I. K. Taimni

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Iqbal Kishen Taimni
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, British India
Died7 June 1978(1978-06-07) (aged 79–80)
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Alma materLondon University
Scientific career
FieldsChemistry, philosophy
InstitutionsAllahabad University, CSIR
Thesis (1928)

I. K. Taimni (Iqbal Kishen Taimni, 1898–1978) was a professor of chemistry at the Allahabad University in India, and an influential scholar in the fields of Yoga and Indian philosophy. He was a leader of the Theosophical Society. Taimni authored a number of books on Eastern Philosophy, including a modern interpretation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Taimni was born in 1898 in Kashmiri Mohalla, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. His parents Prem Kishen Taimni and Biraj (née Gurtu) later shifted to Hardoi and then on to Allahabad where Prem Kishen Taimni got employment as Secretary Municipal Corporation, Allahabad. When Taimni was 11 years old he lost his mother to tuberculosis. His father never married again. The children, Iqbal Kishen and his sister Chandra (2 years younger than him), were brought up by their grandmother Bishen (née Ugra). Taimni had a distinguished academic career throughout, and was First class First student and a Gold Medalist.

Taimni married Kunwar (née Nagu) in Indore in 1922. She held a B.A. degree (earned in Benares), which was unusual for women of that time. He was selected for the Central Excise service but he declined the offer as he preferred teaching as a career and joined Allahabad University as a lecturer. Meanwhile, Kunwar Taimni enrolled for M. A. classes in history at the same university. She went to the UK in 1926 on being offered a scholarship to do a Montessori teacher training course. Taimni accompanied her and got enrolled for a PhD in London University. They returned in 1928 after Mrs. Taimni completed her Montessori Diploma course and Taimni completed his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry.

Later career[edit]

On returning to India, Taimni resumed teaching at Allahabad University while his wife joined Krishna Ashram, Allahabad as a principal. It was a Montessori school for children sponsored by the Theosophical Society. Taimni retired in 1960 and thereafter worked for two years with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Post retirement he took to writing commentaries on Theosophy and Hindu religious texts, for which he engaged a teacher to learn Sanskrit.[note 1] All his books are published by the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai. Taimni also contributed occasionally to domestic and foreign journals on related matters, for example, meditation. He was awarded the Subba Row Gold Medal in 1975 for his contribution to the Theosophical literature.[4] According to WorldCat, he has published 62 works, not counting articles.[note 2]

Mr. and Mrs. Taimni were both vegetarians, and were lifelong members of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai. Mr. Taimni served for a number of years as Director of the School of the Wisdom at the International Headquarters of the Society.

Taimni's Man, God and the Universe was a work on occult and philosophical cosmology. His book, The Science of Yoga received a mixed review from Karel Werner who commented that Taimni's interpretations of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were based on his own kind of "personal syncretic philosophy" with elements from Samkhya, Theosophy and Vedanta.[6] Werner concluded that although it is not a scholarly work it "is free from the usual deficiencies and incompetence of most of the popular literature propagating Yoga and can well be recommended to students as a valuable introductory reading on the subject."[6]

Taimni's works[edit]

The books
The articles

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In 1919 at Allahabad, Taimni became a member of the Theosophical Society Adyar.[3]
  2. ^ "Works: 62 works in 236 publications in 8 languages and 2,197 library holdings."[5]


  1. ^ Grinshpon 2002, p. 18.
  2. ^ Goodrick-Clarke 2008, p. 239.
  3. ^ Register.
  4. ^ Ramanujachary 1993, p. 55.
  5. ^ WorldCat Identities.
  6. ^ a b Werner, Karel (1971). "Reviewed Work: The Science of Yoga by I. K. Taimni". Philosophy East and West. 21 (1): 96–97. doi:10.2307/1397772. JSTOR 1397772.


External links[edit]