Radha Burnier, international president of the Theosophical Society, died here on Thursday after a prolonged illness. She was 90.
Radha Burnier played a role in enriching the philosophy behind Theosophy by making it relevant to present-day issues. She was actively involved with service-oriented organisations that deal with education, animal welfare and environmental issues.
“She breathed her last at 9 p.m. following an acute myocardial infarction. She had a mild stroke three years ago. She also battled cancer, had a surgery and her health deteriorated on Thursday. Yet she continued to be an inspiration for many youngsters. She was a great personality,” said S.D. Inbaraj, honorary medical officer of the Theosophical Society.
“She is a lady of highest principles and integrity. Her heart, soul and life were given to the cause of Theosophy,” said S. Harihara Raghavan, honorary general manager at the Theosophical Society.
“The body will be kept in the Headquarters Hall of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, for people to pay their last respects,” said Mr. Raghavan.
According to the Theosophical Society’s website, Dr. Burnier was in her fifth term as president of the Theosophical Society, having taken office as the seventh president in 1980. She supervised the research and publication work of the Adyar Library and Research Centre as its director during 1959-79. She was also a well-known exponent of Indian classical dance.
Dr. Burnier has lectured all over the world on Theosophical and cultural topics. Her talks and writings are known for clarity of thought and depth of vision. Dr. Burnier was born in the Theosophical Society’s estate at Adyar, Chennai, on November 15, 1923 into a Theosophical family. She was the daughter of N. Sri Ram who was the fifth president of the Theosophical Society. Her grandfather A. Nilakanta Sastri, a civil engineer by profession and a Sanskrit scholar, was an early member of the Society.
She played a major role in well-known director Jean Renoir’s classical film The River in 1948. .