[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]


Nov 20, 2012 09:56 PM
by Ramanujachary


`Initiation', the term, has a wider and immense meaning than that could be conveniently and verbally communicated. It is easy to say that the word is derived from the Latin term `initiatio' (= admission to the mysteries). Bernard Jones describes it as `the reception accorded to the candidate at the moment of entering the Lodge, must be  much the same as that which all candidates, not necessarily Masonic, have met anytime through thousands of years.'
Madame Blavatsky explaining the term `Initiate' says, `It should be stated at the outset that there is a great difference between the verbal and substantive form of the word. A professor initiates his student into the first elements of some science, a science in which that student can become an adept, in other words versed in his specialty. On the contrary, an adept in occultism is at first instructed in religious mysteries, after which, if he does not fail during the terrible initiatory trials, he becomes as INITIATE (=initiated into the Greater Mysteries). She also says this term is synonymous with `Hierophant'(=he who explains the Greater Mysteries), and continues, `Masons, with more respect for the dead letter which kills, than for the spirit which quickens, have applied the term `Initiate' to all their neophytes or candidates in all degrees of Masonry, the highest as well as the lowest.'
She reminds the Masonic Gentlemen that `as far as esoteric Masonry is concerned, nearly all its secrets have disappeared since Elias Ashmole and his immediate successors. The destruction of the secrets was further explained thus: `(it) was the result of a shameful pact between certain Masons and the Church. An aged "brother," a great Kabbalist, has just died here, whose grandfather, a renowned Mason, was an intimate friend of Count de Saint-Germain, when the latter was sent, it is said, by Louis xv, to England, in 1760, to negotiate peace between the two countries. The Count de Saint-Germain left in the hands of this Mason certain documents relating to the history of Masonry, and containing the key to more than one misunderstood mystery. He did so on the condition that these documents would become the secret heritage of all those descendants of the Kabbalists who became masons. These papers, however, were of value to but two Masons: the father and the son who has just died, and they will be of no use to anyone else in Europe. Before his death, the precious documents were left with an Oriental (a Hindu) who was commissioned to transmit them to a certain person who would come to Amritsar, City of Immortality, to claim them. It is also told, confidentially, that the famous founder of the Lodge of Trinisophists, J M Ragon, was also initiated into many secrets by an Oriental, in Belgium, and some say that he knew Saint-Germain in his youth. This might perhaps explain why the author of the Tuileur general de la Franc-Maconnerie, or Manual de l'Initie, affirmed that Elias Ashmole was the real founder of modern Masonry. No one knew better than Ragon the extent of loss of Masonic secrets, as he himself says: It is of the very essence and nature of the Mason to seek light wherever he thinks he can find it. In the meanwhile, they give the Masons the glorious title of children of light, and they leave them enveloped in darkness.'
The terminology established in the Theosophical society, according to Madame Blavatsky, is the correct one, because in every case these terms are a faithful translation of their Sanskrit equivalents, almost as old as the latest human race. `The truthful words of Ragon run thus: Initiation had its cradle in India.  It has preceded the civilizations of Asia and Greece, and in refining the mind and the customs of people, it has furnished the basis for all civil, political, and religious laws.' `The word Initiate is the same as dwija, the twice born Brahmana. It means that initiation was considered a birth into a new life.'
Initiation is a term akin to that in Sanskrit `Akshara-Abhyasa'. Akshara is the word or thing that never diminishes or vanishes. It is the `ineffable name', meaning `too great for words'. Abhyasa is `constant practice' (incessant and undisturbed). The Initiation is the first step which leads one to the last step invariably, if only the practitioner (neophyte) is earnest and sincere in his search. A beginning is made and the quest or journey to find out the genuine secrets is a continuous job till it is achieved or accomplished. As Bharthari, the Sanskrit poet of 16th century says, many do not make a beginning at all, some though seemingly earnest in the beginning drop the effort in the middle - having received certain peripheral rewards, and only a few carry the quest to the meaningful end. He called the few `the real and strong'.
The neophyte is placed in the north-east corner as the foundation stone of the building, and he grows rich in his knowledge and wisdom that he eventually becomes the strong pillar. The Entered-Apprentices song has the following stanzas:
Antiquity's pride/ we have on our side/ and it maketh Men just in their station; /There's naught but what's good/ To be understood/ By a Free and Accepted Mason.
Then join hand in hand, /Teach other firm stand,/ Let's be merry, and put a bright Face on;/ what mortal can boast/ so noble a Toast,/As a Free and an accepted Mason.
Secrets are so sacred that they are not amenable for communication. A Mason is given only the `substituted secrets', and he has to arrive at the genuine ones on his own. Secrets are veiled in symbols, glyphs and words. It should not be difficult for a dedicated student who practices the three dominating principles viz.; Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth to unravel them. Proper preparedness at each stage of Learning is the key. Initiation is the beginning as well as the consummation of the knowledge Divine.

Dr N C Ramanujachary

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application