Hunab Ku

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Hunab Ku is the name of a supposed Maya deity, described as "the supreme god" whose name appears in only two colonial sources: the Motul Dictionary and the Chilam Balam of Chumayel. The fact that the deity is described only in a few late sources, both of which are heavily influenced by Christianity has caused some scholars to suspect that the deity was not an actual Maya deity but was rather invented by Franciscan friars to ease the transition from the traditional polytheist Maya religion to strict Christian monotheism. References to Hunab Ku have figured prominently in New Age Mayanism such as that of José Argüelles.

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Hunab Ku as God

The earliest known reference to the term "Hunab Ku" (which translates as "Sole God" or "Only God") appears in the 16th century Diccionario de Motul, where "Hunab-ku" is identified as "the only living and true god, also the greatest of the gods of the people of Yucatan. He had no form because they said that he could not be represented as he was incorporeal".[1][2] The term also appears in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel,[3] written after the Spanish Conquest, but is unknown in any pre-Conquest inscriptions in Maya writing. Hunab Ku was closely associated with an indigenous creator god, Itzamna, in an effort to make use of religious syncretism.[4] An assertion that Hunab Ku was the high god of the Mayas can be found in Sylvanus Morley's classic book The Ancient Maya (1946).[5] However, this interpretation is not widely accepted by Mayanist scholars today.

Hunab Ku in New Age Belief

New Age beliefs about Hunab Ku derive from the work of Mexican anthropologist Domingo Martínez Parédez ( 1904–1984 ), who first presented his interpretation of the concept in 1953[6] and expanded upon his ideas in a subsequent book, Hunab Kú: Síntesis del pensamiento filosófico maya (1964).[7] Martínez interpreted Hunab Ku as evidence for Maya monotheism and suggested that it was represented by the symbols of a square within a circle or a circle within a square, the square representing measurement and the circle representing motion. Martínez related Hunab Ku to concepts and symbols in Freemasonry, particularly the idea of a Great Architect of the Universe and the Masonic square and compass. It was also Martínez who first associated Hunab Ku with the expression "In Lak'ech," which he translated as "Eres mi otro yo." (In English, this means "You are my other I.")[8] Martínez' ideas were popularized by Hunbatz Men (a pseudonym for César Mena Toto)[9] and José Argüelles.[10]

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