[Notes on the Origin of Freemasonry and the Presence of Adepts in India]
Theosophist, February, 1882
Article Selections from “A Flash of Light upon Occult Freemasonry” | Notes by H.P.B.
We are in receipt of an intensely interesting document. It is a small pamphlet, kindly sent to us by our esteemed Brother A. Sankariah . . . The pamphlet . . . contains the views of the author upon the decision of the [Madras] Government regarding the subject under dispute.
The reader will please bear in mind that the above-used adjective “interesting” applies but to the subject which lies deeply hidden behind the “temple-rights” question, and not in any wise to the decision of the Government, or its qualifications to interfere in this religious dispute. With politics, our Journal has nought to do whatever, and the following is republished simply with the object of drawing the attention of our Masonic readers to several of its sentences, which, as we believe, will throw a flood of light upon the antiquity and the esotericism (now completely lost in modern Freemasonry) of the religious masonry in the Brahmanical creed.
Mr. A. Sankariah prefaces the republished documents by showing that the dispute in question between the Travancore and Cochin States “is not a case for Government interference” . . .
[Note: here followed Mr. Sankariah’s preface. The decision and contention is between the Rajah of the state, who has the right of nominating a Manager of a temple site, and the proprietor of the temple, which Mr. Sankariah argues is “entirely one for the Civil Courts having jurisdiction over the temple” and not for the Madras Government to decide upon.]
Mr. Sankariah proceeds to explain their position.
“Without further comment . . . I shall now lift the veil which hangs over the contention and decision.
The Masonic Institution was wide-spread in India in ancient days and cherished by the Initiated in secret, if indeed India was not the Parent of all Freemasonry in the world.1
1. Which—we have strong reasons to believe it was.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
The Truths or Secrets of Hindu Theosophy hae been inculcated and preserved in the architectural Symbolism of Human art as well as in the Macrocosm and Microcosm of nature. The Initiates of the Art-Fraternity belonged to all castes and races, and the Hindu Initiates . . . wear also the thread or sign of Initiation like the Brahmans who only are privileged to become the Initiates of the Nature of Vedic Fraternity. . . . The Truths or secrets are precisely the same though differently symbolized or studied in the two systems. The Rishis of the Vedic school were, of course, also Founders of the Masonic. . . .
It will now be clear to the reader why the Masonic Initiates . . . often dispute the superiority of the Brahmans, how the Pyramid of Egypt is being discovered to be a stone-Bible, and why the Hindus prize the worship of idols in temples.
Temples and even private houses in India are built under the rules of the Thachu-Veda or architectual philosophy which has precisely corresponding gods and ceremonies to those of the other Hindu Vedas. . . .
I am not surprised that the Arbitrator and the Madras Government have not suspected any such philosophical mystery to exist in this matter, for true initiates and adepts are rare even amongst the Hindus who are all blind adherents of the craft in faith as opposed to knowledge. . . .
The fact is that the Kayankulam Chief who by his merit commanded the reverence of the Yogam was occassionally represented at the temple by his nominee of a particular family and caste who was specially trained and inspired by him. . . . When the Kayankulam family became extinct . . . the Rajahs of Cochin and Travancore honored the feelings of the Yogakkars by promising in the form of a treaty between them and the one (as the Territorial sovereign) to send for the other (as the Sovereign of the Sudra family) to send a member of that Sudra family if the Yogam ever required Spiritual instruction as in the past. Such a treaty is not one that admits of specific performance on the part of either Rajah apart from the antecedent desire and intention of the Yogam. That Sudra family possesses no particular merit nowadays. That Kayankulam chief who possessed miraculous merit is no more.2 The Yogakkars do not need spiritual instruction from any incompetent man. . . .
2. European and even Hindu students of Occultism are often deploring and even wondering, why all the “Initiates” or “adepts” seem to have died out in India? They have not “died” out, nor is their absence due to “Kali Yuga” as popularly yet erroneously supposed. The “adepts” have simply and gradually if not altogether forsaken India, at least retired from its public populated portions, keeping their knowledge and often their very existence as secret as they can. Many of them are gone beyond the Himalayas. Some yet remain—especially in Southern India, but few are the privileged ones who know of them; still fewer those who could point out their places of retreat.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
. . . The arbitrator not being an initiate cannot, of course, understand how it would take two Kaimals, 90 years, to rebuild “a small portion of the temple” though “the most sacred.” What is a small “Sri-kovil” to the arbitrator . . . is esoterically the profoundest theosophy of the Yogam. . . .
. . . To prevent any breach of the peace taking place as feared by Petitioners, I would suggest that the Government of Madras . . . inform the Cochin . . . that the order of Government confirming the decision of the arbitrator . . . is under reconsideration as Government have doubts.3 . . .
3. We believe this has now been settled in favour of Cochin.—Ed. [H.P.B.]
[etc., etc., etc.]