by Karl N. Eng
Translated by R.G. Fowler
The following text is an extract from a pamphlet by Karl N. Eng: Heretic King and Priestess of the Sun: Akhenaton and Savitri Devi.
In addition to translating the text from French, I have introduced one paragraph break for greater readability and corrected the spellings of several proper names. The first paragraph, which has been set off from the rest of the text, is an introductory note, and I do not know if it was written by Mr. Eng or someone else.
We would be most grateful if Mr. Eng would contact the Archive, so that we can acquire a copy of his pamphlet, which, judging from the extract, is interesting and worthwhile.
—R. G. Fowler
A comic postscript: A reader has informed me that the original pamphlet was published in English, and that the French extract I took for the original was actually a translation into French, which I then translated back into English.
“Thou shalt love God in all living things, animals and plants.” These words were pronounced by Alfred Rosenberg, before being executed in Nuremberg in 1946. They become evident if we apply them to the man who defied his own society, more than three thousand years ago. Akhenaton was a heretic in his country, like some we know in our own time. This extract of a study on him and Savitri Devi is only one small part of a work on religion and cosmic philosophy. The complete work includes: A New Order of the Sun, Sun-worship in the Golden City, the Man against Time, and also Hymns to the Disc, the Great Anthem of Aton, and the Song of Imhotep. The work includes several illustrations and photographs and comprises 32 pages.
The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton remains a revolutionary because of his radical religious reforms. He founded a new capital called Akhetaton in the hostile Egyptian desert. The hatred of his enemies was turned against his reforms and transformed his golden city into ruins.
Akhenaton had been born in Thebes, the son of Amenhotep III and gueen Tiy. He succeeded his father in 1352 B.C. and took the name Amenhotep IV and ascended the throne of Horus. The city of Akhetaton (meaning “the horizon of the Disc”) was founded shortly after Amenhotep took the name Akhenaton, meaning “Joy of the Sun.” This new city was to be the center of his new solar worship. In his life he was more interested in religion than in conquests. His wife Nefertiti encouraged his penchant for religion. The Pharaoh Akhenaton was regarded as the son of the Sun, and thus spiritually in agreement with the Disc, Aton. Akhenaton underlined the absolute divinity of its own person by identifying himself with the solar energy of the Disc. His new world order of the Sun was a theocracy where the king was identified with only one God—Aton. Akhenaton thus became the only divine representative of God on earth.
Savitri Devi (1905-1982) was and remains a spiritual dissident against the modern world. She rejected the centrality of man and materialism, being thus opposed to the dominant Judeo-Christian vision of the world. Savitri Devi had been born Maximiani Portas in Lyons, France, in 1905, and was of Anglo-Greek descent. She thus had a true European heritage, descending both from the Nordic and Mediterranean regions. Maximiani studied at the University of Lyons and the Sorbonne. After the First World War, she embarked upon a life-long voyage that would carry her throughout the world, during which she lived long years in India in search of the lost wisdom of the Aryan race, and there she took the name Savitri Devi to pay homage to the goddess of the sun. During her early years, she had adhered to Greek nationalism, and soon she became indignant at the Jewish influence on European thought. In the campaign of Adolf Hitler against Jewish influence, by means of the racial laws of Nuremberg, she saw an issue of world importance. By these laws, Hitler was to revive the Aryan system of castes on a world scale.
Her book on Akhenaton, A Son of God : The Life and Philosophy of Akhnaton, King of Egypt (1946), was written in India during the war, between May 1942 and January 1945. And it was also the product of other earlier works: A Perfect Man: Akhnaton, King of Egypt (1939), Akhnaton’s Eternal Message. A Scientific Religion 3,300 Years Old (1940) and Joy of the Sun: The Beautiful Life of Akhnaton, King of Egypt, told to Young People (1942). In 1942 she was confident of an Axis victory, and her book was directed towards the new religion of the New Order which was to be established in Eurasia. This religion drew its force from nature and was inevitably opposed to the Judeo-Christian religion’s domination of man over nature. Savitri Devi was largely influenced by Arthur Weigall (1880-1934). Her message on Akhenaton is, however, unique, because she associated more than anyone the religion of the Disc with National Socialism and Akhenaton with Adolf Hitler. Savitri Devi was in search of a universal religion which could connect the East to the West in the celebration of this world and Nature, rather than of a transcendent deity; and of a religion which could be adapted to the New Order of National Socialism. This research could be summarized by her words in A Son of God:
In the ancient world, as long as religion was a national concern, and connected with practices rather than with beliefs, its actual separation from life was impossible. In one way, that may seem better than what we see now. And the bold ideologists who, in recent years, in Europe, have endeavoured to wipe out altogether the spirit if not the name of Christianity and to raise the Nation—based on the precise physiological idea of race—as the object of man’s ultimate devotion, those ideologists, we say, may seem wiser and more honest than their humanitarian antagonists. If religion indeed, does not, as it is, respond any longer to the needs of life, it is better to change it. It is far better to openly brush aside two thousand years of errors (if errors they be) and to come back to the national gods of old, and to be true to them to the bitter end, than to keep on rendering divine honours to the Man who said: “Love thy neighbour,” and to wage a war of extermination upon men of rival nations whom one has not even the excuse of considering as “infidels” or “heretics.” There is no hypocrisy in the votaries of the religion of Race, as in those of the religion of man. The only weakness one could point out in their creed—if the latter be artificially separated from the Religion of Life, of which it is, fundamentally, and remains, in the minds of its best exponents, the true expression—is that it has been transcended, and that therefore it is difficult to go back to it, even if one wishes to. The religion of man itself has been transcended long before its birth. The truth is that both are too narrow, too passionately one-sided, too ignorant of great realities that surpass their scope, to satisfy any longer men who think rationally and who feel the beauty and the seriousness of life, unless they be integrated into the Religion of Life.
Savitri Devi saw a gulf in Western thought between religion and science. This gulf was also between the Church and secular society and was the cause of intellectual conflict and moral disorder throughout Western culture and history. However, the ancient world continued to live in Europe, and the Renaissance was the greatest example. Even if she rejoiced in the decline of Christianity, she saw also the extent to which Christian ideals remained present in the secular world, but now simply expressed as an anthropcentric conception of the world and morality. Man no longer had an immortal soul, but spoke about the sacred character of the human life, which is today one of the strangest myths of the secular West. If Christianity and secular humanism did not serve the interests of life, Savitri Devi declared that it was to better erase two thousand years of errors and return to paganism. The West needed a religion based on rationality, an enlarged sense of love, and a conception of international relations that renounced wars of aggression. There is a contradiction between the philosophy of “all life” and the secular principle of race and nation, but that is not seen as a problem since the religion of race would be the true expression of the religion of the life in the minds of its best interpreters:
Moreover, the mystic of race (or of nation, or of any entity with a narrower denotation than that of “man”) is, nay, under its narrowest and least enlightened aspect, unassailable, unless and until the ideology of man, inherited by Free Thought from Christianity, is once and for ever pushed into the background in favour of an ideology of life. For if, indeed, one is to believe that living Nature, with all its loveliness, is made for man to use for his profit, then why should not one admit, with equal consistency, that the bulk of mankind is made for the few superior races, classes or even individuals to exploit at will? Ultimately, one has to go to the limit, and acknowledge cosmic values as the essence of religion, if religion is to have any universal meaning at all. And if it is to be something more than an individual ideal; if it is no longer to remain separated from the life of States; if truth, in one word, is ever to govern international relations as well as personal dealings, then one has to strive to put power into the hands of an intellectual and moral elite—to come back to Plato’s idea of wise men managing public affairs, makers of laws and rulers of men, uncontested guides of reverentially obedient nations.
Savitri Devi reconstructed the birth and education of the prince, and she thought that queen Tiy had had a great influence on him. It is also from Tiy that the young Akhenaton would have received his religion of Aton. In A Son of God, Savitri Devi also discussed the influence of Aryan ideas on the religious evolution of Akhenaton. These ideas came from Mitannians, a Hurrian people ruled by an Aryan aristocracy which venerated the gods Mithra, Indra, and Varuna, as well as other Vedic gods. According to what we know of the Mitannians, they lived the country of Naharin on the Euphrates. The grandfather of Akhenaton, Thutmosis IV had taken Mutemwiya, daughter of Artatama, king of Mitannia, as his principal wife. In addition to Tiy, the father of Akhenaton had also married two Mitannian princesses. It is possible that this environment influenced the young Akhenaton with the religion of the Aryan god of the sun, Surya, which anticipated his worship of Aton. By this descent, Akhenaton was partially Aryan, being the grandson of Mutemwiya. The possible Aryan origin of Tiy was also discussed by A.E.P. Weigall, who wished to maintain that Tiy was foreign, originating in Naharin.