Universal White Brotherhood

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«There are enough religions in the world today; it is only a matter of knowing how to work so that they do not go unheeded. The Teaching of the Universal White Brotherhood does not claim to bring a new religion, only new methods about how to behave and a program to put into practice. We do not have to discuss essential truths that have been known for thousands of years. We simply need to find the best way to apply them so that they will always be alive in the world, but above all alive within us».[1]


Introductory remarks

The Universal White Brotherhood (UWB) is a syncretic spiritualist movement created by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, in France, in 1947, as an offshoot of the White Brotherhood, founded in turn on 6 April 1900, in Varna, in Bulgaria, by the Bulgarian philosopher and spiritual master Peter Deunov. Peter Deunov defines the Universal White Brotherhood as follows: " The august Universal White Brotherhood is not something visible. It is not a church or a sect. It is an entity existing outside the corrupted conditions in which the ordinary world lives ". In 1937 Deunov commissioned Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov - his disciple since 1917 - to spread the Teachings of the Brotherhood in France, partly in view of the difficulties his movement would face in his own country due to the pro-Nazi Bulgarian regime. From 1938 onwards, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov began to spread the Teachings of the Deunovian School, giving lectures (more than 5000 of them) until a year before his death in 1986. There is no designated successor and the fraternal associations, in the different countries where they are located, are led by presidents elected on a national basis. The Teaching itself is disseminated through books, audio and video conferences, published by "Prosveta", the publishing house exclusive holder of the rights to the Work of Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov.

Over time, the UWB has become a worldwide movement of a spiritual nature, inspired by an esoteric universalist Christianity. On the role that the Brotherhood can play in the near future, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov says: "The era in which, in order to evolve and think about one's salvation, one believed one had to live in solitude, is now over. We are entering the era of Brotherhood. Human beings must no longer create separations among themselves, but walk together, side by side, to create a universal brotherhood on earth, in which all will form one big family. Then frontiers will fall away and, instead of spending a lot of unnecessary money to protect themselves from each other, people will live in abundance and peace. These are the ideas that inspire the Teaching of the Universal White Brotherhood, because our goal is to develop on all planes to become models, walking together, united by the love that God wants to exist among all human beings. Our ideal is to live in harmony in collective life, for therein lie all blessings".[2].

Meaning of the Name

All three terms that make up the name of the FBU movement need to be explained correctly, as they can lead to misinterpretation. Starting with the adjective "white"[3] it should be noted that this term, far from having any racist connotations, has no connection to the colour of the skin of any ethnic group, but refers to the colour white, which is the synthesis of all other colours; by analogy it therefore refers to the idea of Universal Brotherhood, which embraces all human beings, without exception, inviting them to achieve a fraternal and harmonious life on earth, with full respect for all ethnic groups, religions and nationalities. The term 'universal' emphasises the desire to include all living beings, all manifestations of Creation, in an existential project that - coming to the term 'brotherhood' - empathically involves every single human being, belonging to any community, religion or group. [4]

Goals

There are two types of Universal White Brotherhood: the first refers to national associations (with the french acronym 'FBU'), present in many countries around the world. The aim of these associations - non-profit, apolitical and based on voluntary work - is to operate in the field of spirituality, culture, sociality and solidarity, to promote the cultural, moral and spiritual growth of individuals and civil societies, consistently applying the principle of brotherhood. Their aim is to study, transmit, disseminate and put into practice the teachings of the philosopher Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, namely: the dissemination of the universal values of brotherhood and solidarity among peoples; the harmonious synthesis of the different aspects of a world culture; the promotion of the ethical and moral values of the individual; social, economic and technological development in harmony with Nature.

According to Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, on the spiritual plane, there is also another Universal White Brotherhood, what he calls the Great Universal White Brotherhood, made up of all the Enlightened Beings, Masters, Saints, and Initiates of all times and all cultures, whose goal has always been to help, support, and safeguard the evolution of Humanity. According to some esoteric traditions (in particular the theosophical one of Helena Blavatsky), it is also known as the Great White Lodge, and among its exponents there are great souls Mahatma) such as Krishna, Buddha, Zarathustra, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Hermes Trismegistus, Moses and Jesus Christ.

This idea is based on ancient religious and spiritual traditions - whether Taoist, Hindu, Christian or Islamic - according to which there is always a small number of individuals on earth who work to support and guide humanity, living their lives inconspicuously, discreetly and evenly distributed throughout all the communities on earth. They do not have ordinary social relations, but rather are in contact with each other through meditation or prayer. They do not belong to a specific religion, but are united by a spiritual view of existence, according to which there is no religion that is superior to others, but all should have within them the yearning for a Supreme Principle of unconditional love. The members of this sort of association are not in any way organised according to any criteria, and there is no list on which names are inscribed, and all members who belong to it keep their function confidential. In line with a view that can also be traced back to the philosophy of Plato, its members would be beings of high rank, spiritual Masters, a kind of elite of humanity, who in a completely selfless manner, humbly place themselves at the service of all human beings. In this sense, Peter Deunov, as well as Omraam Mikhail Aïvanhov, would be representatives of this "White Lodge". The various UWB associations would represent nothing more than "a reflection of this invisible Brotherhood, whose purpose is to transmit the eternal religion of Christ; they maintain the tradition of the Church of St. John, considered to be the most genuine manifestation of Christian spirituality. The Church of St. John is regarded as that Church which has followed the spirit, rather than the letter, of the Teachings of Christ.». [5]

On the subject of the Universal Great White Brotherhood, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov observes: "The Great White Brotherhood is a power that extends throughout the planetary system and beyond. It should not be judged on the basis of what it is here on earth, a handful of men and women who are not always wise and enlightened. The true Universal White Brotherhood, which is on high, comprises all the more evolved Beings; here we are but a branch, if you will, using their Light and support to carry out their plans. But the brotherhood below must increasingly become a faithful reflection of that which is above. [6].

UWB in the World

The International Reference Centre for all UWB associations worldwide is located in Frejus, on the French Riviera. According to J. G. Merton's Encyclopedia of American Religions (1989 edition), in 1988 the FBU had 4,350 members in France, and 1,350 in Switzerland. The association is currently present in some thirty countries. .[7] There is another very important centre in France, in Sèvres, near Paris.

Key principles

The fundamental principles of this Teaching are based on the Judaeo-Christian tradition and have the Bible as their main reference text, but, as evidence of the syncretic nature of this doctrine, there are also numerous references to Hindu and Buddhist culture. There are also many analogies with the doctrine of Hermes Trismegistus, Pythagoras, the Rosicrucians, Theosophy, Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy and Kabbalistic knowledge. With regard to the conception of divinity, in many respects there are similarities with the vision of Francis of Assisi, with the principle of Viriditas of Hildegard von Bingen, or with the God of Spinoza. The doctrine includes the idea of reincarnation and karma.

Pivotal role of the Sun

In the Teachings of Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, the Sun, as an ideal of perfection, constitutes a fundamental reference: it represents unconditional divine Love, the Christic principle, the life-giving power of God who, with his Light, nourishes and harmonises all Creation. Concentrating on its image, or meditating at sunrise (Surya Yoga) allows one to connect to the divine plane, and ensures psychophysical and spiritual benefits.. [8]

Brotherhood

the ideal of brotherhood constitutes a fundamental principle throughout the teachings of Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, considered capable of favouring the solution of the main problems of humanity, insofar as the interiorization and practice of this principle frees individuals from selfishness, leading them to work in the interest not only of themselves but of the whole world: an existence lived with fraternal altruism guarantees the optimal functioning of human societies, ensuring substantial well-being for all in a context of peace and harmony.[9]

Dualism of human nature

In the Teachings of the Universal White Brotherhood, human beings possess two natures: a lower, human Nature and a higher, divine Nature. The lower nature is defined by three "bodies": the physical and etheric body, the astral or emotional body, and the mental body. (Divine Wisdom), a Buddhic Body (selfless, or divine Love) and an Atmic Body (the higher, or divine, Will). In the course of their existence, individuals should strive to strengthen their awareness of their own higher nature. This part of the Teaching relates in several respects to Hindu spirituality, and reworks parts of theosophical and anthroposophical doctrine. [10]

The role of art

Based on the assumption that all human beings are naturally endowed with creative capacity, the Teaching of Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov emphasises the importance of creativity being inspired by the spiritual and divine plane, rather than the materialistic human one. In this sense, working with art forms connected to the spiritual plane favours a path of inner refinement. [11]

Spirituale work

At the heart of the spiritual work that each individual should do is the objective of developing one's own divine nature, freeing it from the limitations of an existence that is too identified with material occupations and concerns. Through a whole series of exercises and practices, to be exercised on a daily basis (in a nutshell, one is asked to eat, breathe, move, pray, ... with a high degree of awareness), it is possible to establish stable forms of order and harmony within oneself, thus becoming capable of bringing the same peace and harmony to one's social context.. [12]

Prenatal education

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov attributes a very important social role to Prenatal education, which is a set of practices that allow a future mother and her father to create ideal conditions for a serene pregnancy, in order to allow the unborn child to benefit from a completely natural and non-invasive way: This is a set of practices that enable a mother-to-be to create, together with the father-to-be, ideal conditions for a serene pregnancy, in order to allow the unborn child to benefit - in an absolutely natural and non-invasive way - from an optimal situation even before conception and then also during gestation. Conscious parents (this can be considered one of the best definitions for a couple practising the principles of prenatal education) will be able to give birth to healthier children, insofar as their psychophysical structure will not have been conditioned by physical or emotional stresses transmitted through the mother during the prenatal period; in this way, as well as being healthier, these individuals will be endowed with more complete and harmonious empathic and communicative skills, becoming subjects with more evolved social skills, tending to be more loving and essentially non-violent.

Methods and practices

The main methods suggested by the Teaching of the Universal White Brotherhood all have the characteristic of being able to be introduced into the daily rhythm of one's existence: for Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, a fundamental principle, to be respected at all times, is that the practice of the Teaching should not lead to isolation from the world; rather, those who practice this Teaching should be able to bring its principles into the world, becoming themselves an example capable of promoting its spread. The main methods include: the study and practical application of the Teaching, meditation, listening to music and chanting, eating meals in silence and awareness, breathing, a form of spiritual gymnastics, and a sacred dance called Paneurhythmy. All these different methods allow the practitioner to relate to the environment and to Nature, maintaining and strengthening the connection with their community.

Study and practical application of teaching

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov has repeatedly emphasised both the importance of deepening one's study of the Teaching (by listening to lectures, or reading texts transcribed from them), and the practical application of what has been learned, in order to develop inner qualities and virtues, for one's own benefit and that of the community as a whole.

Meditation

Meditation]] plays a fundamental role in Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov's Teaching, and it is possible to identify at least three different possible forms of Meditation: meditation at sunrise, meditation with music and meditation called laser.

The Sunrise Meditation, which Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov calls Surya Yoga ("Yoga of the Sun"), is a form of meditation that constitutes one of the pillars of the Teaching and, consequently, all disciples of this School are encouraged to practise it: it is a meditation that is performed early in the morning, at sunrise, particularly during the period between the spring equinox and the autumn equinox. It is believed that the energy manifested by the Sun at dawn is particularly conducive to inner renewal and harmonisation. The practitioner focuses his thoughts and emotions on the Sun, with the intention of connecting to the primary source of life, which is also considered as a metaphor and ideal representation of the divine Principle. By relating to the Sun, one becomes able to connect with the plane of Spirit, strengthening one's higher nature. [13].

Meditation with music is preferably practised in fraternal groups, meditating while listening to particularly harmonious and inspired pieces of music, or immediately after singing. This practice allows for deep physical, emotional and mental relaxation, stimulating spiritual capacities through work with active imagination. [14].

Laser meditation is also practised preferably in fraternal groups, concentrating all together on the same luminous image (it may be the sun, an intense light, etc.). The result is that all members of the group resonate with each other, producing a particular spiritual vibration, which brings benefits to the individual participants, as well as to the rest of humanity. [15].

Music e Singing

Usually fraternal meetings begin with at least three sacred songs, chosen from a list of pieces composed by Peter Deunov. In this way, through music and song all the participants are able to harmonise quickly with each other, and a stronger bond is created within the community, while the fraternal context is purified and harmonised. In particular, through chanting, people are able to transform themselves, enhancing those characteristics and virtues that are necessary to progress on their evolutionary path. [16]

Yoga of nutrition

The habit of eating one's meals consciously, silently and quietly - whether one is alone, or in large or small groups - is another of the cornerstones of this Teaching. For those who practice this particular form of Yoga (called Hrani Yoga), it becomes possible to meditate on food, on the way nature has produced it, on the relationship that is produced with the Creator by eating. The basic idea is that a relationship of loving gratitude towards food allows one to benefit more from its nutritional properties, not only on a material level, but also on a spiritual one. [17]

Breathing

In Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov's Teaching, breathing exercises are practiced, which are linked to the tradition of Hatha Yoga and, in particular, to the techniques of Prāṇāyāma. Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov believes that breathing should be considered as a true form of nourishment, to facilitate which it is necessary, with each inhalation, to hold the breath for slightly longer intervals of time than one is usually inclined to do. Following these simple breathing techniques develops special inner qualities, strengthening the will, calming the nervous system and revitalising the entire physical body. [18]

Spiritual gymnastics

To his disciples Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov proposes a spiritual gymnastics (inspired by gymnastic movements created by Peter Deuonov), consisting of eight soft, harmonious movements with a strong symbolic value, which are performed in an almost meditative state, bringing about a state of relaxation of the entire psychophysical system. Each of these exercises is accompanied by short formulas, which are recited mentally, in order to receive support from the spiritual plane and to develop qualities and virtues such as balance, vitality, health and flexibility. Here too the aim is to create a condition of inner harmony, which has positive repercussions on inter-subjective relations and relations with the entire ecosystem. [19]

A sacred dance: Paneuritmia

Paneurhythmy [20] is a sacred dance - danced in pairs in a circle, outdoors [21] - created by Peter Deunov - who composed the music and conceived the movements - with the aim of entering into a relationship with the "Supreme Cosmic Rhythm". Through the 28 movements that make up Paneurhythmy, it becomes possible to harmonise with the very rhythm of the universe. Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov says that "dancing Paneurhythmy enables us to learn to adapt our thoughts, feelings and actions to the harmonious rhythm of Nature". [22].

Bibliography

  • Heinzel, Thomas (2010), Slavic Messianism in Southeast Europe: Petăr Dănov and the White Brotherhood (paper presented at the 2010 CESNUR Conference, Torino, Italy , 9-11 September 2010). * Lejbowicz, Agnès (1995), Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov e l'insegnamento della fratellanza, Prosveta.
  • Heinzel, Thomas (2015), Weiße Bruderschaft und Delphische Idee. Esoterische Religiosität in Bulgarien und Griechenland in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. (Erfurter Studien zur Kulturgeschichte des orthodoxen Christentums, Bd. 9), Peter Lang, Frankfurt/Main 2015.
  • Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (1996), La filosofia dell'universalità, Prosveta.
  • Pastore M., Forme di innovazione religiosa a Torino – gruppi, chiese e movimenti, Tesi di laurea in Scienze Politiche, Università degli Studi di Torino, a.a. 2006/2007, pp 37-40.
  • Introvigne Massimo (1989), Le nuove Religioni, SugarCo, pp. 288-289.
  • Introvigne, Massimo e Zoccatelli P. (2006), Le religioni in Italia, Leumann (To) e Gorle (BG), Elledici-Velar.
  • Massimo Introvigne - PierLuigi Zoccatelli (sotto la direzione di) (2013), Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia. Elledici.
  • Roldan V., Fraternità Bianca Universale, in Berzano L. (a cura di), Forme del pluralismo religioso – Rassegna di gruppi e movimenti a Torino, Torino, Il Segnalibro, 1997, p. 182; (elaborazione dalla tesi di Laurea di Marco Pastore).

Multimedia (images, audio, video)

Extracts from Conferences of Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (audio and/or video)

Published Conferences of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov (Audio and /or Video)

Notes

  1. Daily Meditations, 21th november 2013, Prosveta.
  2. [add source]
  3. On this aspect, please refer to an explanatory page of the French FBU Association: http://www.fbu.org/2015/pages/asso-ciation/precision-nom-fbu. html
  4. Explanation of the name Universal White Brotherhood.
  5. J. Gordon Melton e Martin Baumann (a cura di) (2010), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, p.:1139.
  6. [add source]
  7. The organisation indicates the presence of "Universal White Brotherhood" associations in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, England, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Italy, Madagascar, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Romania, Czech Republic, Togo and the United States of America (FBU nel mondo on the FBU's international site.)
  8. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), The Splendour of Tiphareth: The Yoga of the Sun, Prosveta.
  9. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (2009), La filosofia dell'universalità, Prosveta; O. M. Aïvanhov (2009), An ideal of fraternal life, Prosveta.
  10. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Man's Subtle Bodies and Centres, Prosveta.
  11. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Creation: Artistic and Spiritual, Prosveta.
  12. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Man's Two Natures, Human and Divine, Prosveta.
  13. See. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Meditations at the Rise of the Sun, Prosveta.
  14. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Music and Chanting in the Spiritual Life, Prosveta.
  15. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), The Light Living Spirit, Prosveta.
  16. O. M. Aïvanhov (2009), Songs of the Universal White Brotherhood, Prosveta.
  17. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Lo yoga della nutrizione, Edizioni Prosveta; O. M. Aïvanhov (199?), Hrani Yoga: The Alchemical and Magical Meaning of Nutrition, Prosveta.
  18. O. M. Aïvanhov (2009), Respiration, Prosveta.
  19. Vd. O. M. Aïvanhov (2013), Donner Vie à des Symboles - Exercices de Gymnastique, Prosveta. short video on the gymnastic exercises directed by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gon1rXAtQo
  20. An instructional video on Paneurhythmy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPIa-dpa0nE
  21. World map of places where it is possible to learn and/or dance Paneurhythmy: www.bratstvoto.net/gmap
  22. [add source]

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Reader's note: the writing of this entry is temporary and limited to only a starting point, since the topic is examined by Omraam Mikhael Aïvanhov in the contest of thousands of conferences he held between 1938 and 1985. The researcher will find important aspects of further interest by reading or listening directly to his lectures, published by the publisher Prosveta, the sole and exclusive owner of the rights to his work. Therefore, this artcile does not fully and comprehensively describe Aïvanhov's thought on the subject matter.


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