Learning Ubuntu / Maat Principles
Dr. Muata Ashby is the author of over 50 books and numerous DVDs on Ancient Egyptian Yoga Philosophy. His website Egyptian Yoga provides many ways to learn about these concepts. His DVD shown below Introduction to Maat Philosophy is an easy start and is based on his inspiring book by the same name.
Ubuntu is grounded in Egyptian religion. Ma'at (aka Maat) is the chief goddess and primary principle -- as discussed further below.
Ubuntu: Humanism in African Religion
In his Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Dr. Ashby discusses African religion and Ubuntu:
"On a visit to Benin, Pope John Paul II apologized for centuries of denigrating African religion by the Western culture. African religion is universally accepted as a distinct and legitimate form of spirituality and continues to be practiced by a substantial number of people in and outside of Africa. It is practiced by many who, on the one hand, profess to be converts to western religions while at the same time they retain some aspects of the African religion in some area of life. One reason for its persistence is the quality of Humanism that characterizes it.
The African term Ubuntu means humanism. Humanism is a fundamental concern for the human condition, a caring for fellow human beings with respect to their well being but also it means a kind of openness, hospitality and compassion for those in need. The quality of Ubuntu has had the effect of tempering the harshness of other religions as well as bringing to the forefront the sufferings and needs of others and sometimes the inequities which are endured by others. Ubuntu is a kind of empathy and sympathy with others and a heartfelt desire to share with others."
Who Is Maat?
In his Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Dr. Ashby discusses Maat -- the goddess and principle:
"Her name is mentioned more than any other goddess and indeed, she is said to be an aspect of the all-goddess, Aset....When Ra emerged in his Boat for the first time and creation came into being, he was standing on the pedestal of Maat. Thus, the Creator, Ra, lives by Maat and has established Creation on Maat.
Who is Maat? She is the divinity who manages the order of Creation. She is the fulcrum upon which the entire Creation and the Law of Cause and Effect or Karma, functions. Maat represents the very order which constitutes creation. Therefore, it is said that Ra created the universe by putting Maat in the place of chaos. So, creation itself is Maat. Creation without order is chaos. Maat is a profound teaching in reference to the nature of creation and the manner in which human conduct should be cultivated. It refers to a deep understanding of Divinity and the manner in which virtuous qualities can be developed in the human heart so as to come closer to the Divine.
Maat is a philosophy, a spiritual symbol as well as a cosmic energy or force which pervades the entire universe. She is the symbolic embodiment of world order, justice, righteousness, correctness, harmony, and peace. She is also known by her headdress composed of a feather which symbolizes the qualities just mentioned. She is a form of the Goddess Aset who represents wisdom and spiritual awakening through balance and equanimity."