No. 3 -- The newsletter of The Freemasons Chamber -- November 1999

Hinduism and Zoroastrianism reveal basic truths

in highest degree working. Part-1.

In recent researches, the editorial board of this newsletter discovered that the highest degree worked by the Supreme Council, 33° , Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America, is based on Hindu and Zoroastrian scriptures. Why and how? We are grateful to Bro Rex Hutchens 32° for the material which follows, from his dissertation "A Bridge to Light", which has been edited considerably due to space restrictions. However, the areas of interest to local Brethren, will be completed over three issues, Nos. 3, 4 and 5. Bro Hutchens is an anthropologist, a famed Scottish Rite researcher, has travelled extensively, and lived in Karachi and Kabul for some years. In recognition of his services to Freemasonry, Bro Hutchens has been decorated with the rank of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour.



A true Soldier of the Light, of Freedom, of the true Religion and of the People unites himself with others, who are devoted to the same purpose as a Soldier of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. In doing so, we promise to perform faithfully and diligently all the duties of a Scottish Rite Mason, recognizing that to work is to worship. The special enemy to be fought within ourselves and others is inaction. Let us ever recognise that men, by nature, are capable of greed and selfishness and many of the faults of men are not curable. We must take men as God has made them and the world as He has made it, making the best we can of all. A Soldier of Scottish Rite Masonry is zealous and ardent in his duty and armed with persuasion, not force, to combat the laggards and apathetic who see nothing in Masonry to do. We must become sovereign over ourselves, king of our own passions, neither intoxicated by success nor depressed by defeat, always remembering not to hate error so mush as not to love mankind.

Duties: A Soldier of the Light seeks truth and knowledge. A Soldier of Freedom demands for the people free vote and voice and attains freedom of voice, vote and opinion for himself. A Soldier of the True Religion combats spiritual tyranny with reason and truth. A Soldier of the People encourages men to be self-reliant and independent. A Soldier of Scottish Rite Masonry is zealous and ardent in the performance of his duties to God, his country, his family, his brethren and himself.

Lessons: The human is ever interlaced with the Divine. Only doctrines, faith or knowledge which bear fruit in action are of value. To work is to worship.

For reflection: Do you endeavour to achieve the Royal Secret in your life and within yourself?

Important symbols: The Camp, Lesser Tetractys, five-pointed star, Greater Tetractys, seven-pointed star, triple interlaced triangle, Trimurti (3-faced bust).

The degree of Master of the Royal Secret selects, clarifies and unifies into a single coherent doctrine all of the duties and lessons of the preceding degrees. In it we continue our journey eastward in search of the Holy Doctrine of which the Royal Secret is the foundation. To unveil the symbolism of the ages is a journey backward in time to the basic truths known by the ancient sages. Once these truths are revealed, our special charge is to maintain them in their purity, passing them on to the future concealed in allegory and symbolism and revealing them only to worthy men.

Here we learn of the ancient Aryan religious doctrine. Pike believed it was the earliest religion. It was his opinion that these teachings were corrupted and elaborated until the true meaning was lost. The name Aryan derives from the Sanskrit word for ‘noble.’ They were a prehistoric tribe of central Asia which settled both Iran and northern India. From their language has descended, not only ancient Persian and Sanskrit, as well as their derivatives, but also most of the languages of European, including English.

One of Pike’s major sources on these people was the 19th century German orientalist Max Muller, the father of comparative linguistics. Muller believed that the religions and languages of Europe, Persia and India descended for these Asiatic Tribes and that the key to this historical unity resided in the comparative study of languages. This is the reason for the detailed discussions on word origin to be found, especially in the Readings and Legenda for this degree. Muller’s over-reliance on data from languages rather that including other, equally important, cultural factors resulted in many errors which must be forgiven such an important pioneer in a largely untried field. Pike, however, has occasionally forwarded these errors. Therefore, his comments on the Aryans in the ritual must be considered an historical glimpse in to the state of knowledge in the 19th century.

We have no texts from which to seek an understanding of the Aryan’s religious beliefs; and, therefore, we must look for common threads between the religions of pre-Islamic Persia and India. Since both received the influence of Aryan Doctrine, what they share in common may be fairly presumed to have been derived from the Aryans. The main source of this procedure have been the Persian Zend-Avesta and the Hindu Vedas

Persian Doctrine: The probable source of the dualism in Western religions, including Christianity, is the ancients religion taught by Zoroaster of Persia (about 600 B.C.). This faith was an almost pure monotheism, rare at that time in the history of man. Zoroaster defined the universe as imbued with two forces; Spenta Mainyu or Holy Spirit (the force of truth) and Angra Mainyu, a destructive spirit opposed to truth. These forces contended for influence over man but Zoroaster believed in free will; that man is responsible for the consequence of his choice. These forces, and the actions which result from them, were manifestations of the Principles of Good and Evil. The Principle of Good, the Supreme Being of this faith, was termed Ahura Mazda whom the Greeks called Ormuzd; in Morals and Dogma Pike uses both terms interchangeably.

The actions of Ahura Mazda were manifested through a hierarchy of subordinate spirits that are parallel to, and possibly the source of, the concept of angels in the Western religious tradition. These spirits were termed the Amesha Spentas or ‘Bounteous Immortals.’ Opposed to Ahura Mazda was Ahriman as the Principle of Evil. Many scholars have seen the origin of the Hebrew concept of satan in this Persian doctrine. He also had his subsidiary created spirits. Both the good and the evil spirits found expression in the faith and typified various virtues and vices. The celibate and/or monastic life was strongly forbidden as an evil violation of the imperatives of nature. The Zoroastrians saw the duality of the universe mirrored in the natural world but, unlike many later faiths, never juxtaposed the spiritual and material domains as good and evil respectively. Nature was good since all matter was the creation of Ahura Mazda. Life was to be lived, enjoyed and made fruitful.

Hindu Doctrine: We also find in the ritual a recitation of the beliefs of the Hindus of India. Having gained many of their beliefs from the Aryans in the northwest, Hindu doctrine reflects some of the early Persian religion that preceded Zoroaster. Hinduism seems at first to be an unremitting polytheism but the deities of the Hindu pantheon spring from a single source: the indescribable and unutterable Brahm. This conception of Deity is as profound and elevated as any to be found in the world. From this ineffable Deity come the manifestations of physical reality: light, and its counterpart shadow or darkness; Brahm, the Creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. This single process of creation, preservation and destruction revealed the cyclic nature of the universe and led, quite naturally, to the concept of reincarnation. Virtue controlled the consequences of rebirth. Man, by a virtuous life, could look forward to rebirths that would give him a successively greater spiritual awareness and understanding; eventually he could be freed entirely from the cycle of rebirth and united with Brahm. Vice, on the other hand, led to lower births and by such actions a man might be reborn as a serpent or an insect.

(To be continued)

Practice doesn't make perfect; nor is it supposed to. Practice is about increasing your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes. Joann C. Gutin

You go to your TV to turn your brain off. You go to the computer when you want to turn your brain on. -- Steve Jobs

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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