THE TRUE FREEMASONRY: EXOTERIC & ESOTERIC
"Hiram the Architect Did all the Craft direct How they should build."
It is the considered view of those well qualified to speak with authority that the Masonic Order is swiftly evolving to greater things than the majority of its members yet realise, and that at some not distant date the germinal doctrine will ripen to widespread recognition. Hitherto, they declare, the Craft has preserved the witness of the Mysteries through an epoch in which intellectual materialism has temporarily eclipsed the perception of spiritual values. But, as a branch of initiate science instructs us, times and seasons are providentially appointed for all things; the sea of spiritual knowledge has its ebbs and flows, and today the far-receeded tide is fast returning; carrying the Ark of the Mysteries towards us on its incoming waves. Hence, we may safely predict that ere many years have passed the pristine function of those Mysteries will become revived in a form adapted to our time and to present intellectual needs, and then, is aforetime, men will seek and be granted initiation into the secrets and mysteries of ultimate Being as now they apply for admission into the schools and colleges of secular learning. Indeed; it is awaiting this time, and when "circumstances permit", that our great world-wide Brotherhood has been designed and provided by those far-seeing Founders who, concealing their identity but with wisdom and foreknowledge, projected the Craft some three centuries ago.
IV.—THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF THE CRAFT.
Continuing the analogy in the Craft to the Seven Principles of Man, we come to the next proposition:-.
(9)..The Craft, like the individual man, has, its higher or immortal, and its lower or mortal principles; the former, being, a triad, and the latter a quaternary, and those form seven principles analogous to those of man.
In the first part of this Paper we have already demonstrated that the Craft has an outward visible organic body which is a living entity. If, then, there be a material body of Freemasonry wherein a spiritual individuality is manifesting, these must involve seven principles, and accepting the ordinary classification they should comprise a triad and a quaternary.
The demonstration, so far as it relates to the Craft may be expressed in these terms:- There exists a visible organised association, the reason for whose existence is the promulgation of certain teaching. Like a material human teacher, it has a physical body and a guiding spirit. The physical body is necessary for the purpose of communicating to those of its members now in earth-life the teachings which are put forth by the guiding spirit. It follows from this that the student or the critic, either for motives of learning or of argument, should regard the Craft as they would a human teacher, and in the first place should ascertain carefully what that teaching is; bringing intuition to bear in order to recognise under the outward form of the words, the character and doctrine of the guiding spirit. The postulate is that the guiding spirit speaks through the material organism of the Craft as a "whole", as distinctly and clearly as the imperfection of a material vehicle allows. But, it has never been declared that the guiding spirit speaks through anyone member of the Craft, or any group of members less than the whole. Now, in order, to judge, fairly of a human, teacher we first ascertain what his own thought is of himself, what his commission to teach is, and upon what subjects he can give instruction. This information forthcoming, we then have two questions to solve; (1) whether such knowledge that he is prepared to impart is for the benefit of humanity; (2); whether the teacher himself fulfils his own theory of his commission. These questions being answered in the affirmative, we may proceed to analyze the teaching. Applying this method to the Craft; we find that the theory of the Craft itself is that its commission to teach arises from the inspiration, guidance and occult direction of the Spirit of Wisdom. Moreover, the Craft regards itself merely as the vehicle for giving material expression to the teaching of this Spirit, just as a man's body may also be regarded as the vehicle for giving material expression to the spiritual monad incarnated therein. The instruction to be given by this means will obviously be limited to such truths as all men may learn with benefit to themselves, the sole condition; test, and training being the humility which is necessary for a disciple (the devotion to one's Guru of the Eastern sages), without which no knowledge is attainable at all. And bearing in mind the official description that Freemasonry is "a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", no objection should be raised if the statement is made that in the present state of the advancement of humanity only a comparatively small amount of Masonic teaching can be fully and publicly given out in clear and definite words. Indeed, the student who investigates the matter for himself, will soon come to know that the amount of teaching which the Craft as an Institution has put forward in exoteric form, is exactly that amount which can, for the benefit of humanity, be safely promulgated.
With regard to the lower principles of the Craft, after the demonstrations following the propositions set out in the first part of our Paper, the identification of the principles of the lower quaternary need not be difficult. The individual members of the Craft correspond to the cells, or better perhaps, to the molecules of the human body, and when referred to the collective entity of the Craft these are its physical body (Sthula Sharira). The binding force which holds the individual members together ("esprit de corps"), is the life or Prana of the Craft, and it should be noted that as in the human body there is a life of the cell, semi- independent and conceivably conscious, which unites the molecules, and that these themselves have a life of their own; so the collective life of the Craft is not the life of individual Lodges, still less the life of individual members, but is the uniting force ("the mystic tie") constituting a distinct entity of the whole Craft. The ideal form or conception of the Craft, the form so to speak into which the life unites the members, is the astral body (Linga Sharira), and this, like the astral body of the human being, when looked at apart from its outward and visible form, is to a large extent plastic, and may be moulded by him who contemplates it; many misconceptions of the Craft arise from mistaking this astral form, moulded by the imagination of him who sees it, for the actual visible Craft. Finally, all action and thought and desire of the Craft as a living body, which spring from or belong to its material and lower principles, constitute its Kama Rupa or body of desire; this is the "self" of the Craft, and the fertile source of most of its corruption. Such is the material instrument through which the mind of the Craft, corresponding to the incarnating monad, expresses itself in an outward perceptible and human manner. If it be objected that the Craft as a teacher should not evince human defects, the answer is that such defects are an intrinsic part of the system, which is based on the belief in a teaching-spirit assuming a human instrument in order to speak as man to man, the ultimate object being the re-uniting in each individual member of the incarnating monad with what is known as the Higher Self—this operation being termed the At-one-ment, or the making at one what before was separate. Hence, the destiny of the Craft is to make its outward visible form the exact reflection of its spirit, uniting thus its intellect (Lower Manas) with its Higher Self, and perfecting its own at-onement as an entity; also to make each individual member a microcosmic reflection of itself, his personality uniting with, and becoming merged, in his Higher Self and his at-one-ment being accomplished.
This brings us to the next proposition:-
(10)..The Divine Unity, the Spirit of Wisdom, which guides and animates the Craft is represented in the Order rituals by the traditional "Three Grand Masters," Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abiff. Thus according to the doctrine of the Craft, the Divine Spirit, the "Spirit of Freemasonry," is its Higher Self or Triad, and the visible Craft is the "body of Freemasonry" or the lower quaternary.
For the purpose of Masonic doctrine the indissociable triadic constituents of the Divine Unity (the upper triad—Atma—Buddhi—Manas of the Eastern schools) are personified by three quasi historical characters:-
1..SOLOMON; KING OF ISRAEL: representing WISDOM contriving creation subjectively and ideally.
2..HIRAM, KING OF TYRE: representing STRENGTH—projecting the world of Nature as the material out of which the creative idea is to take shape in the creature.
3..HIRAM ABIFF: representing BEAUTY—'the architectonic and geometrical power which finally moulds the idea into objective form and perfection.
A further word of explanation is here necessary as to the concealed significance of the Masonic Trinity. Solomon, personifies the primordial Life-Essence or substantialised Divine Wisdom which is the basis of our being. It is defined in the Hebrew "Book of Wisdom", as "a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God and the image of His goodness". It is described as a "king" because it must needs transcend and over-rule whatever is inferior to itself, and as "king of Israel" because "Israel" itself means "co-operating or ruling with God", as distinct from being associated with beings or affairs of a sub- divine order. To conjoin this transcendental "Life-Essence to a vehicle which should give it fixity and form required the assistance of another dominant or "kingly" principle, personified as Hiram, King of Tyre, who, supplied the "building material". Now inasmuch as we are dealing with purely metaphysical ideas, it will be obvious that the Tyre in question has no relation to the Levantine sea-port of that name. The word Tyre in Hebrew means "rock", and the strength, compactness and durability which we always associate with rock, whilst the same word recurs in Greek as "Turos" and in Latin is "Terra", and as "Durus", implying form, consistency and durability. "King of Tyre", therefore, is to be interpreted as the cosmic principle which lives solidity and form to the spiritual fluidic and formless Life-Essence, and which is comparable to a cup intended to hold liquid. Solomon and Hiram of Tyre having contributed their respective properties of Life-Essence and durable form ("building material") as the groundwork of the soul, it is then made functionally offective by the addition of the third principle described as Hiram Abiff, and personifying the active intellectual principle or Manas. Hiram Abiff represents the Cosmic Builder; the Great Architect "by whom all things are made", the "Son of the Carpenter", to use an expression which is common to both the Hindu Puranas and the Christian Gospels. The name Hiram Abiff, sometimes given as Adoniram, means the representative or messenger from the Lord. ("Adonai") or Father ("Abba") i.e. from the Higher Self or paternal spiritual principle; it is the Hebrew form of the Greek, "Hermes" (the son of the All-Father, Zeus), the messenger and intermediary between the gods and men. In Craeco- Alexandrian scriptures Hiram is called both Hyrmes and Thoth (the Divine Thought or Creative Mind), and appears as the great Initiator and Teacher of hidden knowledge; Hermes (instead of Hiram) is also mentioned in some of the old Masonic charges. Hiram Abiff, then, is the Christ-principle immanent in every soul; crucified, dead and buried in all who are not alive to its presence, but none the less resident in all as a saving force—"Christ in you, the hope of glory".
It would be utterly impossible within the limits of this Paper, to enter on a disquisition of all the various ideas, noted and connoted, in the word Christ, and in the ancient mystic Christos, the Path, and the Purifier, union with whom was the object of the early Initiates. Moreover, the student who engages in this wide field of speculation should be prepared to study the etymology and history, both of the name and the idea itself, through the cosmogony and mythology of every great race which has yet lived on earth, tracing also the inter-relation of these races, as well as their language and philosophy. Short of this a partial knowledge must certainly land him in a fallacy. However without dealing fully with this aspect of our subject, the following will probably not be contested. All historic religions have assumed a higher state to which individuals should aspire, and an endeavour on the part of the best of mankind to attain such state themselves and help others to attain it. Further, in the schools of the Mysteries, as also in the great religions of the world, the actual attainment of this spiritual goal is enacted or taught under the veil of a tragic episode analogous to that of the Craft third degree; and in each there is a Master whose death the aspirant is instructed he must imitate in his own person. In the Craft system that prototype is Hiram Abiff: but it must be made clear that there is no historical basis whatever for the legendary account of Hiram's death. The whole story is symbolical and was purposely invested for reasons of the Craft teaching. If you will examine the Craft central legend closely, you will at once perceive how obvious the correspondence is between this narrative and the story of the death of the Christian Master as related in the Gospels. In the one case the Master is crucified between the two thieves; in the other he is done to death between two villains. In the one case appear the penitent and the impenitent thief; in the other we have the conspirators who make a voluntary confession of their guilt and were pardoned, and the others who were found guilty and put to death. As every Christian is taught that in his own life he must imitate the life and death of Christ, so every member of the Craft is "made to represent one of the brightest characters recorded in the annals of Freemasonry but as the annals of Freemasonry are contained in the Volume of the Sacred Law and not elsewhere, it is not difficult to see who the character is who is alluded to. Moreover, as that great authority and initiate of the Mysteries, St. Paul, taught, we can only attain to the Master's resurrection by "being made conformable unto His death", and we "must die with him if we are to be raised like Him": and it is in virtue of that conformity, in virtue of being individually made to imitate the Grand Master in His death, that Freemasons are made worthy of certain "points of fellowship" with Him: for the "five points of fellowship" with Him: for the "Five points of fellowship" of the Craft third degree are the five wounds of Christ. The three years' ministry of the Christian Master ended with His death, and these refer to the three degrees of the Craft which also end in the mystical death of the Masonic candidate and his subsequent raising or resurrection. The death, then, to which Freemasonry alludes, using the analogy of bodily death and under the veil of a reference to it, is none other than that death-in-life to mans' own lower self to which St. Paul also made allusion when he protested "I die daily", for it is over the grave not of the dead body but of the lower self, that the aspirant must walk before he can attain the heights. In the terminology of Freemasonry, the perfect cube must pass through the metamorphosis of the Cross, thereby signifying that complete self-sacrifice and self-crucifixion are, as all religions teach, essential before the soul can be raised "from a figurative death to a reunion with the companions of its "former toils". The soul must, in other words, pass voluntarily and consciously through a state of utter helplessness from which no earthly hand can rescue it, and in trying to raise him from which the grip of any succouring human hand will but "prove a slip": until at length Divine Help itself descends from the Throne above and, with the "lion's grip" of almighty power, raises,the faithful and regenerated soul to union with itself in an embrace of reconciliation and at-one-ment.
We cannot, in this short Paper, discuss the extremely interesting questions which are involved in a study of the period of transition from prechristian to Christian religion. Neither can we attempt to explain why or how the Christian Mysteries are the efflorescence of the earlier ones and transcend them. Nevertheless, we must point out that in their central teachings, as well as in the philosophic method of life they demand, the two methods are identical. The differences between them are only such as are due to amplification and formal expression, for, as it is written, Christianity came not to destroy, but to fulfil and expand. Now, when properly understood, that fulfilment and expansion are found to be consequent upon an event of cosmic importance which is spoken of as The Incarnation, and by that event something happened which affected the very fabric of our planet and every item of the human family. What that something was, and the nature of the change it wrought is too great and deep a theme to develop here, but, to illustrate it by Masonic symbolism, it was an event which is the equivalent of, and is represented by, the transference of the Sacred Symbol of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe from the ceiling of the Lodge, where it is located in the elementary grades of the Craft, to the floor, where it is found in the Royal Arch Degree surrounded with flaming lights and every circumstance of reverence and sanctity. For the purpose of our present study, it is essential to recognise that in this piece of symbolism, Freemasonry is giving affirmation and ocular testimony to precisely the same fact as the churchman affirms when he recites in his Creed the words, "He came down from heaven, and was incarnate and was made man." Here we must direct attention to the fact that there is one ever-recurring Divine Event which is always the theme of the great rituals; it is the sacrifice of the Logos, "who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven". Without this voluntary self-sacrifice and limitation of God, the universe cannot exist for all objects, animate and inanimate, exist only because God "died" to the fullness of His nature. But, as the great rituals are designed to keep prominently before the human memory, His self-chosen "death" was and is only in order that, through the co- operation of those for whom He died, He may rise to a more glorious existence—more glorious because those He died for live with Him in a conscious communion. There are three great rituals which show this archetypal basis of true ritualism; they come from Egypt, India and Europe. Widely different though they may seem to be in externals, Freemasonry, the Prajapati ritual of ancient Hinduism, and the Mass of the Christian Church, all three tell of the primordial sacrifice of the Logos. As this Paper is written for members of the Craft, we need but take the Prajapati ritual and the Mass for comparison. In the former, God as Prajapati, "Lord of Creatures", lays Himself down on the altar as a voluntary victim, to be slain and dismembered by the Devas, the elder children of His family, and from the dismembered parts then arise all creation; men exist in their individual natures only because He was slain. It is this sacrifice of Prajapati which is commemorated each day in the great ritual, and as the dismembered Godhead can be made whole and resurrected from the dead only by God Himself, man (who is God) must perform the commemorative sacrifice and "make Father Prajapati whole once more". The Mass in Christianity commemorates the voluntary sacrifice of God as Christ; He is called "the victim" "hostia", or Host); He came foreknowing His crucifixion, and it is only because of His crucifixion that men can be saved; every act of His life was foreordained, and He was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". Therefore His whole mission, from the Descent from heaven to the Ascent, was but a reflection of a Divine Procession of events in the heavenly worlds. The most exalted aim of religion is the intimate union of man with God; and in the great rituals there is always the climax when Divinity reveals Himself through the ritual; this is the moment of the "Real Presence", and it is this alone that makes a ritual really sacramental. The obstacle is the case of sacramental mysticism is naturally incorrect performance of the ritual; every act in the series must be performed, and if one of them is omitted, the mystic magic will not create the necessary force. Knowledge has little to do with the magic; as the turning of a switch will set a hundred electric bulbs alight, provided one knows where the switch is, so anyone who is taught the ritual can perform the magic. However, in order to achieve the results he must perform it according to the rubric, keeping to the ancient landmarks; to omit or to add mars the ritual and hinders the magic, for the rubric was carefully made by those who knew in what way each part of it should point to an event in the heavenly world, and sacramental mysticism ceases to be sacramental when there is not the perfect mirroring of heavenly acts by earthly actions. The ideal of sacramental mysticism is the priest; he must of course be formally consecrated for his function because the magic will not work unless the operator is a true priest. In Hinduism a man must be consecrated as a priest; in Christianity he must be ordained; and in Freemasonry the Worshipful Master must be duly installed. Here comes in the great question of the validity of Orders" in Christianity, and the regularity or irregularity of Masonic bodies, but this matter goes deeper into occultism than may be considered to be within the scope of this treatise.
The point up to which these observations are meant to lead can now be stated. It is that a group of men, themselves Initiates, were inspired to devise and project the modern Craft in the 16th, and 17th. centuries, to keep alive the universal tradition of Initiation and the Divine Mysteries at a critical period when spiritual life was running low and the modern intellectual mechanical, and industrial era was about to set in. Being guided by what may be termed the prior history of the working of the Spirit, which in all ages has induced men to strive after reunion with the higher Self, these men were led to the idea of forming an association as a human vehicle for the promulgation of the knowledge they were anxious to impart, in order that, as the Spirit had been held to speak occasionally through a prophet, or seer, or master; and as the individual monad assumes human personality, and manifests, itself thus to other men, so this Spirit actuating them, might have a constant, visible human medium, whereby men might speak to men and convey the words of the Spirit. Nothing is here postulated with regard to an historic Master, save that the teachings promulgated by (or ascribed to) Jesus of Nazareth, were adopted as the ethical code of instruction. All we now affirm is that the Spirit of striving after union with the Higher Self, called by a certain school of thinkers Christos or Christ, was believed by them to urge or direct them to form a society for the propagation of teaching tending to that end; and that they conceived the relation between the society and the guiding spirit corresponded to that between the higher and lower principles in man. Stated in other words, the Founders of the Craft realised that before the true spirit and inward content of Speculative Freemasonry could be appreciated upon a scale sufficiently wide to constitute the Order a real spiritual force in the social body, it would be necessary in the first instance to build up a great, vigorous and elaborate physical organisation as a vehicle in which that spirit might eventually and efficaciously manifest. In view of the importance of the ultimate object aimed at it matters nothing that from two to three centuries have been needed to develop that organisation, to build up that requisite physical framework, or that the material of which it has been constructed has not been so far of ideal quality. The growth of a great institution—a nation, a Church, a system of the Mysteries—is a slow growth, proceeding from material apparently unpromising, and involving continual selection, before something becomes finally sublimated from it and is forged into an efficient instrument. To take a most appropriate analogy -the erection of Solomon's Temple was a work of years, but it was not until it was completed, dedicated, and consecrated as a tabernacle worthy of the Shekinah, did that Presence descend upon it, illuminating and flooding the whole House and enabling the earthly vehicle to fulfil a spiritual, purpose. So, with the Masonic Order; as a physical vehicle, a material organisation, it is as complete, as elaborated and as efficiently controlled as perhaps it can ever be expected to be. It now stands awaiting illumination, and that illumination must, come from within itself, even as the Divine Presence manifested within thy symbolic Temple.
V._—CONCLUSION: THE OBJECT AND MISSION OF THE CRAFT.
In the last section we have traced out the seven principles of the Craft according to the ordinary classification of the "Seven Principles of Man" as understood by the Eastern schools. It would be profitless speculation to undertake to distinguish more accurately and sharply the principles of the Higher Triad, from one another, inasmuch as the Craft has never by authoritative utterance attempted to do so. It should, however, be possible for students to discern that the Triad (Solomon and the two Hirams) considered together forms the Higher Self of that entity called the Craft (or to express the same thought in the language of the Church, forms the Church Triumphant, wherewith the Church Militant or the visible association of human beings is seeking union), and it has been indicated by eminent Freemasons, such as W.Bros. W.L.Wilmshurst and A.E. Waites that the metaphysical, intellectual and moral aspects of this Higher Self correspond with the three higher principles.
Briefly recapitulating the position, we see that the craft is a living composite entity, composed of living human units, as the human body is composed of living semi-independent cells. That this entity has its own organic life and has evolved its own Constitution and rules of being. That its right to evolve such a Constitution is in accordance with the undoubted right possessed by every Association to formulate its own rules and laws; and to expel from membership all who refuse to be bound by those laws. That it has an organic voice by means of which certain definite declarations have been made in the name of the Craft, and that these declarations (issued by the authority of Grand Lodge representing the whole Craft) must necessarily be accepted by all members; not-withstanding that upon other matters affecting Freemasonry they may lawfully differ. That the United Grand Lodge of England is a Sovereign and independent Body practising Freemasonry only within the limits defined in its Constitution as "pure Antient Masonry". That from time to time the Grand Lodge has deemed it desirable to set forth in precise form the aims of Freemasonry as consistently practised under its Jurisdiction since it came into existence as an organised body in 1717 and also to define the principles governing its relations with other Grand Lodges with which it is in fraternal accord. That the first condition of admission into, and membership of, the Craft is a belief in the Supreme Being, and that by the very nature of the teaching this is essential and admits of no compromise. Finally, that there is no secret with regard to any of the basic principles of Freemasonry, although it must be freely acknowledged that the one point which stands out conspicuously in the teachings of the Craft is the Law of Love—love for all nations and of all men, this is clearly defined in the Instruction Lectures as follows:-
"By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and the low; the rich and the poor, created by the same Almighty Being, and sent into the world for the mutual aid, support, and protection of each other. On this grand principle Freemasonry unites men of every country, sect, and opinion, and, by its dictates, conciliates a true friendship between those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance." (First Lecture, Sixth Section).
It now remains to conclude this study that the object and mission of the Craft should be appraised in their relation to the general social life surrounding the Order; for the Craft is not something apart and detached from that life but an integral element of it, and between the two there is perpetual interaction and reaction. The Masonic system was devised three centuries ago, at a time of widespread unrest and change, as a preparatory infant school in which once again the alphabet of a world-old "Gnosis" might be learned and an elementary acquaintance made with the science of human regeneration. However misunderstood and misapplied have been its rites, the Craft exists as an occult society whose object is the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, the perfection of the Human Ego, and its reunion with its Higher Self. Moreover, the Craft is a Society which is prepared to impart the means whereby this may be accomplished: which offers to every candidate admitted the essential teaching to enable him to reach his owner Higher Self, and therewith the far more priceless privilege of aiding it the regeneration of humanity. We need, then, express no surprise when our investigations reveal that the Spirit that has from its inception animated the Craft, finds as St, Paul found "a law in its members warring against the law of the spirit". Indeed, such being the mission of the Craft, it is inevitable that the Spirit which animates the corporate body must always be opposed to the will of the lower principles, and for this reason the primary work of each individual Craftsman is "to learn to rule and subdue his passions"; in other words, to subordinate his lower to his higher nature. The method or "way of attainment" comprehends exercises on all the planes of being; "by a prudent and well regulated course of discipline; "by contemplation"; and participation in ceremonies which have distinct psychic effects in either reducing the strength or purifying the nature of the bodily wants. Freemasonry neither estimates the problem of human relationships. St. Paul found it necessary to remind the early Christians that they were all members of one body, although they might differ in gifts and qualifications. As, however, no one member of the human body can boast its independence of other members—the eye, for instance, cannot boast of its independence of the hand or foot—no more is the individual independent of the other members of the group. Freemasonry drives home this truth by another metaphor; Freemasons are taught to think of themselves us "living stones" of a vast, social structure, and that the value of the individual unit lies in his contribution to the larger edifice. Hence the insistence on personal discipline; each stone must be squared, levelled and plumbed if strength, symmetry and safety are to be known. Now this condition of complete individualisation is not attained without time, or without the struggle and pain inevitable to all growth, and we need not be impatient at the slow development of that inner permanent Masonic "superstructure, perfect in all its parts and honourable to the builder", which is to be reared upon the Craft foundation. At this stage of progress we do not attempt to deny that an observer looking at the Craft from without easily detects many deficiencies among the members, including jealousies, intolerance and bigotry, and it is also true that these things often deter genuine seekers from investigating further; but we are surely entitled to ask, can any initiation be achieved without a test or a trial? And if this first trial discomforts the intending novice, he most certainly will not obtain that which is promised on admission to the Order, for what the Craft really is, and the real value of its teaching and training, can only be known from the inside. Even in the case of a material temple the rough, unsightly stones are outside, while the within—it is folly to stand outside and affirm that the glory does not exist. In the case of the Craft, those who are within know better and those who are without, if they are deterred from entering by such protestations, have not yet come up to the level of the first initiation.
"Many are the candidates seeking Initiation, But few are the perfected Initiates."
AN ELEMENTARY NOTE ON THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES.
The members of this Study Circle are acquainted with the axiom that Man is a Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and have grown familiar with the idea that in some mysterious manner Man is an epitome of the Universe. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to students to note in this place that the word "Microcosm" is a Greek compound signifying "Little Arrangement", i.e. "little world"; and is a term applied by ancient and modern mystics to Man when considering the seven aspects or organic parts of his constitution. Over the temples of initiation of antiquity was inscribed the sentence "Know thyself and thou shalt know the Universe and God", a phrase which implies in the first place that the uninitiated man is without the knowledge of himself, and in the second place that when he attains to that knowledge he will realise himself to be no longer the separate distinctified individual he now supposes himself to be, but a Microcosm or summary of all that is and to be identified with the Being of God. Our modern Masonic system of Initiation perpetuates this maxim by recommending self-knowledge to candidates as "the most interesting of all human studies", while the Instruction Lectures provide the first lesson in that knowledge by directing attention in a cryptic manner to what is called "the form of the Lodge". This is officially described as "an oblong square; in length between East and West, in breadth between North and South, in depth from the surface of the earth to its centre, and even as high as the heavens", all of which is to be interpreted as alluding to the human individual. Man himself is a Lodge, and just as the Masonic Lodge is stated to be "an assemblage of brethren met to expatiate upon the mysteries of the Craft.", so the individual Freemason is a composite being made up of various properties and faculties assembled together in him with a view to their harmonious interaction and working out of the purpose of life. Accordingly, the Masonic Lodge is sacramental of the candidate as he is when he seeks admission to the Order, and a man's first entry into a Lodge is symbolical of his first entry upon the science of knowing himself. The human organism is, symbolised by a four square or four sided building, and this is in agreement with the very ancient philosophical doctrine that four is the arithmetical symbol of everything which has manifested or physical form. Spirit, which is unmanifest and not physical, is expressed by the number three and the triangle, but Spirit which has so far projected itself as to become objective and wear a material form or body is denoted by the number four and the quadrangle or square. The Lodge, however, is shown to be an oblongated (or duplicated) square, because man's organism does not consist of his physical body, alone. The physical body has its "double" or ethereal counterpart in the astral body, which is an extension of the physical nature and a compound of the four basic metaphysical elements (fire, water, air and earth) in: an impalpable and more tenuous form. Hence the oblong spatial form of the Lodge must be considered as referable to the physical and ethereal nature of man in the conjunction in which they in fact consist in each of us. The "depth" of the Lodge "from the surface of the earth to its centre"—alludes to the distance or difference of degree between the superficial consciousness of our earthly mentality and the supreme divine degree of consciousness resident at man's spiritual centre. The "height" of the Lodge "even as high as the heavens" -implies that the range of consciousness possible to us, when we have developed our potentialities to the full, is infinite. Consciousness, however, cannot exist without body, and in the same manner that no Bother can enter the Masonic Lodge except he be clothed with the Apron proclaiming his spiritual rank, so no one can enter any of the unseen worlds without wearing an appropriate body. There are bodies terrestrial, adapted to use on the lower planes of life, and bodies celestial or ethereal, adapted to functioning on higher levels. Indeed, man is a composite of many, bodies, one within the other, although ordinarily he is unaware of it and has not yet organised them and come to know them separately. The physical body is but one, and the grossest of the physical plane (terrestrial) bodies; it is but a plaster of organised chemical particles, within and around which his subtler bodies exist, and for which it forms a nexus of fixation-point. When totally discarded at death it disintegrates; when partially abandoned as in sleep its energies persist passively, and connection with it is kept by the cable-tow or "silver cord". In each case the Ego, whether aware of it or not, stands minus its physical sheath and enclosed in the remaining ones; and a similar divesting of each successive body may take place until only the ultimate Ego remains. That Ego, the ultimate Divine Principle in man, is represented by the triangular flap of the Masonic Apron, because the triangle (or pyramid form) is the geometrical symbol for Spirit or Fire, and the ultimate Spirit of man may be likened to a pointed flame or tongue of fire. The succession of bodies or forms which the Ego assumes on descending into manifestation is represented by the lower quadrangular part of the Apron. The candidate's first investiture with the Masonic Apron is symbolic therefore of his Ego's entrance into this world, and becoming clothed with form or body; he is meant to realise himself as a sevenfold being, his triangle of Spirit combining with the quadrangle of materialised form to make up the perfect number seven.
It is now necessary to recall that throughout the Paper to which this Appendix is attached, the septenary classification of the "Principles of Man" as understood by the Eastern schools has been largely used for purposes of analogy, and for the guidance of students we give an interpretation of the seven principles as follows:-
The 1st. Principle STHULA-SHARIRA. (Dense physical Body).
STHULA-SARIRA (Sanskrit). "Sthul," means "coarse", "gross", not refined, heavy, therefore conditioned and differentiated matter. "Sarira"—"form", generally speaking. The lowest substance—principle of which man is composed: the physical body.
The "Sthula Sarira" or physical hierarchy of the human body is builded up of cosmic elements, themselves formed of living atomic entities, which, although subject individually to bewilderingly rapid changes and reimbodiments, nevertheless are incomparably more enduring in themselves as expressions of the monadic rays than is the transitory physical body which they temporarily compose.
Strictly speaking the physical body is not a "principle" at all: it is merely a house, man's "carrier" in another sense, and no more is an essential part of him than are the clothes in which his body is garmented. Man is really a complete human being without the "Sthula-Sarira"; and yet this statement while accurate must not be taken too literally, because even the physical body is the expression of man's constitution on the physical plane. The meaning is that the human constitution can be a complete human entity even when the physical body is discarded, but the "Sthula-Sarira" is needed for evolution and active work on this sub-plane of the Solar Cosmos.
The 2nd. Principle. PRANA. (The Life-force),
PRANA (Sanskrit).—The word is derived from "pra" prepositional prefix meaning "before"; and "an"—verb meaning "to breathe", "to blow", "to live". Usually translated "Life", but rather the psycho-electrical veil or "psycho-electrical field" manifesting in the individual as vitality. Commonly called "Life-Principle". The function of the life principle is to hold together the elements composing "Sthula-Surira", but it also comprehends the faculty of responding to what are known as etheric thrills which in the East are termed "Tatwas". and which we in the West recognise as the means whereby external objects appeal to the five senses, there being a "Tatwa" (or system of thrills) for each sense.
The 3rd. Principle. LINGA SHARIRA. (The Astral Body). LINGA SARIRA (Sanskrit).—"Linga" is a Sanskrit word which means characteristic mark; hence "model", "Pattern", "Sarira" "form", from a verb-root "sri", meaning "to moulder", or "to waste away", the word thus signifying "impermanence".
The Model-body, popularly called "astral body", because it is but slightly more ethereal than the physical body, and is in fact the model or framework around which the physical body is builded, and from which, in a sense, the physical body flows or from which the physical body develops as growth proceeds.
At death the "Linga-Sarira" remains in the astral realms, and finally fades out, dissolving "pari passu", atom by atom, with the atoms of the physical body. The "Linga-Sarira" is formed before the body is formed, and thus serves as a model or pattern around which the physical body is moulded and grows to maturity; it is as mortal as the physical body, and disappears with the physical body. The dense and etheric bodies are not normally separated during earth life; they ordinarily function together, as the lower and higher strings of a single instrument when a chord is strick, but they also carry on distinct though co-ordinated activities.
The 4th. Principle. KAMA-RUPA. (The Desire Body).
KAMA-RUPA (Sanskrit)—A compound word signifying "desire-body". It is that part of man's inner constitution in which dwell or inhere the various desires, affections, hates, loves, and, in brief, the various mental and psychical energies. After death it becomes the vehicle in the astral worlds of the higher principles of the man that was. But these higher principles are nevertheless scarcely conscious of the fact, because the rapture of the cord of life at the moment of the physical death plunges the cognising personal entity into a stupor of unconsciousness, in which stupor it remains for a longer or shorter period depending upon its qualities of spirituality or materiality. It is this "Kama-Rupa" which legend and story in the various ancient world religions or philosophies speak of as the "Shade", and which it has been customary in the West to call the "ghost". The "Kama-Rupa" is an exact astral duplicate, in appearance and mannerism, of the man who died physically; it is his "eidolon" or "image".
The 5th, Principle. MANAS. (Spiritual Self-Consciousness)
MANAS (Sanskrit).—The Sanskrit root of this word means "to think", "to cogitate" "to reflect"—in short, mental activity. "Manas" is the third aspect of the Divine Triangle or Higher Triad ("Atma-Buddhi-manas") which overshadows the human personality, and must not therefore be confused with what is ordinarily designated "Mind" in popular language. This Principle is usually presented in its dual aspect of Higher and Lower, and while this division is correct so far as it goes, it leaves much to be desired; for in reality Mind, like all the Principles, is septenary with three main divisions corresponding to body, mind and Spirit viz. the Subconscious, the Rational, and the Spiritual or Superconscious, Mind. It is the Spiritual or Superconscious Mind which is the real 5th. Principle which overshadows the personality. The Higher Self ("Atma") being purely spiritual, can have no direct consciousness in the physical world; hence, to enable it to complete its manifestation in all worlds and to become a redeemer, it must send down a Ray of itself into the human-animal body, in order that through this expression in matter it may complete its destiny. In the East this Ray is called "Antaskarana", meaning the bridge which joins the lower to the higher, the earthly to the Divine; it is also called the bridge across the "Great Abyss", over which the pilgrim must cross to the "eternal shore", The 6th Principle. BUDDHI. (The Spiritual Soul.)
BUDDHI (Sanskrit). "Buddhi" comes from a Sanskrit root "Budh", commonly translated "to enlighten", but a better rendering is "to perceive", "to cognise", "to awaken" and therefore "to understand", "Buddhi" is the Principle or organ in man which gives him spiritual consciousness, and in the vehicle of the Most High part of man—the "Atma". "Buddhi" is the faculty which manifests as understanding, judgment, discrimination. When "Buddhi" (The Spiritual Soul) and "Manas the Spiritual Mind are blended and illumined by the Divine Ray ("Atma"), they become the Divine Trinity, the Higher Triad or Higher Self.
The 7th, Principle. ATMA. (The Divine).
ATMA (Sanskrit).—The root of the word "Atma" is hardly known; its origin is uncertain, but the general meaning is that of "self". It is the highest part of man; Self: Pure Consciousness "per se", and is the essential and radical power or faculty in man which gives to him sentient consciousness of Selfhood. This principle cannot be expressed in words, save by some abstraction such as "Universal Soul", "All Father", "Divine Spark". How it can be Universal and yet a Principle in each individual man is a mystery only to be solved by the knowledge of "Buddhi"—"No man cometh unto the Father but by me". Yet, although a mystery, undoubtedly it is the case because union with the Universal Soul is the aim of all the great religions, and unless such Universal soul were already somehow part of ourselves, no idea of it would be possible. The union in fact now exists but is rendered imperfect by separateness; and separateness proceeds from the lower "self" whose home is in "Kama-Rupa", but whose chief manifestation is in "Sthula—Sarira".
"In the midst of Solomon's Temple there stands a G,
A letter for all to read and see;
But few there be that understand
What means the letter G.
My friend, if you pretend to be of this Fraternity
You can forthwith and rightly tell what means that letter G.