What is Freemasonry?

What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies. It is a world-wide organisation based on the principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its precepts by series of rituals which follow ancient forms and use stone masons’ customs and tools and allegorical guides. It seeks to make good men better and thereby make the world a better place in which to live. Freemasonry has been in existence in the present form for nearly 300 years in the world and for almost the same time in India. There are more than 150 Grand Lodges functioning all over the world. The Grand Lodge of India was consecrated as a Sovereign Grand Lodge with full Masonic jurisdiction over the territories of the Republic of India in November 1961. The primary unit organisation of Freemasonry is a Lodge. We have as of now over 500 Lodges and over 200 other Masonic bodies located in different parts of the country with a total membership of about 28,000 Freemasons. Masonic organisations throughout the world are engaged in many philanthropic and charitable projects. In India too, the Masonic Fraternity is involved in several charitable projects, all over the country. The General Williams Masonic Polyclinic and a Masonic Public School in Delhi, as also a Masonic Medical care center for children in Coimbatore, the adoption of an entire village located in backward area, for all round development in Health, Sanitation, Education & Housing in Visakhapatnam Distt. & Construction of Sheds for cyclone victims in Andhra Pradesh, many Scholarships and Bursaries awarded to deserving students, helping institutions for the handicapped and the aged and holding of periodical Blood donation camps, Eye camps and other Health Camps etc., are examples of some of the socially relevant activities of Masonic organisations all over the country. Freemasonry is best explained through answers to some specific questions as indicated below:–

What is the object of Masonry?

Motto of Freemasonry is Brotherly Love, Relief & Truth.

  • Freemasonry seeks to make good men better. It encourages the practice of the moral virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, prudence and Justice.
  • It inculcates obedience to God & observance of the Laws of the country.
  • It is committed to extend the hand of fellowship & provide Relief to those in distress.

What Freemasonry is not?

It is not a Religion However, it emphasises secularism by teaching respect for and tolerance towards all religions.

It is not a political party or organisation.

It reminds them of the filial affection one should always have for the Land of their birth, to remain loyal to the laws of the land which, for the time being, may be the place of their residence, or afford them protection.

It is not a secret society

  • There is nothing secret or secretive about Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not conceal the time and place of its meeting nor does a member hide the fact of his membership.
  • Like many other Societies it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters of concern only for its members.
  • There is no secret about its aims & principles. Copies of its Constitutions and Rules can be obtained by interested members of the public from its offices.

It is not a social club

However, it provides the means of socialising among its members, which consists of a cross section of society drawn from all walks of life who meet on an equal · footing. It also involves the families of members on such social occasions.

How does Masonry get its membership?

Freemasonry does not canvass for members. The person must seek for membership of a Masonic Lodge of his own free will and accord. He would however, be provided all information he wishes to know.

Who is eligible to become a Mason?

No atheist can become a Mason. Any man, of age 21 years or more, who is of good moral character and believes in the existence of Almighty God and a belief in the Supreme Being, no matter by what name He is called, or what faith the person professes, is eligible. He, however, has to be proposed and seconded by a Freemason.

What does Freemasonry expect from one who joins it?

  • There is nothing secret or secretive about Freemasonry. Freemasonry does not conceal the time and place of its meeting nor does a member hide the fact of his membership.
  • He must understand and appreciate its high ideals and objectives and put to actual practice its motto of “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth”.
  • Patriotism & Loyalty to one’s own country and the Fraternity at all times is a bounden duty.
  • It expects that a Freemason should do unto others, as he would wish others would do unto him.
  • Charity is the predominant characteristic of a Freemason’s heart. He is always expected   to “give” to Freemasonry rather than expect to “receive” anything from it for personal benefit.
  • That he will practice outside the Lodge those duties & virtues that he is taught inside the Lodge.

Freemasonry Teaches

  • kindness in the home,
  • love for one another,
  • courtesy in society,
  • resistance towards evil,
  • help for the weak,
  • pity and concern for the unfortunate,
  • forgiveness for the penitent,
  • fairness in work,
  • honesty in business,

and above all, reverence and love for God. In fact, Freemasonry is a Way of Life.


Q). What is Freemasonry?

A). Freemasonry:

  • Is one of the world oldest caring societies.
  • Is a unique society concerned with moral and spiritual values
  • Seeks to make good men better
  • Teaches morality through symbolism
  • Uses ancient ceremonies to instruct its members

Q). Who are the Freemasons?

A). Ordinary people in the community who care about the welfare of others.

Q). Are you a secret society ?

A). No…. until recently, our policy was to be rather discreet about ourselves, our community work, and even our membership. However times have changed …and so have we! Today Masons will often talk freely aout their activities and their membership. Lodge rooms are often opened to visitors and enquiries about Masons and their valuable community work are always welcomed.

Q). Why do you have secrets at all?

A). The “Secrets” of Freemasonry are the traditional modes of recognition, just like pin numbers and computer passwords. And today these are widely known through many books  &  available on the internet.

Q). Is its religion?

A). No. freemasonry does not instruct its members in what their religion beliefs should be, nor it is a substitute for religion.

Q). Who was the first Indian Mason?

A). Omdat-ul-Omrah, the Nawab of Carnatic. The second Indian Mason was M. Bandeh Ali Khan, initiated in Marine Lodge, Calcutta in 1812.

Q). What do you believe in?

A). Freemasons:-

  • Have a common belief in a supreme being
  • Believe in high moral standards
  • Believe in honesty in everyday life

Q). What do you wear?

A). Just like your local club, Freemasons have a dress code at their meetings.

Q). Why do you wear an Apron?

A). It is a traditional and ceremonial form of recognition within the membership.

Q). Where do you meet?

A). Upwards of five millions Freemasons meet world wide in buildings known as Lodges. The word “Lodge” has been a traditional name for a meeting place since the middle ages. Most Masonic lodges can be found in prominent locations in the community.

Q). What do you do at meetings?

A). The same as the business meeting of any other organization.  Instruction is the given in the form of ancient ceremonies which teach the value of  high moral standards. We also have social gatherings which promote fellowship.

Q). I have heard that some of your ceremonies are embarrassing?

A). No, the ceremonies are not embarrassing to members. In fact they are memorial experiences which members treasure and respect.

Q). I am told that if I am a Freemason, it will be an advantage in my job, is that true?

A). NO. Masons are under a strict obligation not to use their connections to obtain any personal advantage, but of course, being known as a Freemason means that you will be recognized as a person of integrity who can be relied upon.

Q). How much does it cost?

A). Certain fees are expected of members, however, the fees are structured so as not to exclude any member of society.

Q). How old is freemasonry?

A). It dates from the middle ages in Europe. It’s present form began in the 18th century, in Britain, and came to India in 1728. There are many books available to the general public on the subject of Freemasonry.

Q). How much time do I need to devote?

A). Initially perhaps two night a month. As you progress, further time may be needed – but this is optional.

Q). Why can women  not join?

A). Traditionally Freemasonry has been just for men. However within the Masonic family there are various other activities, social and charitable, which cater to all members of the family.

Q). Are you like Lions or Rotary?

A). In some respects we are similar, such as in our charitable works, but Masonry can be distinguished from service organizations by the emphasis on the traditional manner in which it passes on its ancient beliefs.