This post is part of the ‘Ancient Egyptian Wisdom’ series, please read the following first part: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom: Egypt – Source of All Knowledge and Wisdom?
As we continue our mysterious but magical journey through ancient Egypt, we now come to a man who completely revolutionised the spiritual thinking and knowledge of his people and culture.
Akhenaten, who was a Pharaoh and sage of his times, has been mostly ignored in modern times. However, Akhenaten’s wisdom, and the religious influence he had on ancient thought, have not been forgotten.
As the following introduction of Akhenaten from the Deep Spirits website intimates, many respected scholars, on the subject of ancient Egypt, held him in high regard:
The famous Egyptologist James Henry Breasted called Akhenaten “the first individual in human history”, and that because Akhenaten had never been manipulated by the ideas of his predecessors, a way of thinking and a system of beliefs he, himself could not accept. He brought forth changes that had a great impact on religion, art and architecture in Egypt and the surrounding states.
Scholars described him as the most progressive pharaoh who took Egypt one step ahead of its time. Akhenaten viewed the existence of a human being in the light it should have always been seen. Man was not just another animal, to live, procreate, work and die. For Akhenaten man was an ethical being with will power, who needed insight to attain the sacred truth.
Continue reading: ‘Akhenaten – The Revolutionary Sage of Ancient Egypt’
Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Aten
Akhenaten was also attributed to have written the Great Hymn to the Aten which is an ancient Egyptian hymn to the sun god Aten. This was Akhenaten’s attempt to convert Egypt to monotheism, with Aten being the only god. It was found, in its most complete form, in the tomb of Ay in the rock tombs at Amarna (ancient Akhet-Aten, the city Akhenaten founded). The hymn gives us a glimpse of the artistic outpouring of the Amarna period.
Following is an excerpt from one of the many translations of ‘Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Aten’:
The praise of the sun-god
Thou appearest beautiful in the horizon of the sky,
O living Disk, beginning of life!
When thou risest in the eastern horizon,
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty.
Thou art beautiful, great,
Resplendent and exalted over every land.
Thy rays encompass the lands
To the extent of all things which thou hast made;
(Since) thou art Re, thou bringest then all,
Thou subjectest them to thy beloved son
(though) thou art afar, thy rays are on earth;
Thou art on their faces (and thus they feel?) thy steps.
(When) thou goest to rest in the western horizon,
The earth is in darkenss, in the condition of death.
(Men) lie in their chambers with their heads wrapped up;
One eye seeth not the other.
Their belongings are stolen (even when) lying under their heads,
And they notice it not.
Every lion cometh from his den,
All serpents bite,
Darkness (is their protection?)
The earth (resteth) in slience
(While) he who made them is in his horizon.
The earth is bright when thou risest on the horizon,
Resplendent as the sun-disk in day-time.
Thou removest darkness
(When) thou sendest thy rays.
Both lands are in festival joy,
Awakening and standing on (their) feet;
Thou hast raised them up.
Their limbs being bathed, they take (their) clothing;
Their arms are (lifted) in worship at they rising;
(Thereupon) all the land perform their toil.
Download eBook: Akhenaten – Hymn To The Sun God Aten
Akhenaten’s Quotes of Wisdom
I cannot be fully certain if Akhenaten actually said all these as well as in what context, but as far as I know these were at least attributed to him.
“Scorn also to depress thy competitor by any dishonest or unworthy method; strive to raise thyself above him only by excelling him; so shall thy contest for superiority be crowned with honour, if not with success.”
“True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance.”
“To be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not.”
“Indulge not thyself in the passion of anger; it is whetting a sword to wound thine own breast, or murder thy friend.”
“The lips of the wise are as the doors of a cabinet; no sooner are they opened, but treasures are poured out before thee.”
“Be thou incapable of change in that which is right, and men will rely upon thee. Establish unto thyself principles of action; and see that thou ever act according to them. First know that thy principles are just, and then be thou.”
“Be upright in thy whole life; be content in all its changes;so shalt thou make thy profit out of all occurrences; so shall everything that happeneth unto thee be the source of praise”
“As a camel beareth labour, and heat, and hunger, and thirst, through deserts of sand, and fainteth not; so the fortitude of a man shall sustain him through all perils.”
“Those who gave thee a body, furnished it with weakness; but He who gave thee Soul, armed thee with resolution. Employ it, and thou art wise; be wise and thou art happy.”