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The symbology of 3 and Incan commandments

Number 3 had a great significance for Incas. It is no coincidence that the Incan cross – “chakana” is a 3-stepped symmetric "cross".

The 3 steps represent the 3 tiers or worlds that the Incan culture believed in:

  • The lower world (Uqhu Pacha) represented the underworld and death
  • The middle world (Kay Pacha) represented the world of human life
  • The upper wold (Hanan Pacha) included the stars, celestial beings and gods

This number was also represented by their revered animals:

  • the snake, living underground, represented the lower world
  • the puma, a powerful land animal represented the middle world
  • the condor represented the upper world in the sky

The Incas believed that every person has 3 principals:

  • Love (Munay)
  • Knowledge (Yachay)
  • Work (Llankay) 

The inhabitants of Inca Empire had to perform 3 types of works:

  • for others (neighbours, relatives)
  • for the state
  • for the gods 

Incas had 3 commandments:

  • don’t steal
  • don’t lie
  • don’t be lazy

By living according to these commandments they could establish a huge and strong state, a sensible and just organisation, which was even admitted by the people that destroyed this empire – the Spanish conquistadors.

Don Mancio Serra de Leguisamo — one of the last survivors of the original conquerors of Peru wrote in the preamble of his will, the following:

“We found these kingdoms in such good order, and the said Incas governed them in such a wise manner; that throughout them there was not a thief, nor a vicious man, nor an adulteress, nor a bad woman admitted among them, nor were there immoral people. The men had honest and useful occupations. The lands, forests, mines, pastures, houses and all kinds of products were regulated and distributed in such sort that each one knew his property without any other person seizing it or occupying it, nor were there law suits respecting it… the motive which obliges me to make this statement is the discharge of my conscience, as I find myself guilty. For we have destroyed by our evil example, the people who had such a government as was enjoyed by these natives. They were so free from the committal of crimes or excesses, as well men as women, that the Indian who had 100,000 pesos worth of gold or silver in his house, left it open merely placing a small stick against the door, as a sign that its master was out. With that, according to their custom, no one could enter or take anything that was there. When they saw that we put locks and keys on our doors, they supposed that it was from fear of them, that they might not kill us, but not because they believed that anyone would steal the property of another. So that when they found that we had thieves among us, and men who sought to make their daughters commit sin, they despised us.”

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Natalia Volchkova
Peru maven, founder of ExploreByYourself