The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Judgment Scene of Ani
There are several translations of the book commonly known as “The Egyptian Book of the Dead.” To better understand it and aid you in buying it consider the following:
First, the title “The Book of the Dead” was coined because of where the writings that make up the book were found. In short, they were found in the tombs of those who had made their transition. So there are different chapters that were found in tombs of different people. The chapters found in the tomb of Sage Ani are the most popular. The chapters in each tomb were chosen by the person prior to his/her transition. Consequently the title does not reflect the purpose or meaning behind words.
Second, the indigenous people of the land of Kmt called the writings buried with the person the “Rau nu Prt M Hru” which means “The Words/Utterances for Coming into the Spiritual Light (Enlightenment) or “Becoming one with Heru.”  Heru was associated with the resurrected soul prior to the death of a person. To them one who resurrects their soul while alive is one “awakened” to the aspect of her/himself that is the Divine or God.
Third, most of the authors of The Book of the Dead are Christian, Muslim or Jewish. All three of these religions see God as separate and apart from God’s creation. However, the African people of Kmt, Africa as a whole prior to colonization, Native Americans, Indians from Asia and most other countries prior to the creation of these three religions approximately 2500 years ago saw “everything” as a manifestation of ONE  Energy/Consciousness/Divine/God (whatever you want to call it). So an original writing in the book for example that refers to the person reading the text as God manifesting through the person would be interpreted by a Christian scholar instead as God talking to the person.
You can see that this is a grievous error regarding what portions of the text mean and when mis-interpreted in this way totally contradicts the original meaning of it.
Fourth, unlike today the ancient people of Kmt believed that religion consisted of three parts. Myth, ritual and mysticism. Today modern day Christianity, Islamic and Judaic religions don’t engage in the last one, mysticism. Instead they are entirely composed of  myth and ritual. Unfortunately many of their practitioners believe their myths to be true even when there is no corroborative evidence outside the Bible to support their occurrence (Like the Children of Israel being slaves in Egypt-didn’t happen).
To conclude understanding the “Prt M Heru aka Book of the Dead” requires that the reader recognize that it was written to be the second part of religion to the people of ancient Kmt which was “ritual.” The words are affirmations and utterances which are to be said/chanted by one on the path of “coming into the light” while still alive!  In fact, the saying of these utterances and even acting them out through plays was a part of the process that led one to the “enlightened” state of consciousness while alive. Burying the chapters in ones’ tomb was done to remind the deceased of what must be done on the way to judgment to ensure ones resurrection in case one forgets. But the people of ancient Kmt were clear that a person was to resurrect their consciousness while alive and that at death was a last resort. An author who translates the “Prt M Hru” not knowing this about what the text was intended to be or what the people considered religion to be will not be able to provide the reader with the actual meaning behind the text.
For these reasons I would not recommend the purchase of any rendition of the book which does not take the above into account. Instead I  recommend the book “The Egyptian Book of the Dead” by Dr. Muata Ashby which does. I do so also because of the following words by Dr. John Henrik Clarke who said the following and I quote:

I’m saying that African belief systems properly understood are ten times better than Judaism, Christianity and Islam for the African.”

                                                            –Dr. John Henrik Clarke

 

 

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