5. Master Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov) (1864-1944). Life and Deeds

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5.1. Biography

Peter Constantinov Deunov was born on 11 July 1864 (29 June old style, St. Peter’s Feast) in the village of Hadarcha, present day village of Nikolaevka (not far away from Varna, Bulgaria), as the third child of priest Constantin Deunovsky and Dobra Georgieva. His grandfather by 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 Deunovsky (1830-1918) was the first Bulgarian teacher and priest in Varna.

In 1872, Peter Deunov was admitted to an elementary school in Hadarcha and he graduated the Five grade 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 work 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 (at the age of 31), Peter 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, [1] where he analyzed the development of humankind in the dramatic world events and wrote about the foundations of a new culture, which 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-care-taker 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 (at the age of 33), 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, Dr. 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 center of the spiritual society, which later on developed into a Synarchic Chain (1906) and into the Universal White Brotherhood (1920), while he himself was distinguished with the title 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 proto-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), [2] before The Charity (Spiritualistic 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 Assemblies in Varna, which were originally called Meetings of the Chain. From then onwards until 1942 the Universal White Brotherhood held its Annual Assemblies 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 traveled to various places in Bulgaria, delivered lectures and did phrenologic investigations of selected individuals among the people. From 1904, he lived for long periods in Sofia, at 66 Opalchenska Str. in the house of Petko Gumnerov. 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 Color 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 the title Behold the Man, which was 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 exiled him 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 in 1930s, they numbered about 40,000 people.

In the summer of 1920, he established an esoteric class: The Class of Virtues. It contained ten young women (sisters), who took the responsibility to develop highly the five main virtues: Love, Wisdom, Truth, Justice and Virtue.

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, [3] and the Special (Youth) Esoteric Class with The Two Paths. [4] 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 center 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, which are compiled into the book with the title The Path of a Disciple.

In 1929, 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 Star of the East order.

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 malleable movements. Later, he added the exercises The Sun Rays and Pentagram.

On 4 May 1936, he was physically attacked by an adherent of the Democratic Agreement 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 (about 24 km south-west of Sofia) while he stayed at the home (now a museum house) of one of his disciples, Temelko Gyorev. 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 passed away on 27 December 1944. His body was laid to rest in Izgrev.

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