About John

“It’s not possible to separate the Teacher from the Teachings in this instance, for John is simply the embodiment of these Teachings.” 

John Weddepohl  |  Siddharthan सिद्धार्थन 

Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and rascal, John has always been blessed with teachers. A native South African born in Johannesburg John took up yoga in 1969 and started teaching at nineteen. Wanting to pursue his lifelong passion for knowledge, in 2004 John went to India where, he met his gurudev, Swami Suddhananda Saraswati who initiated John in Atma Vidya or Para Vidya,  Supreme Self-knowledge. After studying the wisdom of the Veda/Upanishads with Swamiji for seven years, mandated to start teaching John has been travelling with the knowledge, sharing ever since.


Deciding late in his life that what little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, hoping to catch a rare glimpse (darshan) of what the sages and prophets call truth, in India John found that there is only truth – we just haven’t seen it yet!

Hearing that long before we search for it Truth has already found us, and that happiness is constant, we just don’t know where to look, finding all his questions getting answered, John couldn’t stop listening.    

Finding the sweetness missing in his life was always himself, the gap in his education was filled by Self-knowledge.

Not knowing why we are here or where existence is taking us, left to fill in the blanks by ourselves, our education leaves a huge gaping hole in our lives. The size of the universe, having filled in and named all the other names for us, education fails to name the namer. Naming everything else relative to us, who is the namer naming everything? The most important thing missing being ourselves, until someone fills in the missing piece and fills the vacuum by pointing out the identity of the namer, our lives can never be complete. Filling the blackhole, the solution always easy is only pending discovery. Available 24/7 it goes unnoticed. Who is ‘I’? Who is the mystery namer? As long as ‘I’ stays hidden, the solution ever ‘closer than the closest’ is creations best kept secret. The Grand Prize of the universe being ourselves, ‘I’ being the only mystery, always nearer than the nearest, unless its meaning is pointed out, that long we can never be stay happy.

Feeling incomplete we are all that’s missing. To remove the blackhole of darkness for good, someone just has to point it out. Self, being the only thing mysterious and missing, education completely leaves it out. Self-knowledge fills the hole and completes the picture.  

Once we recognise ourselves as we are already, without name, CV, bank account, identity, the blackhole disappears. Being the perfect fit, we find perfect peace and happiness. Having always been the destination, we bring the missing piece with us and, needing no more looking, the teacher points it out and the search is over.

In the universal mystery you complete the mystery. Without you the mystery is incomplete. You also bring the only solution. Barring you, the universe is not a mystery. You are the only mystery. Difficult is not seeing or believing it. Truth being ourselves, once it is pointed out, is not difficult to see. Difficult is to accept how we missed it for so long. Accepting the Truth as it is. And, how Truth could have been us all along, ever present, so close, yet we kept on avoiding and missing it. 

Simpler than the simplest: ‘Encountering the destination of yoga in Self-knowledge, I discovered the timeless solution that is ever oneself. Already the completeness that I was looking for and destination, happiness, always ever reached and ever complete, all I needed was to have it pointed out. Once I heard it for myself, the search was over.’  

Finding yoga at nineteen, John took to yoga like a duck to water. Urged by his teacher ISHTA founder Alan Finger to start teaching, John was taking classes and leading meditation within ten days. “It was was like I’d never stopped.” Opening ISHTA yoga with Alan and his father Mani Finger in downtown Johannesburg in 1971, located on the top floor of the city’s first flea market, under South Africa’s apartheid regime, the building soon became a hotbed of anti-establishment radicalism. Forced to shut down by the authorities, John found himself looking for a job.

A talented musician from the age of seven, finding success as a singer-songwriter John started recording and performing with some of South Africa’s popular bands. After recording a number of local and international hits, John found his niche scoring music for film and television.

Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying the fruits of success, feeling something was missing, he started exploring African wilderness areas. Visiting Namibia and Okavango Delta,  he found the flame of yoga could not be extinguished. In 2004, after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the cultural boycott banning South Africans from visiting India was lifted, and John travelled to India to live as a western sadhu साधु.

Meeting his gurudev, Swamiji suggested that the only thing missing in his life was himself! Suggesting that we all carry nothing but the complete solution with us, that the perfect solution is nowhere but ourselves, hearing the words of his guru John withdrew into the seclusion of ‘Self-Knowledge Village’ in Tiruvanamalai. Immersing himself in the wisdom tradition of the veda/upanishads under the holy mountain of Arunachala, and listening to the teachings of Atma Gnanam on his guru’s ashram, he discovered the ever fresh secret talked about in the upanishads is ever oneself. Self-knowledge of the veda/upanishads, points out the fullness that we seek that is never absent. Ever full like the sun, only lost in clouds, until we gain the knowledge of completeness, we miss it. The most important piece always nearer than the nearest, is not the ‘Long walk to Freedom’ we imagine. Pointing out the beauty that is ever present as oneself, (we just don’t know it or, how to recognise it) Swamiji, removed his blind spot and, like the sun rising in the morning, Self-knowledge shining through the darkness removed all the clouds of mystery and doubt. Recognising the Self as ever reached, ever gained, John’s understanding exploded. Like a dormant volcano, discovering the Grandest Prize and creations greatest secret to be man himself, Self-knowledge erupts.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs and watering holes), from traditional healers (sangomas) in Africa, to living Guru’s on ashrams in Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu, John’s teaching reflects the different streams of knowledge that all stem from the same source. Traditional without being traditionalist his students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach.

Insisting that Self-knowledge work in everyday life, meeting and marrying Rachel Zinman, John and Rachel spend their time teaching इष्टम् ISHTAM at festivals teacher trainings and workshops around the world.  Sharing their love of music John and Rachel also sing devotional Kirtan whenever possible.

Spending the majority of their time abroad, John and Rachel’s dream is to develop ‘Sundaram’ Ashram into a international centre for Self-knowledge. John and Rachel currently live between Byron Bay, NSW. Australia and सुन्दरम् Sundaram their home in South Africa.

one word secures our future and unlocks our secret


The longer we all carry creation’s Grand Prize with us and remain its best kept secret the longer we suffer. As long as it stays  that way and we remain a secret to ourselves, we never get to collect the Grand Prize. Long before we even look for it, the Truth being ourselves, and only solution has already arrived. Not needing magic to pull truth out of a hat like a rabbit, the teacher of Self-knowledge just points it out. Pointing out what is already there, immanent in all of us, having never been absent, we don’t struggle to see it, we struggle to believe it. Having never been separate or apart, that we carry creation; God’s Grand mystery and secret prize with us and are also its Grand recipient and final resolution blows our minds. Having it revealed to us, resolves all our doubts and gets rid of all our difficulties. Truth no longer hidden in the shadows, Self-Knowledge, explodes like the Sun and reveals our ever fresh secret that was ever immanent leaving us mute and dumfounded.

Pending discovery, as human beings we each carry the complete solution and prize with us. Once uncovered, Truth being universal, no one can escape.
To gain what is already ours all we have to do is listen. Once we show up, and make ourselves available, bringing nothing but the Truth with us, with the help, guidance, and words of the teacher, what is unmistakable and instantly recognisable as ourselves becomes obvious. 

One word is enough to explode our secret and reveal our hidden treasure and destiny. Wielding the word ‘I’ like a laser, the teacher knowing how to use it, uses the truth like a weapon to explode the universe. 

Waiting to see yourself, ‘I’ longer hidden, truth no longer pending, the seeker of happiness and the destination, having always been one meet, and recognition is complete and instantaneous.

Because we cannot hide from the truth nor unpack our secret by ourselves, the teacher and teaching has to explode the truth for us. Once the thought of oneself is resolved, ‘I’ no longer there, in the knowledge, revelling in what is ever present; ever constant, eternally gained, we cannot stop the wonderment. One word creates all our conflict and yet, when used correctly, delivers the absolute freedom. and solution. Just one word ‘I’ in the hands of the teacher carries the power to reveal the Truth. Having lived with the word our whole lives, living in its shadow, truth invisible, yet ever closer than the closest, is revealed leaving us dumbfounded. 
The moment we recognise ourselves, the blackhole instantly disintegrates and suffering disappears.  No longer living in a vacuum, evaporating like a cloud, the teaching of Atma Vidya reveals the eternally present Self shining in all its glory.

Lifting the weight of the universe off our shoulders, recognising we have always been the eternal outcome and reason for existence, removes all fear, uncertainty and doubt. Like the sun rising in the morning removes all darkness, the light of Self removes all suffering. No longer bound and challenged, destroying all FOMO, truth once revealed, revels in its own glory and wonderment. The blissfulness never stops. Knowing our boundless nature, the worried person no longer burdened, having no more conflict disappears. Having always been the prize, our recognition complete, the teacher and teaching no longer needed drops out. No more burdened by the mystery of ourselves, we get on with our lives. om




From Our Students

“I don’t believe there is anything I could do on this planet more valuable than gaining this teaching. What an extraordinary blessing and privilege to have the deepest and most ancient revelatory wisdom not only available but given by a living teacher in a timeless lineage of living teachers. This knowledge can only be given by one who has already realised the truth of themselves. John’s realisation, his complete humility, his love and his deep, deep knowledge are a delight and a living access to Self-Knowledge. – Dale Rhodes

-Dale Rhodes

“Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity! If everyone listened & participated in these teachings the world would become a better place for all of us to live in. ‘They’ say the best way to heal the planet is to heal ourselves and these teachings provide that level of insight & opportunity for anyone willing to take the leap. “ Thank you John

Alka Franco

“I loved the simplicity of the teachings. The step by step approach over seven weeks gave me ample time to digest the content of each session. It deepened my understanding of the nature of happiness, the nature of my thoughts and ideas/beliefs, as well as the nature of consciousness. Practically speaking, it helped me get better at slowing myself down when I catch my mind racing away. I highly recommend this to anyone who’s even remotely curious about Self Knowledge.” 

– Aris Athanasopoulos

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

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 Stuhr

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 and Lyndsay Pacey