Deunov, Peter Konstantinov (1864–1944)
Peter Konstantinov Deunov, Bulgarian esotericist and
founder of the White Brotherhood, was born on July 11, 1864,
in Hadurcha (now Nikolaevka), Bulgaria, the son of an Orthodox
priest. He received his elementary education locally, but
went to secondary school in Varna and the American School of
Theology and Science in Svishtov, from which he graduated in
1886. He taught school for two years before leaving for the
United States, where he studied theology at Drew Theological
Seminary and Boston University (both Methodist schools).
After completing his course in 1893, he took a year of medicine
before returning to Bulgaria in 1895.
Deunov had already decided upon his life work as an independent
spiritual teacher. He prepared himself with five years
of seclusion in study and meditation. In the United States he
had encountered the Rosicrucians and was also conscious of
the Bogomil heritage in his own land. His first book, Science and
Education, appeared in 1896. The following year he had a mystical
initiation experience and assumed the spiritual name by
which he would be commonly known, Beinsa Douno. With only
two students, in 1900 he organized the White Brotherhood. He
also began to prepare lesson material offering a broad introduction
to occultism. This was bolstered by material he received
through his own meditations, the first such sets being
published as the Seven Conversations with the Spirit of God and The
Three Things, both issued in 1900.
In 1914 he proclaimed the advent of the Age of Aquarius
and increasingly shifted his teaching activity to Sofia, the capital.
It being wartime, his activities came under official scrutiny,
and signs of tension with authorities appeared. In August of
1915, the annual meeting was disrupted and Douno expelled
from the town in which it was held. In 1917, the Holy Synod
of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church pressured the authorities to
have the brotherhood expelled from Sofia. Finally in 1922, in
response to Douno’s opening a School of the Great White
Brotherhood in Sofia, the church excommunicated Douno and
many of his followers.
Through the 1920s and 1930s, the brotherhood expanded
and Douno continued to teach and write. Also, many of his lectures
were taken down in shorthand and transcribed. He began
a periodical, Wheat Grain, in 1924 and opened a center called
The Sunrise, outside of Sofia in 1926. In 1934 he instituted a
cycle of 28 exercises, body movements with accompanying
music, which he called paneurhythmy.
In 1936 he was able to extend his work to the West, when
a center opened in Paris. Douno continued to teach until his
death in 1944. The emergence of a Marxist government would
dampen the movement in the years after World War II
(1939–45). The headquarters and printing press were taken
over by the government for its own use. In 1957 all of Douno’s
books were confiscated. It was not until the 1970s that meetings
began to be held again and the outward work of the order revived.
Concurrently, Douno’s teachings were revived in France
and the United States. However, in the meanwhile, one of his
students, Omraam Michael Aivanhov, who had been sent by
Douno to France in 1937, organized a separate organization,
now known as the Universal Great Brotherhood, to carry forward
the teachings. Today, in the West, most people are aware
of Douno through Aivanhov’s movement.
Douno’s Bulgarian followers have translated a number of his
works into English, the first of which appeared in the 1960s.
Most recently, they developed an extensive Internet presence
anchored by the official site at httpwww.vega.bg
~beinsa_douno.
Sources
Douno, Beinsa. The Master Speaks The Word of the Great White
Brotherhood. Los Angeles Sunrise Press & Books, 1970.
———. Reminiscences Talks with the Master. Los Angeles
Sunrise Press, 1968.
———. The Teachings of Beinsa Douno Pearls of Love. Glasgow
Beyond the Rising Sun Publications, n.d.

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