Origins of the School
The School was founded in London by Leon MacLaren (1910 – 1994), who at the age of 16 resolved to discover justice and truth. Leon MacLaren’s initial undertaking was the study of economics, which was a real need at the time when the world was still suffering from the effects of the great depression. He established the School of Economic Science in the United Kingdom. The study of economics involved exploring the nature of society, which eventually lead to exploring the nature of Man.
A fundamental shift took place with the introduction to meditation and the subsequent meeting with Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī, the then Śańkarācārya of the North. Over a period of years (1965 – 1993), Leon MacLaren met with Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī and their discourses formed the basis of the School's understanding of Advaita Philosophy. The dialogues continue with the respective successors to Leon MacLaren and Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī, namely Donald Lambie and Śrī Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī. According to the tradition, a Śańkarācārya is referred to as His Holiness.
Leon MacLaren's discourses with the then Śańkarācārya of the North, Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī, formed the basis of the School’s understanding of Advaita. Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī was a Sannyāsin, that is, one who has renounced worldly engagements for pure consciousness through austerities, reason and meditation. From him the School gained access to the transcending wisdom of Advaita Philosophy which enlightens both eastern and western minds. It carries with it the possibility of enriching the appreciation of one’s own tradition, enabling a harmonious approach towards the enlightenment of humanity, both individually and universally. Leon MacLaren’s successor, Donald Lambie, continues to meet with Śrī Śāntānanda Sarasvatī's successor, Śrī Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī, the current Śańkarācārya of the North.
Here is a short video about the beginnings of the school.