The mystery of Akhenaten

This king is very well known and his reign has deeply marked the history of humanity. The official version presents him as an heretic Pharaoh, as mystic, or as the inventor of monotheism in the pharaonic civilization; all this because of the religious direction he promoted during his 17 years of reign.

Pharaoh NeferKheperura Uaenra, Amenhotep IV, who became Akhenaten
Pharaoh NeferKheperura Uaenra, Amenhotep IV, who became Akhenaten

But what exactly did Akhenaten want to do doing what he did? Did he want to create a new religion? Or did he want to create a ‘new God’ (Aten) like people say? Or else did he want to create monotheism in order to substitute a so called ‘polytheism’ within the pharaonic civilization, like all the official versions – introduced by Westerners – pretend, versions which are popular almost everywhere.

Before all, it is necessary to know that it is the Western people who present the pharaonic civilization through all their main media, all their lying documentaries – that are often transmitted on television – and all types of publications, as a polytheistic civilization.

But when one knows that Pharaoh Akhenaten is – before being a king – a citizen from the banks of the Nile and that he grew up and was raised and initiated within that culture before acceding to the throne, one could ask the following question: since Westerners present the pharaonic civilization as polytheistic, how come a pharaoh who grew up and was raised within a civilization and a so called polytheistic culture, can suddenly reach the throne and become monotheistic?

Pharaoh Akhenaten as an adolescent; that was at that time, so young, that he got on the throne of his country.
Pharaoh Akhenaten as an adolescent; that was at that time, so young, that he got on the throne of his country.

Here is the problem that those who present the pharaonic civilization as polytheistic do not manage to solve by clear and accurate arguments for a long time!!!

Despite the facts that the Medias show the pharaonic civilization as polytheistic, the pharaonic literature and all the pharaonic texts from all periods of this civilization show that our ancestors of the Valley of the Nile have never, never and never been polytheistic!!!

Our ancestors of the Valley of the Nile have always said that there is only one God. They used to call it Amon, Amen, etc… name that means ‘the hidden’. In fact, our ancestors considered the creator as a hidden being, unseizable, unfathomable, and invisible for humans, since they are prevented by their senses – hearing, olfaction, etc. – that prevent them to understand it entirely. This is the reason why they used to call it Amen. Our ancestors have said that the unique hidden creator possesses – like a diamond – several facets, by which it fulfils its functions, shows itself to the creation and to the creatures. It is these facets of the creator that our ancestors, in the pharaonic civilization, used to call by the current names Osiris, Isis, Thoth, Ra, etc… – The pharaonic texts call the whole of the appearances of the creator the Neteru.

Ama/Imana/Amin/Amen/Nyamien/Nyambe/Nzambe/Nzambi etc..., Unique God of Africa, imagined here under his masculine form; Temple of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut
Ama/Imana/Amin/Amon/Amen/Nyamien/Nyambe/Nzambe/Nzambi etc…, Unique God of Africa, imagined here under his masculine form; It is the unique God that our ancestors used to invoke ever since in Africa, including in the Nile valley; Engraving of the Temple of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut

Let’s take as an example the text entitled Doua en Imen – Praise to Amon – extracted from the Papyrus of Leyde:

We have: ‘Unique is Amon who is hidden (…) who no one can know its appearance’. The text clearly refers to the fact that the creator is hidden, unknowable, unseizable, etc… and above all unique.

Another part of the text says again that the creator is: ‘originally mysterious, with resplendent shapes, marvelous God with multiple appearances’. This part of the text clearly refers to ‘multiple appearances’, it is to say the multiple facets of the creator.

The religious thought of our ancestors is therefore monotheistic, since it has been expressing since the beginning through all the documents, texts and frescos the existence of the unique God – Amon -, who shows itself through several forms – Isis, Osiris, Thoth, Ra, etc. The Western Egyptologists who make lots of documentaries on TV, know very well these pharaonic texts that say that God is unique, but why do they keep on saying – in their documentaries and their books – that the pharaonic thought is polytheistic?

Well, it is so to save the religions called revealed – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Everybody knows that these religions say that it was from Abraham that the unique God revealed itself to humanity insinuating that before Abraham, nobody on earth knew God and that the whole humanity – included the pharaonic civilization – used to live in polytheism, in vice and idolatry.

Well, if Westerners officially recognize that monotheism already existed since very long time ago in the valley of the Nile – what is true -, it would mean that monotheism did not start with the supposed revelation of God on Abraham – like claimed by the revealed religions. If Western recognizes the official truth, the revealed religions’ version automatically collapses! Imagine then the consequences of such information in a world wide scale, since there are millions of people following these religions called revealed all over the world!!!

The so-called revealed Religions
If Westerners recognize the truth, they will seriously harm the official image of the religions called revealed – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Since the pharaonic civilization has always been monotheistic, this means that the pharaoh Akhenaten has not invented any religion or monotheism in the pharaonic civilization as it is everywhere said!!

Plus, it is important to say that the name Aten – which Akhenaten used to speak about – as one of the names of God, already existed in the pharaonic texts centuries before the birth of the one who later became Akhenaten. Therefore, Akhenaten has not invented anything, when it comes to speaking about Aten during his reign.

What did Akhenaten want to do?

Well, Cheikh Anta Diop explains us what the pharaoh Akhenaten wanted to do. To do so, Cheikh Anta Diop tells us in his book Nations Nègres et Culture (Negro Nations and Culture), page 44, that Akhenaten ‘tried to restore the primitive Egyptian monotheism, which was fading away under the sacerdotal system and the corruption of the priests’.

What Cheikh Anta Diop tells us here, is clear. He says that Akhenaten did not create a new religion; he simply tried to renovate monotheism – which already existed in the pharaonic civilization for a long time. So, Akhenaten has simply made a religious reform, as a priest and spiritual guide of the country.

Why did Akhenaten make this reform? To fight against ‘the corruption of the priests’, it is to says against the corruption mentality that was ruling within the clergy at the time he was on the throne. In fact, the texts of that time reveal that the time Akhenaten got on the throne; the clergy – sacerdotal system – had too much power and took advantage of this dominant position to corrupt. There were then issues of power balance between the clergy and the king. These intramural problems gave birth to quarrel and deep disagreements between the clergy and the king. So Akhenaten made that reform in order to solve these problems of power, authority and corruption within the empire.

Akhenaten’s reform is therefore a religious reform, but made upon political – authority and power – and moral reasons – fight against corruption. The reform was then political and religious at the same time.

Representation of Akhenaten’s great hymn to Aten, found in the divine father Ay’s tomb, the man who guided the future Akhenaten’s initiation.
Representation of Akhenaten’s great hymn to Aten, found in the divine father Ay’s tomb, the man who guided the future Akhenaten’s initiation.

The spirit of the reform was simple. The reform consisted in breaking or reducing the power and the authority of the clergy, reaffirming the royal authority. The equation was simple. By breaking the power of the clergy, Akhenaten pretended to cut the rights and privileges of the clergy, etc. and preventing the clerks to engage in corruption. By breaking the power of the clerks Akhenaten wanted to put an end to the fights for power which existed between the royal power and the clergy. Since the religious domain which is one of the most important or even the most important, from which the clergy obtained its authority, its legitimacy and power, the king undertook that religious reform in order to solve all the existing problems.

The famous Akhenaten’s invocation called the great hymn to Aten, is one of the important texts that enables us to understand now the religious thought that Akhenaten wanted to promote in his reform.

Let’s remind that for our ancestors, the creator is unique and possesses several facets, several forms. And when Akhenaten invokes God, he does not digress from this teaching inherited from our ancestors. This way, he says to God:

‘You eternally take out thousands of forms from yourself, remaining one.’

Akhenaten reminds that the creator, remaining unique, shows itself under several forms. He does not change anything from the religious teaching that existed before him. At the contrary, he reaffirms it himself.

Akhenaten told God:

‘All the foreign countries, as far as they may be, you also make them live,

You placed a Nile in the Heret (the rain) that comes down for them,

It gives shapes to the water flows in order to water their fields and their cities.

How excellent are your drawings, Oh Lord of eternity,

A Nil in the sky, is the gift you’ve made to the foreigners,’

It’s important to remind that Akhenaten got on the throne during the 18th dynasty, dynasty in which had first ruled the pharaoh Menkheperre Djehuti-Mesu (Thutmose III) and who had enlarged the borders of the country to its maximal limits thanks to his military victories against the ‘nine arcs’, it is to say the enemy peoples of the pharaonic civilization. This way, when Akhenaten got on the throne, there were lots of foreigners in Egypt, from the conquered regions.

In his prayer, Akhenaten also prays for the foreigners and includes them in it. It means that he includes foreigners in his religious vision and in his cult. He speaks about the God of his ancestors but also includes foreigners, insinuating that God is for his people but also for the other peoples. Akhenaten therefore developed the thought of a religious universalism, of universal spirituality for all, whereas our ancestors did not used to impose their religious vision to other peoples. Our ancestors would rather leave the other peoples practice their own rites. Akhenaten then tried to spread the religious teaching he advocates (its form) to the foreign populations who were living in the country. When he created his new town, the holy city, the city of Aten’s horizon (AkhetAten) he invited all those who wanted to go there.

3D reconstitution of an overview of the Aten horizon city (AkhetAten) with the main infrastructures and its surroundings.
3D reconstitution of an overview of the Aten horizon city (AkhetAten) with the main infrastructures and its surroundings.

Akhenaten says to God again:

‘Nobody else knows you, except your son NeferKheperura Uaenra,

Because you allowed him to reach the total knowledge of your secret,’

Let’s remind that for our ancestors, the relation to God is related to knowledge. This means that to make a cult as a priest, it was necessary to know sacred things, know divine things; otherwise it was not possible to run the cult in the temples. The king as a priest par excellence was in theory the only one who could lead the cult in the whole country. But as he could not be everywhere at the same time, he would appoint his power to qualified people in order to make it on his behalf. This is the origin of the clergy.

Pharaonic fresco on which we can clearly see Akhenaten as the priest par excellence, the only who leads the divine cult. The divinity is not anymore represented under a human form (image, statue, etc.), but under the form of divine light that springs out from the star and that lays upon the king
Pharaonic fresco on which we can clearly see Akhenaten as the priest par excellence, the only who leads the divine cult. The divinity is not anymore represented under a human form (image, statue, etc.), but under the form of divine light that springs out from the star and that lays upon the king

Here, the king presents himself as the only one who knows God and the divine secrets. By doing this, Akhenaten used his royal power to remove completely the clergy from its functions of leading the cult, and at the same time he decreed that the cults lead by the clerks every day in the temples are useless or not necessary, even forbidden. This way, the king took off from the clergy the most important aspect of its power, of its prestige, of its religious authority. The clergy was then relegated to the second plan since Akhenaten decided to lead the cults himself.

By presenting himself as the only holder of the knowledge of God, he came up as the only one able to lead the cults. Therefore, he returns to the facts the idea of the beginning according to which the king is the priest par excellence in the pharaonic civilization.

From that moment on, he imposed himself as the only one to who people had to go to know God. He imposed himself as a sort of prophet. By the way, it was doing this that Akhenaten started the concept of prophet. He is therefore the first form of prophet in all the history of humanity.

Pharaonic Fresco of that time. We can see Akhenaten in the middle of the image. God is represented by the solar disc of divine Light that lies only upon the royal couple. It means that the king (and his wife Nefertiti) presents themselves as the only ones who know the divine secrets, like a prophetic couple by who one has to pass to have full knowledge of God. We can see on the picture priests, etc. who are venerating the king and his wife. Akhenaten spread this way his power and created the concept of prophet.
Pharaonic Fresco of that time. We can see Akhenaten in the middle of the image. God is represented by the solar disc of divine Light that lies only upon the royal couple. It means that the king (and his wife Nefertiti) presents themselves as the only ones who know the divine secrets, like a prophetic couple by who one has to pass to have full knowledge of God. We can see on the picture priests, etc. who are venerating the king and his wife. Akhenaten spread this way his power and created the concept of prophet.

Akhenaten says again:

‘From the moment you rise, you make the sovereign grow, since you have organized the different elements of the universe and that you made appear by your only will your son from your own body,

The king of Ta Chemu (Upper Egypt) and of Ta Mehu (Lower Egypt), living of Maat,

The lord of the double country NeferKheperura Uaenra,

The son of Ra, living of Maat, the lord of the crowns, Akhenaten, Great in his eternal life,’

Here we can see that Akhenaten presents himself as the king of the country, the pharaoh, it is to say like Horus son of Osiris; he presented himself as living of Maat and as the son of Ra.

Since he presents himself like Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, and reincarnation of Osiris,

Since he reigns like demands the tradition, with his mother the queen mother (Tiyi), incarnation of Isis at the level royal power,

Since he presents himself as the son of Ra,

Since he presents himself as living of Maat (then servant of Maat)

By saying all this, Akhenaten only invokes the same principles and appearances of the creator (Maat, Ra, etc.) as it has always been done in the pharaonic civilization.

We can see then that in that manner, Akhenaten summarized and simplified the monotheistic teaching of his ancestors in order to keep only what he thinks is essential and fundamental. He returns then to the most fundamental elements of his ancestors’ spirituality.

Akhenaten wasn’t then a fool, or a heretic, or the inventor of monotheism and of a new God, etc. or whatever people say. Akhenaten stayed faithful to the ancestral spirituality, but as a spiritual guide he reformed and simplified the pharaonic doctrine to fight against the too strong power of the clergy and against corruption. It was the solution to solve the problems and re-establish order. And once this doctrine was reformed, he tried to spread it to all; it is to say in his country and beyond (abroad).

Akhenaten in the same position as Osiris, with the same emblems as Osiris, showing that despite his reforms and innovations, he stays attached to his ancestors from the valley of the Nile’s spirituality.
Akhenaten in the same position as Osiris, with the same emblems as Osiris, showing that despite his reforms and innovations, he stays attached to his ancestors from the valley of the Nile’s spirituality.

What we can say Akhenaten created by his reform that didn’t exist before was:

  • He is the one who originated the idea of prophets which then spread
  • By his reform put an end to the human representations of God
  • He originated the idea according to which religion had to be universal.

By : Lisapo ya Kama © (All rights reserved. Any copying or translation of the text of this article is strictly forbbiden without the written approval of Lisapo ya Kama)

Notes :

  • Extract from Praise to Amon, from the Papyrus of Leyde
  • Nations négres et culture, Cheikh Anta Diop
  • The Great hymn to Aten of the Pharaoh Akhenaten