In 1937, at the request of his Master Peter Deunov, Mikhaël Aïvanhov travelled to Paris. Peter Deunov foresaw the imminent start of the Second World War and the coming of Communism to East Europe which would threaten all expressions of religion and spirituality. He asked Mikhael to go to France to preserve the teaching.
Mikhaël had left behind in Bulgaria his family, friends, and school students (he was headmaster of a high school). They had seen him off to the train station, waving after him with tear-filled eyes. Now he was in a new, strange country where he was unknown, with many people regarding him as a curiosity, but with a gargantuan task before him. But his deep knowledge, obvious wisdom, gentleness, and charisma soon won him admirers and supporters. They affectionately addressed him as Brother Mikhaël, just as he embraced them as brothers and sisters.
Mikhaël arrived in France on July 22, 1937, penniless and without any knowledge of the French language. His visa only authorized him to stay in France for the duration of the Universal Exposition. He had a round-trip ticket to Bulgaria and only a single contact person in France—a woman by the name of Stella Bellemin, who was known in the brotherhood as Svezda (meaning “star” in Bulgarian).
As Svezda recollects:
“Above all, at our first meeting, it was the intense light that emanated from him that struck me, a light full of gentleness and pure impersonal love, pouring out like divine water on people and things. His look was the inner gift of himself, a total giving that belongs only to saints and Masters.
“Watching Brother Mikhaël in action, one got the impression that his only concern was to offer this divine gift of love to all and sundry, with no restriction. This was all the more noticeable because of his inability to express himself in French, it made people conscious of what emanated from him. The radiance of his spiritual love shining through his unusual beauty touched everyone who came in contact with him.”
Brother Mikhaël gave his first talks in Svezda’s Parisian apartment, addressing small groups of around twenty people.
He learned enough French to address his listeners in their native tongue when, on January 29, 1938, he delivered his first public lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. It was the first of what would be thousands of public “conferences.” Mikhaël liked to communicate with people “in their own” language and demonstrated his remarkable linguistic facility when, at an advanced age, he visited England and promptly learned enough English in the span of a few weeks to converse with students.
One of his students proffered this memory:
“On his arrival in France, the Master did not show what he was in reality. He was always self-effacing, humble, taking the back seat in a simple and modest way. He called himself Brother Mikhaël. He did not reveal all his knowledge. He mixed with astrologers, alchemists, writers and because of his bearing, they all thought that he knew little and they gave him lots of advice which he always listened to … he always was friendly, always obliging and smiling.” “But when he began his public lectures, his friends among the astrologers and occultists who came to support and encourage him were amazed by all that he revealed.” “It was so new, original, deep and, above all, true.”
Extract from The Mystery of Light by Georg Feuerstein
Chapter2. Omraam Mikhaël Aivanhov: Visionary, Teacher and Healer