The School



Throughout history, schools have arisen to make eternal wisdom available to those seeking the ultimate truths about themselves, the world, and the creator. While the structures of these schools and the details of 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. Schools in this tradition have included Plato’s Academy in Ancient Athens, Marsilio Ficino’s Academy in Renaissance Florence, the American Transcendentalism movement in Massachusetts, and the family of Schools of Practical Philosophy worldwide.

Since its founding, The School of Practical Philosophy seeks to communicate what the great teachers of mankind have told us about the true nature of humanity, our purpose in the creation, and how we might live a happy, full, and useful life. From the very beginning, the School has drawn men and women of all ages and all walks of life who have wanted to simplify their lives and realize the benefits accorded by true wisdom, consciousness and joy.

The Schools of Practical Philosophy around the world arose from the School of Economic Science (SES), founded by Leon MacLaren in 1937, with which they remain affiliated. The work of SES initially focused on economics and justice; however, 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 central subject and has remained so ever since.

The arrival of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to London in 1959 introduced the School to the practice of meditation, which remains the core practice of the School. In the mid-1960s the School made contact with 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 his death in 1997, similar guidance has been provided by his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

In 2007 the School received numerous requests for a way to attend classes online — either from former students who had moved away from the cities in which classes are offered in traditional classrooms, or from people who have heard or read about the school and want to attend but again are located far away from where the classes are held. We ran a few trials and, in early 2008, began with just a few classes. Today more than fifty classes are meeting online with students from over sixty countries around the world. Through Practical Philosophy Online, numerous students have found guidance that is both systematic and gentle; techniques that are simple yet effective; and have enjoyed the good company of others searching for truth and a means to apply it for the good of all.

We welcome you to join this endeavor.  Welcome to Practical Philosophy Online!