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In the early twentieth century, an esoteric interpretation of Zoroastrianism known as Ilme kṣnum became popular among the Parsis of India. Although research on the subject is scant, most scholars suggest that Ilme kṣnum draws largely upon the ideas promoted by the Theosophical Society in India. By examining primary sources in Gujarati, the present article illustrates the interpretation of the Zoroastrian cosmology proposed by Ilme kṣnum. Through a comparative analysis of its main concepts and terms, Ilme kṣnum is historicized in the context of the relations of the Parsi community with the Persianate and Western worlds. By framing Ilme kṣnum as a reconciliation between Persianate and Western forms of knowledge, the present article looks at cultural entanglements as resources for the Parsi quest for religious authenticity, placing Zoroastrianism in global religious history.

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This page is a summary of: Beyond the Theosophical Paradigm: Ilme kṣnum and the Entangled History of Modern Parsis, Journal of Persianate Studies, March 2024, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/18747167-bja10039.
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