Throughout history, schools have arisen to make eternal wisdom available to those seeking the ultimate truths about themselves, the world, and the creator. These have included Plato’s Academy in Ancient Athens, Marsilio Ficino’s Academy in Renaissance Florence and the American Transcendentalism movement in Massachusetts. While the structures of these schools and their teachings have varied, the philosophical aims have been consistent: to help members discover the truth and to use that knowledge for the well-being of all.
The School of Practical Philosophy was established in 1964 as an independent not-for-profit organization. It arose from the work of Leon MacLaren who in 1937 founded a school that initially focused on economics and justice. Recognition of the need for deeper insight into the nature of humanity led to the study of philosophy, which literally means “the love of wisdom.” By the late 1950s philosophy became the School’s central subject.
The arrival of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to London in 1959 introduced the School to the practice of meditation, which remains its core practice. In the mid-1960s the School made contact with one of the great philosophers of India, Shri Shantananda Saraswati, who, for over thirty years, provided invaluable guidance in the study and practice of philosophy and meditation. Through this connection, the School was introduced to the philosophy of non-duality, known as Advaita. Since Shri Shantananda Saraswati’s death in 1997, similar guidance has been provided by his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.
The School of Practical Philosophy is pleased to offer a systematic teaching through which students may enjoy life more fully, achieve their full potential, and evolve one’s innate spirituality.