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Mirra Alfassa Morriset

Mirra at Tlemcen
Mirra at Tlemcen, 1906 / 1907

Born in Paris on February 21, 1878, in a very materialistic, well-to-do family, Mirra completed a thorough education in music, painting and higher mathematics. A student of the French painter Gustave Moreau, she knew well the great Impressionist artists of the time.

Around 1904 she began to work occulty with Louis Themanyls ('Agenda' vol.2 p.404 n.2), a friend of her brother Matteo, and student of Max Théon. As a result of this (Agenda vol.2 p.404), at age 26 she met in her dreams a dark Asiatic figure whom she called to herself ‘Krishna’. She said that Krishna guided her in her inner journey. She came to have total implicit faith in Krishna, and was hoping to meet him one day in real life (ref Karmayogi no date).

Also, through Louis, she became acquainted with Theon himself. As explained by Sujata Nahar in Mirra the Occultist (external link Institut de Recherches Évolutives, Paris)

It seems likely that through Matteo, Mirra and Louis already knew each other and that Louis was aware of her thirst for true knowledge. In which case, Louis would not have lost much time in telling his friend's sister about Théon and his teaching. Now, Mother never told us when exactly that was; she always put it between 1902 and 1904. We are inclined to think it was late 1903 or even in the course of 1904. She did say once that her first contact with the inner Divine - through Théon's teaching - was established when she was around twenty-five. That is the only given pointer we have. Which again would indicate 1903 as the year when Mirra first heard about the inner Divine. And "I rushed headlong like a... like a cyclone"

Mirra now sought a rational explanation to the mass of experiences she had had from her childhood. She .found many in Théon's teaching, and could at last say, "Ah, I am not mad!"

As she became more interested in the Cosmic Movement she began to involve herself in it. How? Lectures or speeches? No. Not Mirra. Abstract theorising held no appeal to her. She always liked to come to grips with matter. Her involvement, therefore, was practical: she took in her charge the publication of the Cosmic Philosophy's mouthpiece, the French periodical, La Revue Cosmique.

It was in 1905. In autumn, it would seem, when the Théons were on a visit to France during October and November.

Surely Mirra waited that moment with an intense eagerness. She must have felt that she already knew him - through hearsay of course, but mainly through what she had read of his writings. Was he not the one who opened wide to her the gates of knowledge? Would he be, by chance, the 'Krishna' she saw in her dream-visions about a year ago?

"When I met him," Mother said, "I saw that he was a being of great power. He bore a certain likeness to Sri Aurobindo. Théon was rather tall, about the same height as Sri Aurobindo - not a tall man, of medium height - and lean, slim, with quite a similar profile." Théon had a wide forehead, a moustache that mingled with his beard, and wavy, auburn hair that fell onto his shoulders; he had fine and sensitive hands.

However, Mirra, who had all the shades of vibrations at her fingertips, could not be taken in by Théon's great power. "But I saw, or rather I felt that Théon was not he whom I had seen in my vision, because when I met him he didn't have that vibration. Yet it was he who first taught me things, and I went and worked at Tlemcen two years in a row."
The House at Tlemcen
The House at Tlemcen, painted by Mirra

And between Théon and Théona (as Teresa called Alma), Mirra was given a complete training. After several years and two long visits (in 1905 and 1906, or perhaps 1906 and 1907) to his estate in Zarif, a suburb of Tlemcen, Algeria (during this time she was married to the artist Henri Morriset), Mirra had mastered occultism. In 1914, she visited the French colonial city of Pondicherry in India, where she met Sri Aurobindo, who had sought refuge there from the British. Sri Auriobindo was later to adopt elements of Théon's teachings, and even the terminology, which he received via Mirra. In 1920 Mirra returned permanently to Pondicherry, via Japan and China. When Sri Aurobindo withdrew to his room in 1926 to work out a new power of evolution in matter, she organized and developed his Ashram, and tried in vain to awaken the disciples to a new consciousness. In 1958, after Sri Aurobindo's departure, she in turn withdrew to her room to work on the great yoga of the enlightenment of supramentalisation of the consciousness of the cells: the great Opening. From 1958 to 1973, she underwent many experiences along this path, which were narrated to her disciple Satprem and recorded in the external link Agenda. During all these years she would sometimes relate anecdotes of her time spent at Tlemcen with the Théons. A number of these anecdotes have been incorporated in these pages.

Mirra / The Mother Main Page

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 23 December 2000, last modified 26 May 2005