Book Launch and Discussion: The Three Lives of a Czech Yogi and Beyond

Dr. Karel Werner
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The Three Lives of a Czech Yogi…and Beyond, Volumes One and Two, the autobiography of Dr. Karel Werner, edited by his wife Marian. Dr. Karel died in 2019, after devoting much of his adult life to reading, writing about, and latterly lecturing on Sanskrit, ancient Indian scriptures and philosophy, and Buddhism. In 1948, he was at Olomouc University, collaborating with world-renowned Indologist, Professor Vincenc Lesný.

There is a commemorative plaque at the primary school they both attended, which is dedicated to the life of Dr Werner. Forced out of his university by the communists, Dr. Karel took manual jobs to sustain himself. The pressures he faced as a lecturer included secret police interrogations, but his practice of deep Buddhist meditation enabled him to remain calm. He practiced hatha yoga, conducted classes, formed a club, and got the first book on hatha yoga, through the censors in Czech. Escaping to England in 1968, Dr. Karel became a Spalding Lecturer in Indian Philosophy and Religion at Durham University and founded in 1975 The Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions. Volume two of the autobiography encompasses his experiences and contributions from 1968 until 2019.


Dr. Desmond Biddulph CBE, President of the Buddhist Society UK, Psychiatrist, and Physician, author of the Teachings of the Buddha and other books, will reflect on Dr. Karel’s close connection with the Society, for which he gave many talks.

Peter Flügel, Professor in the Study of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS, and Chair of the Centre of Jaina Studies there, will speak about the Spalding Symposium and Dr. Karel’s years as honorary professorial Research Associate in the Department of Religions at SOAS.