Peter Deunov (Bulgarian: Петър Дънов; July 11, 1864 - December 27, 1944), also known by the name Beinsa Douno and often called by his followers the Master, was a Teacher of Esoteric Christianity. He is widely known inside Bulgaria, featuring in Pantev and Gavrilov's “The 100 Most Influential Bulgarians in Our History” (ranked in 37th place). Deunov was voted second by the public in the Great Bulgarians TV show on Bulgarian National Television (2006-2007) after the BBC format. According to Petrov, Peter Deunov is also “the most published Bulgarian author to this day.”
Peter Deunov was born in the village Hadardja (now Nikolaevka) near Varna, Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) on July 11, 1864, the third child of Konstantin Dunovsky and Dobra Atanasova Georgieva. His father, Konstantin Dunovsky, was the first Bulgarian teacher in the region before becoming a Bulgarian Orthodox priest.
Peter Deunov attended secondary school in Varna and the American Methodist School of Theology and Science in Svishtov from which he graduated in 1886. He worked as a primary school teacher for a year before leaving for the United States, where he studied theology at Drew Theological Seminary, New Jersey, from 1888 to May 1892. After graduating from Drew, in the fall of 1892 he enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology and obtained his degree in June 1893 with a thesis on "The Migration of the Germanic Tribes and Their Christianisation" (recently published in ). He was a regular student at the School of Medicine of the Boston University for a year, before returning to Bulgaria in 1895.
In Bulgaria Peter Deunov was offered the position of a Methodist pastor in the city of Yambol. This offer was withdrawn after he put a condition to serve without remuneration. In 1896 he published Science and Education, where he analyzed the development of mankind into a new culture which he thought was bound to take place during the forthcoming century. After the turn of the century, Peter Deunov began to travel throughout Bulgaria for several years, giving talks and undertaking phrenological research. He thus met with a wide circle of people. Among them were his first three disciples, who until then had belonged to different branches of Christianity – Todor Stoimenov (Eastern Orthodox), Dr. Mirkovich (a Catholic) and Penyu Kirov (a Protestant). After a long correspondence, all of them met in Varna during 19–23 July 1900, which was the first Annual Convention of what later became a spiritual community that lasted until Peter Deunov passed away. After a while Peter Deunov settled in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and began giving lectures there.
In 1914 he gave his first public lecture "Behold, the Man!" (Ecce Homo), published later in the series “Power and Life”. From then on, Peter Deunov gave regular Sunday lectures which were based on the elaboration and explanation of a Biblical passage.
In 1921 the community “Izgrev” (Sunrise) was established. It was a place at the then outskirts of Sofia where initially Peter Deunov and his disciples gathered in the mornings. Many followers started building nearby and the place eventually became a center of life for a large spiritual community. Here Peter Deunov concentrated his work, giving lectures in the newly constructed Lecture Hall. In 1922 he initiated two new streams of specialized lectures in addition to the Sunday lectures, and from 1930 began delivering “morning talks” on Sunday mornings before dawn. The themes of the different lecture streams were wide-ranging and encompassed, among others: religion, music, geometry, astrology, philosophy and esoteric science. Overall, Peter Deunov gave approximately 3700 lectures in the period between 1914 and 1944, as well as recorded talks, private conversations and early letters.
From 1932 to 1944 the Paneurhythmy exercises were developed – these were a sequence of exercises performed to music, with the purpose of achieving inner balance and harmonization. It continues to be practiced in Bulgaria - especially during August in the Rila Mountains - and, to a lesser degree, throughout the rest of the world by different groups of followers.
Besides surviving records of the several thousand lectures in the form of deciphered stenograms (some modified by editing and others left intact ), containing the essence of Peter Deunov's teaching, there are a number of songs and prayers, among them “The Good Prayer” from 1900 being regarded as the most special. There are also several works compiled or written by Peter Deunov himself.
In terms of lifestyle, Peter Deunov taught his disciples many physical and breathing exercises for the purpose of remaining healthy and vital. He also promoted vegetarianism for ethical reasons, being against cruelty of any kind.
- Pantev, A.L. and Gavrilov, B.G., “The 100 Most Influential Bulgarians in Our History” (in Bulgarian “100-те най-влиятелни българи в нашата история”), Reporter, 1997, Bulgaria, 328 pp., ISBN 9548102242, 9789548102247
- Bulgarian National Television - The Great Bulgarians, http://welcome.bnt.bg/movies/velikitebg.php?id=12, Retrieved July 17, 2014
- Petrov, N., “Peter Deunov: An Early Graduate from Bulgaria”, http://www.drew.edu/theological/2012/01/drews-global-heritage-history-of-international-students-at-drew-theological-school#bulgaria
- Kraleva, M., “The Master Peter Deunov: His Life and Teaching”, Kibea, 2001, Bulgaria, 88pp., ISBN 9544742689
- Peter Dunoff, “The Migration of the Teutonic Tribes and Their Conversion to Christianity: Boston University School of Theology Thesis, 1893”, St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-954-07-2645-8
- Kovachev, T., “The Master Beinsa Douno: A catalog of the lectures, prayers, musical exercises, Paneurhythmy, gymnastic exercises (1896-1944)” (in Bulgarian, “Учителя Беинса Дуно. Справочник на беседите и лекциите, молитвите, музикалните упражнения, Паневритмията, гимнастическите упражнения (1896–1944)”), Janua-98, 2004, Sofia, 229 pp., ISBN 954-9589-84-6
- Paneurhythmy: "Beinsa Douno: Paneurhythmy - Music, Ideas, Movements (step by step description)", Bialo Bratstvo Publishers, 2004, Sofia
- Official site of the Society White Brotherhood, Bulgaria (English version) with biographical details, brief information about Peter Deunov's teaching, forums (Bulgarian only) and other resources.
- The English Master Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) Home Page with English translations of lectures, prayers and other works by Peter Deunov from authentic sources, as well as discussions of various topics surrounding Peter Deunov's life and teaching.
- Power and Life in several languages, with translations of lectures sourced from around the Internet.
- Paneurhythmy comprehensive site about the Paneurhythmy with background information and videos.