Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Babs
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:52 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Babs » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:35 am

Thanks Tootsie and Middle Way. Perhaps the oblivious service team leader who inadvertently served the toast in the incorrect order to Mrs M was me! There is a place to observe etiquette of course, and respect for elders -- these are aspects of mindfulness (think of the Japanese tea ceremony) but methinks the etiquette at Residentials was observed for reasons other than spiritual unfoldment for all concerned.

I omitted to mention that one of the most persuasive reasons for my decision to leave was the departure at the beginning of the year of two of the most senior students in Sydney followed by the departure of two very senior members in Canberra. Much respected and liked people, seemingly close to Mrs Mavro, suddenly gone! A great cone of silence descended on the SFSK following these departures. Not a word was said by any of the remaining senior students, let alone Mrs M herself. They behaved as if nothing had happened. It was such odd behaviour, and I realise now, classic cult behaviour, tantamount to the "shunning" that occurs when people leave sects such as the closed Brethren. This I found deeply disturbing and the lack of explanation frustrating. Obviously, there was much going on behind the scenes that led to the respective departures and to discuss these was no doubt seen as liable to cause further disruption than was worth it to Mrs M. But, the gap in information only led to speculation, gossip, hearsay, and uneasiness. If some candid explanation had been forthcoming, that would have been most welcome. But nothing, not a word. The truth was concealed. We, the underlings, were obviously deemed not spritually mature enough to handle the truth about the departures. Or something like that. I began to ask myself if I really wanted to stay in a "community" that a) shunned people who departed and b) treated the rest of us like children, fed no or filtered information. The answer was no.

Babs

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:21 pm

Had a look at SFSK website and they describe themselves as a cultural education organization not associated with any religious organization. No mention of Advaita Vedanta or their connection with an Indian holy man Swami Swarropanand. Is it any wonder that the pupils in this school consider they are treated like mushrooms - 'kept in the dark and fed on bull....'

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:39 am

Hello Babs,
Welcome!
Thank you very much for sharing your SFSK experiences in such a natural and honest way.
I most certainly can relate to everything you say, it is exactly as things are there.
And very disturbing indeed ..
Is the description you give in your second post in regard to the senior
people leaving and the "great cone of silence", and what follows on from that action.

Tootsie,
Yes correct it is very misleading advertising, if not false advertising.
No mention of Shri Swarupanand Saraswatiji Maharaj is an insult to the tradition,
and all they have been given from him.
It is as if they are too ashamed of their Guru to mention the 'supposed source' of the material.
And by mentioning the Guru possibly you would not be able to say that you are 'not associated with
any religious organisation'.
They no doubt thought they might attract less customers to 'their school' by being honest and transparent.
So much for being spiritual and fostering good qualities in others.
I believe that SOP in their advertising are very open about the origins of their school.

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:22 am

I have written before about SFSK and the initiation ceremony/mantra.
But I am currently reading a book about HH, written by a disciple of his,
who has a few books published, mainly devotional poetry .. and I would
like to share a story from the book in regard to Guru Mantra.

" To highlight the importance of Guru-Mantra, Swami Shri Swarupanand Saraswati Maharaj
narrated an interesting incidence.
His Guru Swami Shri Brahmanandaji Maharaj was sitting along with his disciples.
One foreigner came along with some companion. He was clad in the robe of a sannyasi and
proclaimed before the Guru that he knew the Gayatri mantra.
Swamiji was not at all impressed. He (the former) uttered the mantra, as he knew.
Swamiji told that he heard some words. It is not the mantra.
The gentleman claimed that he can write it too. Swamiji asked him to write it.
He took a pen and wrote it on a piece of paper.
Swamiji told it is a piece of paper on which something has been scribbled in ink.
It is not the mantra. Everybody including the gentleman was quite surprised.
Guruji explained that mantra is one which is invoked by the Guru according to his traditions
and practises to an able disciple.
It is the pranic force of the Guru, which is invoked.
Words and sound of it are not that important.
The Guru invests the seeker with the seed mantra through his mouth.
In other words, the seed mantra is born out of the mouth of the Guru."

So this story illustrates how wrong the SFSK initiation/mantra is.
Firstly ..
HH has said that MM never asked for permission to initiate and also HH said that
he had never considered giving authority to anyone.
Secondly ..
The so important/special SFSK mantra .. if it was !! should be given by a qualified teacher,
a Guru.
But instead ... we have a student of the school, who has never even met the holy man,
who is a very nice person, but most definately has no qualifications whatsoever to
give students diksha/initiation.
(Qualifications of being in the school for more than 20 years, doing lots of school duties for
all those years and tutoring, and being favoured by Mrs Mavro .. are certainly not correct qualifications!)
It is a joke .. but also a spiritual crime.

Far better for a school to be open and honest .. SOP uses the name of the Lord, an authentic
mantra that does not require a Guru to initiate.

Using the SFSK mantra is no better than focusing on a flower or meditating on 'fish and chips',
this will give the mind some peace and help with concentration.
But there is certainly no need for a ceremony that is fake and for students to hand over money,
for something that has very little value.
Far better to meditate on Ram or some other name of the Lord ...

Unique
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:30 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Unique » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:36 pm

Babs wrote: I thought it was odd that the school's official website promoted a course in western and eastern philosophy and the Advaita Vedanta that we ended up learning about was not mentioned on the website, but, at that stage, I didn't question this gap. I wanted to stay in the school and continue to benefit from what seemed like a genuine spiritual community.

Yes, Bubs, there is nothing on the website about Advaita Vedanta or any "spiritual work". The strange thing is that while the website describes the school only as a "cultural and educational organisation", the new students learn very quickly that it is a “spiritual organisation”, and not only that , but also that it is actually more spiritual than any other! After some time, students become totally possessed by the idea of the school's spiritual superiority, and its exclusiveness in providing "spiritual nourishment" and a special opportunity to “do spiritual work”(while developing parallel ideas about their own inferiority and inadequacy). They are told that the school is based on "eternal principles" and "eternal law" and directly connected to the authentic tradition that comes straight from the Vedas. As such, it is"perfect". The separation of your “ordinary life” from the “school”, as the only place where you can do spiritual work is a nonsense hardly worth mentioning, as it goes directly against basic principles of spirituality, such as unity of life and an equal response to all of its expressions, wherever they may be, in the school building or “on the street”.

So, on one hand, the ad describes the school as "cultural and educational", and on the other, when a student leaves the school it is said that they have lost the way, they are no longer under the umbrella of the holy man and the tradition, and they are " just too busy with their ordinary, worldly life" which is obviously worth nothing in spiritual terms. They are said to have left " The Work" , for which "there is no excuse ". All of that, just because they left a mere “cultural and educational organisation”? Is it the content of the ad or the subsequent claims that is untrue? Or both?

Why is it that the ad is not stating clearly the relevant information about the school? Anyone who looks at the School For Self Knowledge site,www.schoolforselfknowledge.org , can easily see that there is not much of the important information in it at all. There are loads of words and a number of beautiful quotes, which are completely saturating the ad and are diverting people from looking for the basic information that actually matters in an ad, such as: What is the background of this school, who are the people who have founded and are now running the organisation, what are their qualifications and their background, who is/are the author/s of the material studied and what are its origins? This is the minimum that anyone who is looking at any ad about any studies including the ones offered by spiritual schools, should find clearly stated before giving any consideration to it.

This discrepancy between what the ad conveys to prospective students and what actually happens in the school has always troubled me in the past. Unfortunately, I have never questioned the leaders about it, because that was just something that was not done in the school, so, like many other students, I accepted the school's attitude that ”people would not understand” because “ they are too ignorant and too prejudiced to have a proper understanding of the real meaning of the school”; “it would not be helpful for their spiritual enquiry since it would only confuse them”, etc. Just like many other things that we didn't talk about, because people were “not ready for it” so we were not telling them the facts “for their own sake”, because “it would not be good for them“ to hear the truth. Senior students in the school believe that this is an expression of their true concern for younger students' spiritual wellbeing and consistent with the appropriate care of their younger "spiritual brothers and sisters".

It may sound strange, but believes and ideas of this kind do develop, gradually . After only a few terms, it becomes obvious to students that there is a strict protocol and hierarchy in the school that everyone is well aware of, but no one speaks about. The same way, everyone learns very quickly that the leader is never to be questioned or even doubted in a slightest way, so, no one ever does! People take as a gospel truth anything said by the leader, which is often a statement based on a very questionable spiritual or other facts. Some of those "gospel truths" are clearly untrue based on the very source that is claimed to be at the core of the school's “teaching”.

It is easy to manipulate the information in the SFSK, since it is derived from such a mixture of different systems and sources, from which the "skilful theologian" is helping herself as she sees it fit, quite contrary to the principles of the Vedanta system, which is very precise and does not allow wondering around freely and fishing for “suitable” conclusions and “fitting” statements. The Shankaracharya has pointed out that strict adherence to the chosen system is essential, the instruction that was never followed in SFSK, as their leader seems to be enveloped in the notion of self grandiosity and universal spiritual importance accompanied by the due entitlements, and as usual, does not need to explain nor to answer anything to anyone.
Last edited by Unique on Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Unique
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:30 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Unique » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:07 pm

Ella.M.C. wrote:So this story illustrates how wrong the SFSK initiation/mantra is.
Firstly ..
HH has said that MM never asked for permission to initiate and also HH said that
he had never considered giving authority to anyone.
Secondly ..
The so important/special SFSK mantra .. if it was !! should be given by a qualified teacher,
a Guru.
But instead ... we have a student of the school, who has never even met the holy man,
who is a very nice person, but most definately has no qualifications whatsoever to
give students diksha/initiation.
(Qualifications of being in the school for more than 20 years, doing lots of school duties for
all those years and tutoring, and being favoured by Mrs Mavro .. are certainly not correct qualifications!)
It is a joke .. but also a spiritual crime.

Thank you for the very telling story, Ella.

How true -"a joke...but also a spiritual crime". I cannot even imagine what is going on in the mind of this "initiator"? How can someone be manipulated into accepting such a responsibility? The fact that he did accept it, is a clear indication of what he understands about the initiation. Could he possibly think that he is involved in the performance of some holy duty ,has she managed to lead him down the path of her own delusions?

As you said, Ella, he has no qualifications whatsoever, but it doesn't look like that he knows anything about those qualifications, otherwise he would know that Mrs Mavro could not possibly give him that authority (whatever loads of fluff she might have come up with). That is,if we are talking about "a true mantra and meditation connected with an authentic source " as the school likes to claim it. There are many others,an army of initiators, that are "initiating" anyone , anywhere into anything, hoping it will have the beneficial effect of calming the mind. Maybe, that is what is going on in the SFSK these days, "a joke... but also a spiritual crime" ...

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:49 am

It's somewhat ironic that when we were told about the meditation offered in the School it was "special", "couldn't be obtained anywhere else" and furthermore that the meditation being offered by other organisations was "not authentic" and so on. As it turns out, this is exactly the sort of meditation offered at the School for Self Knowledge.

Unique wrote:So, on one hand, the ad describes the school as "cultural and educational", and on the other, when a student leaves the school it is said that they have lost the way, they are no longer under the umbrella of the holy man and the tradition, and they are " just too busy with their ordinary, worldly life" which is obviously worth nothing in spiritual terms. They are said to have left " The Work" , for which "there is no excuse ". All of that, just because they left a mere “cultural and educational organisation”? Is it the content of the ad or the subsequent claims that is untrue? Or both?


This is brilliant. Of course the assertion that the School is a "cultural and educational" organisation is just a ruse. Most of those "lovely quotes" don't even make it into the part 1 material.

Unique wrote: I accepted the school's attitude that ”people would not understand” because “ they are too ignorant and too prejudiced to have a proper understanding of the real meaning of the school”; “it would not be helpful for their spiritual enquiry since it would only confuse them”, etc. Just like many other things that we didn't talk about, because people were “not ready for it” so we were not telling them the facts “for their own sake”, because “it would not be good for them“ to hear the truth. Senior students in the school believe that this is an expression of their true concern for younger students' spiritual wellbeing and consistent with the appropriate care of their younger "spiritual brothers and sisters".


Yes this is a common line used by Mrs Mavro and others - "they're too ignorant to understand the truth so we'll withhold it from them". What of those who have joined then left? Have they now suddenly ceased to understand whatever it was they understood while they were in the School? Also, it's not a case of "they never really understood it in the first place" because a lot of the people who have left the School were senior (and respected) members. If they never really understood the truth, then what are we to make of those who are still in the School?

MOTS

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Middle Way » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:07 am

Unique wrote:I cannot even imagine what is going on in the mind of this "initiator"? How can someone be manipulated into accepting such a responsibility?

The gentleman concerned comes from an employment background characterised by: “you must always obey the boss’s orders without question”. So while his choice as the new “initiator” was quite a surprise, perhaps in this light it makes perfect sense. Given such a deeply-ingrained attitude, there is no need for the boss to have to bother with dreaming up manipulating fluff. The boss simply tells you they have a holy mission for you, and that you are the right man for this special mission (but only because: “you will do whatever I tell you to do without question”). So it’s quite possible he does think he’s been involved in performing some holy duty, and unfortunately there will be no telling him otherwise.
MW

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:53 am

Middle Way wrote:
Unique wrote:I cannot even imagine what is going on in the mind of this "initiator"? How can someone be manipulated into accepting such a responsibility?

The gentleman concerned comes from an employment background characterised by: “you must always obey the boss’s orders without question”. So while his choice as the new “initiator” was quite a surprise, perhaps in this light it makes perfect sense. Given such a deeply-ingrained attitude, there is no need for the boss to have to bother with dreaming up manipulating fluff. The boss simply tells you they have a holy mission for you, and that you are the right man for this special mission (but only because: “you will do whatever I tell you to do without question”). So it’s quite possible he does think he’s been involved in performing some holy duty, and unfortunately there will be no telling him otherwise.
MW


As my contribution to this point .. I have two quotes.
Perhaps they too could be added to the other 'nice' quotes on the website for SFSK ...

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise"

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make
you commit injustices."

~~VOLTAIRE ~~

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:24 pm

Ah - if only we had read a little more Voltaire and a little less Blavatsky...

Babs
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:52 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Babs » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:01 am

Perhaps Mrs Mavro sees herself as a modern day Madame Blavatsky! As an aside, T S Eliot, the poet, didn't think much of Madame Blavatsky and parodied her in his poem "The Wasteland" thus: "Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, Had a bad cold, nevertheless is known to be the wisest woman in Europe With a wicked pack of cards..."

Thanks Ella and Unique for your observations about the SFSK's website and lack of information on that, I agree with you both. If the SFSK were a corporation or registered organisation it would certainly be open to claims of misleading and deceptive advertising under Australian consumer law. But I imagine the SFSK doesn't exist as a corporate entity or charity or registered club to evade any need for accountability.

I had a look at the SOP's website (is the SOP different to the school of practical philosophy?) and it discloses their links with Advaita Vedanta and its provenance in the London SES as follows:

"In the 1960s the school’s founder, Leon MacLaren, made contact with one of the twentieth century’s greatest exponents of Advaita Vedanta, Shri Shantananda Saraswati. This was the beginning of a relationship which was to last for over forty years."

Their website has a reasonable amount of background material and there is some disclosure about how they have acquired their property, ie through the "generosity of past and present students" and how the organisation is administered.

So, this begs the question: what has the SFSK, and specifically Mrs Mavro, got to hide? Why doesn't the SFSK make similar disclosure of its provenance, connection with the Indian guru and Advaita Vedanta, administration, management and funding? Why the secrecy? It really is fascinating but also quite creepy. Secrecy is antithetical to accountability and transparency. To extrapolate, children who are abused are told to keep it a secret, and that's how the abuser gets away with criminal behaviour.

I am certainly very interested to know what the Mavros did with the money they collected from students as their "payment" for being initiated. I imagine it funded the annual trip to India and of course paid the rent on the CBD premises. But now that the SFSK owns its premises in the CBD, what are term fees being used for? Council and electricity rates and charges, yes, not cleaning fees, as the students do the cleaning, not tea and coffee as students pay for these, not course materials as these are all recycled. Has there ever been any accountability to students for the term fees that are paid and the initiation fees that are collected, to say nothing of donations made by generous students? In the "real world", accountability and transparency is required from corporations to their shareholders and from government organisations to the taxpayer to account for every cent that is spent. I work for a government organisation and we are audited every year down to the last cent of taxpayer's money that we spend. This ensures that my organisation doesn't indulge in corruption. Because the SFSK cloaks itself in the guise of a "not for profit organisation" it can get away without any accountability to its "shareholders", ie the students. Did the Mavros pay for the weekends away at the residentials I wonder, or did we students fund their weekends? The SFSK claims that all the tutors do their tutoring voluntarily and receive no payment. So this should apply to Mrs Mavro as well. If she is swanning off to India every year and to residentials at the expense of students, then she is being paid for her "services". I am aware that Mrs Mavro has been generous to various students by giving them a discount on term fees when their circumstances justify this (myself included at various times) and has given favoured students help with overseas holidays, but has she personally been out of pocket?

I don't feel angry about my experience, and I don't feel that the years spent there were wasted. There were benefits and a sense of community. It is a fascinating story about how so many people could get so sucked in. It has happened before and will happen again, particularly with religious and quasi-religious organisations. There are many gurus out there with "clay feet" and many vulnerable people to exploit.

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:08 am

Babs wrote:
So, this begs the question: what has the SFSK, and specifically Mrs Mavro, got to hide? Why doesn't the SFSK make similar disclosure of its provenance, connection with the Indian guru and Advaita Vedanta, administration, management and funding? Why the secrecy? It really is fascinating but also quite creepy. Secrecy is antithetical to accountability and transparency. To extrapolate, children who are abused are told to keep it a secret, and that's how the abuser gets away with criminal behaviour.

I am certainly very interested to know what the Mavros did with the money they collected from students as their "payment" for being initiated. I imagine it funded the annual trip to India and of course paid the rent on the CBD premises. But now that the SFSK owns its premises in the CBD, what are term fees being used for? Council and electricity rates and charges, yes, not cleaning fees, as the students do the cleaning, not tea and coffee as students pay for these, not course materials as these are all recycled. Has there ever been any accountability to students for the term fees that are paid and the initiation fees that are collected, to say nothing of donations made by generous students? In the "real world", accountability and transparency is required from corporations to their shareholders and from government organisations to the taxpayer to account for every cent that is spent. I work for a government organisation and we are audited every year down to the last cent of taxpayer's money that we spend. This ensures that my organisation doesn't indulge in corruption. Because the SFSK cloaks itself in the guise of a "not for profit organisation" it can get away without any accountability to its "shareholders", ie the students. Did the Mavros pay for the weekends away at the residentials I wonder, or did we students fund their weekends? The SFSK claims that all the tutors do their tutoring voluntarily and receive no payment. So this should apply to Mrs Mavro as well. If she is swanning off to India every year and to residentials at the expense of students, then she is being paid for her "services". I am aware that Mrs Mavro has been generous to various students by giving them a discount on term fees when their circumstances justify this (myself included at various times) and has given favoured students help with overseas holidays, but has she personally been out of pocket?


You make some very good points in your post Babs,
and I'm sure others know more than me for some of the answers.

I am unaware of instances in regard to your comment 'favoured students being given help with overseas holidays'.

I did hear once from Mr M in that regard, speaking about a senior favoured student, that if she
needed some financial assistance to go on holiday to Italy with Mrs M and others, it would be given.
I know though that this student did not need financial help and I seriously doubt that she would have accepted.
At the time when he said this, I presumed that he mean't he would be paying for her himself,
but now I somehow don't think that was the case ..

In regard to residentials .. Mrs M and Mr M (when he was here) did not, and do not pay for themselves at residentials.
At least her airfare to India is funded by the school, I am unsure whether the payment included other expenses.
The residentials are a way of the school collecting more money, you are charged a premium on top of the actual cost.
On this point I don't have a problem .. if it had been openly explained to us (shareholders) so that we knew what the extra funds were needed for.
It is after all supposed to be a non profit organisation.
But on the contrary .. when Mrs M decided on a price increase, she would tell us that the sisters have
put the prices up, and possibly they had a little, but the school still makes a hefty profit from it.
When we were at Kerever Park .. they even were dishonest to the sisters there ..telling them less students stayed than actually did.
The school was very trusted there .. and this allowed them to take advantage of the situation.
And yes you are right about students giving generous donations over the years ..I have heard and seen this also.
I do believe also a substantial donation was received which went towards the purchase of the new premises.

Babs
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:52 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Babs » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:47 am

Defrauding the nuns! That's outrageous. So much for all the talk about honesty, truth and purity (the yamas and nyamas: unsure of the English spelling!)

Yes, the $200 fee for the weekend residentials I thought was a bit steep. Hartzer Park, the place used after Kerever Park, was adequate and clean but it was hardly five-star accommodation and the food was very basic: bread, cheese, salad, fruit, yoghurt, breakfast cereal, jam, honey, almonds, vegetable soup: that was it.

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:21 am

Sorry to hear that Kerever Park is up for sale. It did have a beautiful garden and the tree's were magnificent. It is going to be sub-divided which is a great pity. Probably some boutique hotel will get hold of it.

Unique
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:30 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Unique » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:18 am

Hi Babs,
Babs wrote:If the SFSK were a corporation or registered organisation it would certainly be open to claims of misleading and deceptive advertising under Australian consumer law. But I imagine the SFSK doesn't exist as a corporate entity or charity or registered club to evade any need for accountability.

It is registered as something, most likely as charity, since SFSK never payed any tax.
I had a look at the SOP's website (is the SOP different to the school of practical philosophy?) and it discloses their links with Advaita Vedanta and its provenance in the London SES as follows:

"In the 1960s the school’s founder, Leon MacLaren, made contact with one of the twentieth century’s greatest exponents of Advaita Vedanta, Shri Shantananda Saraswati. This was the beginning of a relationship which was to last for over forty years."

Their website has a reasonable amount of background material and there is some disclosure about how they have acquired their property, ie through the "generosity of past and present students" and how the organisation is administered.

Sydney Practical Philosophy (former SOP)had no problem of exposing their connection with vedantic tradition , although to say that Shantananda Saraswati was “one of the twentieth century’s greatest exponents of Advaita Vedanta” is a strange claim.

Comparing with the SFSK, the Practical Philosophy's ad contains more relevant and comprehensive information, giving to any prospective student a much fairer chance of knowing what to expect from the course. It allows people to make their own choice rather than be treated like sheep and told only “what they need to know”, becoming subjects to control and secrecy before they even start the course.


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