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Peter Deunov

Peter Konstantinov Deunov (Bulgarian Петър Константинов Дънов, pronounced ) was a spiritual master and founder of a School of Esoteric Christianity. He is called Master Beinsa Douno (Bulgarian: Беинса Дуно) by his followers.

Biography

Born on 11 July 1864 in Nikolaevka (not far away from Varna, Bulgaria). The third child of priest Constantin Deunovski and Dobra Georgieva. His grandfather on his mother’s side was Atanas Georgiev (1805-1865), an active public figure in the struggle for the independence of the church during the Revival in Bulgarian nation (18-19 century). His father, Constantin Deunovski (1830-1918) was the first Bulgarian teacher and priest in Varna.

In 1872 Peter Deunov was admitted to an elementary school and he graduated secondary school in Varna after the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. On 24 June 1886 he completed his studies at the American School of Theology in Svishtov and was a teacher in Hotantsa, near Rousse, from the autumn of 1887 to the summer of 1888.

In August 1888 he left for the USA. He enrolled at the Drew Theological Methodist Seminary in Madison, New Jersey and completed his studies there in May 1892. During the autumn of 1892 he enrolled at the Boston University School of Theology, defended a graduation paper on "The Migration of the Germanic Tribes and Their Christianisation" and obtained his degree in June 1893. He was a regular student at the School of Medicine of the Boston University for one year.

In 1895 Deunov returned to Bulgaria, settled in Varna and refused the positions offered to him as Methodist and Theosophic preacher. In 1896 he published Science and Education, in which he analyzed the development of humankind in the dramatic world events and wrote about the foundations of a new culture which he thought was bound to take place during the coming century.

In 1896 he was one of the founders of the "P. R. Slaveikov" community and cultural centre. He was appointed a librarian and during the subsequent years he delivered the following lectures before the citizens of Varna: "The Origin of Man", ”Survey of Ancient and Modern Philosophy", "Science and Philosophy", "Why and How We Live" and "The Basis of Enlightenment".

In 1897 Peter Deunov, together with some of his followers in Varna, founded a "Society for the Elevation of the Religious Spirit of the Bulgarian People", with the following members: Dr. Georgi Mirkovich, Maria Kazakova, Todor Stoyanov, Penyu Kirov, Anastassia Jelyazkova and Milkon Partomyan. He published the brochure of mystic texts in the same year under the title of "Hio-Eli-Meli-Mesail". The events from 1897 placed him at the centre of the spiritual society, which later on developed into a Synarchic Chain (1906) and into the Universal White Brotherhood (1918), while he himself was distinguished like individuality with the byname of Master. Actually after 1897 it is much more appropriate to refer to him as "Master Beinsa Douno", rather than as "Peter Deunov", although the byname of "Beinsa Douno" gained currency in literary publications only in the 1930s. The etymology of the name of "Beinsa Douno" has Sanskrit roots and translates as The One Who Brings in the Good through the Word.

In 1898 he wrote and delivered the lecture, An Appeal to My People (Nation), before the "Mother" Charity Society in Varna. This lecture is an appeal to social and spiritual self-identification. During the following year he recorded "The Ten Testimonies of God and The Divine Promise". From 1899 Master Beinsa Douno convened Annual Meetings in Varna, which were originally called Meetings of the Synarchic Chain. From then onwards until 1942 the Universal White Brotherhood held its Annual Meetings at various places every year in August: in Varna (1899-1909), in Veliko Tarnovo (1910-1925), in Sofia (1926-1941), in the Rila and Vitosha mountains.

From 1901 to 1912 he travelled to various places in Bulgaria, delivered lectures and did phrenologic investigations of selected individuals among the people. He started delivering his lectures in public. The historic, cosmic and metaphysical figure of Christ has a central place in his lectures. In 1912, in the village of Arbanassi (near Veliko Tarnovo) he worked on the Bible and prepared The Testament of the Colour Rays of Light, which came out in September during the same year. The title page had a motto: "I will always be a faithful slave to Lord Jesus Christ - the Son of God, 15 Aug 1912, Tarnovo."

On 16 March 1914 he delivered his first Sunday talk, which was officially taken in shorthand with title Behold the Man, which laid the beginning of the Power and Life series. Master Beinsa Douno postulated the main principles of his teaching, which he called The New Teaching of the Universal White Brotherhood. On 8 February 1917 in Sofia he started a series of special lectures for married women, which lasted until 30 June 1932. During 1917-1918, at the time of the First World War, the government of Vassil Radoslavov sent him in exile to Varna under the pretext that his teaching was weakening the spirit of the soldiers at the front. He lived in the London Hotel (currently the Moussala Hotel) and was in correspondence with his followers. After the end of the First World War in 1918 the number of his followers all over the country started growing rapidly and they reached a peak near 40,000 people in the late 1930s.

On 24 February 1922 he opened an Esoteric School in Sofia, which he called School of the Universal White Brotherhood. It consisted of two classes of students. The General Esoteric Class opened with a lecture titled The Three Lives, and the Special (Youth) Esoteric Class with The Two Paths. Lectures were delivered before the two esoteric classes every week for 22 years — until December 1944.

In 1927 Master Beinsa Douno established the settlement of Izgrev near Sofia (today a residential area of the city) where he gathered his audience, followers and disciples to have a centre where the esoteric school worked. He settled permanently in Izgrev, where he delivered the various series of his Word. From 19 August 1927 he delivered a series of lectures at the annual meeting of the Universal White Brotherhood, comprising into the cycle with title The Path of a Disciple.

During the period 1929-1932 Master Beinsa Douno established contact with the Theosophic leader Jiddu Krishnamurti (in the town of Ommen, the Netherlands), who left the Theosophical Society at that time and dissolved the Order of the Star in the East.

In the summer of 1929 he took his followers and disciples camping near the Seven Rila Lakes for the first time. On 21 September 1930 he opened a new series of his teaching, called the Sunday Morning lectures, which lasted until April 1944. From 1934 he started working on the Paneurhythmy - a series of twenty-eight exercises consisting of melody, text and plastic movements. Later on he added the exercises The Sun Rays and Pentagram.

On 4 May 1936 he was beaten by an adherent to a political party, causing brain hemorrhage and paralysis. In spite of his health problem, on 14 July Master Beinsa Douno went out camping with followers of his near the Seven Rila Lakes and he had recovered completely by 12 August.

On 22 March 1939 he wrote a message to his disciples titled The Eternal Testament of Spirit.

In the early 1944 during the air raids in Sofia he organized the evacuation of Izgrev to Marchaevo (a village not far from Sofia) while he stayed at the home of one of his disciples. He returned to Izgrev on 19 October 1944. On 20 December 1944 he delivered his last lecture The Last Word to the General Esoteric Class.

He died on 27 December 1944. His body was laid in Izgrev.

Creative contribution

Ideological and methodological doctrine

The various aspects in the Teaching of Master Beinsa Douno are set out and developed in about 7000 lectures of his, delivered and put down in short hand in the period of 1900-1944. They were published in several multi-volume series: lectures before the General Esoteric Class, lectures before the Special Esoteric Class, Sunday lectures, Annual Meeting lectures, Morning lectures etc.

The main categories in his Teaching are: Love, Wisdom, Truth, Justice and Virtue, understood as attributes of the historic, cosmic and mystic Christ. Love is a central macro- and micro-cosmic category, functioning in the various aspects of human existence as aspiration (in the emotional sphere or the heart), feeling (in the soul), power (in the ideal sphere of the ‘I’ or the mind) and principle (in the spirit). The so-called Great Universal Brotherhood is the fundamental cosmogonist view. It is described as an organism, consisting of advanced human souls (lodges of the Great Initiated and their disciples) and the nine hierarchies of super-sensitive beings (angels, archangels, principalities, powers, mights, dominions, thrones, cherubim and seraphim). According to Master Beinsa Douno, Christ is the supreme governor of the Great Universal Brotherhood.

The history of world culture is seen as projection of a cosmic rhythm, structured in global periods and sub-periods. The periods are as follows: Polar, Hyperborean, Lemurian, Atlantis, the Fifth, the Sixth and the Seventh Periods. The sub-periods of the current Fifth Period are also called cultural epochs: the epoch of the Cancer (Ancient-Indian), the Gemini (Ancient-Persian), Taurus (Ancient-Egyptan), Aries (Ancient Greece and Rome), Pisces (Western European), Aquarius (Slavonic) etc. Human consciousness manifests itself and develops through collective, individual, supreme collective and cosmic stages. According to Master Beinsa Douno humankind is entering the epoch of Aquarius from 1914 onwards, i.e. implementation of the evolutionary transition from the Fifth to the Sixth cultural epochs within the Fifth Period. During this period, according to Master Beinsa Douno the Indo-European race is a leader in an evolutionary aspect. The first steps into the supreme collective consciousness are being made during the current transition stage. One of its social forms was achieved through the supreme aspects of Love - life for the Whole. The extended collective consciousness, implementing the life of the Whole, is regarded as an attribute of the forthcoming Sixth (Slavonic) cultural epoch and of the future Sixth race stemming from it. According to Master Beinsa Douno, the Sixth race will manifest itself in the future Sixth big period and will implement the culture of Love to a much greater scope.

The psychological aspect of the human development according to Master Beinsa Douno is a consequential transformation through four cultural archetypes: "Old Testament", "New Testament", the "Righteous" and "Disciple". The transition to the latter is understood as a totality of esoteric school methods, aimed at the transformation of the ideal-conceptual consciousness into imaginative and is designated by the term of "blossoming of the human soul" According to Master Beinsa Douno esoteric disciples link their consciousness with Christ permanently, experience Him constantly in their mental, emotional and will-power spheres and learn permanently from what He performs within them. Thus the consciousness of disciple and his etheric body more specifically, is naturally perceived as object and subject of the so-called 'Second Coming of Christ''.

The main methods for spiritual work in the School of the Universal White Brotherhood are: prayer gatherings, musical and respiratory exercises, reading of the Word of Master Beinsa Douno, greeting the sunrise, outings in the mountains, life in brotherhood communities, annual meetings etc. The special methods are "The Testament of the Colour Rays of Light" and the "Paneurhythmy" dance. All the methods are considered esoteric practices for experiencing Christ through the wholeness of the human being and more precisely through the human etheric body.

Philosophical contribution

The contribution is formulated as ideas in various fields of philosophy. Developed in numerous lectures of Master Beinsa Douno, these are subject to analysis and interpretation from now on. Some of the ideas in the philosophical domain are as follows:

  • "Your consciousness can travel at the speed of slow trains, it can travel at the speed of Light, and it can travel even faster. Hence, time and space are functions of consciousness. Consciousness is out of the scope of time and space…" (Youth Esoteric Class, year 1, lecture 13, Contradictions in Life, 24 May 1922)
  • "Contemporary people still cannot imagine that Light is living. We live in a living Light, while the Light that physics discuss, represents the sub-consciousness of the living Light. The same phases can be found in the consciousness of Light like the phases in your consciousness - sub-consciousness, self-consciousness and super-consciousness." [not in Freud meaning - Editors note] (Youth Esoteric Class, year IV, lecture 25, Influence of the Inner Light, 12 April 1925)
  • "One can identify whether there are beings on the Sun by the light of the Solar spectrum. Above all, wherever there is intelligent life, Light comes in a special way… There is a difference in the spreading of the Sun rays coming out from a un-intelligent being [or non-living object] and those coming out from an intelligent being - the laws are different." (Youth Esoteric Class, year IV, lecture 15, The Tests of a Disciple. The Wheat Grain, 25 January 1925)
  • "People want to attribute a certain form to God, but I ask the question what form can you attribute to Light? Light itself creates forms. How does it create forms? As soon as it encounters an obstacle, it already creates a certain form. … Make the environment of your thoughts rarer or denser and they will immediately experience some refraction." (Youth Esoteric Class, year I, lecture 5, Old and New Lives, (29 March 1922)
  • "The first process, which is the beginning of will, is restricting. Without any restrictions the will cannot be manifested. Above all, the will presupposes a strictly determined movement in the consciousness, i.e. an inclination of consciousness" (Youth Esoteric Class, year I, lecture 4, Characteristics and Manifestation of the Will, 15 March 1922)
  • "The more advanced the evolution of a certain form [of life] is, the more intelligent the atoms comprising it. In order to reach a higher stage of development, the atom has to pass through the four Kingdoms - the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom and the kingdom of human beings. …The more stable the atoms of given elements in the human organism are, the better characteristics they convey to human character." (Youth Esoteric Class, year V, lecture 13, Real Variables, 1 February 1926)

Esoteric scientific work

During the period 1901-1912 Master Beinsa Douno carried out phrenologic research among selected individuals from the Bulgarian people. Later on some of the results were stated in his Sunday sermons, and the opening of the Esoteric School of the Universal White Brotherhood (1922) is an indication of his comprehensive approach to the esoteric sciences on self-knowledge - astrology, chiromancy palmistry, phrenology, kabbalah etc. His original methodology in this area includes the following major principles:

  • Master Beinsa Douno gave an impulse to esoteric disciples to study on their own the traditions of some esoteric science, correcting and directing the process of learning and research.
  • He forbade the use of esoteric sciences for personal evaluation and criticism.
  • He gave an impulse to the so-called evolutionary development of these sciences: they should not be approached from an objective and positive points of view; they should facilitate the development of virtues in the human soul and should assist the birth and knowing of the Internal Christ.
  • He used a synthetic approach among different esoteric sciences; for instance in order to understand completely the details of a horoscope, human palm, face or the phrenologic parameters of a skull - one has to consult, summarise and synthesise particular results from astrological, chiromantic, physiognomic, phrenologic or any other analysis.

Some ideas and approaches of Master Beinsa Douno in the above-mentioned esoteric sciences are utilised by the Varna astrological tradition for the creation of the so-called "three-dimensional model of a horoscope" - an innovation in the astrological methodology.

Musical Works

Peter Deunov studied music and the violin in 1880s. During the first decade of the 20th century Master Beinsa Douno started composing music to Biblical texts and to texts written by him, called "brotherly songs" later on, and from 1922 he started producing songs and melodies in the two esoteric classes of his School, which he called "esoteric musical exercises" According to him they were methods for esoteric work and were meant to tone up and harmonise the psychic processes going on in esoteric disciples. Some of the texts to the musical exercises were written in sacred proto-language, which Master Beinsa Douno called Vatan language and he defined it as the primary language of humankind.

Predictions and Insights

  • "Christ Impulse will gradually penetrate into the human being and will take over guidance during the further development of the humankind. We are still in the beginning of all this now. In the future Christianity – but not the external, official, Christianity, but the mystic, Esoteric Christianity – will become a world religion for the whole humankind. Christ will be placed in the center of the new culture. Remember, that Christ is a manifestation of the love of God. And He will come as an internal light in the minds and hearts of the people. This light will attract everybody around Christ as a great center. The opening of the human minds and hearts and the reception of Christ from within – this will be the second appearance of Christ on the Earth. He will preach mainly the great science of Love and the methods how to apply it. He will preach the Path of discipleship, brotherhood and serving. Because this is what the law of evolution requires nowadays." (The Master, The Life of the Sixth Race, ISBN 954-744-050-0)
  • "Eight thousand adepts are coming into the world. Some will reincarnate, others will be incorporated."
  • "We need to learn the great law that God is our Father, that we have to live like brothers, that no one has the right to kill and there can be no violence. This is what God wrote and we all have to live according to His law. If the contemporary European people do not accept Christ’s Teaching, in ten years there will be a war worse than any other war in human history… And I say, ‘Christ is coming! If people accept Love, war will be cancelled; if they do not accept it, there will be a war and then people will experience even greater suffering.’" (24 June 1923)
  • "There is no epoch in human history when Christ has worked like now. Now Christ is working harder than ever. Several centuries ago Christ was up there in the supreme worlds, and now He has descended lower, into the Astral and Ether Worlds, closer to the material world. Two great events will happen: first, the spirit of Christ will start implanting into human beings - of course, in the beginning it will start implanting into the prepared souls. When you experience a fine, unselfish feeling, when you are full of mercy, love, grace, this shows that the spirit of Christ has illuminated you and it has started working within you. Apostle Paul says as well, does not he, ‘It’s not me living, but Christ’s spirit implanted in me.’" (Master Beinsa Douno, The According of the Human Soul, compiled by Boyan Boev, Sofia, 2001).
  • "Christ will come, this is beyond doubt, and soon will He come… The Second Coming should not be understood to mean the end of the world, but the second coming of Christ." (11 August 1911).
  • "Christ is working in the world, but the people do not see Him. They want to see Him as a human being; they want to touch Him, to physically sense Him. If He fills people’s hearts with beautiful, elevated feelings, what can you desire? …It’s wrong people to expect Christ to be born again as a baby. Christ was born and is being born in the hearts and souls of people. Christ cannot be born by a woman today. If you expect the coming of the Saviour, open your souls. He will be born there. Moreover, Christ is being born in many souls at the same time. When Christ is born in your soul, you will be useful both to yourself and to the people around you. This is Resurrection. This is what wakening of the human soul means. When Christ lives in the souls of people, everybody will be resurrected; everybody will rise and join hands as brothers." (25 March 1923).
  • "After the war people will start talking about United European States and this idea will be implemented." (1 May 1940).
  • "After a hundred years you will find Europe absolutely different. The borders will be abolished and other relations will be established among the nations and people." (20 September 1935).
  • "The world today is facing punishment and liquidation; therefore you have to be awake. By 1999 the world will see what it has never seen before." (1939).
  • "An earthquake is coming to Europe, which will start from the north, will shake all of Europe, so that it will be remembered for thousands of years. The reason for this earthquake is explained too. The Old Testament reads, ‘Make sure your deeds and thoughts do not become too bad for the Earth to be able to endure them."
  • "In 22nd century the Kingdom of Christ will be established on the Earth."

World response

Dissemination of the Teaching of Master Beinsa Douno

In the 1940s the teaching of Master Beinsa Douno became popular in some European countries: France, Lithuania for example, while in 1970s it was widely spread in Russia, Canada and USA. During the 1990s some disciples and followers of him appeared in United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Congo. After the democratic changes in Bulgaria, followers of the Universal White Brotherhood in Bulgaria registered a non-profit organization at the court ("White Brotherhood - Bulgaria", 1995), which is governed by a Supreme Brotherhood Council having a domicile in Sofia. There are dozens of spiritual centres outside the territory of the country, biggest of all being the French centre in Bonfin. It was established in 1953 by Mihail Ivanov (1900-1986) - a disciple of Master Beinsa Douno, called by his followers Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.

Spiritual and cultural influence

The works and activities of Master Beinsa Douno are subject of research and analyses by prominent scientists and spiritual leaders.

  • According to Pavel Biryukov, a biographer of Count Leo N. Tolstoy, the great Russian thinker and writer left Yasna Polyana shortly before his death (1910) with the intention to travel to Bulgaria to meet Master Peter Deunov.
  • Cardinal Giuseppe Roncalli, an Ambassador of the Vatican to Bulgaria before the Second World War, elected as Pope John XXIII later on, said, ‘In the present epoch the greatest philosopher living on the earth is Peter Deunov.’
  • Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, said in a conversation with Boyan Boev (Munich, 1910): ‘The Slavonic people are destined to have a great mission. They, and particularly Bulgaria, will contribute a good deal to the elevation of humankind. Return to Bulgaria, there is a powerful spiritual movement in Bulgaria, headed by a great spiritual Initiate.’ After this conversation Boyan Boev became one of the closest disciples of Master Beinsa Douno.
  • Paramahansa Yogananda, when asked while visiting Greece about his intentions with regard to establishing an ashram in Bulgaria, declared, ‘This is how far I can go, the Spirit of the Truth is active there’.
  • Jiddu Krishnamurti, leader of Theosophic movement refused to be declared Maitreya and Christ and told the participants of a World Theosophic Congress in the Netherlands that the World Master was in Bulgaria.
  • Onisaburo Deguchi, leader of the Oomoto, Japanese spiritual movement, said, ‘I am a wise man, the Master is in Bulgaria.’
  • Alfred Lemonier, professor at the Toulouse University, France, during his visit to Bulgaria addressed Master Beinsa Douno with the following words, ‘We came to thank you from the bottom of our soul and spirit, and also to request new blessings, advice, example, physical, moral and intellectual power from you so that we can serve to the Whole better.’

After 1925 the Teaching of Master Beinsa Douno acquired world publicity through a number of publications in newspapers, journals and books.

  • In Italy, Aldo Lavini published a comprehensive biography and research on the activities of Master Beinsa Douno in Il Messaggero della salute (1927). The Alpha newspaper coming out in Palermo, an organ of the Psychological and Experimental Sciences Association called Master Peter Deunov a mystic apostle of Christianity in its complete glory. In Locarno, the Yoga Publishing House prepared and published nine selected lectures translated by the poetess Mara Belcheva where the introduction was written by Prof. Ginno Sordelli. Luigi Belloti, Director of the Italian Academy of Sciences, Literature and Arts, in his speech at the opening of the Academy (24 October 1929) declared Master Peter Deunov its spiritual leader.
  • Die Gloke journal in the Czech Republic published the biography of Master Peter Deunov, and the philosopher Rudolf Burkert called him a prophet of the white race in his book Das Reich Gottes auf Erden.
  • The German newspaper Reformblatt published an article titled Forerunners of the new culture, where the Universal White Brotherhood was commented ‘The true value of this movement lies not only in its ideas, but also in the unflinching power to implement these ideas in life.’ Master Peter Deunov is presented as a ‘handsome figure breathing kindness.’ The German Menschheitspartei movement (1932) announced its belonging to the Universal White Brotherhood in Bulgaria and its respect to Master Peter Deunov.
  • Agnessa Hofmann, a leader in the Catholic Liberal Church in the Netherlands, visited Bulgaria in 1928 and said, ‘I came to meet Master Peter Deunov. Few are the Masters of humankind.’
  • Nineteen lectures of Master Peter Deunov were published in English in the USA and they were received with enthusiasm by the press. The Rosicrucian Society in Oceanside, California, summarized their impressions from the lecture as follows, ‘The person who wrote these beautiful and elevated thoughts, has a profound knowledge of the secrets of life.’
  • The Torch journal in Canada, an organ of the astrological society, published a response to the Great Law lecture, ‘By its merits this little booklet is second to no other book in the entire American rhetoric literature. The author has penetrated deeply into the work of the spiritual alchemy of the Universe; he shows how each virtue contributes to the construction of the common good of humanity.’
  • The Hejnal journal in Poland published an article of Agni Pilshova, ‘There are many esoteric schools in the world, but the school in Bulgaria stands out with something specific. It tries to influence and educate society through its good example.’
  • The press in Switzerland published an annotation about Georgi Radev’s book The Master Speaks (compiled from texts of Master Beinsa Douno), ‘Never have we come across so many truths delivered in such a concise form, so lively and brilliantly.’
  • In 1953 in France Mihail Ivanov, one of the most devoted disciples of Master Beinsa Douno, known in the west world with name Master Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, founded Fraternite Blanche Universelle (The Universal White Brotherhood) in Bonfin, from which dozens of spiritual centres started on the other continents during the following years. The followers of Master Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov practice Paneurhythmy and study especially the ‘mystic Bulgarian language’, to be able to sing the musical exercises of Master Beinsa Douno in the original.
  • After the democratic changes in Bulgaria hundreds of spiritual seekers from all over the planet visit the Annual Meeting near the Seven Rila Lakes to take part in the Mountain School established by Master Beinsa Douno, and to perform the sacred dance of Paneurhythmy together with thousands of spiritual brothers and sisters.
  • In 2005 the official internet site, dedicated to the Word of Master Beinsa Douno http://www.BeinsaDouno.org/, started working on a multi-language translation project in respect of his literary legacy in Russian, German, English, Spanish, French, Polish etc.

Attitude of the Orthodox Church to Master Beinsa Douno

Peter Deunov was born in a family of considerable contribution to the Revival of Bulgarian nation and especially - struggle for church independence. During the second decade after the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire he founded a Society for the Elevation of the Spirit of the Bulgarian People (1897) where prominent figures in the struggle for church independence were members. But the bishops in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church did not accept his reformist ideas about returning to the principles of the early Christianity. According to him the clergy should work for free and selflessly, earning their living from their spiritual work among the people. On the other hand, his Esoteric-Christian doctrine is based on the principles of the cause-result relation and reincarnation (the law on reincarnation and karma) with the purpose to improve and elevate the human soul ever closer to the perfection of Christ - principles contradicting the official church dogmatics. The same is moral principle of vegetarianism - the practice in the social life of the Universal White Brotherhood.

During the second decade of 20th century the Bulgarian Orthodox Church made direct and indirect, overt or covert attempts to discredit Master Beinsa Douno. The principle charge against him was that he identified himself with Christ, in spite of his unambiguous speech on 8 August 1920, "Do not look for Christ on the physical level; do not try to find Him in one person only, because He is in all people. Moreover, where Christ is manifested you will see an intensive light. Christ is one and many. Sometimes you say, ‘Is Mr. Deunov Christ or Christ is in him?’ I will tell you that I am not Christ, but that Christ is in me. If I were Christ, whom you take me for, I would be governing the whole world. But as I am not such a person, I am not Christ either. Christ is not in the physical world."

In the spring of 1922 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church campaign against Master Beinsa Douno was at its peak. In his Sunday sermon on 14 May he stated, ‘If somebody attempts to speak the truth today, the first thing he would be called is a heretic… If your teaching yields better results I will accept it, but if my teaching produces better results, accept my methods.’ On 18 June Master Peter Deunov said, ‘Now is the time for culture, we are the bearers of a cultural movement, of a cultural tide in Bulgaria. And the Bulgarian clergy, is plotting how to impede us, instead of working intelligently, benefiting from this blessing sent from Heavens. They have to understand that they will impede themselves first of all.’ On 7 July 1922 at the Bishopric Council of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Peter Deunov was declared to have self-excommunicated himself, and his teaching was declared ‘heretic and dangerous to the internal peace and public moral.’ Master Peter Deunov did not comment upon this event, did not come out to defend himself in public; he only emphasized the ideal of the Great Universal Brotherhood, ‘Let the Orthodox Church resolve this issue, whether Christ has risen, whether Love is accepted in the Orthodox Church. There is one church in the world. But the Universal White Brotherhood is outside the church - it is higher than the church. But even higher than the Universal White Brotherhood is the Kingdom of Heaven. Hence the Church is the first step, the Universal White Brotherhood is the second step, and the Kingdom of Heaven is the third step - the greatest one that is to be manifested.’ (24 June 1923).

Attitude of the Bulgarian Philosophers to Master Beinsa Douno

The Teaching of Master Beinsa Douno is subject of theological and philosophical analysis. In 1917 the theologian Daniil Laskov published a couple of articles in the Spiritual Culture newspaper: What is Theosophy and The Attitude of the Bible to the Theosophical spiritism and occultism. In 1922 his book Peter Deunov and His Teaching came out, where the latter was defined as a ‘sum of pagan superstitions, theosophic spiritism and occultism.’ In 1929 Angel Tomov analysed the religious and philosophic concepts in the teaching in the Philosopher’s Review journal. He argued that the teaching could be understood only as a component of the mystic wave of the new epoch, typical for which is the growing interest in spiritism and the advent of theosophy and of various occult schools and mystic societies in the world. Later on the eminent remkeist Prof. Dimiter Mihalchev published in consecutive issues of the same journal several studies, ‘The Religious and Philosophical Points of View of Peter Deunov’ (1930) and ‘Against Danovism as Theosophic Teaching’ (1931). According to him it all comes down to pantheistic metaphysics sweeping the masses in mysticism thus ‘wasting their potential’ in regard to the state and the nation. In 1940 Dr Cyril Cholakov, a psychiatrist, a student of Mihalchev, published three pieces of criticism in the Mental Health journal, qualifying Master Peter Deunov and his thousands of followers in clinical terms. All critical analysis from this period aimed predominantly at the ideal and religious aspects of the teaching, ignoring willingly or unwillingly its Esoteric-Christian basis.

The Marxist philosophy after 1944 examined Master Peter Deunov as a founder of a ‘specific Bulgarian theosophical teaching’ in the bourgeois society. His followers were defined as people ‘deaf and blind for the sufferings of the epoch’. Biased scenarios about an alleged ‘suicide’ by Peter Deunov were floated, in spite of the existing documentary evidence about pneumonia being the direct cause for his death.

In the late 20th century certain informal philosophic circles in Bulgaria proposed a method for structural reconstruction in respect of the interpretation of Master Beinsa Douno’s texts. In their opinion these were structured on a triple dialogue Christ-I-The Other, which made it possible to see them internally and to experience them as Word or as a Moral event. It is stated that only the structural interpretation makes them scientifically distinct from other esoteric or religious texts, since the morphology of Christ-I-The Other is not to be found in the Orthodox Christian literature, theosophy and Eastern Occultism. Contrary to the accusations that Master Beinsa Douno’s sermons lacked any structure is the so-called musical principle. It is understood as a spiritual practice for esoteric disciples where reading and/or listening to the Word spiritualises the intellectuality of the contemporary consciousness, revives the life of the Cosmic intelligence within it and thus experiences immediately what the Master, in the form of the Holy Spirit, performs within.

Attitude of the Bulgarian State to Master Beinsa Douno and the Universal White Brotherhood

Master Beinsa Douno and the Universal White Brotherhood do not participate on principle in any government institutions or political units. Nonetheless they were subject to both interest and repressions on behalf of politicians, statesmen, parties, the army and the police. There are documents, according to which Master Beinsa Douno intended to present his Appeal to My People before the National Assembly (1897); he gave up this idea later on. From 1912 to 1918 most of his disciples and followers were mobilised in the Bulgarian army and at his instructions they carried The Good Prayer and Psalm 91 sown in their military coats. On 11 November 1912, towards the end of the Balkan War, through Maria Stoyanova, he advised the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand to sign an armistice with Turkey and not to attack his allies. In August 1915 during the course of the First World War the Tarnovian Military commandment dispersed the Annual Meeting of the Universal White Brotherhood and forced Master Beinsa Douno to leave the town. After Bulgaria’s capitulation at Dobro Pole (15 September 1918) he advised the Bulgarian Tsar through go-betweens to abdicate in favour of his son, Boris.

On 13 July 1921 the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior adopted a statute of the White Brotherhood Society in Rousse and actually this was the first legal registration of the followers of the Universal White Brotherhood. In the 1920s Master Beinsa Douno stayed for a long time in Sofia at 66 Opalchenska Street, right next door to the home of the communist leader Georgi Dimitrov. Memoirs of contemporaries have it that the latter hid several times from the police in the house of Master Beinsa Douno.

According to the memoirs of Petko Epitropov in July 1922 Master Beinsa Douno met Alexander Stamboliyski, then the Prime Minister, and had a private talk with him. On 9 June 1923 after a coup d’etat the party of the Democratic Accord took over; the government of the Democratic Accord did not allow the Annual Meeting of the Universal White Brotherhood to be held. On 21 July 1925 Master Beinsa Douno was summoned to a hearing at the Public Security Police Department in Sofia; his answers to the questions put to him were documented and kept and they represent a peculiar manifesto of his ideal doctrine In 1936 he was attacked and beaten by an adherent of the Democratic Accord party; the incident led to a brain haemorrhage and paralysis; later on the Master recovered completely. Afterwards his attacker asked Master Beinsa Douno for forgiveness. On 2 October 1937 he was officially called to answer in written form and in detail questions about the attitude of his teaching to the church, the government institutions, the army, the social order, marriage, family and moral. His answers were documented and preserved for the generations.

During the Second World War Master Beinsa Douno advised his disciples Lyubomir Loulchev (advisor at the court) and Methodi Constantinov (high official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to talk with Tsar Boris III about withdrawing his decision on the deportation of Bulgarian Jewry. In this way he indirectly became one of the people, who helped stop the deportation.

Four years after the establishment of the totalitarian communist regime in Bulgaria, the Ministry of Foreign Affair recognized the Universal White Brotherhood as a ‘faith community’ (23 January 1948), but in October 1956 repealed its decision. In June 1948 the land plot in Izgrev where the prayer meeting hall was located was nationalised, and was given to the Embassy of USSR. On 6 December 1957, by virtue of a prosecution order, the entire reference literature with the Word of Master Beinsa Douno was seized, and in August 1958 the Sofia City Council nationalized all land plots owned by then Izgrev citizens.

After the democratic changes in Bulgaria, the Council of Ministers adopted a statute of the Universal White Brotherhood Society (7 November 1990), and in 2001 it published a certificate, according to which the Society does not qualify as sect; it is an official spiritual movement arising in Bulgaria as an original tradition that has lasted over a century in Bulgaria.

Contemporary survey of the work of Master Beinsa Douno

Originally (during the first half of 20th century) Master Beinsa Douno was identified by his disciples and followers as one of then Great Masters of the Lodge of the Great Universal Brotherhood. In 1940s Vlad Pashov, Georgi Radev, Boyan Boev and Methodi Constantinov were the first to argue in their scientific works the central cosmogonic and gnoseological significance of the concept of the Great Universal Brotherhood, they analysed in detail its macro- and micro-cosmic structure as given by Master Beinsa Douno (advanced human souls and nine hierarchies of super-sensitive beings under the supreme command of Christ) and defined the conscious relation with it as a main cognitive objective in the spiritual practice of esoteric disciples. Some Bulgarian publications from 1990s define him as Universal Master, without linking him with any of the existing philosophic, religious or esoteric doctrines so far. The prevailing opinion is that his mission was to renovate Christianity in relation with forthcoming Slavonic cultural epoch and the future Sixth race.

From 1999 onwards certain informal philosophical circles in Bulgaria and the Netherlands, taking recourse to some biographical data about the life of Peter Deunov and to spiritual-scientific theses of the anthroposophic teaching of Rudolf Steiner, identified Master Beinsa Douno as manifestation of the Bodhisattva Maitreya in 20th century (for more information download this e-book file "The Teaching about the Lodge of Bodhisatva and the Issue of the 20th century Bodhisatva - An attempted contemporary reading, new ideas"). From this point of view they regard his teaching as the supreme emanation of Esoteric Christianity, and the methods of his school - as experiencing practices of the so-called etheric coming of Christ in astral level. These interpretations are argued against by some leading representatives of the Anthroposophic School in Dornach (Switzerland) and although Bodhisattva Maitreya is a central object of research in Anthroposophy, they have not stated any alternative points of view so far concerning the spiritual, historic and personal identification of the Bodhisattva Maitreya in 20th century.

On the other hand, the School of Esoteric Christianity in Dornach is examining certain attempts at personification of the Bodhisattva Maitreya (Juddi Krishnamurti, Valentine Tomberg, Omraam Mihail Ivannovi etc.) as illegitimate attempts to replace his true mission as a messenger of the etheric coming of Christ in an astral plan. The spiritual scientific dialogue between these two European traditions may be interpreted not only as a token of synthesis, but also as a total human union in Christ.

Reference literature

  1. Constantinov, Methodi; Boyan Boev, Maria Todorova, Boris Nikolov (2005). The Master. PH, Sofia: Byalo Bratstvo.
  2. Radev, Georgi (2006). The Master Speaks. PH, Sofia: Byalo Bratstvo.
  3. Douno, Beinsa (2004). The Testament of the Colour Rays of Light. PH, Sofia: Byalo Bratstvo.
  4. Douno, Beinsa (2005). Paneurhythmy. PH, Sofia: Byalo Bratstvo.
  5. Master Peter Deunov. The Sping of the Good, Royal 77 PH, Varna, 1992
  6. Master Beinsa Douno. Conversations at the Seven Rila Lakes, Queen Mab, Sofia, 1993
  7. Master Beinsa Douno. According of the Human Soul, vol. I, II & III, Byalo Bratstvo PH, Sofia, 2002
  8. Master Beinsa Douno. The Great Mother. Byalo Bratstvo PH and Royal 77 PH, Varna, 1998
  9. The Master in Varna. A documentary chronicle, Byalo Bratstvo PH, Sofia, 1999
  10. Master Peter Deunov. He Is Coming. Byalo Bratstvo PH, Sofia, 2004
  11. Master Peter Deunov. The Mindful Heart. Bulgarian Classics series, vol. 59. Zaharii Stoyanov PH, Sofia, 2003

Footnotes

Selected literature in English

  1. The Wellspring of Good. By Peter Deunov. Bojan Boev, Boris Nikolov (Compilers); ISBN 954-474-316-2
  2. Sacred Words of the Master. A Call to the Disciple by Beinsa Douno. Vessela Nestorova (Translator); Publisher: Bialo Bratstvo (1994); ISBN 954-8091-15-1
  3. The New Humanity and the High Ideal. By Beinsa Douno. Publisher: Sliabhair (1969); ISBN 0-937785-04-0
  4. Paneurhythmy: Supreme Cosmic Rhythm. By Beinsa Douno. Publisher: Bialo Bratstvo (2004); ISBN 954-744-035-7
  5. The Master Peter Deunov: His Life and Teaching. By Milka Kraleva; ISBN 954-474-268-9
  6. Prophet for Our Times: The Life and Teachings of Peter Deunov. By Peter Deunov. David Lorimer (Editor). Publisher: Element Books (1991); ISBN 1-85230-211-9
  7. The Way of the Disciple. By Beinsa Douno. Publisher: Alpha-Dar (1996); ISBN 954-8785-05-6

See also

External links

  • http://www.BeinsaDouno.org - The Word of Master Peter Deunov. Official organ of the White Brotherhood, Bulgaria (the site is in Bulgarian, English, Russian, French, German, Polish etc. Hundreds of original lectures are available in several languages out of a total of 4000)
  • http://www.beinsadouno.com/downloads.php?id=35 - Along the Path of Light - Download a Film Dedicated to the Master Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov)
  • http://www.beinsaduno.info - Beinsa Douno Library with lectures in Bulgarian.
  • http://home.earthlink.net/~rila
  • http://www.bratstvoto.net
  • http://paneurhythmy.us/about_Beinsa_Douno.shtml
  • http://www.esotericpublishing.com/pr/deunov.html
  • http://www.revelation37.freeserve.co.uk/contents/deunov.htm
  • http://www.beinsa-douno.net/ - The English Master Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) Home Page

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