No. 10 -- The newsletter of The Freemasons Chamber -- June 2000

Signs of Recognition

Lawrence B. Jones, PHP (Delaware)

The Royal Arch Mason, Winter 1964

In all walks of life there are signs which people use to signify mutual recognition and to indicate the work they do or certain clubs and organizations to which they belong. In the office, a firm handclasp or pat on the back may signify congratulations on a promotion or a contract, job or speech well handled. In construction, a workman on the ground will use signs to signal up or down to a crane operator. In sports, a referee will use hand signals to call a foul, indicate a player is safe, or throw out a heckler. A gentleman will doff his hat upon the arrival of ladies in a group or in their presence in an elevator, or he will uncover his head on entering someone's home. And even though in this age, some of these signs of amenity are being flagrantly forgotten, they are still recognized as good usage and their origins date far back in history.

Masonic signs of recognition are also used in like manner, but with more than one reason or purpose. Certain signs are used in each degree to acknowledge one's presence, to acknowledge being recognized, and to request permission to do certain things. The first reason is to show respect for authority and to recognize the seat of authority. The second reason is to request permission to perform certain duties and also to indicate our qualifications to do these things in the lodge room. But I would add, also, a third reason: That of signifying our constant and unwavering fidelity to the First Great Light of Masonry, each and every time we give or recognize these signs. On the street, at a sports event, in a crowded room, a stranger uses a recognizable sign. He indicates his calling and his oath by using it, and you signify the same in recognizing and answering it.

In signifying a request within the lodge, or acknowledging a greeting therein, your sign has a twofold purpose. First, to indicate your respect for authority, as previously stated, and second, to restate your pledge of fidelity made on admittance and by which you retain your membership in a particular Masonic body.

Remember that any Masonic sign you use should be regarded as inviolate, a gauge of the manner in which you conduct transactions with all mankind and expressive of your desire to spread the Light of Masonry to your less informed brethren.

On investigating, we find that there is absolutely no truth in the story that a certain Brother of Lodge Bharat recites his ritual at home, only while bathing, as this is the only tyled room in the house.

The Hours Of Masonry

From "The Craftsman" 1866

The Masons of the York Rite have only the terms "high twelve" and "low twelve" to designate particular Masonic times, that is noon and midnight; and in relation to the hours of labour and rest, they seem to have preserved but one tradition, namely, that Masons begin to work at six in the morning, are called to refreshment at high twelve; called on again at an hour past high twelve, and continue their labour until "low six" or evening.

But some of the Masons of the continent and of the continental rites have paid more attention to the system of Masonic horometry, and have formed or invented a variety of terms and legends in relation to Masonic hours. Among these rites, that of Zinnendorf, established about the end of the last century in Germany, has some curious details. The following extract from the ritual is translated from Lenning's Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry:

Q. "How many hours are there in a Freemason's Lodge?" A. " Five."

Q. " How are these hours called?" A. "Twelve, noon, high noon, midnight and high midnight."

Q. " When is it twelve?" A. " Before the Lodge is opened and when the Lodge is closed."

Q. "When is it noon?" A. "When the Master is about to open the Lodge."

Q. " When is it high noon?" A. " When the Lodge is duly opened."

Q. "When is it midnight?" A. "When the Master is about to close the Lodge."

Q. "When is it high midnight?" A. "When the Lodge is closed and the profane are allowed to approach."

Q. "How many consecutive hours do Freemasons work in their Lodge?" A. "Three hours."

Q. "What are these three hours?" A. "Noon, high noon and midnight."

Q. "What are the hours when Freemasons do not work?"

A. "Twelve and high midnight"

There are other divisions into Masonic weeks and years, but what has been given above is enough to show the care with which Masonic symbolism is cultivated among these philosophical rites, for all these answers are of course allegorical and symbolical. One more answer in this catechism of the Zinnendorf ritual may conclude this paragraph, as it is highly suggestive of a deep religious truth.

Q. "How long is a Mason's day?"

A. "From the beginning of the year to the end."

And so, indeed, it is. The work of a true Mason is never done.

A History Of Scottish Freemasonry In India 1838 – 1999 (Part IV)

(Continued from The Freemason No. 9, with a request for further information and items from Brethren, by the Rt Wor District Grand Master, Bro Bomi S Mehta)

In 1886 Bro. John Adams designed and supervised the construction of the throne and pedestal for the Grand Master. It continues to be in use today at Freemasons’ Hall, Bombay.

From the Reports of the Grand Committee presented on 25th April 1891, it is observed that the Committee recommended the splitting up of the then existing "Scottish Freemasons Benevolent Society" into two funds, one to be styled the "Scottish Masonic Benevolent Association of India" having for its object, the grant of annuities to old and decayed Freemasons and their widows, and the maintenance and education of the children of deceased or indigent Freemasons.

The other Fund was to be styled "The Scottish Masonic Fund of Benevolence" for the purpose of affording temporary relief to indigent Freemasons and their families. The subscribing members at the end of 1891 were 917.

On 4th June 1897, H. E. Lord Sandhurst, the then Governor of Bombay, was installed as the Grand Master.

On 5th June 1897, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge was held to lay the foundation of the present Freemasons' Hall. The District Grand Lodge of Bombay (English Constitution) and the Grand Lodge of All Scottish Freemasonry in India were opened successively and temporarily adjourned, and the Officers of the two Grand Lodges formed a procession and then laid the corner stone of the present Freemasons' Hall.

25th March 1898 was an important day for the Craft in Bombay, as it witnessed the opening and dedication of the present Freemasons' Hall. The ceremony was performed by Lord Sandhurst, he being the Grand Master of both the English and the Scottish Constitutions, and on this account the main temple in Freemasons’ Hall is called the "Sandhurst Temple".

In 1901 Lord Northcote and subsequently in 1904 Lord Lamington, the Governor of Bombay, became the Grand Masters of All Scottish Freemasonry in India.

On 27th March 1908, Col. R. H. Forman was installed as Grand Master of All Scottish Freemasonry in India. The following Lodges were constituted during the regime of Bro. Col. Forman as the Grand Master: Lodges Elysium at Simla, Pavaghad at Godra, Imperial Brotherhood at Bombay, Hanthawaddy at Inseen in Burma, Sir Charles Napier at Hyderabad, Nicopolis at Vizianagram, Forman at Bombay, St Andrews at Lahore, Beaman at Bombay and Vindya at Dholpur. Lodge Hope & Sincerity at Ahmedabad was resuscitated.

When he was made Grand Master, there were 39 Lodges; at the end of his regime there were 50. During his tenure, he visited all Lodges except two.

With His Blessings, the Craft progressed and at the end of 1924, the Grand Lodge of All Scottish Freemasonry in India had under its banner 74 Lodges scattered all over India and Iraq. The benefit of complete control by one Grand Lodge became apparent, and the Grand Lodge of All Scottish Freemasonry in India will ever remember its deep debt of gratitude to Bro. Sir Henry Morland, to whose remarkable administrative ability and far seeing policy, the conversion of Provincial Grand Lodge of Western India into the Grand Lodge of All Scottish Freemasonry in India was entirely due.

In 1932 Bro. Dr. Sir Temulji Nariman was installed as the Grand Master. He was the first Indian to be the Grand Master, and that too at the age of 85 years. In spite of his age, he not only completed more than his term, he continued in full vigour until 1938, when he was called to the Grand Lodge Above. He said that Freemasonry was very much like the oath which Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine required from the initiates of the medical profession. Our Daughter Lodge 'Sir Temulji Nariman No. 1516’ founded in his memory in 1958, is the last Lodge consecrated in our District.

In 1934 the Grand Lodge of Scotland sought our views for the splitting up of the Grand Lodge into two zones, Western and Eastern, and on proper and convincing representations, dropped the idea. It is relevant to note that 58 years later, similar reasoning prevailed and the Grand Lodge of Scotland decided to have one unified District for India.

In 1936, the five Lodges in Burma were formed into a separate District under Scotland. At that time there were three Lodges in Iran falling within the "adjacent" areas.

An encouraging letter

My Dear Brethren,

I extend to you my heartiest congratulations on the very successful and most informative issues of "The Freemason." In just two pages, you have wonderfully tried to induce into us, the readers, a sea of Masonic information. Each line is precious. Please give us more of "The Freemason."

With my best wishes for a bold venture,

Yours fraternally,

Bro. Tehemton B Dalal

Editorial Board: Bro Tofique Fatehi, Bro Ahmed Bharucha, Bro Larry Grant.
Published for The Freemasons Chamber by Larry Grant, Post Box 1610, Mumbai 400001, India
Phone 91-22-2151001. E-mail
Master Masons are welcome to request free copies. Please send full name, name and number of lodge, and address. Copies also available by e-mail.

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