Review of Freemasonry

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by W.Bro.Vijay Kumar Gauhar
Asoka Lodge No.93
Past Grand Steward, Past Pres. Board of General Purposes
Grand Lodge of India.

Inspired by the fact that Charity is an inseparable aspect of Freemasonry, this analysis and observation has been made for the benefit of all freemasons.


First, let us understand exactly, the objects of Freemasonry, before we proceed to know how Charity is connected with this fraternity. Our members do agree that it is a society of noble men, which strongly believes in the “Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man”. Even if you compare this organization with several other systems adopted by social institutions existing to-day anywhere in the world, you will observe that freemasonry is unique in philanthropy, which believes not only serving humanity, helping the distressed brethren, also persons who are at the lowest ebb in society. This shows that, it clearly propagates the philosophy and principles of equality, brotherhood, upliftment of downtrodden and underprivileged in society, righteous and disciplined living as well as ask others in the neighborhood to help the needy on humanitarian grounds. The concepts are based on age long experiences of mankind, especially sages and saints, great leaders who lived and sacrificed their lives for our good. Besides invoking the blessings of the almighty God, during the ceremonies of our meetings, the message it conveys is “Goodwill towards Men and Glory to God in the highest possible way”. Masonry is perhaps, the only organization which brings the members on equal footing or same level of brotherhood and binds them for fraternal affection among all irrespective of the difference in religious, ethnic, social, cultural, educational or professional status thus making it a non-political and not non-sectarian organization. Its rituals stress on the importance of unity in diversity.


 “Charge in the North-East” as we masons know, is a testimonial to the importance of Charity, driven home to a candidate, addressed during the ceremony of initiation, when he joins freemasonry. Even while conducting ceremonies of superior degrees the candidates are informed from lessons in the ritual manuals, about the importance of charity. That also proves why Charity is an inseparable aspect of masonry and how everyone should make others also to practice this unique virtue. Masons should remember that it is freemasonry that teaches its members to practice charity right from the day a candidate is initiated. Our lodges always carry a special item in its summons “To honor the cause of Charity”. The charity collections are thankfully received and faithfully applied. There are a number of projects in this country or rather all over the world which are funded by the Masonic lodges from the contributions received from masons. Some are used for the renovation of Masonic temples or paid to individuals or institutions for their benefit such as educational fees for the children or medical aids and treatment in hospitals, as many poor and downtrodden can’t afford to meet the medical expenses from their pockets. Charles Dickens—the famous novelist said “Charity begins at Home and goes to next door.” We as freemasons are proud of the fact that charity begins from the heart of a freemason and goes to many doors for all living beings, who derive benefit from the donations in cash or kind. One of the charges in the craft manual confirms that this act of benevolence blesses the donor & the recipient alike. The practice of charity has been recommended even by all religious scriptures. Charity helps in life and one does experience that joy that gives mental peace, inner strength and soothes the mind and soul equally. Charity in freemasonry is being practiced regularly and this should go a long way to shape the lives of many families who have learnt to limit desires and fulfill the requirements of the friends in their locality or neighborhood who needed relief. A donor should not have expectations for publicity but continue practicing this virtue wholeheartedly which does repay in one’s own lifetime in some form or the other and that fills the heart with joy for God looketh at the heart.


 Some religious scriptures have described charity as an act of non-violence by sacrificing for others in whatever way possible, with a minimal requirement of living for own self and giving the rest to the needy and that would ensure happiness and immortality to be the lot of the faithful and charitable person.


Freemasonry teaches us to practice charity, regulate your actions, and limit your desires, live to spread the morality in day to day working of life. Therefore, the practice of charity in masonry is of utmost importance being one of the most important cardinal virtues for brotherly love, relief and moral truth. Words won’t suffice to explain the advantages that make a freemason well-known in the society who practices charity and thus makes the life of others more fruitful and meaningful.


Robert Farley- a poet, in his collections says: “Charity is a blessing- chance to serve others. Think of the service you may render, not of serving self alone, think of happiness of others and in this you will find your own!”


Though, the whole world to-day, is revolving over the materialistic way of living, but there are many, who recognize the correlation between relief and truthful, peaceful living by helping the distressed through charitable projects and uplifting them morally to survive and co-exist in fast changing times. Many recipients aided by charitable projects of freemasons express their gratitude and satisfaction as they use the gifted articles or life support equipments or homes and shelters provided to them whenever they made an appeal during the time of need. This act of charity from the Masonic lodges helped them not only to change their attitude towards life but also to face the challenges of destiny, lead their lives with a realization that humanity does survive in this world.


There is no dearth of philanthropists, really speaking. If you take a cursory look at the happenings in and around yourself, you will read about several software giants, prosperous industrialists who are creating trusts to fund the projects for poor all over the world and to rehabilitate those who have suffered in life during natural calamities or even passed through miserable diseases in their lifetime. Freemasons do contribute a lot for this cause and that is why our fraternity has a name in this field and teaches its members to practice this cardinal virtue wholeheartedly. A practice of charity when adopted by a freemason gives immense pleasure to himself and also shapes the future of both, the donor and recipient, to fulfill the requirement of humane services and that surely completes the sublime equation of survival in the turbulent period which can be faced by anyone living on this earth.


Charity has no substitute in Freemasonry. It has deeper roots in a freemason’s heart and certainly needs to be practiced by all masons. The solace it provides can be felt instantly with the blessings of the almighty and that unfailingly has the soothing effect on mind, body and soul. To quote some excerpts from one of the ritual manuals which emphasize for providing relief to a brother who may be in distress, would be worthwhile to mention. “A brother’s distress may arise from different causes. Firstly from the circumstances of difficulty, wherein he may need advice. The brother hailed would do so as may be in his power. Secondly from excessive poverty, and as wise stewards of the manifold gifts of God, we should always have a hand and heart ready to help”. Therefore, charity is undoubtedly, very essential for a freemason and serves as an important ornamental part of Freemasonry.


We know that every action has a reaction. Your contribution to Masonic charity will bear fruit and help someone to rise in life. Man aspires, perspires, respires and finally expires, but his good deeds in life are always remembered and that is what freemasonry teaches “Live respected and die regretted”.


In conclusion, this goes to prove again that Charity is an important virtue in masonry and all freemasons should continue to practice this regularly for the benefit of humanity and everyone living to-day.

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