Irina Tamara Karpow ( ?) was born in Russia. Her family escaped the Bolscheviks to Central Europe, and she eventually lived in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and then finally England. She studied in Vienna and Paris. After World War II she married her second husband, an English Navy officer surnamed Tweedie. Due to her second husband's premature death in 1954, she went through a personal crisis that launched her on a spiritual quest. She became an active member of the Theosophical Society and eventually she travelled to India in 1959.
On 2 October 1961, through her friend Lilian Silburn (1908-1993), a Sanskrit scholar and translator at the Sorbonne, she met her guru, Radha Mohan Lal (1893-1966), a Hindu Sufi sheikh from the Naqshbandiyya-Mujadiddiya order, living in Kanpur. She became one of the first Western women trained in the Naqshbandi system.
Her teacher's first request of her was to keep a complete diary of her spiritual training--everything, all the difficult parts, even all the doubts. He predicted that one day it would become a book and would benefit people around the world. Indeed, it became the book, Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master.
This diary spans five years. It is an account of a spiritual training with a Sufi Master and is the most detailed account of the relationship between disciple and teacher that exists in Western Literature. The book is written in diary form. From a psychological viewpoint, the diary maps the process of ego dissolution, gradually unveiling the openness and love that reside beneath the surface of the personality.
The book was first published in its abridged form as The Chasm of Fire which has sold over 100,000 copies and has been translated into five languages. Later the unabridged book, Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master, was published. This title has sold over 40,000 copies worldwide and is now being published through The Golden Sufi Center.
After her guru's death in 1966, she returned to England where she started a Sufi meditation group in North London. Gradually the group spread throughout Europe and North America. Irina Tweedie retired in 1992 after having named Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee as her successor. She died in 1999, aged 92.