Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Freemasonry and Royalty Part I

Photo: See the Asianet Interview with R W Bro.HH Marthanda Varma on
http://www.asianetindia.com/acv-interview or 

Indian Freemasonry and Royalty 

(Rt. W. Bro. His Highness Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma)

"And to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced that in every age monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art, have not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the trowel, have patronised our mysteries and joined in our assemblies."
These lines are taken from one of the foundation charges of Freemasonry that every new initiate hears, popularly known as - The Charge after Initiation.

Freemasonry and Royalty in England

Freemasonry as you can see from the ritual has had royalty among its ranks. In fact the Duke of Kent is the current Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. M. W. Bro. Prince Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick has served in that office since 1967.

Freemasonry and Royalty in Kerala

Therefore it should be no surprise that Indian Freemasonry also has royalty among its ranks.
One such brother is Rt. W. Bro. His Highness Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma (born 22 March 1922).This article tries to highlight some interesting cultural and historical aspects related to his background.
He is the current titular Maharaja of Travancore. He is the younger brother of the last ruling monarch of the Kingdom of Travancore, Maharajah Chitra Thirunal Rama Varma. 
He also maintains his ritual position at the Padmanabhaswamy Temple as the custodian of the temple, and is involved in events relating to this and other public inauguration functions.
Flag of Travancore
Travancore Flag

The Kingdom of Travancore

Kingdom of Travancore തിരുവിതാംകൂര്‍, tiruvitāṁkūr was an Indian Princely State with its capital at Padmanabhapuram or Trivandrum. The Kingdom of Travancore at its zenith comprised most of modern day southern KeralaKanyakumari district, and the southernmost parts of Tamil Nadu. The state's flag was red with a silver, dextrally-coiled, sacred conch shellTravancore, although a Princely State, was known for its relatively high literacy rate and its progressive government.

The Servants of Padmanabha

On January 3, 1750, Marthanda Varma (the founder of this dynasty) virtually "dedicated" Travancore to his tutelary deity Padmanabha of Padmanabhaswamy Temple and from then on the rulers of Travancore ruled as the "servants of Padmanabha" (the Padmnabha-dasans). Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple gave its name to Kerala’s state capital Thiruvananthapuram. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means Sacred Abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha. The city is also known as Anandapuram (City of Bliss). Ananda refers to Shree Padmanabha Himself. Hindu scriptures refer to the Supreme Being as 'Sachidananda' (Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Absolute Bliss)

The Interview summary will be my next post. :)