A Living Tradition
P. D. Ouspensky
Our non-dual philosophy and traditions have evolved and been informed by what The Study Society has inherited from masterful teachers and philosophers over the years. In the 1920’s the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky introduced Gurdjieff’s “Fourth Way” teachings for the first time in England. The Teaching – as PDO described it – was a series of ‘fragments’ of knowledge about man’s psychology and possible development on the one hand and about the laws of the universe, cosmology, on the other. Ouspensky assembled these fragments into what he termed the ‘System’, and this he taught in England and the USA until his death in 1947.
Ouspensky insisted that in order to survive as a living tradition this ‘System’ must be continuously developed and reconstructed by practical experience – and with knowledge of the contemporary scientific understanding of human consciousness. Upon his death he charged one of his closest pupils, Dr Francis Roles, founder of The Study Society, to continue the exploratory.
In 1960, Dr Roles discovered a form of simple mantra meditation he recognised unmistakably as the missing element in Ouspensky’s teaching. In 1962 he established a lifelong connection with the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, in North India. His Holiness (H.H.) Shantanand Saraswati was introduced to Dr. Roles by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi later popularised by the Beatles.
In 1963 another expression of non-dual philosophy was introduced to Dr. Roles through his unique relationship with Mr. Resuhi, a senior Sheikh of the Mevlevi Dervish order in Turkey. This resulted in an authentic transmission and teaching of the Mevlevi whirling dervish turning tradition. Mevlevi Turning orginated over 700 years ago with the poet Jalaluddin Rumi. The Turning continues to be taught and practiced at Colet House to this day. It is a unique way to connect to the heart.
Dr. Francis Roles
H. H. Shantanand Saraswati
Dr. Roles, and other members of the Society, visited H.H. in the North of India for a period of over 30 years from the 1960’s, to the early 1990’s. The communications with H.H. and record of the conversations which took place are known as ‘The Record’.
The Record, along with our many publications is based on the teachings of Advaita Vedanta, which is all about the essential oneness of the individual with the universe. This perennial philosophy was revitalised by Adi Shankara, who lived in the eighth century. He set up four seats of learning in the North, South, East and West of India and appointed leaders in each named, after him, so in effect there created a ‘Shankaracharya’ lineage for each region.
Though Advaita Vedanta philosophy dates back many centuries it is a teaching for all times, all people and for all places.
The Study Society offers extensive sources of knowledge through our publications and library which houses a unique collection of the non-dual teachings common to mystical Christianity, Sufism, Buddhism, Judaism and other perspectives of unity consciousness. These are offered alongside the teaching and sharing of practices that help further inner peace, happiness and spiritual growth.