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Article # 174
Ceremony of Exaltation

Author: M.E.Comp.S.Krishnan    Posted on: Thursday, November 3, 2005
General Article | 2 comments  | Post your comment

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[ This is a short lecture delivered by the Author on 13-9-2005 in Bharath Matha Past Principals’ Chapter, on the ceremony of Exaltation in Royal Arch Masonry.]


Ceremony of Exaltation in Royal Arch Masonry.

By M. E. Companion S. Krishnan, III Grand Principal,



We all know the Ceremony of being admitted to the Royal Arch Masons’ Degree is called ‘Exaltation’. We have probably not given much attention to why it should be called so. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘Exalt’ is – “Praise Highly” and that of ‘Exaltation’ – “the condition of being elated”. Royal Arch Masonry is therefore intended to bring about a ‘condition of elation’ on every candidate being admitted to the Degree. Let us now examine, why this should be so.

  Even in our ordinary lives, if a long lost thing is found, we get a mixed feeling of joy and relief, depending on the value of the long lost thing which is found and if the circumstances leading to the discovery of the lost thing is accidental and quite unexpected the feeling of joy is all the more. No wonder therefore that the ceremony of admission to the degree is called ‘Exaltation’

In the above context, one thing has always puzzled me. Those who are familiar with the Exaltation Ceremony will recall that M.E.Z, while congratulating the Candidate, on being exalted into Royal Arch Masonry describes it, as the foundation and key stone of the whole Masonic Structure also reminds him as to how during the ceremony of his being raised to the Third Degree, he was informed that by the untimely death of our Master H.A.B., the secrets of a Master Mason were lost and certain substituted secrets were adopted to distinguish all Master Masons, until time and circumstances should restore the genuine. He is also informed that these secrets were lost for a period of nearly 500 years and were regained in the manner which had been described to the candidate, somewhat in a dramatic form  in the Ceremony, forcefully to impress on his mind the providential means by which the ancient secrets were regained.

Looking back, I am really surprised as to how and why our curiosity was not kindled sufficiently enough either at the time of our raising, or subsequently when we had heard that lecture on so many occasions, to find out as to what was it, that was lost and were they ever found and if so how? This is all the more so, when we recall that at every closing of the Third Degree, we have heard the W.M. asking the questions – What is it that was lost, how came they to be lost and where do we hope to find them, as also his statement that he will assist the Wardens in finding them and we too have joined in his prayers that may Heaven aid them in their united endeavors. We have also thereafter bent with gratitude to our Master. It is therefore really amazing how years may pass before a Master Mason gets Exalted and comes to know the answer to these questions. In my own case it took 10 years for me to find out and I am sure that must be the case for most of the Companions. Incidentally, I got my 50 years Long Term Jewel in October last year and the 40 years Long Term Service Jewel in the Chapter, two days ago on 11th September at Jhansi, but neither during these 50 years in the Craft nor in the 40 years in the Chapter, I have been able to find an answer. However, I find that we continue to bemoan that the strength in the Chapter is so low as compared to the Craft! It is clear in my mind that the blame in this regard rests squarely on the senior Masons, who are already in the Chapter, who have not taken the pains to kindle that curiosity in the minds of the Master Masons. Even when a prospective candidate is approached to become a Member of the Chapter no such idea is given to him to look forward to his Exaltation Ceremony. I do hope that talks like this arranged by Bharat Matha Chapter will improve matters.

It only remains for me to high light some of the beautiful aspects of the Exaltation Ceremony, to emphasise its importance in Freemasonry. To start at the very beginning, the candidate is made to listen as he enters the Chapter, to the Prayer where we ask him to be endued with a portion of His Devine Spirit and that he may not enter the Order lightly, nor recede from it hastily, but pursue it steadfastly and also ever remember that the object of the Institution is the welfare of our fellow creatures, but above all, the honour and glory of His Most Holy Name. Later he is also informed that the want of light should remind him that man by nature is a child of ignorance and error and ever would have remained in a state of darkness, had it not pleased the Almighty to call him to light and immortality, by the revelation of His Holy Will and Word. He is also congratulated on his being admitted to the Order with the confidence that his future conduct will fully justify his exaltation to the Supreme Degree, which is denominated as the essence of Freemasonry. There are also other portions of the Ceremony which emphasise the importance of Humility and Docility as sure indications of merit and that purity of heart and rectitude of conduct should at all times actuate those exalted into this Supreme Degree.        

Before I conclude I would like to share with you that of the five signs that are explained to the Candidate my own favourite which also I feel expresses the spirit of this Degree is the M..n..t..r..l . Sn which reminds us of the weakness of human nature, unable of itself to resist the powers of darkness, unless assisted by that light which is from above. By this defenseless posture, we acknowledge our whole frailty and confess that we can do no manner of good or acceptable service, but through Him from whom all good counsels and just works do proceed and without whose Divine and special favour, we must ever have remained unprofitable servants in His sight.

The Upanishad says: “The mind alone is the cause of man’s bondage; the mind is also, the instrument of man’s liberation”. It is silence that can still the mind; it is silence that will awaken the Supreme within you. In silence you can meditate; in silence you can communicate with God. You can engage in an intimate and loving conversation with God for He listens to your innermost prayers. Let me end my talk by exhorting you all to -


           “ In your happy moments –

Glorify God!

In your difficult moments –

Pray to God!

In your quiet moments –

Spend time with God!

In your painful moments – Praise God!

Every moment –

Draw closer to God. "






R.W.Bro.S.Krishnan, the learned author is a Masonic scholar and a very senior Freemason, who has been in the fraternity a little over 50 years and who is held in high estimation for his administrative skills and great Masonic Knowledge. He is a former Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of India. A Past Dy.G.M in Craft, he is the present M.E.III Grand Principal in the Royal Arch. There are numerous publications to his credit. We are very thankful to him for permitting us to post this article, which was a short lecture he delivered in the Bharath Matha Past First Principals Chapter, on the Ceremony of Exaltation.

Click Here To Post Your Comment

vasunkrish wrote on Thursday, November 3, 2005:

Subject: Ceremony of Exaltation

From the author! Sorry a typographical error has crept into the Article! In para 4, line 11, the figure 100 should actually be 10! Sorry it missed correction.

EnToPan wrote on Monday, January 14, 2008:

Subject: ..and the chakras

Greetings and Brotherhood. I am not yet Royal Arc just a Master Masson of a symbolic lodge which practice A.S.S.R. Since many breathern seek more light more of them are affilate at the York Rite in another friendly obbedience. I was asking for some information about York Rite i was given to me a nice book "The ninth arc" which exist only in Greek. Inside is very good explained that : In the apprendice the Anahata chakra is stimulated. In the fellow of the craft the third eye ( ajna) and in the Master Nason the Shahashrara. In the Royal Arc all these energy previously awekened in the symbolic degrees work in harmony because the 3 higher chakras work then as a triangle. Do you agree with it? In the West we say : Ex Oriente Lux and so we look forward for your respectable opinion

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