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 ritual 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 280 years in the world and for over 250 years 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 380 Lodges and over 200 other Masonic bodies located in different parts of the country with a total membership of about 22,000 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 Dist. & 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, "Jyothirgamaya Project " 110 villages in the country provided Solar Lights 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:
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.