UDJA Sebai MAA and Seba Dja,
Please find rendition of Level 1 – Lesson 6 below.
Lesson 6 – Level 1
A) About devotion
The third great truth teaches us that devotion to the divine leads to freedom from egoism and the related fetters of Set. When we are controlled by egoism that means our devotion is directed to the objects of creation: we identify our body, feelings and thoughts as abiding reality and in that sense, we forget who we truly are and as a consequence our consciousness of the ultimate reality is clouded. The process of aspiration is to practice the spiritual disciplines so that we dissolve the clouds of ignorance about our divinity. One of the key disciplines of this process is the divine worship, the practice by which we consciously turn our attention to the Supreme Being in order to purify our mind from attachment to worldly objects and ultimately to progress toward living devotional to the divine essence.
The beginning of the devotional ritual includes a set of practices symbolizing the formal direction of the mind to the divinity. There is first the prostration that symbolizes our reverence to the divinity. The lighting of candle symbolizes the revival of the spirit within us, the Akhu. It represents the awareness to the spirit that has been put aside by egoism. The burning of the incense symbolizes the dedication of our personality, our ego self to the higher SELF, our spirit. The libation corresponds to continuous practice of mental thought towards the divine as opposed to thoughts toward the world. This is a mean to signify we are focusing our mind to the divine.
Spoken offering involves Hekau which is word of power that has the capacity to transform the mind and needs to be repeated four times in a way to include the totality of creation (North – South – East – West). It also represents an astral offering that is sanctified with the giving of our maleness and femaleness symbolizing the unity of Self.
B) About the mystery of the Temple
The Temple in Ancient Egypt is a sacred space dedicated to develop the proper environment to transmit the teaching and perform initiation for the attainment of higher spiritual goal: know thyself. It represented a subtle demarcation between worldly living and the sacred life. The environment outside the temple is considered to belong to the world. As everything else in the Kamitan culture, the architecture of the Temple served for a sacred purpose and symbolized the path of the individual toward enlightenment. It is composed symbolically of three sections.
The first section usually called Peristyle is where the aspirants or the people with a desire to follow the teaching attend, representing their first step into the conscious search for self-realization. That is the place where prayers, chants are done and general aspects of the philosophy exposed. From another perspective, this particular room of the temple is the location for first level of aspiration that is named mortals.
The second section named hypostyle is where higher mystery is transmitted and relates to next level of initiates or those who are striving to apply the teaching. The aspirants allowed to enter that room have gone through a process of transformation leading them to directing their life more intensely to the goal of spiritual practices.
The third section corresponds to the innermost location of the Temple and is reserved for those who have received the light. The initiates at that level have realized the highest goal of the teachings, which is to realize their true Nature. According to the Prm r Hru book, that means you know your name as being one with the Supreme Being; you also know the names of the Neterus and become one with them; creation is also you and nothing can’t obstruct yourself as you are one with the ultimate power.
C) Seeking happiness in the world is the pursuit of an illusion
What is happiness? In ordinary terms, it relates to something we should do in time and space or depends on something we can buy. Everyone is seeking ultimate happiness which is a state of great joy and freedom, free from pain and suffering that would be everlasting. History has shown us after early success of political battle and revolution pursued under the promise of happiness for everyone, new problems emerge out of the contradictions within the struggle and the cycle of dissatisfaction continues. On an individual level, one is constantly hoping that perhaps a new situation; a new relationship will bring fourth the true happiness they are looking for until new issues are raised. All to say that pleasure in time and space is temporary; no matter how pleasurable events can be, they are not sufficient to refrain the desire of pursuing for more. Every situation brings its own problem and contradictions, leaving the SOUL in an endless cycle of pleasure and pain. The pursuit of permanent bliss in the world of time and space is illusory because no matter how happy we feel, after a while, we feel dissatisfaction and the desire to seek for happiness again. In that sense, if hapiness is illusory, what is worth our time? What are we supposed to strive for? Does it exist something permanent within us that transcends time and space, and cycle of reincarnation that remains the same?
D) Body belongs to earth soul belongs to Heaven
The Kemetic theology teaches us about the term Paut or NUN that is the essence of everything. It permeates every object of creation which is in its totality, its manifestation. In modern physics, they called that substratum, energy. From that perspective, the energy that goes to make up a painting is the same that goes to create other things. Every object is perishable; nothing can last forever except for the primeval essence itself. The teaching tells us the permanent aspect within us is called spirit and objects of our perception are only expression of it in time and space. In that sense, our body is not eternal as well as our thoughts, desires and feelings. Therefore, our identification with bodily experiences as an abiding reality is illusory and comes from the ignorance of our true nature. The question is then: how did we come to forget who we truly are? How did we come from being transcendental to being impermanent? How can we know our true nature? The Teaching has all the answers.
E) Meaning of Shetaut Neter
Shetaut Neter is the Ancient Egyptian African name for the term religion that encompassed all aspects of their daily lives. Shetaut means hidden and Neter is the term for divinity. The philosophy includes teachings and practices about how to unveil that mystery in order to know ourselves. The divinity is a mystery because it is clouded by layers of ignorance coming from our identification and attachment to the perception of bodily senses. Why should we try to know anything and particularly our true nature? It is the path of evolution of our SOUL that transcends our will. How the teaching is helping us to go about the knowledge of our self? The essence of the teaching is provided through four great truths that include the answers to our ignorance of our true nature as well as the path to unveil it and have the knowledge of the divinity within us: when we realize that knowledge, that is called being true of speech.
F) Four great truths
The first great truth teaches us about Neter, the Supreme Being manifesting itself in every objects of creation including the Gods and Goddesses, representing the cosmic forces that sustain creation. It tells us that the goal of our practices is to realize the oneness behind apparent reality. At first, how did we come to fall into the delusion of ignorance of our Self?.
The second great truth answers the question about how human fell into the delusion of ignorance. In a mythical story, it is said that in the beginning, human beings were spirits sent on earth by RA and they were able to live for thousands of years. They began to feel arrogant to such a point that the Gods and goddesses went to tell RA about it. Having learned about that, RA gave them limitation with encasement in water and later on, sent one of his daughters to come into the earth to bring righteousness. The story teaches us that deviation from MAAT has led to a situation where we become slaves of the body and, we become inflicted by Saiu Set or the fetters of SET, which is the divinity of the ego personality. The fetters represent qualities, behaviors that reinforce our identification and attachment to our body as abiding reality. When we develop those qualities we become ignorant of the divine self and the Sages tell us that we are living in darkness that is more than any other type of darkness. The individual is then in a struggle between the natural evolution of the SOUL toward light and the attachment to the body.
The third great teaches about how to overcome that struggle. If we cause Uashu to be in our life meaning being devoted to the divine, then that would cause freedom (Nafu). The term Nafu means freedom as opposed to when we are in trouble, we have difficulty to breath: this is symbolized by the mummy being wrapped. Devotion to the world with the attachment to the body leads to great suffering and pain. When we turn our life to the divine, we will find ultimate peace that will allow us to break the cycle of ignorance and to be free from the fetters. But how this can be achieved?
The fourth great truth teaches about the disciplines we need to apply in order to realize our oneness with the Supreme Divinity. The path towards that goal require we get into the teaching deeply, to ponder the essence of the philosophy and this is called Shedy. The disciplines include: practice of listening to the teaching (Reckh); practice of devotional rituals (Uashu) including loving others, ourselves and nature ; practice of righteousness or Maat righteous actions ; meditation (Ua) practices that allows us to break to transcendental realm of being.
The practice of the disciplines provides the aspirant with the maturity to progress, which is the main quality required to grow and not age or social and political influences. Our deeds determine our faith and our progress is linked to the degree we are persistent or relentless in the pursuit of enlightenment. Furthermore, the level of detachment we are able to demonstrate towards the events of the world that will create new mental impressions to support our spiritual life.
G) Realms of existence
The realms of existence relate to our level of consciousness or identification to the divine or the degree to which we are able to perceive the ultimate reality. The teaching reveals about three realms of existence.
Physical realm is where most people live and is usually called the waking state. A person with that level of consciousness perceives the reality in time and space as being permanent and abiding. It is the level of ignorance where the realization of eternal bliss is expected with objects in time and space where everything is illusory and bound to an end and therefore unable to bring permanent happiness. When our consciousness resides in this realm, we are in the plane of mental illusion.
The second realm of existence is the astral plane also called PET and corresponds to our experience when we dream. Our subconscious activity is a reflection of our level of ignorance or related identification with duality. In that realm, for more advanced aspirants, deeper teaching can be provided at that level as the mind is less susceptible to distraction.
The third realm of level of consciousness is the causal plane. It is called causal because that is where the seed that causes the rest of our experience resides: it corresponds to our unconscious. That is where also resides the most subtle of our thoughts that have not yet emerged to our conscious or subconscious. Also, in that plane we find impressions of the mind that are hidden because too painful but yet can rise if the proper condition occurs. The task of the aspirant is to purify oneself until such point we become consciously aware of all levels of existence and not being bound by them and once we attain that, we transcend them as well as time and space.
When we reach that level of transcendence also within the causal plane, we go beyond time and space and reach Anrutef or the place of no mind. People who have attained such mental state are able to experience the nature of the divine, the oneness of existence. If that state is experienced long enough, the initiate completely transcends the illusory aspects of life.
All the disciplines of Shetaut Neter are preparing the aspirants for that realization. The building of temples, the wisdom texts, the mythology and related disciplines are not the end: they all have a purpose behind them which is to hep the aspirant in attaining NEHAST.
H) What impressed me about this lesson?
I am impressed the most by the clarity of the teaching contained in the great truths. They reveal in one part the essence of everything that is also our true nature and how we come to become ignorant about that aspect of ourselves. They establish the path toward removing the obstacles that cloud our knowledge of the Self and the divine. And more importantly, they teach us about the disciplines that we need to apply in order to attain the highest goal of spirituality which is enlightenment or to know our name. The importance of ethical conscience and the need to evolve spiritually in a balanced way are powerful lessons of the great truths. They contain essentially all aspects of religion practices and they have no ambiguity about what it is to be a spiritual aspirant. They are more than aspects of religion but essentially a true philosophy of living. Ultimately, they are not an end in themselves but aspects that point to enlightenment and that will be transcended once we attain NEHAST or resurrection of the SOUL.