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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Taimni, I. K.

(1898-1978). Eminent theosophical writer. Taimni was born in Lucknow, India, in a Kashmiri Brahman family. His father was Pandit Prem Kishen Taimni. Taimni’s mother passed away early, and he was brought up by his grandmother, who, a devotee of Lord R€ma, lovingly called him “Sri Ram.” With only a younger sister and an affectionate but reserved father, his childhood was lonely.

The family shifted early to Allahabad where Taimni had schooling in a government college and took an M.Sc. (Chemistry). He achieved a uniformly brilliant academic record, generally standing first, and consequently the government nominated him for class one service. He chose however, to join the teaching staff at the University. In 1928 he secured a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the London University. Taimni continued to work at the Allahabad University until his retirement.

Taimni joined the Anand Lodge of the Theosophical Society (TS) at Allahabad at the age of 21 (diploma No. 19388 dated June 12, 1919). Perhaps an important influence toward a theosophical vocation was his marriage to Kunwar Nagu of Indore, who attended the Theosophical Girl’s School, attached to the Indian Section headquarters at Varanasi. She joined the TS in 1925.

Taimni was instrumental in the construction of the spacious building of the Anand Lodge in 1935 and he contributed his own library, a valuable collection, to the Besant Memorial Library located in the Lodge; about 6,000 books were added within a few years. He worked untiringly as Secretary of the Lodge and later as President. He established “Anand Publishing House” for the publication of theosophical literature as an allied activity of the TS. A person of warm and affectionate nature, humility and unassuming ways, he avoided publicity and did not like being photographed. He passed away at Lucknow on June 7, 1976.

Taimni’s main contribution to theosophy was through his books, some of which were translated into several languages. In his writings there is a rare combination of deep insight into eastern wisdom, knowledge of occult philosophy and an understanding of physical sciences. He published a number of translations of Kashmir Saivism texts.

Principal Publications:

An Introduction to Hindu Symbolism (TPH, Adyar, 1965, 1969); The Science of Yoga [a translation and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali] (TPH Adyar, 1961; paperback ed. TPH Wheaton, 1967); Man, God and the Universe (TPH Adyar, 1969); Gayatri (TPH Adyar, 1974, 1978); Science and Occultism (TPH Adyar, 1974); The Secret of Self-Realization [a translation of and commentary on the Pratyabhijñahrdayam of Ksemaraja] (TPH, Adyar, 1974); Self-Realization through Love [a translation of and commentary on the Bhakti-Sutra of Narada] (TPH Adyar, 1975); A Way to Self-Discovery [originally titled Self-Culture: the Problem of Self-Discovery and Self-Realization in the Light of Occultism (TPH Adyar, 1976)]; and The Ultimate Reality and Realization [a translation of and commentary on the Siva-Sutra] (TPH Adyar, 1976).

B.N.S./P.S.H.

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