The luminous destiny of Alexandra David-Néel by Jean Chalon

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

No introduction Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969), or DNA as she would likely be called today. The one whose fifty years of death we just celebrated last September – in relative anonymity, it must be said – was quite a character. Judge for yourself: opera singer, journalist, writer, but also a feminist and, where appropriate, anarchist, it is particularly the image of the explorer that the general public has retained of her. This passion for travel, ADN has always anchored her to the body, so much so that she speaks of it as an "act of possession". Thus carried away by the spirit of travel, she did not hesitate to undertake her first expedition abroad, alone moreover, at the age of…twelve! Who says better ? It is not the first to run away from the family home in this way, but this experience underlines an already well-established character and augurs future equally thrilling journeys: Indochina, North Africa, India, China, Japan, Korea... But what struck everyone's mind were above all her trips to Tibet, to which she feels bound by an unbreakable bond: she says, moreover, that she has traveled the Himalayan plateau "in all directions, in all season, on horseback and on foot.

In addition to the discovery of these remote lands, the adventurer is thirsty for knowledge. This irrepressible quest for wisdom first made her interested in theosophy, which advocates that all religions and philosophies intrinsically possess an aspect of a more universal truth. She then turned to Buddhism after discovering the splendors of the Guimet Museum.

Do not look here for a work to load, the title alone gives an idea of ​​the content. We can't help but see in the title given to this biography an echo of the film recounting the fabulous destiny of a Parisian woman answering to the first name of Amélie... Jean Chalon admires women, and even more those with outgoing careers. of the ordinary: he thus wrote the biographies of Queen Marie-Antoinette, the writer George Sand and Thérèse of Lisieux, to name but a few. The author, former journalist and writer, is clearly under the spell of DNA. And if the biographer does not conceal the most questionable aspects of DNA, in particular the complicated - not to say tumultuous - relationships with his relatives, the fact remains that this book by Jean Chalon is an ode to this woman. with multiple faces and multiple lives.

The 2019 book is a reissue of the one published in 1985, enhanced with hitherto unpublished references. THE Luminous destiny of Alexandra David-Néel thus becomes a very dense biography, the reading of which can sometimes be a little heavy, even boring. Nevertheless, the content is so rich that it should be referred to as "Lamp of Wisdom", the nickname given to Alexandra David-Néel by her Tibetan teacher.

Wise or tyrant, this traveler at heart left for a hundred years, not without having taken care to have her passport renewed, just in case.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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