Anna Marinova, Member of CRNRM [1], Bulgaria

 

The adherents of the teacher Petyr Dynov [2] (“Great White Brotherhood”) and the media

 

 

History of the movement

 

The founder of the faith movement “The Great White Brotherhood”, Petyr Dynov, was born on 11 July 1864 in the village Nikolaeva (Chadzrtscha) in the neighbourhood of Varna [3].  His father was the well known priest Konstantin Dznovski who, as a composer, created beautiful Christian songs. The young Petyr first converted to the protestant Christians and, as their member, in 1888 went to the United States, to study medicine at the University of Boston. He did not complete his studies at the medical faculty but had started to study theology in Boston as well. He is said to have completed these studies in 1893 with a thesis on the subject: “The Migration and Christianisation of the German Tribes”, an allegation which is denied by some contemporaries as D. Laskov. [4] In 1895, Dynov returned to Bulgaria, and in 1896 his first book with the title “Science and Education” was published. Four years later, three people joined him as his first pupils. As from 1901, during 11 years, Dynov travelled around lecturing in various cities of Bulgaria. From 1900 until today, Dynov’s adherents meet annually in August on the Rila Mountain, in a gathering known as "The Chain". Initially at Petyr Dynov’s meetings, only the people he had invited personally [5] were allowed to take part.

            Since 1906, Dynov lived in Sofia and lectured every Sunday. In 1927, he built a hall in the district of Izgrev where he lived later with the most faithful of his pupils. From 1933 until 1942 he invented a number of exercises and gestures, a kind of “dance”, which are still used today as “Panrhythmia”. On 27 December 1944, the so called and self appointed “teacher” Petyr Dynov passed away.

            The White Brotherhood has spread to many countries in the world, mainly in France and in the United States. Each year the members of various countries meet on the Rila Mountain to listen to the lectures, to sing the songs and to dance Paneurhythmia. The White Brotherhood uses all kinds of media to recruit new members.

            I want to quote some statements from Dynov’s books which sound very confusing.

 

Quotations from books

 

“It is written in the Bible: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5, 48 – my comment). Now I make an experiment with you to find out who of you is perfect and who is not. I shall pour some gas upon you and strike a match in order to see if you would burn or not. If you burn and burn up, then you would know yourself to which type you belong, and if you do not start to burn, then you will also know.”[6]

This should not be understood literally, but such statements are in any case very close to a misanthropic ideology. I am quoting Dynov’s statements in his own sequence.

The next quotation is amazing: “Lies are not permitted. You should not twist the truth, as my words! You should not lie in my name, I do not permit this! Consider that if somebody is lying in my name, nothing will remain of him (meaning that he will not longer exist). So says the teacher ….. Perhaps you would claim that you cannot live without lying. But it is possible to live without lying! I would be without a lie! I am very indulgent towards you. All your sins can be forgiven, but a lie can never be forgiven!”[7]

 

Some reports about the White Brotherhood on the Internet

 

The White Brotherhood is well represented on the Internet by its website http://www.bratstvoto.net and by some other websites (also in English and Italian). Of course it is impossible to present all the contents which show some disquieting criteria and similarities with cultic/sectarian opinions.

            In their website, the section “the occult sciences” attracts the attention of the reader. Therefore I will translate part of the texts.

 

The occult sciences

The teacher

 

“Mankind has gone a long way developing and today it is able to some extent to understand the great secrets which since thousands of years had been stored and passed on by developed institutions in so called spiritual academies. The word “occult” means “hidden”, “concealed”, “secret”. In the occult academies one learns about the manifestations and powers which are inaccessible because they are very abstract. On the other hand, they are kept secret because of the danger that part of the methods becomes known to malicious people who could abuse them for their wicked goals. Occult centres exist since antiquity. They accompany human evolution. All such eminent teachers as Manu and Buddha in India, Confucius and Lao-Tse in China, Zoroaster in Persia, Hermes in Egypt, Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Christ and Beinsa Duno (the teacher) are occultists. The known areas of occultism are: alchemy, astrology, kabala, phrenology, chiromancy, physiognomy, graphology and numerology. Without denying scientific knowledge, the occultists teach and explain the “supernatural appearances” which are in themselves something real and scientifically established. For us the invisible cannot be grasped, because we do not own the sense organs for this. Different from official science which only knows the physical world, occult science knows two additional areas: the spiritual and the divine. In antiquity, occult science and religion lived peacefully together in the temples. The first Christians practised occultism, but later the official church denied and forbade occultism; the occultists were persecuted and murdered. But today science has proven the occult teaching; for example it is know that the human aura exists. By this the words of the teacher which relate to the invisible are well proven.”

On the website, very interesting sections can be found: “The ringing Kabala” or “Is your name harmonic?”, “Chiromancy”,the numbers”, “the colours” etc. One can read much about the horoscope – if the day is karmic well destined or not. These texts are of course presented as  scientific.

           

Television channel 1 and the poll for the most important citizens in Bulgaria

 

Television channel 1 was founded 1959 as the first national television channel. After the collapse of socialism in 1989 this channel is still considered to be the most important television channel, though today we have another 2 national television channels (BTv and Nova Televisia).

Every year the president of the republic greets our people in a presentation on this channel.

            In 2007 this channel presented a list of the 100 most important citizens of Bulgaria and a website (http://www.velikite.bg). The people were asked to vote for those Bulgarians whom they considered to be the most important people; they could also vote by SMS. Though for many years it was well known that many journalists working in channel 1 were Dynov-friendly, nobody had expected Petyr Dynov to appear on the list as number two (number one was the national hero Vasil Levski who founded many secret associations against the Ottoman empire and fought against it). The surprise about this result was because the founder of our state, Chan Asparuch was only listed as number three. As far as I am concerned the question is open as to whether most of the people who voted were adherents of Dynov or if the result had been manipulated, because it is strange that the founder of our country should be less popular among Bulgarians than Dynov.

 

The transmission “Big (VIP) brother” of the TV-channel Nova Televizia promotes the White Brotherhood

 

A month ago, the transmission “Big brother” was started for VIPs. For one month, the “stars” lived in a house which was watched day and night by many cameras. The VIPs participated because they wanted to collect money for sick children in Bulgaria. The producers had invented a scenario for the VIPs. They should all dress in white for one day as Dynov’s adherents. A TV director of the programme “For a cup of coffee” with the artist’s name Gala (she is also director of the TV-channel Nova Televizia) refused to do this. She said that she did not want to dress as a Dynov’s adherent because she was an Orthodox Christian. This refusal resulted in bad points for all the “stars” who participated in VIP Brother. This happened three days before Easter.

            Is it correct to be forced to dress as a “religious” adherent, especially of this type of “religion”, and to be punished on refusing in the name of the right to religious freedom or to refuse to dress in a certain way?

 

Reports and Publicity for the White Brotherhood in the newspapers

 

The newspaper “Bratski jivot” (“The brotherly life”) reports about pupils of Sri Chinmoy

 

The newspaper “Bratski jivot” (“The brotherly life”) is the official medium of the White Brotherhood in Bulgaria. Today it can also be found online on the Internet: www.bialobratstvo.info. An article in the last issue reports about an event which opens many questions. There was a meeting of adherents of the universally known guru Sri Chinmoy with adherents of Petyr Dynov. On 27 July 2008, some adherents of Sri Chinmoy visited the tomb of Petyr Dynov which is known to them as a holy and peaceful place. They were said to have come as participants of a world initiative for the promotion of harmony, friendship and unity among people. The Dynov adherents were said to have greeted the runners with the torches which symbolise the striving after harmony in the world.

Some months later, on 14 December 2008, again Sri Chinmoy’s adherents are said to have met those of Dynov, this time in the restaurant Kring, in order to pray together. After the prayer, a music programme was supposedly held, mainly consisting of Sri Chinmoy’s music. The host of this event is said to have been the Sri Chinmoy Centre. After lunch, an adherent of Sri Chinmoy is said to have read a thought of Dynov and a pupil of Dynov to have read a saying of Sri Chinmoy. The meeting supposedly proved that “the message of peace, tolerance and unity which is professed by both communities will play an important role also in future for the harmony of the world in the new millennium”.[8]

            The White Brotherhood has been recognised as a religious community by the authorities and the courts. But these mutual friendly relations, including common prayer, seem to be an official acknowledgement of the religious community of Sri Chinmoy, by a recognized community, the White Brotherhood. This gives rise to some questions : does the White Brotherhood promote the community of Sri Chinmoy?

 

The newspaper “Rodovo imenie” (The family estate) promotes the teaching and the practice of Petyr Dynov

 

It is also very questionable that the newspaper “Rodovo imenie” (The Family Estate) which represents the members of Anastasia [9] in Bulgaria, should promote the teachings and the practice of Petyr Dynov. In the weekly edition from 13-19 November 2006 on page 11 you will find an advertisement for “healing by food” from Petyr Dynov. Some lines from this healing advice: “To remain healthy you should eat raw onions. Only those who suffer from a lung disease may eat cooked onions. To remain healthy you should only eat food prepared by a person who loves somebody. If the onion is cut in very small pieces and is cooked, it looses its magnetic power”.[10] “If you feel nervous and ill, eat two pears or two apples – no matter if small or big. The law acts in the same manner. The power is not in the size, but in the number of two as a principle.” [11]

 

A creative and tasty promotion for the White Brotherhood

 

The White Brotherhood is very talented and creative in advertising. One year ago, “Amphora” chocolates were offered in many shops, well known from Communist times, when there was only a small choice, and very tasty. The offer was as follows: those who bought three packages of “Amphora” could win one of 1000 books (included Petyr Dynov books).The picture of Dynov was shown on the box of the chocolates. One could cut off the pictures and if one had collected three of them, one could send it by post and hope to get a book as a present. Certainly this is one of the most sophisticated ways of advertising I ever have seen.

Of course the subject that I have presented is not exhaustive. We hope that our Centre in Sofia which was only created two years ago, will be able to collect much new knowledge and experience from all of you, and will develop well. We hope to learn from you.

Thank you very much for your attention!


[1] Center for Research of New Religious Movements

[2] Sometimes also written as “Petar Danov”

[4] Laskov, D. The Dynovism as a Theosophical Teaching, in Dynovizmyt bez maska (Dynovism without a mask), omnibus volume, Sofia 1995, p. 5.

[6] Dynov, P. Velikoto sega, Sofia 2008, S. 6.

[7] Dynov, P. Velikoto sega, Sofia 2008, S. 7, 10.

[8] Bratski jivot, br. 34, dekemvri 2008. (Bruderliches Leben, Nummer 34, Dezember 2008), S. 6.

[10] Rodovo imenie, br. 46/2006, S. 11.

[11] Rodovo imenie, br. 46/2006, S. 11.