Understanding a congenial society

Understanding a congenial society

Once a year on the day of the Summer Solstice in June, the Freemason Society throws open its doors and invites the mildly curious and the really ‘nosy’ members of the public to get up close and personal with some of the rituals and practices associated with their world-wide brotherhood.

Meeting the Freemasons turns out to be a pleasant experience as contrary to most misconceptions
(largely stemming from the secrecy shrouding their rituals and ceremonies), they are a congenial and philanthropic group, who meet regularly and occupy themselves by following their Masonic rituals reverently to the letter and doing their bit for society.
“Masonic ritual actually teaches us the importance of honour and integrity, reliability and trustworthiness, as well as the realisation that we have both a spiritual and a physical nature.

Secrecy,  is meant to teach us the meaning of  keeping confidential what others tell us so that they can ‘open up’ without fear. We have been called a ‘secret society’, which is inaccurate. We wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, that, logically, recall our early symbolic roots in stonemasonry,” says Nand Kumar, a senior member of the brotherhood.

In recent times, June 24, is observed by Freemasons the world over as in session Freemasons and visitors in the temple of the lodge. and is marked by celebrations and fellowship between masons, non-masons and their families. Bangalore alone has 10 masonic lodges, which do a lot of social work with regard to the underprivileged and the elderly, financing these projects almost entirely through their membership base.

Many people are curious about what actually takes place behind the discreet walls and hallowed halls of the Freemason Lodges. Filled with carefully preserved memorabilia from the past, the walls are decked portraits of richly garbed freemasons from the past and all the accoutrement that goes with the rituals and practices of this ancient society.

H Sudhindra, Assistant Regional Grandmaster, says, “The main thing that happens in lodge meetings is largely the ordinary business of running any organisation, like reading minutes, announcing who’s sick or celebrating an event, paying bills etc. In fact, the most important ceremonial occasions are the conferring of Masonic degrees on candidates, which though not secret, are not widely discussed either.”

“Many illustrious Indians like Swami Vivekananda and JRD Tata, to name just a couple, were Freemasons. Masonry teaches us to reach for a higher standard in conducting our lives,” he added.

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