- Egyptians believed that human soul was composed of two parts, the Ka (physical soul) and Ba (conscience)
- The Egyptians also believed in the concept of akh which was the transformation of some of the noble dead into eternal objects.
- The nobles were often conceived of as being transformed into stars, thus joining in the cosmic universe.
Comparison Between the Ba and Ka
|Criteria||The Ba - conscience||The Ka - physical soul|
|Concept||- The Ba refers to all non physical qualities that make up the personality of humans.
- Animals were sometimes thought to be the bau of gods, the bennu bird was called the Ba of Ra, the Apis bull was worshipped as the Ba of Ptah
- Prior to the New Kingdom, no representations of the Ba are certain. The first illustrations of the Ba are found in the Book of the Dead
- The Ba was associated with only human beings and gods
|- The Ka was not an element of the personality, but a detached part of the self which was sometimes said to guide the fortunes of the individual in life, like the Roman genius, but was clearly most associated with a person's fortunes in the hereafter
- The Ka was a spiritual twin born with every man and lived on after he died as long as it had a place to live, this place was the body of the individual
- Khnum who was believed to create men out of clay on his potter's wheel also molded the Ka at the same time.
- The idea of the Ka also be associated with objects that would otherwise be considered inanimate like, Osiris was often called the Ka of the pyramids. . Everything that existed was believed to have its "double" Ka, animals, objects and plants alike.
|Role||- The most important function of the Ba during a person life was to guide each individual conscience, urging kindness, quietude, honor and compassion
- After death the Ba made it possible for the deceased to leave his tomb and rejoin his Ka, and fly together into the next step of the person journey in afterlife, the judgment in the Hall of Maat
|- The Ka followed the person like a shadow or a double all through life
- The Ka needed that body after death, this is why Egyptians mummified their dead.
- If the body decomposed, their spiritual double would die and the deceased would lose their chance for eternal life
- The Ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food offerings were presented to the dead
- If the Ka was neglected, and allowed to starve, it could leave the grave and haunt the offenders.
|Representation||- A human-headed bird flying out of the tomb of the dead person||- Represented as a second image of the individual, with two upraised arms on his head
- The hieroglyph for the Ka was the shoulders and arms with the arms bent upwards at the elbow