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Andre Henri Morisset

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André Henri (23.08.1898, Paris – 29.03.1982, Bergerac), son of the Mother and Henri Francois Morisset (1870.04.06 – 1953). In 1898, his father, Henri Morisset, was invited to Pau (a town in southern France) to paint a series of murals in the Church of Saint James the Great. Mirra later said: “It was I who painted the slain and the struggling Moors, because I couldn’t climb up. One had to climb high on a ladder to paint. That was too difficult, so I did the things at the bottom.” Mirra could not climb up the ladder because she was pregnant at that time. On 23 August 1898, her son André was born. Much later Mirra told to Pranab Bhattacharya that, when André was born, she felt as if she did not want much for him and all she wanted him to become was a ‘true human being’. André, in Greek, means ‘man’. The Mother later had said that as a young boy, whenever André fell ill, she never summoned a doctor and cured him by her own spiritual powers.

André stayed with his grandfather, his two aunts (Henri’s sisters) named Blanche and Henriette and a nurse at Beaugency. In due course of time, André was enrolled to Lycee Chaptal School.

In March 1908, Mirra divorced Henri Morisset and left their flat at Rue Lemercier and went to live alone on the fifth floor of 49 Rue du Levis which was not quite far off from her former residence. André continued to stay with his grandfather and aunts at Beaugency.

At the age of eleven, André met his future wife Wanda Wilczynska at a Christmas Tree Party arranged for children. Wanda was five years of age then.

In March 1916, the Richards left for Japan. André met his mother then and the next time they met was in 1949, i.e. thirty-three years later. In the October 1916, at the age of eighteen, André joined the army as an artillery officer. The war ended in 1918 and André, as a reward for his bravery and contribution, received several titles of honour which included the Cross of the War 1914-1918 (which he received just after the War)

In December 1919, he joined Ecole Polytechnique and obtained the title of Ancien éléve de l’ecole polytechnique in August 1921, after which he joined Le Carbone-Lorraine. Le Carbone came to be known as Le Carbone-Lorraine when it merged with Le Lorraine probably in 1935. André was the director of a factory making batteries and other electrical materials for Le Carbone-Lorraine from 1926 to 1939. Later he joined the Industrial Company of Battery Cells and became the honorary President of the company.

On 10.09.1923, in Montmorency (Île-de-France) he married Wanda Wilcsynska (07.01.1905, Nouméa, New Caledoina – ?). They had three children: son Denise Morisset, daughters Janine Panier (17.09.1929, Marchienne-au-Pont – 25.02.2012, Monceau-sur-Sambre) and Françoise (19 June 1931-15 March 2008) who was better known as Pournaprema.

After 1935 André received the Cross of the Voluntary Fighters and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the highest order conferred by the State.

André joined the French Army of which he was the Captain from 1939 to 1940. From 1940 to 1942, he was the director of a factory of Le Carbone-Lorraine near Lyons and from 1942 to 1949, he worked in the Paris office of Le Carbone-Lorraine.

In 1949, an opportunity arose for André to visit India and meet his mother after a gap of thirty-three years. He arrive at the Ashram on 21 of November at 5 p.m. in the room 3EI of Golconde (the Ashram Guest House). The Mother instructed André to make the arrangements for his stay in the Ashram from 20 November to 2 December so that he could attend the Darshan on 24 November. The Mother herself made all the arrangements which made André’s stay in the Ashram comfortable.

After his first visit, André began to visit the Ashram every year. In 1956, he established the Franco-Indian Union Association with the view of developing commercial, industrial and technological exchanges between France and India. In 1956, André established the Sri Aurobindo Study Centre; this organization sent teaching materials, class textbooks and other objects to the Ashram School.

In 1969, after the passing of Pavitra, André became the de facto Director of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. André suffered a stroke and a heart attack. The stroke affected one of his legs and the Mother was deeply concerned about his health.

The Motherís health deteriorated towards the end of March 1973. From 20 May, all meetings with her were ceased and nobody was allowed to meet her except her attendants and doctors and of course, Andre who went to see her every evening. Andre had noted in his diary a decision taken by the Mother in May 1973 to submit entirely to the Divineís Will and give up her attempt to transform her body. There are not witnesses and nobody know what actually happened, but this statement raises questions:

(1) In its first part it sounds, as if before the May 1973 the Mother did not make full surrender to the Divine Will and tried to transform her body at her own will. So Sri Aurobindo and the Mother deceived all us and professed their own wish for the Divine Will? Or may be they misunderstood this Will and only after May 1973 the Mother recognise it? This is absolutely unbelievable.

(2) Or if it is the Divine who changed His Mind and the Mother only followed the new turn and so refused transformation — or if the Divine Will still stood for transformation and it is the Mother who gave up, broken up by pain, age and Siquil (a draught that makes patients quiet and obedient) — in any case, if the Mother gave up in May 1973, what did she do in this body next six months? And why did she try to make it function, why she asked Pranab and other to help her stand up and walk overpassing agony? Did she simply clutched at life, aimless and full of pain? — Nay! Her very battle evidences that the Mother had an aim before her and that she, as a true warrior, was steady in this purpose till her last breath.

So what remains? — just human statement that is not Truth but usual human composition of half-truth, misunderstanding and misinterpretation that easily becomes a lie. And this is much more possible possibility then all previous. But anyway it is impossible to elicit truth by facts. So everybody may take any possibility as truth and live on it.

After the Mother’s departure in 1973, André did not want to involve himself in the matters related to the administration of the Ashram. From 1977, André got involved in the struggle to prevent the publication of the Mother’s Agenda edited by Satprem. Also he torn entire pages from Pavitraís diary, where Pavitra particularly used to note his conversations with Sri Aurobindo until 1926. What escaped has been published under the title: Conversations avec Pavitra (Fayard).

On 29 March 1982, at midnight, André Morisset left his body at his country house in Bergerac, the south of France.

 

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Bibliography

In English

Banerjee, Anurag

about person

Andre Mjrisset, the Mother’s Son

In Russian