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History of The International School

 

Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati

Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati

The School of Practical Philosophy was conceived in the mind of its founder, Mr Leon MacLaren, who at the age of 16 while sitting beside a lake, had a clear vision that there was such a thing as Truth and there was such a thing as Justice, and that they could be taught.

Leonardo da Vinci MacLaren was born in Glasgow in 1910, the son of Andrew MacLaren who was then a Member of Parliament who had a love for natural law and justice and who was a major influence on his son Leon. After completing his formal schooling he trained and qualified as a Barrister in London. It was around this time during the great depression that Leon MacLaren set out, with the help of a few like- minded people to convert the world to the ideals espoused in Henry George’s book “Progress and Poverty”.

And so the School of Economic Science was born in London, inspired by the manner of Socratic thought and began giving public lectures on Economics.

To begin a School such as this requires someone of formidable character and Mr Leon MacLaren gives a lot of credit to his father who inspired him by introducing him to Henry George and the principles of economic Justice. It was a virtual one-man-band with him writing the material and conducting the early talks. In 1953 Leon MacLaren was introduced to Dr Francis Roles of the Society for the study of Normal Psycology or the Study Society and though him was introduced to the teachings of the eastern European Philosopher Peter Ouspensky who himself was a follower of the Eastern philosopher Gurdjieff.

School founder, Leon MacLaren

School founder, Leon MacLaren

Under this influence Mr Leon MacLaren wrote courses in philosophy for the benefit of his senior students and in 1955 this course was offered to the public and it attracted hundreds of students, many of whom still remain to this day. And so began the School of Philosophy with economics becoming of secondary interest.

Ouspensky spoke of the need for a method to enable students to penetrate deeper and this was met by the arrival of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from whom Mr Leon MacLaren and others were initiated into the practice of meditation and was later given to all the senior students.

In 1962 Dr Roles went to India for a special satsanga (literally meaning a truth gathering) with the Maharishi’s teacher who had the formal title Shri Santananda Saraswati, or His Holiness, the Shankaacharya of the North. He was immediately recognised by Dr Roles as the teacher he had been waiting for all his life. On hearing an account of this meeting Mr Leon MacLaren was invited to another meeting with His Holiness in 1965 and he too was humbled by this man who in his words really knew what he was saying.

With this introduction to Vedanta (which literally translates as “the conclusion of Veda” with the word Veda meaning knowledge) and meditation the School took the quantum leap from study to practice and Mr Leon MacLaren tirelessly led the way forward holding onto Truth without any compromise.

Present Head of the School, Donald Lambie

Present Head of the School, Donald Lambie

Mr Leon MacLaren had many subsequent meetings with His Holiness and in this way took the school forward and upwards. Branches of the school had by this time opened around the world in many cities in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Malta, the Carribean, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Against the general trend of the world toward coarseness, Mr Leon MacLaren introduced his students to the finest music, art, and literature and constantly urged his students to transcend their limitations and created a body of students who were prepared to lay aside their ideas and opinions and to go beyond what they thought were capable of.

He worked for Truth to the end and he finally passed on in London on 24 June 1994. Work however continued as Mr Leon MacLaren had years back chosen his successor a Mr Donald Lambie who holds the position of School leader to this day.

He worked for Truth to the end and he finally passed on in London on 24 June 1994. Work however continued as Mr Leon MacLaren had years back chosen his successor a Mr Donald Lambie who holds the position of School leader to this day.

 

Source: Three portrait images from School of Economic Science

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