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Article # 275
Ancient Teachings Absorbed by Freemasonry

Author: R.W.Bro.Dr.John Reginald    Posted on: Thursday, October 2, 2014
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Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Lecture 2014

 

Ancient Teachings Absorbed by Freemasonry.

 

(Lecture delivered by R.W.Bro.Dr.John Reginald P.Dy.G.M

in Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Lecture Series at Yelagiri Retreat)

 

I am thankful for the signal honour of being invited to deliver the Second Lecture in Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Lecture Series and that too in the distinguished presence of our M.W.Grand Master and numerous senior brethren. It was with some trepidation that I accepted the request to deliver the second Lecture, as I have known the high standard of the papers presented in the Masonic Seminars and Retreats arranged by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge and that I have to spend quite some time for producing a well researched paper. Considerable encouragement and guidance were extended to me by the senior brethren and I thank them.

 

2.  We were all congratulated at our Initiation,  “ on being admitted a member of our ANCIENT and Honourable institution”. It was  further stated that it was Ancient,. “as having subsisted from time immemorial..” Despite a large body of research papers written by eminent Antiquarians, who are  keen students  of the origin and history of the Craft, many serious minded enquirers frankly admit that a perusal of the available literature on the subject has left them confused and unconvinced. It will be beyond the scope of this lecture to ascertain, whether the history of Freemasonry propounded in the Old constitutions and papers is correct. It is an undeniable fact that the doctrines of the Ancient wisdom  are faithfully preserved in our Masonic system and that was the reason, of  it  being  characterized as Ancient.

 

3.  Few brethren consider Freemasonry as a social institution, with a structured organizational  hierarchy  and  rules, regulations, etc. Most others  consider it as a body of moral values, a code of conduct with ideas and aspirations, which its members and votaries try, practice and adhere. The latter view appears to be more apt, because we have been taught that ours is “ a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”. Further, the Ancient Wisdom absorbed by Freemasonry makes its adherents and the institution Honourable.

 

4.  Any student of comparative religion will notice the remarkable presence of common factors, common beliefs, doctrines, practices and symbols, in the religions of all races alike, throughout the world. Races, separated from others by time or distance, or location, are found to have employed and are still employing certain ideas, symbols, doctrines  and  practices in common with others. A close examination of Masonic literature confirms that, many  ancient and universal  ideas, symbols and practices have been  embodied in our system of Freemasonry, which points out to the antiquity and universality of the science. Let us now analyze some of the important ancient wisdom absorbed by Freemasonry.

 

5.  All knowledge is said to have originated in the East, for the East, in every sense, geographically, astronomically, and spiritually, has ever been the source of light as declared in "Ex Oriente Lux" (Out of the East Light).Our ritual teaches that the glorious luminary of nature regularly rises in the East and diffuses light and luster to all within its circle. It were only three wise men from the East guided by the Stars who paid the first homage to the son of God. Learning was first established in the East and as humanity itself became diffused and distributed over the globe, learning had gradually spread towards the West. The record of this truth is asserted in our  Instruction Lectures in the phrase, "Learning originated in the East and thence spread its benign influence towards the West" (Masonic Lectures  Fourth Section, First Lecture). Symbolically therefore the W.M is placed in the East to open the Lodge and employ and instruct the brethren in Freemasonry and at his Installation he is exhorted to consider that glorious luminary of nature, which rising in the East, regularly diffuses light and luster to all within its circle and in like manner it is his peculiar province to impart light and instruction to the brethren of the lodge. All the Ancient cultures worshipped Sun, even though Egyptians called it Amon Ra, Greeks as Helios, Romans by the Latin word Sol, Persians as Mithras,  Incans as Inti,  Aztecs as Huitzilopochtli and Hinduism called it as Surya. Masonry has absorbed the ancient importance given to Sun and made it as one of the Lesser Lights and our Principal Officers were assigned duties as per the phases of the Sun. W.M , as the rising Sun to open the Lodge and instruct the brethren. The S.W, as the setting Sun to close the Lodge and the J.W to mark the Sun at its meridian, to call the brethren from Labour to Refreshment. Most of the religions prescribe prayers at or before sunrise, similarly at noon and at dusk. Our Lodges are situated due East and West following the specification laid by ancient wisdom that all places of Divine worship should be so situated.

 

6.  All of us have stood outside the door of the Lodge as poor candidates in a state of darkness humbly soliciting to be admitted to the secrets and mysteries of Freemasonry. Darkness has been symbolic of poverty, ignorance and misery. We sought light of enlightenment. Mackey describes this position of the candidate  as  "There he stands outside our portals, on the threshold of his new masonic life, in darkness, helplessness and ignorance. Having been wandering amid the errors and covered with the pollutions of the outer and profane world, he comes inquiringly to our door, seeking the new birth, and asking a withdrawal of the veil which conceals divine truth from his uninitiated state."

 

Let us now consider some ancient texts on Darkness and Light.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (I.iii.28) contains    the ancient prayer which is as follows.

                                             “asato ma sadgamaya
                                              tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
                                              mrtyorma amrtam gamaya”

This  prayer  means ,           

Lead me from the unreality of Transitory Existence to the Reality of the Eternal Self,
Lead me from darkness
(of Ignorance) to the
 Light (of Spiritual Knowledge)
Lead me from death to immortality.

The symbolic meaning of the prayer is beseeching the G.A.O.T.U. to show us the reality and to dispel our ignorance and to grant  us enlightenment.

7.  At the door of the Lodge, the outer guard gives the appropriate knock, which reminds of the Scriptural portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7-7 a to c and 8)) and announces that a poor candidate in a state of darkness has come of his own freewill and accord, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry. That reminds us of the Scriptural portion, “Ask and it will be given to you,” indicating that prayerful beseeching  is necessary (Matthew 7:7a), for  it is only by Prayer we communicate our needs and desires to God, who  being omniscient, knows what we need whether we  ask or not, but prayer is the means by which God is appraised of our needs in a personal prayer showing our dependence on HIM for needs that can be met no other way.  Scripture  says, “Seek, and you will find” (Matthew 7:7b)  “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4). Seeking or soliciting  is  earnestly  praying for guidance, instruction and protection. Scripture then says, “Knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7c). If a person needs something from someone behind a door, the most natural thing to do is knock and keep knocking until the door is opened and the desire is granted. In the same way, a candidate has to knock for admission into light. Masonry requires the candidate to voluntarily and of his own freewill and accord, seek light and knock at the door for admission and then his request will be granted as described in the Scriptures.

8.   After  the candidate was duly admitted , he takes the obligation and then, he expresses the predominant  wish of his heart as light. On the granting of that wish, the candidate sees light and his look falls on the Volumes of Sacred Law, the great Light in Freemasonry. The Hebrew cosmogonist commences his description of the creation by the declaration that "God said, Let there be light, and there was light"--a phrase which, in the more emphatic form that it has received in the original language of "Be light, and light was". "The singularly emphatic summons," says a profound modern writer, "by which light is called into existence, is probably owing to the preeminent utility and glory of that element, together with its mysterious nature, which made it seem as'The God of this world,' and won for it the earliest adoration of mankind."( Robert William Mackay, Progress of the Intellect, vol. i. p. 93.) God has been depicted as the supreme light and HIS effulgence has been incorporated in Gayatri and other mantras. Saint Ramalinga Adigalar has used the expression Arul Perum Jyothi. Walt Whitman described cosmic consciousness as "ineffable light, light rare, untellable, light beyond all signs, descriptions and languages." Light was, in accordance with this old religious sentiment, the great object of attainment in all the ancient religious Mysteries. It is symbolically referred to in Masonry, as knowledge and enlightenment. This was always its ancient symbolism, and we must never lose sight of this emblematic meaning, when we are considering the nature and signification of masonic light. The Volume of Sacred Law is our great Light. We value and respect all Scriptures. The Scriptures were produced with the Divine revelation  for the guidance of the mankind and to show them the path of God realization. They provide the guidelines for all kinds of people of the world, which, if followed, leads them towards God realization. Our  Scriptures teach us how to become a good person, to love God and not to be attached to worldly pleasures and to love God selflessly and they reveal the secret of the spiritual practices that only through prayers with devotion and total surrender to His will, one can realize God. When the candidate makes a demand for light, it is not merely for that material light which is to remove the physical darkness, which is only the outward form, which conceals the inward symbolism. He craves for an intellectual illumination which will dispel the darkness of mental and moral ignorance  and bring to his view, , the sublime truths of religion, philosophy, and science, which Freemasonry values. It is that  great masonic light, which has to be the rule and guide of our faith and make us to become a better man and a better freemason. 

 

9.   The Principal Masonic Tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth have also been absorbed from Ancient teaching. We are proudly proclaiming that ours is the fraternity based on the principle of Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of men. We are all the creatures of the Divine Creator. We are all brothers, sisters and children of the same Father, The Supreme Lord. 

 

          Rigveda 5-60-5 The men are without superiors and without inferiors. They     

      are mutually brothers. They march onwards for prosperity. The eternally

      youthful, the soul protecting, grief alleviating God is their father. The

      feeding Mother-Earth produces happy days to these mortals

 

       Atharva Veda 12.1.12 proclaims that Mother Earth is our common Mother

      and we all are sons and daughters of this Mother and  therefore, there is

      oneness  among all the innumerable souls inhabiting the different physical

      bodies.

      

The prayer in Rig Veda 8.98.11 stresses the Divine Parenthood of mankind as follows.  

          “ O Lord! Thou art our Father and Mother, Thou art the only refuge of all, as

         Thou art the bestower of everything for our survival.  We bow our heads

         to seek Thy blessings.”

 

Atharva Veda 19.15.6 mentions,

           Blessed are the eyes that cast the affectionate glances at others. The

           Vedas  teach us that all are our friends, none is our enemy.  Love begets

           love and hatred breeds poison and contempt.

 

Holy Bible teaches us ,

         But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right

          to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the

          will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13

 

Deuteronomy 32:6, emphasizes that, " Is not HE your Father who has brought you? HE has made you and established you.”

 

Isaiah 64:8  stresses that “ O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

 

Summing up, Holy Bible has taught us be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble” as in Peter 3:8 and that, The brotherhood should be “ brotherhood of Love.” as in 1 Thessalonians 4:9  

 

Holy Quran in Al Quran 4:2O, admonishes

         “ mankind! be mindful of your duty to your Lord, Who created you from

            a single soul and created there from its mate, and from them twain

            spread many men and women; and fear Allah, in Whose name you

            appeal to one another, and fear Him particularly respecting ties of

            relationship. Indeed, Allah watches over you”

This verse,  has defined the unity of mankind and has stressed, that the whole of humanity has its origin from one source and as such are related to each other, and that they  should fear God with regard to their responsibilities to each other. 

Besides, emphasizing the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man,  in Surah Hujurat, (Chapter No. 49, Verse No. 13), the Islamic concept of Universal Brotherhood has been propounded as follows.

        ‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female   

         and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other

         not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you

         in the sight of God is (he who is) the most Righteous of you. And God

         has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

 

Buddha always emphasized  self denial and brotherly relations among  people. Buddhism is based on the foundation of universal brotherhood.

 

Granth Sahib declares the whole humanity as one brotherhood and God is the only Father for us all. (Page 611 Guru Granth Sahib)

 

The greatness of true brotherly love, meriting God’s blessings  has been exemplified in Psalm 133, as 
           “  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell

               together in unity! 
               It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down

               upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the

               skirts of his garments; 
               As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the

               mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing,

               even life for evermore.”

Such a state can be reached only if as laid down in Romans 12:10, we 

              “ Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another

                 in showing honor.”   and as instructed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

             “  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not

                 arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not

                 irritable  or resentful”

 

The highly evolved sages, who lived more than 3000 years ago had laid down for our Guidance the postulate of all beings on the earth constituting one family under the concept of VASUDEIVA KUDUMBAKAM . Vasudha in Sanskrit means earth or the entire creation or the Cosmos. Eva means truly or verily.

KUDUMBAKAM  means  a  little family.

 

I feel that this is the proper time for all the brethren of this great Grand Lodge to unite under the guidance and leadership of our M.W. Grand Master, whose very name itself is symbolic  of the concept of Vasudeva KUDUMBAKAM, to usher this concept in this great country of ours.

 

10.  All those ancient teachings have been absorbed by Freemasonry and brotherly love has been prescribed as a Masonic Tenet. Freemasonry enjoins that our hand should be extended to a brother as a sure pledge of brotherhood and that our feet shall travel through dangers and difficulties to unite with his in forming a column of mutual defence and support and that the posture of our daily supplications shall remind of  his wants and that his secrets entrusted to us shall be kept safe and secure and that we should not injure him ourselves or permit it to be done by others and that we should protect his honour in his presence  as  well as his absence. Let us ever remember that the hand over back is not to backbite him or to stab him behind his back, but to protect him in his absence as well as his presence. It is apposite to quote the Holy Quran on this aspect. It is not permissible for a Muslim to spread rumors, gossip, or engage in backbiting one another. The direction in  Quran 49:11-12  is as follows.

       “ Oh you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible), for suspicion

          in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other behind their backs.      

          Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would

          abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful"

 

This literal definition of the word “backbiting” is something that we don’t often think about. The condemnation we give to the act of cannibalism is the same horror that we should feel when engaging in, or even speaking about, backbiting. Let us not take vengeance or bear a grudge against a brother and as instructed in 1 Peter 2:1-25, let us  put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander and as required in Hebrews 13:1-3,

       “ Let brotherly love continue”, for ever in our great Fraternity and let us

          not  sully that great virtue.

 

11. The next tenet of Relief is allied with Charity. Gita in Chapter 17 Verse 20  mentions that Charity, which is given without consideration of anything in return to a deserving person is regarded as an act of goodness. Verse 21 declares that charity, which is given with expectation of some return or desiring some result or with reluctance is of the nature of passion. Charity has been extolled in Manu  Smruthi (IV. 235)   as follows.

    “Both he who respectfully bestows a charity, and he who respectfully accepts 

      it shall go to a seat of bliss; but, if they act otherwise, to a region of horror.”

 

Our Ritual teaches that like its sister Mercy, Charity blesses him who gives as well as him who receives.       

 

Jainism in Kundakunda, Pancastikaya 137, teaches us,

     “Charity is to be moved at the sight of the thirsty, the hungry and the

      miserable and to offer relief to them out of pity. It is the spring of virtue.”

 

Buddhism in  Itivuttaka 65 classifies men in three categories.

              A person who gives nothing to all is like a drought.

              A person who gives to some, is like a local rain fall.

              A  person, who gives to all, is a person who rains down everywhere.

The distinguishing  characteristics  of a Freemasons  Heart is Charity. All the Scriptures enjoin its constant practice. We also perform several Charity projects. Bible in Matthew 6:1-4 enjoins as to how charity should be practiced.

        “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to       

          be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father

          in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet

          you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they

          may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received

          reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know

          what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.

          your Father who sees in secret will reward you”.

 

Unfortunately, we seem to be contravening this Scriptural  advice, sometimes spending more money on the shows connected with the Charity Project, than the amount spent on charity itself.  Bible has declared in 2 Corinthians 9:7 as follows. 

          “ Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or

             under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-11, instructs that, “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and  he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

The Charge at N.E enjoins that should we at any future time meet a brother in distressed  circumstances, who might solicit our assistance, we should happily embrace that opportunity to practice the virtue of charity. Rituals teaches us that we should seek solace of our own distress by extending relief and consolation to our fellow creatures in the hour of their affliction and pour the healing balm of consolation into the bosom of the afflicted.

12.  Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry. Truth  means something more than besides  the search for truths in the intellectual sense. In any universal  brotherhood, members must be truthful in character and habits, dependable, men of honor, on whom we can rely to be faithful fellows and loyal friends. Truth is a vital requirement if a brotherhood is to endure and hence, we accept it as such.

 

13. While explaining the Working tool, Level, we have been taught that it symbolizes equality, which is a great virtue described in all the Scriptures.

Rig Veda 5-60-5, stresses equality as

“ The men are without superiors and without inferiors. They are mutually

   brothers. They march onwards for prosperity. The eternally youthful,

            the soul protecting, grief alleviating  God is their father. The richly

   feeding Mother-Earth produces happy days to these mortals.”

 

Rig Veda 10-191-4,  is as follows.

                                               Let our hearts be 

                                               In equality and unity. 

 

Bible teaches us that, All people are the same because God created everyone and everyone is made in the image of God so this means that inside everyone there is part of God which should be respected.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

 

God does not differentiate, but treats all his creatures alike. He has  declared in Bhagavad Gita (9.29)that, “I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear”

 

Bible, proclaims in Romans 2.9-11, that “God shows no partiality.”

 

Judaism in  Midrash, Seder Eliyyahu Rabbah 10 declares, “whether Jew or Gentile, whether man or woman, whether servant or freeman, they are all equal in this: that the Holy Spirit rests upon them in accordance with their deeds”

Adi Granth in Asa, M.1, p. 349 teaches that all human beings  are repositories of Divine Light and in Sri-ki-Var Mahalla, M.1, p. 83 that , “ Anyone arrogating superiority to himself shall be disillusioned” and  Nanak had declared, that        “ Superiority shall be determined by God, crediting such a one with honor.”

Islam proclaims in Holy Qur'an 3.195, that Allah has declared that “, "I waste not the labor of any that labors among you, be you male or female--the one of you is as the other."

 

All the Scriptures have emphasized equality of mankind and that tenet has been absorbed in Freemasonry. Let us all therefore ever remember that we have to meet on the level and as indicated in Rig Veda “ There is none high or low amongst you. You are all brethren and therefore, strive all together to attain prosperity.”

 

14.   Brethren, you will recollect that during the Installation Ceremony, we were taught that as some must of necessity rule and teach, others must of course learn, obey and submit and that Humility in each is an essential qualification. And  hence we learn to be meek, humble and resigned.

 

This virtue of Humility has been extolled in Scriptures. James 4:6 teaches us that God gives us more grace and that “God opposes the proud
                                      but shows favor to the humble.”

 

Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar  declares  that No jewels are more befitting a man than humility and pleasing speech – (Kural 95)

He has also said the same about humility:
Self control places a man among gods; want of it will plunge him  into utter darkness – (Kural 121)

Good name is gained by modesty in manners – (Kural 960)

It is well for everyone to be meek, but for those who have wealth, meekness is an added merit – (Kural 125)

 

Bhagavad Gita (12:13-14 )stresses that

He who hates no single being, is friendly and compassionate, free from self-regard and vanity, the same in good and evil, patient; Contented, ever devout, subdued in soul, firm in purpose, fixed on Me in heart and mind, and who worships Me, is dear to Me.

 

Bhagavad Gita (12:15-19), extols  Meekness as follows.

He whom the world troubles not, and who troubles not the world, who is free from the emotions of joy, wrath, and fear, is dear to Me. The man who is guileless, pure, upright, unconcerned, free from distress of mind, who renounces every enterprise and worships Me, is dear to Me. He who has neither delight nor aversion, who neither mourns nor desires, who renounces good and evil fortune, and worships Me, is dear to Me. He who is the same to friend and foe, and also in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, who is wholly free from attachment; To whom praise and blame are equal, who is silent, content with every fortune, home-renouncing, steadfast in mind, and worships Me, that man is dear to Me.

 

15.  Holy Bible emphasizes that Humility is the first virtue inasmuch as it removes the obstacles to faith . It removes pride and makes a man subject to and a fit recipient of grace. St. James has taught that,

"God resisteth the proud, and giveth his grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)

The following are also relevant Bible Verses.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others, better than yourselves.  (Philippians 2:3)

Matthew has stressed that Humility  is a virtue which is necessary for salvation, "Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:29).

He has also taught that,  "Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven" (Matthew 5:11-12).

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  (Philippians 2:3)

 

 “ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6)

 

16.   Humility as an Islamic concept was  best defined by Ibn Al-Qayyim:

“There are two realities which we must fully grasp in order to be  characterized with the noblest characteristic of humility. First and foremost is to come to truly know Allah’s perfection, His abundant favors upon us and how we are fully dependent upon Him. Secondly, we have to come to know ourselves, where we come from and our numerous weaknesses and shortcomings.”

 

Some people think that humility is a weak characteristic, but the Prophet has said, “God only increases a person in status if he forgives, and  whoever

           humbles himself,  God will raise him in status.”

 

All the above teachings have been absorbed by Freemasonry, which declares that Humility in each is an essential qualification.

 

Arrogance, on the other hand, is the opposite of being a servant to the Merciful. People are stuck in themselves and get stuck in the “I” rather than the “HE,” not realizing that “I” is nothing without HIM, the Exalted. They get stuck in the “I” rather than the “we,” meaning no matter what they have done, someone else will do it better. God says in the Qur’an,

“…Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.” (16:23)

 

Rituals teaches us, that we are always to recommend to equals, courtesy and affability and  to superiors kindness and condescension. Those teachings instead of  instilling  the virtue of humility, as taught in the Bible, sometimes build pride and unfortunately encourage an attitude of arrogance, and superiority forgetting that,  Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. "

 

17.    At  this stage, it is apposite to notice, that we have been taught that,

  “ monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art and have not thought it derogatory of their dignity to exchange the scepter for the trowel..“ No further description or the symbolism of trowel has been incorporated in our rituals. The rituals in United States of America however explain the symbolism of that most important Working Tool, from which we can infer as to why the trowel was preferred to the scepter. That explanation runs as follows:

      

         “The Trowel is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to spread

         the cement which unites a building in one common mass; but we, as Free           

         and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and

         glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection;

         that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of friends

         and brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that

         noble contention, or rather emulation, of who can best work and best

         agree.”

We have retained the cementing aspect in our rituals, while invoking the grace of the G.A.O.T.U. to preserve our Order by cementing and adorning it with every moral and social virtue. This prayer is reiterated by the W.M by observing, “may every moral and social virtue cement and unite us”. Brotherly Love and Affection, with every Moral and Social virtue is the cement that should unite us as a strong, harmonious fraternity, which has the Grand Design of being happy and communicating Happiness. That principle is reflected in the short poem (Author not known)

                                        The time to be happy is now,
                                        And the place to be happy is here,
                                        And the way to be happy is to make others happy
                                        And we'll have a little Heaven right here!

 

Such a heaven can be achieved only with a Common Endeavour, Peace, Love and Unity. It will be more relevant to quote here the last verse of Rig Veda (10.191), the translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith( in Hymns of Rig Veda) is as follows.

 

          “ Assemble, speak together: let your minds be all of one accord…

            The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind,

            So be their thought  united …

            One and the same be your resolve and be your minds of one

            accord.

            United be the thoughts of all, that all may happily agree.”

 

It is not possible in one paper to enumerate and dilate all the Ancient Teachings, absorbed by Freemasonry. The most important teachings have been placed for your contemplation. There are several unmasonic practices, we have to shed as dead branches are removed and thereby ensuring the clear stream of brotherly love  not being lost into the dreary desert sand of dead habits. Let me conclude with the meaningful and enlightening Poem on Brotherhood by Edwin Markham.

 

The crest and crowning of all good,
Life’s final star, is brotherhood;
For it will bring again to Earth
Her long-lost Poesy and Mirth;
Will send new light on every face,
A kingly power upon the race.
And till it come, we men are slaves,
And travel downward to the dust of graves.
Come, clear the way, then, clear the way;
Blind creeds and kings have had their day;
Break the dead branches from the path;
Our Hope is in the aftermath-
Our hope is in heroic men
Star-led to build the world again.
Make way for brotherhood- make way for Man!

 

                                               Thank you for your patient hearing.

 

 

 

The learned author is a very busy Consultant Neuro Surgeon of great repute attached to Apollo Group of Hospitals and Professor of Neuro Surgery, who in spite of many pressing emergencies of his profession, spares ample time for Masonic Research and Education. He is a Past Dy Grand Master, Grand Lodge of India. He is a great Masonic Scholar, who has delivered several Orations and Lectures and presented several papers at various Masonic Seminars. Many of his Articles have been posted in several Masonic Websites all over the world. We are very thankful to him for delivering the Second Lecture in Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge Masonic Lecture Series under the caption “ Ancient Teachings Absorbed by Freemasonry” at the Masonic Retreat 2014 conducted in Yelagiri, a Hill Resort.We are very thankful to him for his gracious permission to post the article in this website.


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