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I do not kill
I do not order someone killed
I do not covet my neighbour’s wife
I have not besmirched myself. I have not lied. I have not stolen. I have not given false witness. I have not filled my heart with hatred.
I have not caused a human being to cry
I have not caused an animal misery
I have not tortured a plant by forgetting to water it
I fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty and covered the naked
I was eyes to the blind, hands to the paralysed and legs to the lame
I do not pollute the water of the Nile
I filled my heart with truth, justice and righteousness.”

From the ancient Egyptian book “Going out to the Day”

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If we read the above points carefully we could see that the basics of all religions are found here, with a special Egyptian touch.

I do not kill
I do not order someone killed

The first two deal with man’s relationship to others where non-aggression is the norm, one neither kills, nor orders others to kill for him. This is one of the basic tenets of any religion: Thou shalt not kill.

I do not covet my neighbour’s wife
The third one concerns not only relationships but also covers the issue of greed. Again this was part of the Ten Commandments : Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife …

I have not besmirched myself. I have not lied. I have not stolen. I have not held false witness. I have not filled my heart with hatred.
The fourth encompasses many other commandments, but basically it explains how to keep one’s self pure by not tainting one’s soul through any of the behaviour listed there. For when one lies or steals or gives false witness one’s soul is affected. A full sentence is given to keeping one’s heart free of hatred, for hatred alone can darken the soul.

I have not caused a human being to cry
Here again we return to treatment of one’s fellow human beings. By not causing pain in any way to another human being, by not making them shed tears, you are again following the basic tenets of any religion where being good and kind is essential.

I have not caused an animal misery
This one is very dear to my heart, but unfortunately seems to have been totally dropped from the modern day conscience. Ancient Egyptians were far more civilised than modern day man where the torture of animals and their wanton killing is deemed a sport or covered up as being “for the benefit of humanity”.

I have not tortured a plant by forgetting to water it
As for not torturing plants by forgetting to water them, this I can testify to as still being on the law books in Egypt. When I had some problems last year with the company running the compound where I live and they totally illegally and without reason cut off my water, I found out that they were far more liable, legally, for harming my plants than for any harm or inconvenience to me, a human being! So in Egyptian law this sentiment is still carried through very clearly and strongly.

I fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty and covered the naked
The concept of charity, kindness and helpfulness is covered in this sentence where positive acts of charity to others is required. Not only is it abstaining from harm but here there is the positive doing of good. The feeding of the hungry, the slaking of thirst and covering of nakedness are all physical images that cover a multitude of meanings. For by feeding the hungry it could mean giving love to the lonely and solace to the grieving. By slaking the thirst it could mean giving knowledge to those seeking it and by covering the naked it could mean giving support to the helpless.

I was eyes to the blind, hands to the paralysed and legs to the lame
With this one again a positive concept, given in concrete physical imagery denotes more than the obvious. One becomes the eyes of those who cannot see which does not only mean in the physical sense, but also covers education and enlightenment. Becoming the arms of those paralysed could also cover helping people do their jobs and achieve their goals, and finally the legs to the lame is another image of helping others reach their destination whether physically, mentally or spiritually.

I do not pollute the water of the Nile
This one about not polluting the water of the Nile has totally fallen on the byway. The amount of pollution is so drastic it could easily reach dangerous levels and become a health hazard. There are laws on the books for that but unfortunately these are not strictly implemented as most of the polluters are either big business, or worse still, municipal authorities. We are literally poisoning ourselves and going totally against what our ancestors had advised for a good life. But when this is taken in a global sense it means that one should preserve the earth with all its resources unpolluted for the coming generations.

I filled my heart with truth, justice and righteousness
Finally, filling our hearts with truth, justice and righteousness is the recipe for happiness. A heart that is clean of all evil and full of all that is good can only bring happiness to its owner.

It seems our ancient ancestors had all the answers and still modern man is trying to re-invent the wheel.
14 February 2016

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