Siddharthan John Weddepohl

John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan सिद्धार्थन 

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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 rascalJohn Weddepohl has always been blessed with teachers. A master educator John received his formal education and training in the direct lineage of India’s great revivalist and saint Adi Shankara and Siddha Patanjali.

Mandated by his masters to go out and teach Self-knowledge – Atma Vidya – John has been travelling with the knowledge and sharing Atma Vidya and ASTA YOGA the Yoga of Rishi Agustya and the 18 Tamil Siddhas ever since. 

Be Careful What You Ask For  

Kali Nath Aghori Baba disciple of Guru Ram Nath Aghori Baba. John spent precious time with Kalinath in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal.

Deciding late in his life that the little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, wanting happiness that never ends, John decided to relinquish his successful career and go off in search of the solution.

Hoping to catch a rare glimpse of what sages and prophets call Truth, John discovered that there is only Truth. (He just had not seen it yet!) 
Through his Master John discovered that happiness, anandam being the very nature of the human being – is far from fleeting, eternally available and ever present.

Journey to Self

Persuaded by his first yoga teachers to open a retail yoga studio for them in downtown Johannesburg South Africa in 1969, under South Africa’s apartheid regime, it wasn’t long before the school was shut down by the authorities and John needed a job.
A talented musician from the age of seven, John soon found success singing in some of South Africa’s popular bands and later finding his niche composing music for film and television. Awarded internationally for his work, despite his success, once Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the cultural boycott barring South African’s from travelling to India was lifted, in 2004, John left his lavish lifestyle and went to live in India as a western sadhu साधु.


They say that there is nothing new under the sun. When it comes to ATMA, as the seer of time, ATMA outlives and outshines everything. The teachings called Atma Vidya आत्मा विद्या therefore, because they reveal our absolute nature as human beings, have always been held sacred. As timeless as time itself, for thousands of years, the teachings of Self-knowledge have been responsible for saving and uplifting humanity throughout history.     

 Chai stop on the way to one of India’s oldest pilgrimage towns aboard Buddha the Enfield. Called ‘Buddha’ for its rich exhaust note ‘Buddha buddha buddha. . riding on Buddha through central Tamil Nadu to Palani, John met his Siddha family, the Bhoganathar Siddha Parampei.  

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

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

 Bhoganathar Siddha the Great Guru of Babaji the deathless Saint written about in Yogananda’s book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. Bhoga is also the Param Guru of Patanjali Siddha the codifier of modern yoga. After Bhoga received initiation in Para Vidya (Supreme Self-knowledge) he followed his Master Kalinginatha to China where he is known as Bo Yang Lao Tsu the founder of the TOA (see article)

Ashram Life – Thiruvanamalai India

As part of India’s ancient gurukula system of education, students get invited to join their master 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 tradition further by taking all their classes in English.

Under Arunachala the Holy mountain of Shiva in Tiruvanamalai and on the banks of the Holy Mother Ganga in Rishikesh, John received his formal education and initiation in the timeless teachings of yoga called Para Vidya (परा विद्या) Supreme Self-knowledge.

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

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

इष्टम् ISHTAM

Teaching what he calls इष्टम् ISHTAM John combines Atma Vidya (Self-knowledge) with Asta Yoga the Yoga of Rishi Agustya.

‘Arriving in India, thirsty for knowledge, I finally met my Master through whose grace I discovered long before I had even started looking for the Truth, Truth had already reached and found me. For this timeless wisdom I am eternally grateful to my Guru H.H. Sri Suddhananda Saraswati Swamiji to whom I offer my eternal pranams. Without Swamiji’s grace this vagabond would still be a wanderer – homeless and aimless; a restless sadhu.’

‘Without Self-knowledge the journey of life is incomplete. Every journey having a beginning has to have an end. Self-Knowledge, ATMA VIDYA completes the journey for every human being. Knowing oneself as the beginning, the journey and end of all journeys is इष्टम् ISHTAM.’ 

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

Visiting Kolliemalai with Sri Lasri Sivananda Pulippani Pathira Swamigal the dynastic head of Bhoganathar Siddha Parampai. Recognising John as Yogiraj, Swamigal gave John his Siddha name Siddharthan सिद्धार्थन and appointed him to represent the Dynastic Bhoganathar lineage and Siddha tradition abroad.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs and watering holes) from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa to sadhus living on ashrams in Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects these 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 have shared इष्टम् ISHTAM at festivals, workshops and teacher trainings around the world.  

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

Spending the majority of their time travelling and teaching abroad, John and Rachel’s dream is to develop a centre for इष्टम् ISHTAM at their home in South Africa. John and Rachel currently live between सुन्दरम् Sundaram the इष्टम् ISHTAM centre and Ashrama they are developing in South Africa and Byron Bay Australia.

Hearing names we forget the nameless

Seeing forms we forget the formless

  Listening to divine melodies we forget 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


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 owner of  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.

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