Meet John

John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan

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 T e a c h e r

The sign of a true teacher is when he can share his knowledge in a way that inspires, helps us to understand concepts and ideas through our own deep knowing and experiences, as well as leave us with the desire to want to know more. John is this kind of teacher. Jodi Boone Seattle Washington.


Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and a rascal, Yogiraj John Weddepohl has always been blessed with teachers. Master Educator, John received his formal education and training in India from his masters in the direct lineage of India’s great revivalist and sage Adi Shankara and Patanjali Siddha.

Mandated by his masters to share the teachings John has been travelling with the knowledge sharing Atma Vidya (Self-knowledge) and Asta Yoga of Rishi Agustya ever since.  


Be Careful What You Ask For – The Universe Might Just Give it to You 

Deciding that the little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, wanting happiness that did not disappear, relinquishing a successful career John went off in search of the solution.
Hoping to catch a rare glimpse of what prophets and sages call ‘Truth’
 he discovered that there is only Truth. Meeting his Masters in India, he found that Truth being common to everything is the most ordinary thing there is – he just hadn’t seen it yet!

Finding out that happiness too being our true nature is always ever present and ever available and not something human beings need to work for, changed everything. 


The Journey to Self

Persuaded to open a yoga school by his first yoga teacher Alan Finger and his father Yogiraj Mani Finger in downtown Johannesburg South Africa in 1969, under South Africa’s apartheid regime, it didn’t take long before the authorities shut the school down and he needed a job. A talented musician from the age of seven, John soon found work as a singer. Performing with some of South Africa’s popular bands, John later found his niche composing music for film and television. Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle, John found the flame of yoga would not be extinguished

With the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, South Africas cultural boycott barring travel to India was lifted and in 2004, hungry for knowledge, John travelled to India living as a western sadhu साधु.


India

Because Self, ‘I’ – Atma आत्मा outshines and outlives everything, Self-knowledge, Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या – has always been held sacred.

 Chai stop on the way to Palani aboard Buddha the Enfield. Called ‘Buddha’ for its rich exhaust note ‘Buddha buddha buddha. .  John rode Buddha to Palani in central Tamil Nadu the home of the Siddhas or Siddha Bhumi and home of the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampei Johns Siddha Family and to Mysore


Living in the tribal villages and the jungles in Odisha, sleeping on concrete floors in central Tamil Nadu, after travelling north, south, east and west, making friends with sampradayas and paramparas, different sects and lineages of India’s ancient Sanatana Dharma John finally met his Master.

Making India his home, for the next seven years John studied Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या and practiced Asta Yoga the yoga of Agustya Rishi.  

 Maha Guru Bhoganathar Siddha. Bhoga is the Guru of the Kriya Yoga lineage of Babaji the deathless Saint mentioned in Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography a Yogi’ and Param Guru of Patanjali Siddha, Bhoga is also known in China as Bo Yang Lao Tsu the founder of the TOA (see article)

Ashram Life – Thiruvanamalai India

As part of India’s gurukula system, the student gets invited by their Master to join him on his ashram. Breaking with tradition, in 2007 John’s Master invited him to join the 2 year brahmacharya course at his ashram in Thiruvanamalai. Joining the small group of young Indian students, their master a PhD in English broke with another tradition by taking all their classes in English.

In Thiruvanamalai under Arunachalam the Holy mountain of Shiva and on the banks of Holy Mother Ganga in Rishikesh, John received his formal education and initiation in Para Vidya (परा विद्या) – Supreme Self-knowledge.

It is through the grace and blessing of his Master H.H. Sri Pujya Suddhananda Swamiji and his Param Guru, Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji (1930-2015) acknowledged as the ‘guru of gurus’ and one of the greatest Advaita Vedanta scholars of his time, that John was able to assimilate the knowledge and share the deep transformative secret of yoga hidden in the Upanishads.

H.H. Sri Suddhananda Pujiya Swamiji Johns Vedanta Master visiting Cape Town South Africa 

इष्टम् ISHTAM

Teachings that combine the knowledge of Self Atma Vidya and ASTA Yoga, the Yoga of Agustya Rishi and the Tamil Siddhas,

‘Arriving in India, thirsty for knowledge, I finally met my Master through whose grace I discovered that long before I even looked for Truth, Truth had already reached and found me. For these timeless teachings I am eternally grateful to my Guru H.H. Suddhananda Swamiji to whom I offer my eternal pranams in gratitude. Without Swamiji this vagabond would still be wondering aimlessly, a restless, homeless sadhu.’

‘Without Self-knowledge our life journey is incomplete. Every journey having a beginning has to end. Self-Knowledge completes our journey. Knowing yourself as the beginning, the journey and end of all journeys is इष्टम् ISHTAM.’
Siddharthan 

John has the ability to speak about the burning questions to life with a childlike wonder and fascination. By breaking down complicated philosophical teachings through the use of real world examples and stories, the lessons became easier to grasp. The stories also provided as much entertainment as learning value…we will never see ice-cream the same again! Our only complaint was not having more time to sit and learn from such a generous soul.  Simon Pacey and Lynsay British Columbia

Swamigal and John visiting Kolliemalai. Sri Lasri Sivananda Pulippani Pathira Swamigal is the dynastic head of the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampai. Swamigal gave John his name Siddharthan and appointed John to represent the Dynastic Bhoganathar Siddha tradition abroad. http://www.sutrajournal.com/in-the-land-of-the-siddhas-by-john-weddepohl

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs or watering holes) from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa to sadhus living on the ashrams in Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects al these many different streams of knowledge. 

Traditional without being traditionalist John’s students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach.

Meeting and marrying his partner Rachel Zinman John and Rachel share इष्टम् ISHTAM at festivals, workshops and teacher trainings in India, Japan, Australia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the U.S.A. and South Africa. 

Sharing their love of music John and Rachel also sing devotional Kirtan whenever possible.

With the majority of time spent travelling and teaching abroad, John and Rachel dream of developing a centre where the teachings of इष्टम् ISHTAM can be ongoing. John and Rachel live between सुन्दरम् Sundaram Yoga Lodge and ashram the centre they hope to develop in South Africa and Byron Bay Australia.


Hearing names we forget the nameless

Seeing forms we forget the formless

  Hearing divine melodies we forget the silence

Chasing rainbows we forget the light of our own consciousness

Seeking ourselves we forget our effortless presence

S i d d h a r t h a n  –  J o h n  W e d d e p o h l 


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 J o h n s  T e a c h e r s  i n  I n d i a

His Holiness Kaviyogi Maharishi Doctor Suddhananda Bharati 

Yogiraj Dr Ramnath Aghori Baba

Srilasri Sivananda Pulippani Pathira Swamigal  

H.H. Swami Suddhananda Saraswati (Vedanta Master)

H.H. Swami Dayananda Saraswati (Vedanta Master)

see  इष्टम् ISHTAM

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 T e s t i m o n i a l s 

ishtam testimonials

John’s depth of understanding of Self-Knowledge and Advaita Vedanta and the Bhagavad-Gita are beyond compare. Even more beautiful is his ability to communicate or translate in an accessible way the meaning and nuances of these vast philosophies and texts. The sign of a true teacher is when he can share his knowledge in a way that inspires, helps us to understand concepts and ideas through our own deep knowing and experiences, as well as leave us with the desire to want to know more. John is this kind of teacher.

Jodi Boone Seattle Washington

testimonial for john weddepohl

John Weddepohl taught philosophy on my Yoga Teacher Training course in Goa. The students loved him and I’m impressed by his kindness and humility. He teaches in a way that dusts off the old manuscripts and brings the Gita to life off the page. As a lecturer, he brilliantly takes difficult concepts like Advaita Vedanta and renders them simple and comprehensible. He is a brilliant teacher of Self Knowledge and shares his knowledge in a way that inspires others. John’s Kirtan performances are filled with beauty and bhakti. He teaches with humour and compassion – a truly great soul.

Heather Elton Yoga Teacher, Writer, Photographer- London, England

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Brunch at Brenners with Rachel & John was great. And most of all John’s lecture at AIRYOGA was very very inspiring – after class I tried to push every thought away and just be me – it was most relaxing (even in a terrible traffic jam I was smiling) and to be not caught up in a thought:) Thank you so much John. Can’t wait to have you back at AIRYOGA next year!

Dagmar Sturh – Director at  AIRYOGA München – AIRAYOGA Zurich.

testimonial from Lyns and Pace

We had the good fortune of experiencing John’s wonderful energy and colourful teaching style during a YTT 200 course. His shining baby blue eyes and radiant smile tell the tale of his joyous approach to teaching…and life. John has the ability to speak about the burning questions to life with a childlike wonder and fascination. By breaking down complicated philosophical teachings through the use of real world examples and stories, the lessons became easier to grasp. The stories also provided as much entertainment as learning value…we will never see ice-cream the same again! Our only complaint was not having more time to sit and learn from such a generous soul. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment with John and will take advantage of any opportunity to study with him in the future!

 Simon Pacey and Lynsay British Columbia February 2012

ishtam John’s suggested practice and thoughts about self-knowledge make for a full week of yoga. I’ve since incorporated his sequence into my daily practice, and I’m liking it. Bradley Zeve Carmel Valley, California

Simone Sipply

As a teacher of Self Knowledge (Jnana Yoga)- John is really open to questions and discussions and has a seemingly endless pool of examples to help you understand the knowledge of who you are.  John manages through his in depth teachings to create a unique experience that brings you to yoga in a broader context helping you to find yourself and get a different view on your life. 

Simon Sipply- Dusseldorf

testimonial for John Weddepohl

John has a way of giving meaning to your life in a fun and clear manner.  He thoroughly enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge and makes me laugh at how simple and beautiful life can be.  Azura Lallot -New Zealand.  


– John, your teachings really blew my mind in the best possible way. I was literally hanging on every word thinking yes, yes yes that speaks exactly to me and my experience, thank GOD someone has finally explained this to me in a way that makes sense so I can get on with my life!! All the therapy to try and think myself out of my depressed state that is caused by my thinking – trying to cancel thoughts out with more thoughts – imagine how stupid this is! And then the mindfulness training, knowing that I need to detach from my thoughts but not understanding how to do that because I didn’t understand the whole happiness concept because nobody had ever explained who I am in a way that I understood.

I feel this incredible freedom that I don’t need any of the shit I thought I needed to be happy –  some destination where I will magically find happiness – ha! I look at it now and it seems so stupid. …  and the idea that it’s ok to have desires, that I don’t have to become some swami who lives in a cave and eats dal every meal.

 – Madeline Lipson. Byron Bay. NSW

Sabine Kuhnert

I gained a lot from learning about Self -Knowledge and now after the retreat being back in Germany, I realised that I took something very special home with me. Thanks for this wonderful present. Sabine Kuhnert- Cologne

** The term ISHTA-Mala इष्ट माला derives from Ishvarapranidana the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. ISHTA-Mala इष्ट माला is a garland of practices to balance the doshas and help build ojas helping the practitioner prepare the mind and establish a personal relationship with the Divine. A prepared and clear mind – called adhikari –  is a mind ready to glimpse the Truth (darshan).  इष्ट माला ISHTA Mala is a daily offering of Tapas on the alter of consciousness at the feet of the Divine – your Ishtadevata.


See you on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v01jHCOgI90&feature=youtu.be

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFQKZrSNASM&feature=youtu.be

Or on Facebook at Urb@n Vedanta or Urb@n Yogi or on Twitter.