Many Volumes of the Sacred Law

Brother Tofique Fatehi
Lodge Al-Ameen No. 1412 (Grand Lodge of Scotland), Bombay, India

Almost every Lodge in India, irrespective of which constitution it belongs to, has 5 Volumes of Sacred Law placed open on the Altar while the Lodge is open. They are: Geeta, Koran, Zend-Avesta, Granth-Sahib and the Bible. And yes, they are referred to as Volumes of the Sacred Law - note the plural.

There are 5 officers at the District level: the Bearer of Geeta, the Koran-Bearer, the Avesta-Bearer, the Granth Bearer and the Bearer of the Bible - collectively known as the Bearers of the Volumes of Sacred Law. If we have a candidate not "subscribing" to any of these faiths (ours is a very multi-faith society) we ask him to bring his own Volume of Sacred Law, which is also then placed on the Altar and on which he takes his obligation, and seals that obligation "in a manner most binding on his conscience" as beliefs vary with respect to how one reveres the VSL.

There are many non-English speaking Christians in the world for whom God is meaningless as it is in the English language. I know many Christians here in India who pray in a Church to Ishwar, which is the Hindi word for God, and whose very Christian names are Yesudas (Yesu = Jesus, Das = worshipper) or Ishwardas etc. They are baptized in the Church with those names. I even know of a couple of Arab Christians who know only Arabic and no English. I am sure they are praying to Allah, which again is the Arabic word for God ... Al-Lah, the Divine. This word is more amorphous - like the VSL or the GAOTU. It is only a great misconception that Allah is the God of the Muslims that makes this a sacrilege. It is just that in Arabic God is called Allah. He is the same God as the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad.

And now, a bit off track, we in India (and I believe the 'rest of the world') refer in the first degree to TGAOU, in the second degree to TGGOU, in the third degree to the MH, and several other degrees by various other acronyms as TGOOU and TGDOA and the FOAF etc etc.

The so-called Masonic Bible is just the James Version of the Bible - with an additional index to the Masonic references to the Bible - e.g. winding staircase.

Incidentally, when I visited the Lodges in US I took the Tyler's Oath (something unknown here in India) on the VSL, which was the Bible. I also attended a 3rd Degree work in a Lodge where the Bible, on which the Candidate had taken his 3 obligations was presented to him after raising, having been signed ('autographed') by all those present. When it came to taking my signature, they were a bit hesitant. Then the WM asked me if it would please me to sign the Bible, only if I didn't mind, and I gladly did so with great satisfaction, and also a great appreciation of the gesture of the WM in asking my approval before I signed it.