The School of Economic Science, also known as the School of Philosophy, runs courses in philosophy and economics. The ads do not state that the philosophy in question is vedanta, and that what one is being invited to embrace is in reality not academic learning but initiation into a tightly-knit religious group and a form of meditation which uses the name of the Hindu god Ram as its mantra.

The School was founded in the 1930s by Andrew McLaren (1883 – 1975), a British left-wing politician. It was only when his son Leon (b. 1911) took control of the School in 1947 that its focus shifted from economics to philosophy and religion. Here, the earlier and still potent influences are the esoteric teachings of George Gurdjieff (1877 – 1949) and Pyotr Ouspensky (1878 – 1948). Equally significant however, are Leon McLaren’s regular meetings in India since the early 1960s with the Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath in the Himalayas, one of four official inheritors of the Vedantic teaching of Shankara. The School has followed the teaching of this guru’s successor ever since. This Indian connection has an interesting background.

McLaren had worked closely with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the early 1960s and in fact at one time encouraged members of the School to be initiated into TM. It was the Maharishi who introduced McLaren’ to the Shankaracharya – Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who was the Maharishi’s own guru. Although McLaren and the Maharishi fell out later in the 60s, an initiation ritual and meditation as practised by the School today remain remarkably similar to TM, the main subject of this chapter.

Louis Hughes

One Response

  1. […] Mission Our mission is to make available the timeless wisdom of practical philosophy to all who wish to engage fully in this life, and yet be in peace, and freedom, and bliss, regardless of education, occupation, age, race, political or religious beliefs. […]


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