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RA: THE EGYPTIAN SUN GOD
While talking about the Egyptian mythology, all the experts
agree that Ra, the sun god, is the most important god. Credited
with creating the universe, he is the rule...
While talking about the Egyptian mythology, all the experts agree that Ra, the sun god, is the most important god. Credited with creating the universe, he is the ruler of the gods and enjoys vast powers. It is believed that Ra was born every morning in the east and died every night in the west. During night-time, he traveled the underworld. The ancient Egyptians believed that every god illustrates Ra while Ra himself is present in every god.
Who is Ra?
Ra (Re) is the primary sun god in Ancient Egypt. He represents sunlight, growth, and warmth. He is said to be the creator of the universe. His name came from Ra (Upper Egypt) and Amen (Lower Egypt). Ra means mouth in the Egyptian language. According to legend, Ra was born from the mouth of Nut every morning, hence the name.
Ra has been depicted with many forms, but the most common form is that of a man with a hawk head crowned with a sun disk. A sacred cobra named Uraeus encircles the sun disk. He is also shown as a man with the head of a beetle or ram or a falcon. He is depicted in the hieroglyphs with a symbol known as the eye of Ra.
Ra is considered the most powerful god in the Egyptian mythology. In fact, other mythologies have equated their deities with him like Lord Zeus for the Greeks and Lord Jupiter for the Romans. He could make anything; he made the world, the heavens, and the people. His powers lay in his hidden name and only those who knew this name could use these powers. Legend has it that when Ra got old, the goddess Isis wanted her husband Osiris to become the king. She collected the saliva of Ra and made a snake out of it. The snake bit Ra during his morning walks and Ra, in severe pain, told Isis his secret name so that she could cure him. She then banished Ra to the Duat (the spirit world), thus making Osiris the king.
Ra is responsible for the rising and setting of the sun. He used to sail across the sky in his boat during the daytime and through the underworld during the night. He is also closely related to the Pharaoh, often referred to as the father of the pharaoh. He is responsible for all the creation.
It is believed that the pyramids represent the sunlight and thus they connect the king with Ra. The Egyptians built solar temples in honor of the sun god. These temples were open temples and did not have any statue as the sunlight represented the god. The temples were built as altars and obelisks.
Although Ra is an ancient god, he isnt the oldest. Ra is first mentioned in the II dynasty. By the fifth dynasty, he was closely related to the pharaoh and many pharaohs incorporated Ra into their names to denote their status of being the sons of Ra.
Many temples were built by the pharaohs in honor of Ra and his worshippers grew in number.