Background and History of the Inka Culture

From a geographical point of view, Tawantinsuyö or the Inka Culture was the most extensive of any native culture in the Americas. It extended from the Ankasmayö (blue river) in the south of Colombia all the way toMaulimayö (Mauli river) south of Santiago de Chile, and included many different climates (coast, mountains, jungle). In present-day terms, it corresponded to the territories of six South American countries, including Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and parts of Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

It is unclear when the Inka culture originated or how far it spread or how developed it was since the invasion of the Spanish in 1532 is really the first access to any kind of chronical. Before the Spanish invasion of 1532, the Inka Culture achieved an unprecedented level of development that continues to amaze modern-day historians, anthropologists and other experts.

The Inkas excelled in many different areas of human knowledge, such as architecture (an example being the Saqsaywaman fortress in Cuzco),

(These are HUGE boulders which are perfectly fit together – a feat that modern technology would have a very difficult time equaling)

engineering, astronomy, medicine, agronomy, animal husbandry and livestock,, geology, textile production, ceramics, metal works, language arts and many more. They also developed their own holistic cosmological view of life, the natural world and the universe.

It is believed that since the Inkan approach was so much more advanced than many neighboring cultures, that many other cultures joined them in order to take advantage of their advantages – especially their advanced irrigation, agricultural productivity, high quality of life in Inka communities, etc.  Pre-Inkan cultures that inhabited the coasts, mountains and jungle were enriched by the collective Andean knowledge. The Inkas, as a basic approach, did not forcefully impose themselves on other cultures, as it was commonly projected and proposed by the Spanish chronicles of the time.   Many Spanish accounts make the Inkas out to be fierce warriors prone to violent activity without provocation.  According to Evaristo, the Inkans were not very advanced in the technology of war – they simply had a number of adherents who fiercely believed in the benefits of the Inka ways.  They would defend themselves, and sometimes when neighboring village leaders were too prideful to join together for mutual benefit and become part of Tawantinsuyö; warlike conflicts did occur – only when all diplomatic efforts were exhausted). Rather than destroy other towns and cultures, the Inkas wanted to expand the consciousness of all, guiding the development and evolutuion of all people and bringing peoples together to achieve great synergies across societies and with nature.

The Inkas had a deep understanding of and vast experience in the planes of material world, emotions and the intangible, and Spirit or highest consciousness.  Their mission was to model for all cultures and peoples, with utmost compassion and love, the highest level of behavior—behavior that was recognized, emulated and later remembered by all peoples in every corner ofTawantinsuyö.  Even the Spanish chroniclers, in spite of their conviction in the supposed Spanish superiority and their orders by the Holy Inquisition to actively discredit the Inkas, realized this.

The Inkas had a complete View of the Universe (Visión Cósmica) that incorporated all planes—the interior world of the soul that included mental processes and emotions, the physical plane and the world of universal Spirit. This is not news to any monolingual Quechua speaker living in the Ayllus, or communities, of the high lands ofTawantinsuyö . But many people who have lived in the towns of the valleys ever since their ancestors were violently subjugated by the Spanish, now have passively adopted an imported, materialistic, individualistic culture. They remember very little of what their ancestors taught them, or in some cases, they have completely forgotten or rejected the teachings due to the cultural exclusion that they so often face, especially those who were born in the cities.

The Andean Spirituality that the Inkas developed and lived every day aligned them with everyone inTawantinsuyö. It was unique, and it enabled them to achieve a society, culture and economy that was (and compared to modern cultures still is) unparalleled in the world. However, when the higher order and ethical values and laws of Tawantinsuyö were threatened by the arrival of Spaniards, the descendants of the Inkasbegan to jealously guard information about the SACRED SYMBOLS (Willka Unanchakuna) as if it were top-secret.Thus, the Knowledge was shared verbally in selected families, passed down from parents to children and from generation to generation, even though the symbols were plainly visible to all (…they are written on the walls, even in the Catholic churches, in every town).

It is for this reason that not even the best Peruvian or foreign historians could get access to the true, complete information about the sacred symbols, their meaning, their importance, or their role in guiding society. The language barrier (Quechua – Spanish), the decendants’ dignity and loyalty to the culture, as well as their respect for the ancient repositories, and geographical barriers all contribute to keeping the Andean Spirituality a secret. For 473 years, people have had to be satisfied with having just bits and pieces of information, and so they have seen only a very limited version of the whole vision, even with the support of photographs, videos, field studies and modern-day technology. The information that has been compiled to date doesn’t go beyond the folkloric context and popular customs ; it is far from understanding and communicating the true knowledge and meaning of ancestral Andean Spirituality.

It is important to note that each secret and Sacred Word or concept is mentioned only once a year in one or two ceremonies. Also, the explanation of a Symbol is given to a chosen person only once in his/her lifetime for that person to work on; everything else is carried in one’s heart and mind, and is only visible in the way that person lives his or her life. The Andean repositories have yet to speak about the knowledge and other aspects of theTawantinsuyö Culture, and so little has been heard or written about them to date.

Many people have studied and analyzed the Inca Native Culture some have extracted many arqueological artifacts and natural products; and some have even patented some of those products as their own in other countries (such as agricultural products, among others), products that are the cultural work of Inca ancestors. But it is very difficult to follow the Andean Spirituality when one acts in such a manner, because the more that is said, the more removed one becomes from it.

To understand the true Andean Spirituality, you need to understand the following:

1. Lliupacha Yuyaychay or Andean Spirituality cannot be translated from Runasimi (the language of theInkas, literally ‘human language’) into another language exactly since a degree of integrity is lost in the translation from Runasimi,. mistakenly known as “Quechua” today.

2. Hinantinpacha o Andean World: Refers to the entire Tawantinsuyö territory, where the symbology was openly shared and practiced until right before 1532, when it was preserved under the protection of the Andean repositories.

3. Existence of abundant information about Andean Spirituality: However, this information is incomplete and unorganized, distorting its true meaning and allowing misinformation to continue flowing about Andean Spirituality, frustrating every descendant that guards it. It is essential that we seek to communicate in its entirety, seeking to restore its full value and to apply it to modern times. We offer this Andean knowledge with the purest of intentions to all human beings, as a model of authentic and balanced living that leads all humanity toward true Evolution or Wiñay.

Comments are closed.