The Egyptian Book of the Dead
Generally, the Ancient Egyptian writings are commonly referred and demarcated as the Pyramid Text, the Coffin Text, the Papyrus Text , and the Am Duat Text based on the media in which they were written on. However this demarcation is not conclusive because there can be papyrus scriptures written on chapel walls and Am Duat Text written on papyrus paper. Therefore, the common delineation of the Medu Neter must be revised to reflect the specific genre of the text being referenced and not so much based on the media in which they were written on. Therefore, an overall genre specific categorization is more appropriate. In as such a certain genre may be predominantly written on a certain media, however, the media itself should not be the final determiner of how the text should be categorized and delineated.
The Medu Neter that are commonly referred to as the Pyramid, Coffin and Papyrus Text respectively were not written in a purely philosophical manner which adds to its mystery, philosophical complexity, and misunderstanding among the academic, Egyptological and metaphysical circles. Thus the Egyptian writings, those that are commonly referred to as the Pyramid Text, the Coffin Text and the Papyrus Text do not parallel western philosophical thought in a strict manner. In contrast the writings of the Sages of Asia such as Kamileshila, Patanjali, Kung Fu Tzu, and Naropa can be translated directly into their English equivalent which reveals a close synchronicity with Asian and Western Philosophy.
While the Ancient Egyptian Medu Neter can be defined as a pictographic language, much of its philosophical premises must be extrapolated from the symbolic inferences of its script. The philosophical premise of the Medu Neter is there shrouded in symbolism and mystery, however it can be discerned through careful study and legitimate religious experience while the Asian writers used more of an alphabetical script. Thus the Asian philosophical premises can be readily discerned from a direct translation of its terms to its Western equivalents or approximations. From the Asian perspective this is through an intellectual development of the understanding of the nature of the human mind. However, for complete understanding of the Asian mysteries, spiritual practice is essential for their practitioners as well. The point being that the Medu Neter is written in such a way that a strictly didactic approach to understanding its spiritual messages is perhaps a mistake that may lead to misunderstanding.
Therefore, from the surface level it may appear that the Medu Neter is lacking in philosophy of the human psycho-spiritual experience. Rather, the Medu Neter is rich in psycho-spiritual insight. This cannot be substantiated by scholars, only by sages and saints. For most professionals who study the Kemetic writings it is approached from a surface level. The Egyptologist and academic societies approach it from a historical perspective while the metaphysical societies approach it from subtle energetic and scientific perspective.
Among the two groups there is disagreement with the relative age of Ancient Egyptian Culture. The metaphysical group views Ancient Egyptian culture as much older than the academic and Egyptological sides. However, both in their interpretation of the spiritual aspect of the culture do not do so from a mystical perspective and as such there is much confusion among them about the true practices and disciplines that were enjoined by the sages, priests, priestesses , saints, recluses, renunciates and common people of the olden civilization. Much of this confusion is born from a misunderstanding of the Medu Neter along with other societal challenges such as an inability to view the Kemetic civilization as inherently African with its own African philosophy.
This African philosophy should be viewed in the same manner as Japanese Taoist Philosophy or Tibetan Buddhist Scholarship; the Kemetic writings therefore are among them and their qualified and legitimate spiritual leaders would acknowledge such as it is our religious duty to acknowledge and venerate the other spiritual traditions of humanity. Through this approach of acknowledgment and religious reverence for other traditions there can be fuller and deeper understanding of the teachings. This is necessary as we live in a world where strict lines of culture and race are swiftly disappearing as humanity is slowly awakening to the reality that there is only one family, the human family. As sage Akhunaton said, “However many there are, you made them all to live.” This means that every philosophical teaching from every culture comes from Aton (the un-manifest, The Divine).
The Ra Nu Pert em Heru script is primarily metaphoric while its “sentences” are actually formulas that need to be deciphered carefully for the philosophical ideas to be exuded. Thus the script itself is layered with copious philosophical insight into the nature of the human experience, the Kemetic pathway to enlightenment, the inner mysteries of the mind and insight into subtle and gross levels of mental energies. Therefore, it is primarily concerned with the intermediary states of consciousness, moral ethic development of the human entity and realization of God Consciousness.
However, in contrast, the Great Hymn to Aton by Sage Akhunaton does not reference the Duat nor approaches the philosophical ideas of death and its processes or consequences much like the Hymn to Hapi. However, the Harper’s Song directly addresses the issue of the impermanence of life and the consequences that are experienced by a life lived in enlightenment or ignorance. Both the Harper’s Song and the Great Hymn to Aton cannot be categorized as either Pyramid, Coffin or Papyrus Text, thus this very small example demonstrates the vast sophistication, flexibility and subtle nuances of the Ancient Egyptian collection of spiritual writings.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead gives great insight into the subtle realms of consciousness. In Kemetic philosophy the subtle planes of consciousness are called fields, towns or dwelling places. These areas are varied, highly sophisticated and much involved; therefore, this writing will concern itself with an introductory level discourse in the less phenomenal planes of being that are explicated in the Rau Nu Per em Heru, which is part 4 of this series.
If a human being can understand that the objectified phenomenon that appears in your life, that is phenomena on the physical plane and phenomena on the mental plane have a basis upon which they are born, then one may gain insight into substantial reality, the purpose of Kemetic Yoga.
The physical plane is where the conscious state of consciousness becomes activated while the mental plane is the area of the dream world and meditation world planes. Thus, objectified phenomena and the experiences that you have in relation to that objectivity in relation to form beings, moods, feelings and images are not autonomous in their nature but rather, are promulgated from an efficient cause. The result of that presumed efficiency allows a multiple of results to occur and thus terminate in an experience in day to day life, dream or meditation. These experiences can be in relation to form beings or your own mental thoughts and subsequent reaction to your mental creations.
If you can understand the nature of cause and effect or Ari then the human being will not be so confused or confounded by ones daily encounters with other beings such as people or animals nor be confounded by one’s own thoughts. So if you can understand that what is happening in your life is based on your own past actions and that from the purview of mystical philosophy there is no such theory of randomness or chance, then you can diffuse the anxiety that arises due to lack of wisdom. This negation of randomness and chance presupposes that the human entity is the primary creator of his or her life and experiences. These experiences can be of a joyous nature or may arise as periods of suffering and dissatisfaction.
In the teachings of mystical philosophy it is understood that every incident that occurs in time and space is created by causes and conditions and your actions allow those causes and conditions to arise. Upon generation of a cause a result will ensue. Thus the result is not the karma, but rather the karma, act, is what created the mechanism by which the result manifests. Therefore it is important for one on the spiritual path to gain comprehensive insight into the modes of action. The word Ari means action (karma) or generation of form (results of karma as in the creation of the universe). Ariu refers to the sum total of all karmic actions. So your Ari, every action that you perform is going to create some result, either in the form of a being, an entity or a situation that you encounter that will project unto you some form of pleasure or pain that an unenlightened consciousness indulges in. So therefore the human person should try to understand the power of your actions and how to train them correctly to yield the results necessary to build a life of enlightenment.
There are certain experiences that are necessary to gain insight into reality. The most substantial of these is to become immersed in the formless absolute, what is termed, the Anrutef, or the place where there is an absence of generation. As was stated earlier, the states of consciousness antecedent to the Arutef, have been delineated in the olden writings such as the Papyrus of Sesh (scribe) Ani.
Thus it can be posited that since the Anrutef is understood cognitively as absolute nothing, form therefore is illusion, is not absolutely real, from the side of transcendental consciousness. By illusion it means that forms do not appear as their true nature. The form is present to the senses and so has validity, however, that validity is faulty by the illusionary nature of the form. Thus something is there, but not in its absolute nature. The practice of the deeper mysteries of Kemetic Yoga assists the practitioner in penetrating the reality behind the gross manifestations of objectified phenomenon.
Thus, antecedent to the Anrutef are the lower realms, however all of these realms are in what is referred to as the Duat, they are in the underworld so they are in your mind environment, as has been alluded to by the scriptures. Although they are being explained as realms of higher and lower, they are actually experienced as states of consciousness by adept meditators and not necessarily that one precedes the other. But for the purpose of understanding they must be described as realms in relation to a hierarchy.
Thus the Egyptian Book of the Dead is a spiritual treatise on Kemetic Yoga.
Peace and Blessings,
Sehu Khepera Ankh