It is possible to learn much concerning some aspects of the non-dual teachings from books. But at certain points personal guidance is needed. For this reason, the essential teachings have always been passed down from illumined teachers to prepared pupils.
In 1933, in London, Shanti Sadan was founded by Hari Prasad Shastri as a centre where the pure teachings could be given in the ordained way. Hari Prasad Shastri had followed the path of Self-Knowledge, Adhyatma Yoga, under the guidance of a traditional teacher, and had confirmed the truth of non-duality in direct realisation. He founded the centre according to the wishes of his own teacher, the Mahatma Shri Dada of Aligarh, who belonged to a line of traditional teachers stemming from the sages of the Upanishads.
From the non-dual perspective, the same essential truth is recognised at the heart of all the great wisdom schools. By profession, Hari Prasad Shastri was a scholar with a wide knowledge of Indian, Persian, Japanese, Chinese and Western philosophy and culture. This enabled him to present the teachings in ways suited and appealing to a contemporary audience. He is the author of many of the books published by Shanti Sadan, and articles that appear in Self-Knowledge Journal. The universal outlook has been continued and extended through books and articles by his pupils and followers.
Before his passing away in 1956 Hari Prasad Shastri nominated his successor, and the line has been continued through subsequent Wardens of Shanti Sadan to the present day. The true non-dual teachings have always been presented impersonally, with the emphasis on the abiding truth, not the personality of one who communicates it. The connection with their source allows the teachings to be restated in ways appropriate to current circumstances while preserving their essential purity without the admixture of personal opinions. This was the purpose of the founder which is being continued at the centre.