Worship of Aten
The struggle between the king and the priests of Amun can be seen not as a struggle between two different religious conceptions,
but as perhaps the oldest recorded phase of the still enduring conflict between individual inspiration and collective tradition.
Akhenaten taught that Aten sends as an emanation the life-giving essence from the cell of the universe to the earth, animating
all substance. Aten gives the breath of life and his rays bring life and vitality. The creative force of life through Aten's
rays is conveyed to the air and then to earth. To behold the rays of Aten, to think about them even, is the equivalent of
the breath of life. Without these rays of life, one has no spiritual union with God any more than he has life without breath.
There was a sole God radiating divine power but not isolated from what he created. The beams of Aten caressed and lingered
on what was brought forth. The word light used by Akhenaten meant love in the spiritual consciousness. Any man who realizes
his true infinite individuality can call himself the Son of God for he is then aware of the identity of the supreme essence.
Akhenaten spoke of the miracle of order, the rhythm of day and night. There was not a single reference to sin, reward,
or punishment. His motto Living In Truth concerned what one was rather than what one did. It was about a
harmonious life rather than do's and don'ts. In the scarabs of the latter part of his reign, he is spoken of as "beloved
of Thoth." He was a man who had realized truth both mystically and intellectually. He seems to have valued right living
above everything else.
His philosophy satisfies reason and fulfills our highest aspirations towards the beautiful and the love not of man alone
but of all creatures. His philosophy transcended the very idea of nation. His was a view of oneness and the universality of
all existence and the way of life in truth and beauty.
Akhenaten saw the identity of the visible Sun and the Heat within it, the Visible and Invisible, Matter and Energy. In
his conception, the heat or light of the sun is the Radiant Energy deified. He believed that the nourishment of all creation
is produced through the Sun and it radiates the sacredness of all life.
The gardens where Akhenaten often went to pray or to be alone were designed to be of great beauty. The sight of them was
to lead the soul to praise God and to fill the heart with love of Him. He built a whole city dedicated to enjoying the sacredness
of life with the consciousness of the highest spiritual values. He wanted the whole of life to be a thing of beauty. He believed
wisdom consisted in satisfying the natural cravings of life and purifying them, in living intensely but with innocence and
serenity through sensuous objects, forms and colors, the taste of good food and good wine. He teaches us that pleasure when
enjoyed in earnestness transcends itself. He asserts the unity of all life and the brotherhood of all creatures.
The total omission of all idea of evil in his hymns reveals a state of consciousness where existence was harmonious and
beautiful. Even as the empire that his father and grandfather had built began to fall apart around him, he could not bring
himself to go to war against his enemies. He emphathized with the Syrian nationalists as he realized that they wanted their
own nation. His motto of Living in Truth did not allow him to go to war.
Some Egyptologists see him as weak and ineffective and say that his new religion did not appeal to the masses because
he saw himself as God and that is why his religion died out in Egypt. But they do not understand that his mystical teachings
continue to this day.