25 December 1928 – 16 September 2020
Dr Kapila Vatsyayan was one of the original Fellows of the Temenos Academy. She was among the speakers at the Second Temenos Conference in 1988, gave a lecture to the students of the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture in 1993, and lectured at Temenos on Mt. Kailash in 2002. Kapila had a profound knowledge of the arts of India and dedicated her life to them. She was a distinguished dancer in many forms of Indian dance and wrote the authoritative book Indian Classical Dance and the Arts. During her long career as one of the guardians of the arts in India she founded the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi. Kapila Vatsyayan received numerous awards for her work including in 2011 the Padma Vibhushan Award from the Indian Government. A close friend of Kathleen Raine, and in many ways her Indian counterpart, Kapila was a delightful person with a marvellous, mischievous sense of humour. She was a great supporter of Temenos, which she called a precious lamp that must keep shining: ‘However small, a lamp always eradicates darkness and draws the eye immediately to the light’.
A rare film about Dr Vatsyayan, The Paradox of Art, directed by, and reproduced with kind permission of Werner Weick and Andrea Andriotto, may be viewed in two parts below. Here is the Directors’ Preface to this film (1997) and others in the Golden Thread Series.
IL FILO D’ORO – The Golden Thread
Right from ancient times the Golden Thread has been the symbol of knowledge that is born of personal experience and is free from institutional conditioning. It’s a thread because it represents the continuity of an experience that is always ancient yet always new. It is slender because in every generation this awareness is kept alive by a minority of individuals. This thread is golden because it is immortal. It is always there even in the darkest and most chaotic times; sometimes it is more evident, sometimes more hidden.
[Photo credit: The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama]