Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:16 am

Man On The Street,
Absolutely correct about the distortion of the School's version of Advaita Vedanta, they have twisted this and other philosophies for their own use and advantage. Your came close with Blavatsky, the foundations of the SES and SFSK come the the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky movement of the mid twentieth century
Tootsie,
The Judith you speak of was a personal friend and once a fellow top group member with us and it is sad to see her in that position now.

To be fair LM did not use the word karma, he used the sanskrit word 'sanskara', karma is something else and relies on the concept of cyclic time and not linear time which I will not go into at this time. LM was also very anti buddhist for they denied the existence of the soul ie the Atman. This is in spite of the fact that buddhist teachings are referred to for their own benefit like everything else in the SES.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Unique » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:25 am

Current and prospective students of the School for Self Knowledge should obtain some essential information about the “School”.

A must read is “In Search of Truth” by Brian Hodgkinson . It is the story of the SES, which is also the story of its break-off organisation, the SFSK. The book effectively demystify the SFSK's self-proclaimed uniqueness of purpose, methods and sources.

The current members of the School for Self Knowledge may also want to look at the following books: “The voice of the silence” by H.P.Blavatsky and “The Creative Silence” by Rohit Mehta. They may find that what they were led to believe was “special material” written by the school leader/s and exclusive to the school is actually a gross plagiarizing of a ”classic theosophical work by Madam H.P.Blavatsky, a principal founder of the Theosophical Society “ and R. Mehta's subsequent commentary on it.

Too often “spiritual” leaders appear to believe that secrecy, misinformation and manipulation of people are the rightful means by which to provide “special care “ to their students.

Unique

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:43 am

However, remember when reading "In Search of Truth" that Brian Hodgkinson is a member of the SES and has given a very sanitized version of the history of the School of Economics Science and its satellite branches of the school.

The real version can be found in the book "Secret Cult" by Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg and the influence of the SES in the Liberal-Democratic Party in the UK.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:29 am

On the subject of books:

The following are probably the most important ones to read if you want to find out what Vedanta is really about (as opposed to the garbled version they give you in School).

i) The Brahma-sutra-bhasya by Shankara
ii) Shankara's commentary on the Mandukya Upanishad
iii) Viveka-Cudamani (also by Shankara)
iv) Pancadasi (not by Shankara, but it is a key Vedantic text)
v) The Quintessence of Vedanta (by Shankara)
vi) Upadesha-Sahasri (also by Shankara. In English: 'The thousand teachings')

I'm not sure if you can still get (v), but perhaps Motilal's in India has a copy. Here is their website: http://www.mlbd.com/

The Brahma-sutra-bhyasa is probably the most important Vedantic text. It sets out Shankara's philosophy and his refutation of the other schools of Indian philosophy at the time. It's essentially a Vedantin's bible. Shankara's commentaries on the Upanishads are important because they outline his view on the auxiliary aspects of the teaching like karma and so on. Pancadasi is a seminal work that His Holiness often studies. It gives a much more in-depth examination of Vedanta in the form of a response to various objections to Vedantic philosophy given by Buddhists and others. The Quintessence of Vedanta is just what it's title suggests - a summary of the main philosophical issues of Vedanta. Upadesha-Sahasri is another work by Shankara that goes into more detail than the Quintessence does. Viveka-Cudamani ('The Crest Jewel of Wisdom') is a more basic text that outlines the central tenets of Vedanta without too much discussion. It's a good introductory text.

These six books give a very good overview of Shankara's Vedanta and its subsequent refinement by other Indian philosophers after him. You definitely get a sense that Vedanta is not the complete and entire philosophy it is presented to be in School. Rather, like all other philosophies, it undergoes change and refinement over time. Some of Shankara's ideas were rejected by subsequent Vedantic philosophers and others were developed further. You don't get any inkling of this in School however. The Teaching is presented as a unified whole, and this is demonstrably false.

As a final point, it's absolutely crucial to know what the Teaching really says before making a decision as to its validity. You can't do this on the basis of what you were taught in SFSK because frankly, it's not the Teaching at all. I actually found that the real Teaching does resolve many of the issues people have with the things they learn in School and I think everyone should have the opportunity to appreciate this for themselves. On a personal level, I found that the Teaching raises almost as many problems as it solves, however this is the mark of good philosophy - it doesn't pretend to be complete even though it aims to be so.

Vedanta needs to be seen in the context of Indian philosophy, and then in the context of philosophy in general. It's meant to be a system of metaphysics, and not necessarily a way of life. Fundamentally, Vedanta is a rich source of ideas about what the world might be like, but there's nothing about Vedanta that puts it somehow above any other attempt by people to formulate a cogent metaphysics.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:36 am

Hello to all,
I have just seen the posts here from Middle Way, Man On The Street, and Unique ..
I thank you all for speaking what I too now realise to be true.

For the record I too have recently left the School For Self Knowledge after being there for over 20 years.
The Sydney School is not very large really ..I would estimate around 100 students.
The Canberra branch I believe is less, only around 50 to 70 students.
The last few months have seen senior people leave the school, the Friday group which is the 'top' group
and at the time had 10 students, of which 3 have left. Two of which were really seen by other students
as the closest to Mr and Mrs Mavro (travelled to India with them, etc) and in my opinion the most genuine 'tutors'
we had there.
Two other tutors in Sydney from other groups have left, plus quite a few students ..so certainly not insignificant in comparison to school numbers.
Also In Canberra the two students who were senior tutors and the leaders responsible for the school there under Mrs Mavro's direction have left . Also in Canberra at least 3 other senior tutors, and other students.

The points made about the school's material are true, we are led to believe it is written by the leaders, from their own personal experience, but in truth it is the old SES material, adjusted slightly, and the 'special' material such as Creative Silence which is straight from Blavatsky, which is perfectly fine ...if it is acknowledged as such.

There are many things I could say here but so much has been said here already, especially by Man On The Street, that is exactly how I see it in the school, so no need to repeat .. but in time I may add more.
I am pleaded to hear that the current SOP has changed.

With the question from Tootsie on "What kept you in the School?"
For me it was knowing in my heart that the Teaching was true, and looking for more meaning and answers to this life. Over the years though there have been so many things one sees in school that are definately not right but somehow my mind justified them by saying things to myself like, they do this because they are from another generation of a stricter code, or they care for us as a parent.
I can clearly see how wrong my thinking was and how self centred they really are in the way they use and manipulate people for their own advantage.
But when the top two Friday students left it gave the space and a realisation that there is a way out.
And life goes on, freer, more open and natural than that false environment we were subjected to, full of pretence.

Subtle intimidation and manipulation is still very much the way in school.
More in the top end of the school under Mrs Mavro, than with other students that give material to the junior classes.

"Psychologically tampered with" as mentioned by Man On The Street rings very true to me ..
Far better to be a 'Man On The Street' ..
Than 'Schoolier Than Thou' ...
Last edited by Ella.M.C. on Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:25 am

Welcome, Ella.M.C. To the Forum, and also to the new contributors from the SFSK recently. I spent many years in the 'top' group in the SOP under Michael and Nina Mavro. I don't have any experience of how they ran the SFSK but would suspect it was much of the same, except the Mavros didn't have to answer to Leon McLaren and the SES for their actions. While Michael Mavro may have been the force, little Nina Mavro is the force behind the force.
The SOP may have had to take a change after Mclaren but it is very much run under the same set of rules as the SES. They have had to change with the times and society is not so naive now, ie they had no choice except to change or not survive, as this is no longer the 50's or 60's.
What should be remembered at all times, while the experiences will remain, life changes and there is always hope and reality in the so called ordinary world. You certainly learn from your experiences and become much stronger human beings for it.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:41 am

Thank you Ahamty2 for the welcome,

It has taken some time to have the courage to speak here for fear of recognition from
others still in SFSK.
I am very grateful to the words of Man On The Street, who has really covered so many points about
the school very accurately.

Reading some of your own last posts I see you must have been in similar situations as I had found
myself at times .. meaning the 'front' room of the house with Mr Mavro!
I can imagine very well what might have transpired there.
And your words of little Nina Mavro being the force behind, all of the recent departees from the SFSK, would
relate to your words.

Subtle intimidation was not always subtle, quote from Man On The Street, "activately seek to deprive people of the strength and courage to make that choice" (to leave school).
These above words remind me very much of this graphic or physical account that happened to me.
Confronting Mrs Mavro in regards to things I had been told that were serious allegations about them, led to
long interrogations demanding I repeat every word said by who .. the effect and confusion of this event was worse than a physical beating. And what I mean by confronting, is only by saying to her I am corncerned of these things that have happened, not by being in any way aggressive toward her. It is hard to speak what you feel in school .. it has to be 'appropriate'. I was looking for an answer to settle my mind which was very disturbed by what I had heard.
The way this, and I will call it abuse, is done, is that somehow you end up feeling so bad for even questioning or even thinking that something is wrong at the top.
I said during this interrogation (around 5 years ago) that I felt I had to leave because of these things. The response was, "What will become of you, what will you do without school"? I even bravely responded that I would just continue on by myself. The session ended after many tears, with hugs and being told I was loved.

Man On The Street said, "The key thing is to look at the end result of all that practising"
Yes, 'The proof is in the pudding' as the saying goes.
When you see this, in the actions and behaviour at the very top of the school ..
That in itself is enough to make you leave.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a cult of some type, some years ago when I first heard and saw these forums, I thought calling it a cult was ridiculous.
But when you are so entrenched there with brainwashing, you cannot see anything else.
Wonderful, intelligent, good people are there .. reading my words now, they too would disagree.

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:48 pm

Ella.M.C. What you describe is simply a form of psychological and emotional abuse. The Mavros were very good at using this when you are most vulnerable. While it may be consoling to refer to the Schools as cults I tend to try not to refer to it as such, even if the label fits.
Back in the early 60's (yes, I am that old now) I saw a musical in London called "Stop the World ,I want to get off!" during the musical, the story has Anthony Newley sing: "What kind of fool am I". I try to see that SES and SOP experiences with that song in mind, no matter how serious the experiences have been. We do have to move on, no matter how difficult it may seem at times, it is hard but you will get there in the end.
I believe that the SFSK will not be around in ten years time and the SES and SOP will be finished in its current form within the next twenty five years which will be beyond my life time, its wealth will keep it going for a while yet.
Leon McLaren was right when he said to us a long time ago now, that everything in creation runs down, even this school will one day run down and finish.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:06 am

Ella.M.C. wrote:The session ended after many tears, with hugs and being told I was loved.


This is so true. Mr Mavro's outbursts in groups were also a common feature - they would almost invariably end with some utterance to the effect that he 'loved' us or something similar. The fact that I used to sit there and take it like everyone else is still a source of great regret to me.

Ella.M.C. wrote:Wonderful, intelligent, good people are there .. reading my words now, they too would disagree.


Exactly. I don't think current students in the School are somehow less intelligent than anyone else, however they are victims of serious brainwashing. Of course no brainwashed person ever thinks they are brainwashed - that's why you often need a bit of a shake to get you out of it. The main thing is to see if actions and words align. If there is somebody up there telling you one thing and all the while doing another then you have a serious problem.

As far as "what will you do without the School?" is concerned; I assure any current student of the School that none of us have died, or had serious mishaps or misfortunes as a result of leaving the School. Quite the contrary in fact. I've found my life has become so much richer and more meaningful now that I'm beginning to cast off the shackles of School thinking. One former student told me that their meditation practice had significantly improved since they had left.

All that really awaits you is freedom.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:15 am

Ahamty2 wrote:I believe that the SFSK will not be around in ten years time and the SES and SOP will be finished in its current form within the next twenty five years which will be beyond my life time, its wealth will keep it going for a while yet.
Leon McLaren was right when he said to us a long time ago now, that everything in creation runs down, even this school will one day run down and finish.


I think your comment here Ahamty2 is spot on, and your timing estimates.
Mr Mavro, just like his teacher Leon McLaren.. used to say those exact same words to us.
And also as no doubt you have heard, that the reason the words of Jesus, Krishna etc have lastest so long
being because they come from such substance, but even they too will have an end.
And the other way it was often expressed, being "when something no longer has a use in society it disappears ..
like the dinasours".
In SFSK at present there is little substance, just good genuine people.

ManOnTheStreet wrote:
Ella.M.C. wrote:Wonderful, intelligent, good people are there .. reading my words now, they too would disagree.


Exactly. I don't think current students in the School are somehow less intelligent than anyone else, however they are victims of serious brainwashing. Of course no brainwashed person ever thinks they are brainwashed - that's why you often need a bit of a shake to get you out of it. The main thing is to see if actions and words align. If there is somebody up there telling you one thing and all the while doing another then you have a serious problem.


Yes, Man On The Street ..agreed. It is so obvious now that a brainwashed person would ever think they are brainwashed. Otherwise it would not be brainwashing!
One thing I have thought about since leaving, and that I am trying to be more cautious of .. is using those same stock school responses that I believed wholeheartedly, without question, having being told them repeatedly, they just arise easily and are told to younger students as if they are gospel truth.
They make the tutors feel comfortable and confident in their positions.
Maybe they are all true.. but unless they are examined closely, it could be more of what suits the schools' criteria.
So maybe I did not discriminate enough whilst there .. and was just a naive sheep follower!
But at least now I am content being a black sheep ...

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Unique » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:12 am

Hi Ahamty2, a bit delayed response re: suggested books to read
Ahamty2 wrote:However, remember when reading "In Search of Truth" that Brian Hodgkinson is a member of the SES and has given a very sanitized version of the history of the School of Economics Science and its satellite branches of the school.

The real version can be found in the book "Secret Cult" by Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg and the influence of the SES in the Liberal-Democratic Party in the UK.

Thank you, Ahamty2, I agree that “In Search of Truth” is a “sanitized version“. Nevertheless, it contains enough of valid information to clearly demystify many SFSK's pompous claims.
 
And yes, the two books together would provide much a more complete description of those organizations. It seems that the documented horrors of the early years of the Sydney SOP ended with the departure of its original leaders and their dictatorship. However, they continued in the School for Self Knowledge, with the usual controlling, manipulative techniques as well as masterly generated and sustained misinformation. This ensured their ongoing enjoyment of special entitlements, including the right to arrogantly take advantage of people and situations as they saw fit.
 
This is still happening although in a much more subtle way.

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:34 am

I agree with your overview, Unique.
It has to be remembered that the Mavros, et al don't have to answer for their actions anymore to the leader of the SES, Donald Lambie. Although the SES in London have always claimed, and I have that in writing that all their Schools operate autonomously. But, I can personally remember that when Leon McLaren said what you had to do, there was no questioning his authority by anyone!
Last edited by Ahamty2 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

misled
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:54 am
Location: Ballarat, Australia

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby misled » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:34 am

Hi Everyone,
I am finding all the discussions in this forum so interesting and helpful. I see that the book "Secret Cult" by Peter Hounam is mentioned many times. Does anyone know where I could get a copy? I am located in Australia...if that makes any difference. An ebook would be great but I doubt that would be available.
Thanks,
Misled

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:21 am

Hi misled,

Gould's Book Arcade at Newtown Sydney had copies available at $18. Just Google Gould's Book Arcade.

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

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:03 pm

Hello Mislead,

You can also find 'The Secret Cult' at,

AbeBooks.com

There are many 2nd hand copies of the paperback, it will cost around $1 to $2 plus around
$6 to $7 postage. (From the UK,to Aus)
It is a wonderful site for any out of print, spiritual, or secondhand books.


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