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The White Brotherhood outside Bulgaria

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The White Brotherhood outside Bulgaria

MIHAIL IVANOV (1900 - 1986) was one of Peter Dunov's disciples.

His first acquaintance with Deunov was in 1917 while the Master was interned for a year in Varna. They would often walk along the shore in the mornings and discuss spiritual issues. The young Ivanov was captivated by the Master's universal erudition. He took up the occult sciences with enthusiasm and eagerly sought knowledge about the secrets of human nature. Dunov encouraged and helped him. In 1937, Mihail Ivanov left for France to propagate the teaching. The first lecture he gave there on the 29th of January 1938 was based on a quotation from the Gospel of John: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John 3:5). He discussed the question of the source in it. Over the following years, his activity became a source of knowledge for a wide circle of people interested in this teaching. They formed an ashram-like community to practice daily the way of life Ivanov preached. The teaching spread naturally, attracting more followers. Sevres and Bonfin were the two major centres where lectures, meetings and conventions were held, the Paneurhythmy was practiced, Dunov's songs were sung in Bulgarian, and a unity with nature was sought. Ivanov's activity spread outside France; branches were founded in Switzerland and other countries of Western Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East.

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Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov (Mihail Ivanov).

In 1959 - 1960, Ivanov made a trip to India. There, he visited the Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai, encountered representatives of ancient Indian wisdom and had a revelation.

Before that trip, he was known as "brother Mihail. After his return, he called himself Omraam Michael Aivanhov. The title "Omraam emphasized his relation with the spiritual masters of India. In 1982, he visited that country for the second time and met with Madrasi Baba who had an ashram in Calcutta. The latter called him "the sunny Rishi. Michael Aivanhov traveled a lot. He visited Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Hong Kong and many countries in America and Africa, paving the way for the New Teaching. Undoubtedly, with his spiritual erudition and excellent knowledge of occult sciences, he made the greatest contribution for the dissemination of the New Teaching around the world. The societies he founded were a model of life in harmony and fraternal relations. Everyone who sincerely sought spiritual development could find his or her place in them, regardless of age, sex, profession or faith. The knowledge he spread was useful and universally applicable, and the results are the ultimate proof of its value.

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Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov among young followers.

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Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov demonstrating exercises in spiritual gymnastics.

In May 1939, Professor Alfred Lemony of the University of Toulouse gave a lecture to 20 of his colleagues on the ideas of the Master, describing them as "necessary for the revival of culture and the opening of new horizons to humanity".

Several lecture collections were published in Latvia.

Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, the ambassador of the Vatican to Bulgaria before World War II, who later became Pope John XXIII, admired the Master as a philosopher. "The greatest philosopher in the world today is Peter Dunov," he said.

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Pope John XXIII (Cardinal Angela Roncah).

The Dutch theosophist Vreede visited the Izgrev centre in 1939 and upon his return to the Netherlands, described the experience in the St. Michael's News magazine.  He wrote that the Master was "humble but powerful, concentrated, with a subtle penetrating mind, an inspired expressive face, modest attire, kind, strong, determined, natural and dignified."

After 1940, larger groups were formed in Sweden, Romania, and Yugoslavia. They studied the Master's lectures and practiced the Paneurhythmy.

In 1943 in France, Jarmila Menclova who had studied the Paneurhythmy with the Master at the Izgrev centre popularized it actively in France.

After 1944, Dunov was still discussed and written about abroad but the connection with Bulgaria was severed by the censorship and the ban on "idealistic" publications. However, there were Bulgarians abroad who remained deeply devoted to Dunov's teaching and continued to work for its propagation. The teaching was actively disseminated by Viola Baumann and Ernestina Staleva in the United States, Georgi Kourtev in Argentina, and Dr. M. Hristov in France. However, the most ardent apostle was undoubtedly Mikhael Ai'vanhov in France. He founded over 30 communities in different French towns where Dunov's principles were systematically and thoroughly applied. He continued his apostolic activity in over 30 countries of the world: Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Congo, Spain, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, the United States, Russia, Norway...

In 1947, Rene Guenon said these memorable words: "The Master is a true messenger of God. He is the greatest magnet ever to descend to earth."

The year 1955 saw the death of one of the most brilliant geniuses not only of the 20th century but of human civilization in general, Albert Einstein. The French national radio had a special broadcast in which Einstein's views on many issues were quoted. Here is one of his statements: "The whole world bows down before me; I bow down before the Master Peter Dunov from Bulgaria."

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Albert Einstein

In the 1970s, a group of Englishmen interested in Peter Dunov's personality and teaching visited communist Bulgaria for the first time. They met some of Dunov's disciples and spent some time in the Rila and in the places frequented by the Master. They took home their overwhelming impressions and restored the connection with the outside world. Gradually, the interest to Peter Dunov's ideas abroad was revived. In 1974 in England was published the authoritative Encyclopedia of the Unexplained (Penguin Books), edited by Richard Cavendish, which included the following mention on Master Peter Dunov: "A Bulgarian prophet who claimed to have descended to the earth from Alfeola, the Star of Stars to pave the way for the coming Age of the Slavs; in 1914 he announced the advent of the Aquarian Age." Later on, a great contribution for the dissemination of Peter Dunov's ideas in the English-speaking countries had the three books published by David Lorimer in Britain in the 1990s: Prophet for Our Times, The Circle of Sacred Dance, and Gems of Love. These volumes are dedicated to Peter Dunov and his mission in the world.

In June 1996, during his first visit to Bulgaria, the world-famous designer Paco Rabane paid homage to his spiritual master Peter Dunov. "He is one of the greatest philosophers of the Age of the Aquarius. Dunov's teaching will be the foundation of the spiritual culture of the new century," he told the press. Paco Rabane had come across a volume of lectures by the Master in a Paris bookshop. By 1960, he had collected all his books. "Peter Dunov was the first philosopher to write in an understandable language with an exceptional insight," he also said in the interview. From Dunov, Rabane learned that in the matter, nothing is devoid of meaning. The symbolism of his creations is inspired by Dunov's teaching.

In 1998, the Dutch philosopher Harrie Salman published his book Healing of Europe in which he wrote: "Anthroposophy is first and foremost a path of knowledge about the expansion of consciousness. In the 20th century, from the sources of esoteric Christianity, other ways for the spiritual development of man were elaborated.  One of them is the "White Brotherhood" of the Bulgarian spiritual master Peter Dunov (1864-1944) who is related to the teaching of Bulgarian Bogomils."

Today, the free democratic political system in Bulgaria is favourable for those foreigners whose interest in Peter Dunov's ideas naturally attracts them here, to the sources of this original Bulgarian teaching. Of course, they are most attracted by the opportunity to practice the sacred dance - the Paneurhythmy - in the beautiful Rila mountain. Alison Brown in Scotland, Ardela Nathaniel in the US, and Jean-Louis Gobot in France were the first Paneurhythmy instructors who, after their visits to Bulgaria, promoted it abroad. Their activity attracted many people whose spiritual interests were in harmony with the original impulse of Dunov's teaching in Bulgaria.

Undoubtedly, these propagators and societies are not the sole driving force for the spread of the New Teaching. The ideas of the Master Peter Dunov are powerful, vital and accessible to every mind that has reached the stage of preparedness for them. Thus, many enlightened minds of the West have arrived at these ideas in the course of their spiritual development. They are an integral part of the global spiritual movement known as the New Age. Did Peter Dunov foresee how his ideas might reach as many people in the world as possible? He was aware of the power of his thoughts; this is why he left this world confident that "a small job" was done well.

With these humble but dignified words, a giant of spirit took his leave, having devoted all his life to the spiritual enlightenment of humanity.

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