one year I have had the occasion to interact with masons throughout the Country and such interactions have been a revelation to me particularly on the myriad ways in which Freemasonry is seen, understood and even practiced.

 

I find that to some of us Freemasonry has remained a social club, to some an exercise in spirituality, to some a charitable or a service agency, to some a theatre, to some a place to meet old friends and make new ones, to some a secret society and so on. Indeed, the understanding and practice of Freemasonry appears to depend on individual and fragmented perceptions.

 

A dog told a cat - My Master is "God" "Why so?" asked the cat. The Dog replied, "He cares for me so much - He feeds me, he takes me for a walk, he bothers about me and looks after me so well that he is God to me."

 

The cat replied, "My master also cares for me very much, he feeds me, he takes me for walks, he looks after all my needs - so I am God for my Master !"

 

A matter of perception indeed. Freemasonry too, it appears, has become a matter of such perception particularly with the different slogans, mottos and definitions of Freemasonry that we constantly use.

 

Sometimes we say Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. Sometimes we say Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man; Sometimes we speak of only morals and values, sometime we emphasise the concept of our rituals and ceremonials, sometimes of secrecy;

 

I thought to myself, Is Freemasonry to be reduced to such a fragmented and individualistic conceptualisation? Is there no overall essence and a wholeness, to Freemasonry? Is there no unity of thought ? Is there no encompassing  definition that can project Freemasonry as a Whole?

 

A fisherman went to sell fish in a crowded market for the first time. He put a board reading 'Fresh Fish Sold Here!' Standing back, he read the Board.

 

He thought to himself, 'Would any one sell stale fish? Then why to use the word 'fresh'?' So, he erased the word 'fresh'.

 

The board now read 'Fish Sold Here.' Then he wondered 'Have I brought the fish to donate? It is well understood that I am going to sell it.... So he thought the world 'sold; is unnecessary.' He erased that word too.

 

Now the signboard showed 'Fish Here.'  He began to laugh. It was obvious that the fish was here and not somewhere else! So why the word 'Here'?' And he removed that word also.

 

Now all that remained on the signboard was the word 'Fish'. Finally, he saw the signboard and thought, 'anyone who comes to the market can identify by the very smell of fresh fish.  As soon as they see the fish, they would recognise it! There was no doubt about that.  Then why at all the word 'Fish'?  So he erased the word 'Fish'! Now the signboard was bare and empty!

 

I wondered if Freemasonry was like this signboard of the fisherman? Made up of disposable fragments?

 

The answer was an obvious and emphatatic NO. I realised that, in spite of such fragmented definitions and perceptions, Freemasonry certainly has a whole, an ethos, an essence and an underlying unity of thought, word and action.  And this could be discovered only by integrating these fragments and perceptions altogether as part of our lives.

 

In other words understanding Freemasonry is not in understanding isolated precepts and practices of its fragments but in weaving all these fragments into our life and thus making them an integrated part of our lives. This is evident from two other statements made in Freemasonry that (1) Freemasonry is a system of morality and (2) that it is a way of life.

 

Freemasonry, therefore in its essence, as a whole, is a way, a life, of values and morals integrated together and becoming a part of us. It is not morals and values thought of or practiced in isolation or in fragments but by being integrated into our lives. And such an integrated life goes by the popular terminology of a Dharmic way of life.

 

Thus the essence, the ethos, the whole of Freemasonry is in effect a demonstration of a dharmic way of life.

 

This widely and liberally used expression "Dharma" or "Dharmic" does not merely mean "morality" or "righteous conduct.". It is really an integrated way of living. It is said that if one does not follow a dharmic way, disastrous consequences will follow. But if one goes by dharma, then, peace and happiness reign.

 

A very good tailor was caught stealing and he was sentenced to two years in jail. The mayor of the town went to see him because he was the best tailor in the town and the whole town was suffering from his absence; and the mayor also liked this tailor. When he went to see him in the jail the tailor was doing some needlework, sewing something. The mayor asked   'So, I see you are sewing something?'  "No Sir", the tailor replied,  'I am reaping.'

 

Of the four purusharthas or aims of life, dharma, artha, kama and moksha, dharma is always mentioned first, artha second, kama third and moksha last. It is generally believed that artha and kama prefixed with dharma is not only acceptable but will also lead to moksha. Artha and Kama without dharma is certainly taboo.

 

What has happened in reality is that we have been moving away from dharma and going towards Artha and Kama.

 

Dharma also has two dimensions. One is external with the rules and regulations of organised Society. That is a compulsion imposed from the outside. The second is moral and ethical awareness within. One is legal and the other is moral or spiritual. The external dimension of Dharma cannot become effective unless there is its internal or moral dimension. No external compulsion can go far.  Sometimes we are ready to break rules if nobody is watching or if the punishment is not much. If a policeman is not around, we are tempted to jump the red light.

 

We do this kind of a thing so often, without any regret or compunction.

 

Mulla Nasaruddin was charged with stealing a pocket watch. The old man whose watch was stolen was a little short sighted, his eyes were weak and he could see only with specs.  When Mulla came to the box, the judge inquired of the old man, 'Can you recognise this man, that this is the man who has taken your watch?' The robbed man said, 'It is difficult, because my eyes are weak, and without specs I cannot see rightly, everything is a little blurred. So I cannot say exactly whether it is this man or not, but my watch is stolen and it could be this man.'  In the absence of other eyewitness or any other evidence, the Judge had to free Mulla. He said, 'Mulla you can go, now you are now free.' But Mulla looked a little puzzled. The judge said, "Did you not hear me, 'Now you can go, you are free!' Mulla still looked puzzled and stayed on. The Judge asked, 'Do you want to ask anything?'  'Yes, replied Mulla, "Does it mean that I can keep the watch ?”

 

Now how does one live a dharmic life? How does one become a dharmic person? It is not by external training but by an internal fighting, cleansing and winning against internal enemies.

 

The Bhagwad Gita starts with the expressions "Dharmakshetre, Kurukshetre Samaveta Yuyutsavaha."

 

Ironically a battlefield is described as a dharma kshetra.

 

That is because the first battle field is within us. A battle field for dharma to battle against  adharma.

 

A constant war is being waged within everyone of us at all our crucial moments of action- a war with our negative tendencies and as always the negative forces are larger in number and mightier.

 

This is the array of our inner battlefield the Dharmakshetra. The lower instincts, the negative tendencies in the form of   Kama, Krodha, Lobha. Moha, Mada and Matsarya are arrayed against the higher ideals ready to fight.

 

Kabir calls them our hidden enemies. "Tu lutera jake bithar", he says, because they have housed themselves within and blended very well. This war seeks to locate them and destroy them. And to do this, to fight this war, we need ammunition and weapons.

 

Freemasonry provides this. The tenets, the slogans, the mottos of Freemasonry which appear to be fragmented at first, when combined and used is the ammunition for this war. And when this ammunition, the weapons are used by making them into an integral and inseparable part of our lives, our lives become a dharmic way of life.

 

This in reality is the essence, the whole, the ethos of Freemasonry.

 

More often than not we are missing this whole, this essence of Freemasonry simply because we do not have the patience to pause and listen. We are engrossed, drowned and overwhelmed in the fragments that we are in the danger of missing out on the whole.

 

My brethren, let us pause. Let us listen to Freemasonry. Let us absorb its whole.

 

Let me also conclude by telling you of a temple which was built on an island and had a thousand bells. When the wind blew or a storm raged, all the bells would peal out in a symphony that would send the heart of the hearer into raptures.

 

But over the centuries the island sank into the ocean and with it, the temple bells. Legend however said that the bells still rang out ceaselessly and could be heard by anyone who would listen. Inspired by the legend a young man travelled thousands of miles, determined to hear those bells.  He sat for days on the shore facing the vanished island and listened with all his might. But all he heard was the sound of the sea. He made every effort to block it out but to no avail; the sound of the sea seemed to flood the world. Finally, he decided to give up the attempt. Perhaps he was not destined to listen to the bells. Perhaps the legend was not true. It was his final day and he went to the shore to say goodbye to the sea. He lay on the sand, and for the first time, listened to the sound of the sea. Soon he was so lost in the sound that he was barely conscious of himself, so deep was the silence the sound produced.   In the depth of that silence, he heard it ! The tinkle of a tiny bell followed by another, and another and another...... till every one of the thousand temple bells was pealing out in harmony, and his heart was rapt in joyous ecstasy.

 

My brethren, the bells of Freemasonry are constantly ringing. Is it not time we stood to pause and listen?

 

I wish you all a safe journey home. May we all be blessed by Freemasonry, by dharma, that we may all be victorious in this inevitable battle called life.

 

Let us remember Gandhari's enigmatic blessing to her errant son Duryodhana

 

   "Yatha Dharma thato vijaya"--- "Where there is dharma there is victory."

 

Thank you.

 

Notes:-

Dhanya Dhan  is a scheme conceived  and inaugurated  by  the M.W.Grand Master,   when he was the R.W.Regional Grand Master. Every  Freemason every  day sets apart a handful or more of food grains and these are periodically collected  and every Lodge donates such collections form its members to Orphanages, Poor Homes  etc

M.W. Bro. Arun Chintopanth, the worthy son of R. W. Bro. S. Chintopanth, a renowned Ceramic Expert and a distinguished Freemason of Bangalore was born on 1 st January 1949.He graduated in Physics and Mathematics from St. Joseph College at Bangalore in 1969 and qualified himself as a Chartered Accountant in 1975 and has been practicing as a Chartered Accountant in Bangalore. He was initiated in Lodge Bangalore on 11 th January 1972. He is a good ritualist and an eminent speaker. He had a steady progress and rose to eminence by merit and was installed as the R.W. Regional Grand Master of Southern India and his full term of three years was highly successful. The most noteworthy is the renovation of the Freemasons Hall in Chennai at a great cost of a little more than 10 million rupees. His services to freemasonry was recognized and he was conferred the most distinguished award of the Order of Service to Masonry. He is the youngest recipient of that award. After his election in November 2002, he was installed as the M.W.Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India in November 2003.He is the youngest of the M.W.Grand Masters in India. He is an erudite scholar and a great orator. It is a delight to listen to his speeches. His address posted here was greatly appreciated by all the brethren, who attended the Grand Festival. The address is posted here to enable the brethren all over the world to peruse the same. We are very thankful to M.W.Bro. Arun Chinthopanth for the gracious permission granted to us to post his address in this website.—Webmaster.


Click Here To Post Your Comment

Previous ArticleGo TopNext Article

© 2002-2017. MasonicPaedia.org. All Rights Reserved
Site designed by NetGross