Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99 for 4 weeks.


George Washington University
Rev. Achariya Peter, church founder
Rev. Achariya Peter, church founder

The Rev. Achariya Peter, a mystic who founded a universalist yogic spiritual community, died of cancer Nov. 24 at his North Baltimore home. He was 79. The founding preceptor and spiritual leader of the Divine Life Church in the Lake Falls area, he was known as Swami or Swami Shankarananda. He was born Peter Donner in Berlin, Germany. He later changed his name to Achariya, meaning "spiritual teacher." According to a biography supplied by June Ellis, a Loyola University Maryland professor, he was raised in a family who were not supporters of Adolf Hitler. At the age of 5, he was sent to a boarding school in southern Germany. He never saw his parents again. Through a Red Cross...