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Article # 284
Freemasonry and Bharathiya Thoughts

Author: Bro.Niranjan Rajagopalan    Posted on: Sunday, December 21, 2014
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Freemasonry and Bharathiya Thoughts

 

Bro.Niranjan Rajagopalan

 

1.   True to the Masonic teachings that, we are never to embark upon any undertaking without first invoking the blessings of the G.A.O.T.U, let me first supplicate HIM by meditating on the effulgent divine light, which created the Universe. May HE dispel our mental darkness and inspire our intellect.

 

2.   Freemasonry is a continuous process of learning. We learn by hearing, by contemplation and by experience and we have been instructed to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. The ideas presented here are reflections from those experiences and contemplation, where I found certain relations between ‘Bharathiya Thought’ i.e. the way of thinking of our Ancient Ancestors and that in Freemasonry. The relationship between Ideas of our Ancient Motherland and Freemasonry is like an Ocean. The study presented here is just a wave, and there will always be waves, as long as the ocean exists.

 

3.   What does ‘Bharathiya’ mean ? Is it a word derived from the fact that, the land mass from which those ideas originated or the people lived was called ‘Bharath’ ? Or does it have a deeper significance ? Who are Bharathiyas ?   A deeper probe into the origin of the word would reveal that, ‘Bha’ denotes Bhaghwan or the G.A.O.T.U. and ‘Rathi’ denotes, attachment. Thus the word ‘Bharathi’ means ‘to be attached to GOD’ and Bharathiyas are people those who are attached to GOD. Thus Bharath was the land mass in which ‘Bharathiyas’ lived and it is said  that is why our Ancient land was referred  so in the Scriptures.

 

4.   In Freemasonry we invoke the assistance of the G.A.O.T.U in all our undertakings, right from opening of the Lodge, in all the degrees,  closing, and in every labour. The very first prayer in the Lodge recites, “..let us invoke the assistance of the G.A.O.T.U., in all our undertakings, may our labours begun in order, be conducted in PEACE and closed in HARMONY”. The first question posed to the candidate for initiation after the invocation is, “ In all cases of difficulty and danger, in whom do you put your trust ? “ and the Answer is ‘In God” and Freemasons trust that, ‘Where the name of God is invoked no danger can ensue”. These instances, make it, but clear that, Freemasons are also Bharathiyas, those who are attached to God i.e. the G.A.O.T.U.

 

5.   The Ancient Bharathiyas believed in Omnipresence of the G.A.O.T.U.. The Purusha Suktham, begins as follows: 

 

“sahasra SIrshA purusha:  |  sahasrAksha: sahasrapAt  |sa bhUmim vishvato vRtvA  | atyatishTad daSAngulam”

 

With 1000 heads 1000 eyes, and 1000 feet, He manifests the world, He is Beyond the Count of Ten Fingers.

 

The above stanza does not mean, that God has 1000 heads, eyes and feet. Reference to a Thousand is nothing but, infinite and a metaphor that all men are verily God Himself and that the entire creation itself is His Manifestation. In our ceremonies, while taking the obligation, the Candidate has to declare that, He takes it “In the presence of the G.A.O.T.U/G.G.O.T.U/M.H”. I take it that, such reference to the presence of the Almighty in our assemblies is not a mistake or a co-incidence, but a subtle acknowledgment to HIS Omnipresence, which our Ancients were aware of and which, we as Freemasons must too be.

 

6.   It won’t be irrelevant at this stage consider the ancient system of learning in Gurukulams. The Guru and his disciples assembled and commenced the day with the prayer, reciting a portion of the Shanthi Mantra from Krishna Yajurveda Taittiriya Upanishad (2.2.2) and other prayers. (It is done in many schools also nowadays)

 

 सह नाववतु    Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the disciple)
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।  May God Nourish us Both,
सह वीर्यं करवावहै May we Work Together with Energy and Vigour,
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै  May our Study be Enlightening and not

                                                              give rise to Hostility,
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥        Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

 

Our Ancients realized that, while invoking the grace of the Great Architect for protection, nourishment, health, energy and vigour, absolute  Peace and Harmony is necessary for the learning process to be fruitful. While we all invoke the G.A.O.T.U every time, I am reminded of only this practice.  

 

7.   In fact, sitting in the East, The Master of the Lodge also has certain facets of a Guru, with the Brethren as disciples. In IIIrd Degree closing, when the Brethren bend with Gratitude to the Master, the W.M. immediately declares that “All Glory to the Most High”. The above portion of the ceremony is very significant, as it illustrates a great principle through the W.M.’s reaction to our Gratitude that, HE (M.H.) is the DOER and it is to HE all our Praise or Criticism goes to, HE is the Cause, HE is our Inspiration, HE is the true recipient of our Gratitude. This is an Idea that our Ancient Bharathiyas constantly lived with and forms the bedrock of the teachings of the Holy Bhagavad Geetha, which we display as a V.S.L. on the Altar.

 

8.   Our Ancients prayed “Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya” meaning “take us from Darkness to Light” i.e. “from ignorance to enlightenment”. Freemasonry is nothing but a Journey from darkness to light, we come in as a rough Ashlar, representing a rough and unformed mind of Man in infancy and become a perfect Ashlar, representing a mind polished by education and experience of the Rituals. Here takes relevance another important facet of the Bharathiya Thought, which is the aversion to Material Attachment. Bharathiyas believed that, only if we give up material desire/attachment there can be true advancement. This is amply illustrated in every ceremony, when the candidates are taken out of all material comforts before they are initiated, passed or raised.  In fact before the initiation, all metals and money are also taken and only then is he taken into the path of advancement. In fact to call the candidate a “A POOR man in state of darkness” in my view is not a reference to his material state of nothingness, but a reference to his material attachment, for a Man with material attachment is always with a sense of wanting and is hence always poor. Once he is enlightened, he leaves his material attachment and hence no longer is poor. What better way could there be than this, to symbolically to illustrate the unhelpfulness of material comfort & wealth in spiritual and moral advancement? 

 

9.   Talking about attachment to God of the Bharathiyas, it is not just invoking the Almighty and expressing Gratitude for nothing. Our Ancient Bharathiyas had the Karma Marga, which laid emphasis in Duties to God, Nature, Society and Ourselves. It could be best said in the reverse Vyakthi (Individual self), Samashti (Society or Community), Shrishti (Creation or Nature) and Parameshti (Creator or God); each constitutes the other. In Freemasonry, every initiate, is therefore charged to consider the V.S.L. as the unerring standards of Truth and Justice, where we are taught the important duties we owe to God, Neighbor and to Ourselves.

 

 

10.               Such goes the endless stream of parallel references to our ancient culture and Freemasonry. The conclusion that comes to my mind is that, Freemasonry is like a Bridge. It is a Bridge for us, modern people to the ancient wisdom of not just the Bharathiyas alone, but of various ancient traditions.  Blessed are we to be here as Brothers and members of this Fraternity and may we be ever grateful to the Almighty for this Blessing.

 

 

 

 

The Author is the present J.W of Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge (No.150). He is a good ritualist and an upcoming Masonic Scholar.


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