Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov (Mihail Ivanov) (January 31, 1900 – December 25, 1986) was a Bulgarian philosopher, pedagogue, mystic, and esotericist. A leading 20th-century teacher of Western Esotericism in Europe, he was a disciple of Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno), the founder of the Universal White Brotherhood.
Mikhail Ivanov was born in Srpci (then in the Manastir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire), a village in Bitola Municipality in the present-day Republic of Macedonia, to a Bulgarian family. His father, Ivan Dimitrov was a merchant and his mother, Dolya was a religious woman, who dedicated her son to God since his very early childhood. Like most Bulgarians who lived and who were the predominant ethnic element in the region of Macedonia during that time, the family of Mikhail Ivanov was forced to leave his home, being persecuted by the Greek army after the end of the Balkan War. Finally, the family found shelter and settled in Varna, Bulgaria. At the age of 17, after a childhood full of deprivation, he met Master Peter Deunov (1864 – 1944), the founder of the Universal White Brotherhood in the city of Varna, Bulgaria. In 1937 Deunov entrusted him with bringing his teaching to France. During the next 49 years, up to his death, he developed the teaching of the Universal White Brotherhood, giving more than 5000 lectures.
He taught mainly in France, and he created the spiritual centers Bonfin in Fréjus, France and Izgrev, Sofia in his native Bulgaria, but also traveled a great deal, in Switzerland (spiritual center Videlinata), Canada, the US, the UK and Scandinavia. His works which include 44 pocketbooks and 32 complete works are based on his lectures, which were recorded first in shorthand and since 1960 on audio and video tape. They are published & distributed by Prosveta.
In 1959, he travelled to India, where he met saint, Neem Karoli Baba, who gave him the name Omraam. Thereafter he was known as Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov.
Aivanhov’s philosophy teaches that everybody, regardless of race, religion, social position, intellectual ability or material means, is able to take part in the realization of a new period of brotherhood and peace on earth. This happens through the individual’s personal transformation: growth in perfection and in harmony with the divine world. Whatever the topic, he invariably focuses on how one can better conduct life on earth. Aivanhov taught that to achieve a better life, one must have a high ideal: “… if you have a High Ideal, such as the bringing of the Kingdom of God on earth, you obtain everything you wished for, you taste plenitude”.
Aïvanhov teaches the ancient principles of initiatic science. He describes the cosmic laws governing both the universe and the human being, the macrocosm and microcosm, and the exchanges that constantly take place between them.
This knowledge has taken different forms throughout the centuries. It is the “perennial wisdom” expressed through various religions, each adapted to the spirit of a particular time, people, and level of spiritual evolution. Aivanhov’s teaching incorporates aspects of Esoteric Christianity that relate to finding the “Kingdom of God on earth” within the individual. One of the essential truths of initiatic science, according to Aivanhov, is that (in the higher world) all things are linked. Thus committing oneself to the Kingdom of God on earth makes it realizable: “The real science is to form within ourselves, in the depths of our being, this Body that Initiates call the Body of Glory, the Body of Light, the Body of Christ”.
He died on 25 December 1986 in Fréjus, France.