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Ancient Egyptians believed that in order to become immortal after death, a spirit must first pass through the underworld — a realm of vast caverns, lakes of fire, and magical gates. Needless to say, one needed to come prepared. But how? Tejal Gala describes an Egyptian “Book of the Dead” — a customized magic scroll written by the living to promote a smooth passage to the afterlife when they died.

Lesson by Tejal Gala, animation by Silvia Prietov.

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47 thoughts on “The Egyptian Book of the Dead: A guidebook for the underworld – Tejal Gala”

  1. So you can be a huge polluter 'in denial' before the gods but if the cheat codes in your heart scarab holds you get real estate.

  2. I don't get it: why body must prepared as an ideal host for the spirit, of the spirit resides in stone different land? There's a gap in explanation here

  3. The “Book of the Dead” provides a wonderful insight into how a person can understand that the ultimate goal of a man’s life is to happily reap the crops of his good deeds in the afterlife. Ani is the HERO of the “Book of the Dead” and truly what happens after DEATH continues to puzzle mankind since it's existence. The rest, as we say, is buried in the Court of Ma’at.

    I will love to explore the full contents of the Book before I die. I need time to prepare the specific codes and magic spells to declare a sin I haven't committed!

  4. every brain after watching this video to the heart – "Your work is to pump blood nonstop so just do it. STOP MEDDLING WITH MY STUFF"
    lol

  5. Curiously, the narrator did not mention that “8” of the “10 commandments” were directly plagiarized from these 42 confessions. By all accounts any amateur or scholar with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the subject will tell you that this pre-dates all the Biblical stories…Fortunately, the scroll has survived and in Museums (London and Paris) for all to see. Additionally, Egyptians wrote their negative confessions in stone (pun intended).

  6. Me : I don't want to live this miserable life anymore

    Me after watching this video knowing that i have to work for eternity : Where's that video about "how to become eternal 101"

  7. Ani stands before a large golden scale
    00:09
    where the jackal-headed god Anubis is weighing his heart
    00:12
    against a pure ostrich feather.
    00:15
    Ani was a real person,
    00:17
    a scribe from the Egyptian city of Thebes
    00:20
    who lived in the 13th century BCE.
    00:23
    And depicted here is a scene from his Book of the Dead,
    00:27
    a 78-foot papyrus scroll designed to help him attain immortality.
    00:32
    Such funerary texts were originally written only for Pharaohs,
    00:37
    but with time, the Egyptians came to believe
    00:39
    regular people could also reach the afterlife
    00:43
    if they succeeded in the passage.
    00:46
    Ani's epic journey begins with his death.
    00:49
    His body is mummified by a team of priests
    00:52
    who remove every organ except the heart,
    00:55
    the seat of emotion, memory, and intelligence.
    00:59
    It's then stuffed with a salt called natron
    01:01
    and wrapped in resin-soaked linen.
    01:04
    In addition, the wrappings are woven with charms for protection
    01:08
    and topped with a heart scarab amulet that will prove important later on.
    01:13
    The goal of the two-month process is to preserve Ani's body as an ideal form
    01:18
    with which his spirit can eventually reunite.
    01:22
    But first, that spirit must pass through the duat, or underworld.
    01:26
    This is a realm of vast caverns,
    01:29
    lakes of fire,
    01:30
    and magical gates,
    01:31
    all guarded by fearsome beasts –
    01:33
    snakes, crocodiles, and half-human monstrosities
    01:37
    with names like "he who dances in blood."
    01:40
    To make things worse, Apep, the serpent god of destruction,
    01:44
    lurks in the shadows waiting to swallow Ani's soul.
    01:48
    Fortunately, Ani is prepared
    01:50
    with the magic contained within his book of the dead.
    01:54
    Like other Egyptians who could afford it,
    01:56
    Ani customized his scroll to include the particular spells, prayers, and codes
    02:01
    he thought his spirit might need.
    02:04
    Equipped with this arsenal,
    02:06
    our hero traverses the obstacles,
    02:08
    repels the monsters' acts,
    02:10
    and stealthily avoids Apep
    02:12
    to reach the Hall of Ma'at, goddess of truth and justice.
    02:18
    Here, Ani faces his final challenge.
    02:20
    He is judged by 42 assessor gods
    02:23
    who must be convinced that he has lived a righteous life.
    02:27
    Ani approaches each one,
    02:29
    addressing them by name,
    02:31
    and declaring a sin he has not committed.
    02:34
    Among these negative confessions, or declarations of innocence,
    02:38
    he proclaims that he has not made anyone cry,
    02:41
    is not an eavesdropper,
    02:43
    and has not polluted the water.
    02:45
    But did Ani really live such a perfect life?
    02:49
    Not quite, but that's where the heart scarab amulet comes in.
    02:53
    It's inscribed with the words, "Do not stand as a witness against me,"
    02:57
    precisely so Ani's heart doesn't betray him
    03:01
    by recalling the time he listened to his neighbors fight
    03:03
    or washed his feet in the Nile.
    03:07
    Now, it's Ani's moment of truth, the weighing of the heart.
    03:11
    If his heart is heavier than the feather, weighed down by Ani's wrongdoings,
    03:15
    it'll be devoured by the monstrous Ammit,
    03:19
    part crocodile, part leopard, part hippopotamus,
    03:23
    and Ani will cease to exist forever.
    03:26
    But Ani is in luck.
    03:28
    His heart is judged pure.
    03:30
    Ra, the sun god, takes him to Osiris, god of the underworld,
    03:35
    who gives him final approval to enter the afterlife.
    03:39
    In the endless and lush field of reeds,
    03:41
    Ani meets his deceased parents.
    03:44
    Here, there is no sadness, pain, or anger, but there is work to be done.
    03:49
    Like everyone else, Ani must cultivate a plot of land,
    03:52
    which he does with the help of a Shabti doll that had been placed in his tomb.
    03:58
    Today, the Papyrus of Ani resides in the British Museum,
    04:01
    where it has been since 1888.
    04:04
    Only Ani, if anyone, knows what really happened after his death.
    04:08
    But thanks to his Book of the Dead,
    04:10
    we can imagine him happily tending his crops for all eternity.

  8. The journey thorugh the underworld look a lot like Chrome's Dinosaur game.
    Maybe it's because the underworld is offline.

  9. I watched this a good 3 years ago. I was 9 years old at the time, and I remember it all.
    To any educators watching, good video for egypt history unit.
    Yeah yeah I sound like a boom, but SERIOUSLY.

  10. Shouldn't museums pay lease on these treasures…or stolen ancient stuff has no value …

    Hypocrisy…. egyptology science reserved for nazis and Jews only…. Egyptian born are banned 🚫 banned banned..

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