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Article # 59
An Outgoing Master opens out his Heart

Author: W.Bro.R.R.Kandade P.R.G.I.G.    Posted on: Thursday, March 20, 2003
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[ It is customary in Lodges in India on Installation Nights for the W.M, just prior to installing his successor to make a speech about his stewardship of  the Lodge during his year of office. W.Bro.R.R.Kandade P.R.G.I.G installed his successor in Lodge Golden Pagoda (No.195) Mumbai, on February 25 th, 2003. He spoke about his stewardship and incidentally, he opened his heart and delivered an address. We are posting that address.  Please read on…..]

 

An Outgoing Master opens out his Heart.

 

 

   W. Bro Asst. Regional Grand Master and the officers of the Regional Grand Lodge of  Western India, W. Brethren,  and  Brethren all,

 

Let me at the outset convey to all of you my hearty Greetings and a warm welcome.

 

Today is a special day in the history of our beloved Lodge. Not because of it being the Installation night. Installation nights occur every year. It is of special significance because, after a very long spell, a brother who is not an installed Master  is  being installed, thus being a trend setter and

 perhaps breaking the monotony of a musical chair between two Past Masters.

 

Secondly, today is special because of the presence, after a very long time, of this august body, the RGL delegation; most of us have never ever witnessed this event in this Lodge.

 

Thirdly, today 25 – 02 – 2003 is also of great significance in that, 2+5=7, is a number of great significance to us especially Masons of the second degree and above. You will notice that the year 2003 adds unto 5, yet another significant Masonic number and the month 2 + year 5 also add unto 7, and 7 or more alone make a perfect lodge. This combination of 5 and 7 would never have come about had this meeting been held in the normal course i.e. on 10 – 02 – 2003. For that matter, this combination of 5 and 7 can never come about at all given our regular meetings on the second Monday of each month.

 

We may describe this natural phenomenon of 3, 5 and 7 as a destiny, which makes us brothers, and none goes his way alone, for, we walk by faith and not by sight. It would be a fallacy on our part to believe that we have formed a perfect lodge because mortals can at best aim for excellence. Perfection is only associated with the G.A.O.T.U. Hence, it cannot be denied that we owe the design of this natural phenomenon of 3, 5 and 7 to coincide with our meeting to none, but the G.A.O.T.U.

 

On a less supernatural scale, today is a special day especially for me, for, as a humble and relatively junior Mason, it is my proud privilege to install my successor. I am doing such an installation for the first time in my Masonic career and I hope that I will live up to your expectations especially those of our distinguished visitor, W. Bro. Vasudev Masurekar and his Regional Grand Officers. Incidentally, I may share a small secret with you all. The first name of our worthy and distinguished visitor Vasudev is the same as my younger sibling. This has gladdened my heart and I am happy to say, that it has brought me emotionally closer to our distinguished representative from the RGL of WI.

 

Brethren, as the curtains close down on my tenure as the W.M of our beloved Lodge, I have to share some of the thoughts that are uppermost in my mind as well as my feelings, which  are  mixed. I  am  happy as we were able to increase the strength of our Lodge to 22 brethren. I am further happy that amongst us, there are quite a few dedicated brethren and therefore, as I am relinquishing my office and placing the same in the hands of my successor, I am confident that the future of our Lodge is and will be, in capable hands.

 

At the same time, I am rather sad at the attitude and aptitude of some of our brethren towards this Lodge, which we call our Mother Lodge. I have not been able to see the quality of dedication or the intense sense of belonging that ought to have been there. In fact, there has been a distinct attitude of casualness and abandon in many of us. This hurts, for, it makes me sad, that when some special circumstances reduced the effective residual membership to five brethren, our struggle to strengthen the Lodge, should have masonically cemented us with more cohesion, devotion and dedication.

 

Let us look within ourselves for a moment. Why did each of us become a Freemason? Did we do so voluntarily out of our own freewill and accord or under any coercion? Having embraced this peculiar system of morality, why are we not more dedicated to the same? Why is it not being taken more seriously and especially on an emotional and sentimental plane? Instead of our looking forward to the meeting date, why do we even need to be reminded, that our Lodge meeting is on the second Monday of every month? Why do we need to be cajoled to  attend the lodge meetings? When, sometime back, I expressed my sentiments about my unhappiness over the working of our Lodge, a Brother commented angrily that perhaps he was more attached to Freemasonry than any other brother in Craft. Even if the rest of my brethren do not choose to comment thus, I keep wondering as to why there is not much feeling of sentiments towards our Lodge, its activities or the ritual workings, or any attempt to understanding the meanings thereof or carrying out the resolutions within the Lodge or develop closer bond between the brethren!  I sometimes wonder if, as one of the brethren put it some time ago, that there is more of hypocrisy and less of transparency within our Lodge!

 

This sense of disappointment leads to a personal feeling of failure that as a brother and the ruling Master of the Lodge, perhaps, I did not discharge my duties well in carrying  with me  my brethren.

 

Inspite of such mixed feelings, I MUST say that I have had a good year of Mastership and good support from almost every one of my brethren.

 

We undertook a couple of projects, though small, in the cause of charity. We donated a sum of Rs 15,000 to light up the faces of some orphan children. I must thank all those brethren who came forward to support this cause. We also supported the education of the three children of one of the attendants at Free Mason’s Hall by paying their annual school fees. I must make a special mention with gratitude to the spontaneous contribution of adoption of one of those three children by Bro. Neerav Mainkar.

 

We got new regalia made for the Lodge and we brethren do have a new look. The credit goes to Bro. D.C. Mehta who originally mooted this proposal. My thanks to all the Brethren for spontaneously supporting this idea as also unanimously passing the resolution to contribute Rs 1000/ - each for the purchase of the regalia. I believe that a couple of brethren have not yet sent in their contribution in this regard and I humbly request them to delete this default soon and help me to hand over the charge to the new Master without any deficit or arrears on record.

 

Our Lodge by-laws were modified after nearly 14 years and approved. The RGL of WI directed us to carry out certain changes. Such changes have been approved in this meeting. The finally approved bye-laws will be sent to the Grand Lodge for formal approval, forwarding  the same through the Regional grand Lodge. I thank W. Bro. Adi Vakil, the then Regional Grand Registrar and W.Bro. Meher Gimi our Regional Grand Secretary for their co-operation in  this regard. I am afraid that for a few days, I must have been a nuisance to W. Bro. Adi in this regard and I hope he will forgive me for it. I am proud of our work in this respect, for, our Regional Grand Secretary told me that he was impressed by our modified bye-laws and would like to have them as model for all the Lodges. The printed by-laws would have been in your hands today, but for the fact that a considerable time has been lost in the processing of our  bye-laws.

 

The attendance record within the Lodge has been fairly good and in fact, in one meeting we had 100% attendance. I hope that in the days to come, we will have not only good attendance but also enthusiastic participation by all the brethren in the working of the Lodge. I must say though, that the attendance record of some of the newer members is found wanting. No doubt they have been courteous to inform in advance about their inability to attend. Yet, I ask them and even the regulars, “Is one evening in an entire month too much to devote for the multiple purposes of brotherhood, Masonic commitment, enhancing knowledge, understanding each other and in general becoming a better human being?”

 

On a happier note, it was a proud day for us, when, on behalf of our Lodge, I received a citation at the hands of the R.W. Regional Grand Master of WI at the special meeting at Indore. My heart swelled with pride as we were one of the only three Lodges under the RGL of WI which had been chosen for such citation. I congratulate each of my brethren for having made such a pride possible.

 

However, given my foregoing observations about the attitudes and aptitudes of some brethren, I wish to caution my brethren that this citation should not be perceived as a hallmark. It is not the end of our endeavor; neither it is the beginning. If at all, it is the end of the beginning. Therefore, let us not get complacent, for, we have a long way to go. This citation should be treated as just a milestone, not the destination and probably a recognition, that we are proceeding on right track.

 

Incidentally, I, as a Freemason also got a citation on the same occasion. I am grateful to all my senior brethren, Past and Present, who have helped me in acquiring Masonic Knowledge to deserve such a citation. I must make a special mention of my senior, my guide and my mentor W. Bro. R.K. Ramanath who has educated and supported me by answering all my questions and even guiding me in open Lodge whenever I faltered in ritual working in all these years. Not only was he instrumental in initiating me but he also induced me to become a brother in Lodge Brahadeeswara of Southern Region in Chennai where we have an overwhelming brotherhood. My heart says, thank you Brother.

 

During the year, we initiated three candidates, passed four apprentices to the second degree and raised two brethren to the sublime degree. I confess that we have rather speeded up the process of such ritual progressions, due to the circumstances within the Lodge. Now that we have a fair strength, I suggest that in the coming days, we will all apply ourselves more to enhancing our own Masonic knowledge and becoming perfect Masons rather than quickly upgrading our brethren. In this context, I quote from an interview with the M.W. Brother CLAUDIU IONESCU, a 32nd Degree Freemason and the Grand Representative of National Grand Lodge of Romania as under:

 

When asked as to, which was, from his point of view the first thing a Mason has to know? He replied thus:


”When you enter Masonry, you have to learn tolerance. When we completely understand what tolerance means (do not mistake it for stupidity), we can say we stepped on the good road. If a Mason is not tolerant, he is not a real Mason. Let’s not forget that, at the initiation, one of the questions is whether you are able to shake hands with an enemy, if you meet him among other Masons. At the same time, you are told that you are there because your enemy agreed with your entrance in Masonry”. (This of course is not part of our own rituals)


Further interacting and when asked “Which is the most frequent mistake in Masonry in his opinion” he replied thus:


”The greatest mistake is to promote someone very fast – from Entered Apprentice to Fellow Craft and then to the sublime degree of Master Mason, if he does not have a length of service of at least one year in each degree. He vainly becomes Master if he doesn’t know how to listen. He can even be Grand Master, but he lacks apprenticeship. A Mason has to be patient, has to learn what patience means. The Apprentice has to learn how to listen. It’s hard to listen without talking. When the Apprentice has learned what listening means he is ready to become Fellowcraft.


There is also another aspect. If someone hurries to enter Masonry, he won’t become a good Mason. In my Lodge, a layman waits for 7 or 8 months until I present his application to the members of the Lodge. Have you seen a child, who, right after he has gone out from his mother’s, womb goes to work? He cries, learns to eat, to walk, goes to school. The stages can’t be skipped. There must be sufficient gap in between the degrees to enable the candidate to assimilate the teachings and become fit for the reception of further instruction and progress to the next degree. Within Masonry, the ritual and the tradition must be respected. The ceremony should be well planned. Nobody can understand Hiram’s Secret, from the 3rd degree ceremonial, if he is not put in a coffin. So it is compulsory that the stages should be respected in Masonry. If someone is advanced to Fellowcraft, after one day of initiation, he has missed at least one year of Masonic life. And this can’t be recovered. The lost moments bring about misunderstandings and “ clashes”

 

Further in this context, I was very impressed by one of the working methodology in this Grand Lodge of Romania which was asserted by the above  referred  W. Brother and  I  quote:

 

“Each man learns in his own way. When I’m initiating an Apprentice, I give him a Master Brother as a “spiritual assistant”. That Master is compelled to answer any question, to help him create a Masonic culture. If the Apprentice doesn’t attend the meetings, the Master should call him at home, ask him whether he has problems and should offer his help. Men should be prepared. Otherwise we will have a weak link in the universal Masonic chain. The weak links can break the entire chain”.

 

I recommend to the incoming Master and all the brethren of our Lodge that we appoint senior brethren as such “spiritual  guides” to answer questions and guide junior brethren in creating Masonic culture. It will help the juniors to acquire knowledge and the seniors to refresh their own knowledge.

 

In the matter of perfecting Masonic Knowledge, we have taken a small though significant step by asking brethren to read out their last ritual’s obligation in the next meeting, thereby inculcating not only a pride in the breast of such a brother but also refreshing his mind to the various aspects of the obligation he has taken. This idea was mooted by our W. Bro. Dr. Singh and I hope this idea will gain momentum.

 

One of  our  former brethren, Bro. Navin Shah, has  rejoined our Lodge, on my persuation and efforts. I am grateful that he respected not only my sentiments but also perhaps his own inner Masonic traits and re-joined us. Bro. Navin has not only been a Masonic brother to me but also has been a real brother in life for the last nearly thirty years. I offer a special welcome to him

 

I am very thankful to each of my brethren for their kind support and I earnestly look forward to increased co-operation, communication and camaraderie between the brethren in the coming years.

 

However, I must make a special mention of the enthusiasm of one of our dear brethren, Bro. Mukul Patel, who, with his thirst and zeal for Masonic knowledge, not only accesses information and data from the internet but also regularly shares such information with all the brethren or atleast those who have access to internet. Atleast one of his articles has been uploaded on the website www.masonicpaedia.org maintained by the Masonic research Circle of Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge. I not only congratulate and thank him but also express my wish and desire that more of us follow his example. I also suggest and recommend that within our own Lodge we form a study group to discuss and assimilate such knowledge, where after, as a regular feature, certain number of our Lodge meetings be totally dedicated to presentation and discussions of such Masonic information and knowledge. In fact, what I have quoted above from the interview of W. Bro. CLAUDIU IONESCU is from the information sent to all of us by Bro. Mukul.

 

In this context of acquiring Masonic knowledge, it is worth recalling to our own minds the relevant part of our 1st degree ritual where during the Charge after initiation, we are told, among other things “ …and, without neglecting the ordinary duties of your station, to endeavour to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.” I believe that our elders – the Ancient Masons intended to stress on the “daily” aspect.

 

I must make yet another mention of the enthusiastic support given to me by Bro. Mukul who designed the cover page as also the format for the inner pages of an Electronic Directory of our Lodge. The work is yet to be completed as many brethren have not yet sent in the complete information I had requested for. It was my wish and ardent desire to present such a directory to the incoming Master at this installation night. I may add that this directory was intended to share the joys and happinesses in each brother’s life, bringing the families of the brethren closer and even enable brethren to come to the rescue of a brother in distress by including information about blood groups, family doctor’s contact details etc. I can never forget, for so long as I shall live, that W. Bro Chandrakant Gada sat beside my bed throughout the night in Bombay Hospital to watch over me, when I had collapsed with a case of Hypoglycemia. Nor can I  ever forget the help and moral support that W. Bro. Dr. Singh gave me when I lost my brief case with the passport, travellers’ cheques etc when I was passing through Vienna several years ago. May the G.A.O.T.U bless such true and caring brethren. I request the incoming Master to direct all his brethren to give me the information so that such a directory may be compiled at the soonest.

 

On a wider front, Bro. Mukul Patel and I have started a project on our own to create a data base of all the brethren of all the Lodges in Greater Mumbai whereby we propose to collect such similar data of blood groups and emergency contact numbers, so that a comprehensive data base of able and willing blood donors can be made available so that we freemasons are really geared up to serve brothers in distress. As and when such a comprehensive data base is created we will be recommending to the incoming Master to invite the R.W. Regional Grand Master to release such a data base.

 

Our Lodge has had its share of joys and sorrows in the last year. Our Bro. Pradip Tamhane lost his revered mother and had to further suffer the agony of going through an angioplasty. Similarly, Bro. Anil Gupte’s family too had a tragedy. He lost his sister-in-law. Bro. D.C. Mehta lost his father-in-law. The Lodge brethren joined me in praying to the G.A.O.T.U.  to rest the departed souls in peace as also give strength to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss. On a happier note, Bro. Kishinchandani celebrated his son’s marriage a couple of months ago and Bro. Paul Dias celebrated his son Suraj’s wedding just last week. On yet another happy note, Bro. Neerav Mainkar became the proud father of a bonny girl about three months ago. On behalf of all of us I pray to the G.A.O.T.U. to bless the newly married couple with  blissful wedded life as also bless the new addition to our Golden Pagoda family with a long, healthy and happy life. All these incidents have surely taught us brethren to take life stoically and carry on our responsibilities taking joys and sorrows in our stride.

 

Brethren, I take this opportunity to thank each of you for the goodwill and support that you have extended to me and I look forward to reciprocating the same by way of unstinted loyalty and support to the Incoming Master and his officers. I also strongly exhort each one of you to take serious interest in all aspects of Freemasonry. Let us try and make our Lodge Golden Pagoda the best Lodge atleast in Western India, if not the entire country.

 

In the same breath, I ask for unconditional forgivance if, in my zeal as a Freemason, I had unintentionally hurt the feelings or sentiments of any of you. I firmly believe that Freemasonry is MY way of life and that there is no scope for anything but frankness and transparency.

 

Finally, I pray to the G.A.O.T.U. to bless each one of you and your family members with health, wealth, peace and prosperity and long lives to enjoy these as also for you brethren to serve the Masonic fraternity.

 

Last but not the least, I request the distinguished visiting brethren and each of you brethren of our Lodge to accept our hospitality and join us in the banquet after the meeting.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

The author is the I.P.M of Lodge Golden Pagoda (No.195) Mumbai. He is also one of the P.Ms of Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge (No.150) Chennai. He is a Masonic Scholar. His paper on the Hiramic Legend in the Masonic Seminar conducted by Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge in the august presence of M.W.Grand Master was well received and will be uploaded shortly. He is also an eloquent speaker.


Click Here To Post Your Comment

ttait wrote on Thursday, March 20, 2003:

Subject: open heart

you have a wonderful knack for expressing everything in a positive and kind way. Gentle suggestions for betterment and warm sincerity in all of your comments. Thank you for sharing your words.



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