Edited by David Lorimer (SMN) Foreword by Dr Wayne W. Dyer
Reviewed by Edi Bilmoria
This book presents us with a nosegay of the teachings of one whom Einstein said, ‘All the world renders homage to me and I render homage to the Master Peter Deunov [Beinsa Douno] from Bulgaria’. When perusing a book about a sage or religious teacher I always put two questions to myself. The first is, ‘what is the motive behind this book; why is the author, or editor writing this book? Is it: 1. From a personal desire to gain publicity and attendant royalties via a wide sale? 2. out of idle curiosity on the back of some cursory research in a library? 3. to denigrate the subject; or 4. from a deep love of the message and the teacher that knows no bounds, so must, perforce, find expression in a book. My second question is, from what plane of consciousness, so to say, has he approached his subject: Is it: A. The purely intellectual, left brain concerned with literal facts, so-called, and a literal interpretation of the words on the page? or B. With an awakened intuition where the words are seen in their symbolic sense as always pointing towards that ineffable essence that can never be imprisoned, but only alluded to in words (the proverbial distinction between gazing at the finger and not to the moon where it is pointing)? I have unfortunately read more than a fair share of ‘types 3. and A. books’, (they seem to go together) for example, on Blavatsky (incidentally, Peter Deunov’s contemporary) who has attracted more than her fair share of writers who used the exotic circumstances of her life as a prop for producing their own nonsensical or scurrilous books; or from the standpoint of a bit of academic research without a clue about the inner meaning of her profound doctrines.
What is the case with Prophet for Our Times, edited by David Lorimer with a Foreword by Dr Wayne W. Dyer? There are signs to read. By every objective account they show a lifelong love of the subject and a devotion to Peter Deunov, their teacher (I did say devotion, not that starry-eyed, idolisation all too common in religious circles). Next, the authors keep their personal commentary in the background allowing the simplicity and directness of the teachings to speak for themselves without interfering interpretations or embellishments. Then, the carefully chosen range of material harvested from Peter Deunov’s writings. All this makes it obvious that what we have before us is the fruit of many years of intense application, not just a bit of reading in a library and then polishing off a book in the manner of some authors who fancy themselves authorities on spiritual and religious subjects.
The Introduction gives invaluable insights into Peter Deunov’s personal life, mission and consciousness on interpenetrating realms of existence. Like virtually all great teachers he was persecuted, in his case by the Bulgarian clergy (yes, clergy) and accused of corrupting peoples’ minds. But which other sage has published a doctoral dissertation on Science and Education, and why not? After all, Peter Deunov is a prophet for our times showing us that scholarship and spirituality can, and should go hand-in-hand. Then there are the numerous, authentic and witnessed accounts of what the world calls miracles, but in fact are faculties pertaining to the highest reaches of consciousness and, when under the control of an enlightened being, are the powers (siddhis) paranormal to ordinary mortals, but normal to a Master.
The bulk of the book comprises chapters on: God; The Noetic World; The Divine School; Master and Disciple; Fundamental Principles of Life; The Human Being (including astrological types, Page 118); Methods, Rules and Recommendations for Life; Relations with Nature; and The New Epoch. From this completely organic exposition on deity, cosmos, nature and Man, the middle chapters on what exactly do we mean by the term ‘human being’, plus the rules and conduct for righteous living are of deepest consequence. The human being is considered from the standpoint of his body and then his ‘spiritual anatomy and physiology’: consciousness, mind, heart (sorely ignored by science, other than as a muscular pump), will (power), and conduct. Rules for life include diet and fasting, sleep and exercise, work and movement, prayer and mindfulness, breathing and purity. For Peter Deunov, All sins and crimes of a person can be forgiven but the lie – never. It is the smallest evil from which all other evils spring (page 160).
The works of the great sages are utterly unique and individual, but all have been written with the pen dipped into the self-same inkwell of universal truths. I will cite just two pithy aphorisms from this treasure trove of wisdom to demonstrate how Peter Deunov’s teaching is entirely in sync with the eternal wisdom tradition. On page 224 quoting from ‘Possible Attainments’ (1927), Sofia, we read: Light is a sign of love. When the sun shines on us that shows that God is sending us light. Physical light is a sign of God’s love (my emphasis). Relate this to an extract from the Notebooks of Paul Brunton (also a contemporary of Peter Deunov): The God in the sun is the “I” in me’ – this, put tersely, is the essence of man’s relationship to divinity. A whole book may be needed to explain it, a whole lifetime to get direct experience of its truth as insight. Whilst contemplating the above, note the Almighty Formula (Aaditya Hrudaya) communicated by the Vedic Sage Agastya who appeared to the Lord Rama before the Great War in the Indian epic Ramayana: O Rama! Listen carefully to this secret. He who worships the sun never comes to grief. Pray to him thus…. The point here is that the sun is not just an enormous thermonuclear furnace fusing some 620 million metric tons of hydrogen per second into helium (its material/chemical aspect), any more than a human being is just a biochemical factory. The Sun has Spirit, Soul and Body, and the physical sun is the closest that ordinary mortals can approach divinity, physically embodied.
Next on page 223, the evolutionary process is summarised: …After them [the plants] came the sons of archangels – the animals; finally came human beings – the image and likeness of God. Note with every care that human beings (meaning Man the Thinker, not the physical body) have not come from the lineage of the apes according to Darwinian theory. Every sage and esoteric philosopher the world over since time immemorial has affirmed, and fully demonstrated, the divine emanation of Man. Unsurprisingly, this aphorism appears in ‘Rules of the Occult School’ (1923), Sofia. It is Occult Science, not materialistic science, that is matchless on evolution (and consciousness, for that matter). This again is a demonstrable fact and might explain why Peter Deunov opened what he called his Occult School in 1922.
What about the nitty-gritty of mundane existence, not to be belittled? What does Peter Deunov have to say about money, commerce and economics that seem to be the sole concern of governments these days?
Let us sidestep and ask what determines human happiness: our internal thoughts and state of mind, or external circumstances, or both? Action for Happiness (AfH) was founded in 2011 in the UK with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as its patron and now has a Facebook following of 475,000. 59,000 people in 168 countries have taken its pledge ‘to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me’. AfH has helped launch ‘happy cafes’ and 1000 happiness clubs all over the country, many in run-down areas. An American counterpart is Project Happiness which has 1.6 million Facebook fans. The movement seems to be gaining global momentum. What is its underlying message? In a nutshell, that the more we know ourselves (not just our bodies) the more connected and happy we will be. Unsurprisingly the movement has attracted adverse criticism, for example a negative Guardian article headed ‘The sad truth about the Action for Happiness movement’ by a reader in clinical (note, clinical) psychology at the University of East London, who maintains that it is a flawed assumption that the source of unhappiness lies inside our heads, implying that the solution lies at the individual level; that the real problems are structural to do with income inequality first. Further scorn has (understandably) been heaped by those who maintain that a person riddled with financial and health worries and sleeping on the streets in a cardboard box would have a difficult job thinking about happiness (but never mind that I have personally witnessed smiles on the faces of countless poverty stricken peasants in the villages of India and not one on the face of cigar-smoking millionaires in their chauffeur-driven Rolls Royces). But the real flaw is the iniquitous, left-brained, binary argument: either the internal state, or the external conditions.
What then is Peter Deunov’s counsel about wealth and prosperity? It is found on page 65, quoted from ‘The New Thought’(1932), Sofia, 1947, Remember that it is not material wealth which gives meaning to life … Real wealth is hidden within great souls …(Elsewhere Peter Deunov advises, I am not recommending poverty. I recommend three types of wealth: physical, mental and spiritual wealth. When Christ said “Collect treasures” (Matthew 6: 19-21) he meant such kind of treasurers.)
There is no denying the role of monetary and economic factors. But it is the change at the individual level that, collectively, engenders that positive change at the political and economic level; the outer is the projection of the inner. Is it not blatantly obvious (even to clinical psychologists) that an unhappy mind-set will only create political change that reflects the mind-sets that created it; so the change is bound to be unconstructive?
In closing, it seems to be the fate of all religious teachings that the free bird of enquiry and individual exploration gets caught by succeeding generations and suffocated in an airless cage to become fixed ideologies; whereupon religion degenerates into religiosity, Christianity into ‘Churchianity’ (as also science has become scientism). The Founders of religions gave out the living message of timeless truths – the Science of Life – but their followers, word-drugged have fossilised the living message into a dogmatic creed. That this may not happen to the teachings of Peter Deunov is our ardent desire. The signs are auspicious. Because the Bulgarian sage has attracted the select few instead of the mass appeal of other religious teachers, his message so far appears not to have been diluted and dissipated (allusions to the Law of Entropy here!), but to have remained in loving and worthy hands – no finer than the writers of this inspiring and eminently practical book based on Peter Deunov’s ‘scientific experiments’ (page 15), not mere theory, on the art and science of living ‘for our times’, according to the precepts of esoteric Christianity freed from the rusty shackles of theological dogma.
Dr Edi Bilimoria is a consultant engineer, pianist and student of the perennial wisdom.
 The Happiness Movement, Positive News, Issue 84, first quarter, 2016, pp. 22-25.
 Beinsa Douno (2016), The Teacher, Volume I, The Dawning Epoch, Shining World Press, p. 144. See Network Review, No 121, pp. 45-46.