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 Dharmadheep
सिद्धार्थन् धर्मद्वीप

What are the chances of bumping into Adi Shankara, India’s great revivalist and modernist in your local supermarket? What are the chances of conversing in English?
Studying with his Vedanta master in India, a PhD in English and world traveller John says, was exactly like that. Fluent in Sanskrit the language of the Veda Upanishads, for seven years, John was inseparable from his master as Swamiji passed on the teaching of Self-knowledge in English and told him to teach.

Pending discovery in each of us is the ultimate truth. We all carry Forever with us. Searching for what is closer than the closest, until the teacher points out the Self talked about in the Veda Upanishads and we put Forever in our pocket, we don’t know it.

‘The theme of the Vedas is not complicated. Having always been ourselves, because we cant see it by ourselves, we need a mirror. Someone part of the tradition, who knows truth like their own back yard. Acting like a mirror, able to point out what we cannot see using a methodology, once seen, we no longer need the mirror.’

Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and rascal, born in Johannesburg South Africa, John started teaching yoga in 1969. Blessed with teachers, in 2004 his visionary Advaita Vedanta master initiated him in Atma Vidya, Self-knowledge, the Royal Knowledge of the Veda Upanishads.

‘As a society of human beings, to fully thrive and flourish we need to explode our human secret.’

Deciding late in his life the little fame and fortune had to offer was not good enough, hoping to catch a rare glimpse of what sages and prophets call truth, John found that there is only truth – we just haven’t seen it yet!
Never closer than ourselves, once our eternal nature is pointed out, finding completeness we cant help but thrive.
‘To discover Self-knowledge in ones lifetime is to discover the timeless gift of the universe. Waiting to explode in all of us is the ever present joy, the ever fresh secret that is oneself.’

In 1969 at nineteen, John took to yoga like a fish to water. Urged by ISHTA founders Alan Finger and his late father Mani Finger to became an ISHTA yoga teacher John opened the ISHTA yoga school for them in downtown Johannesburg. Located on the top floor of the city’s first flea market, the building soon became a hotbed of anti-establishment radicalism and, under South Africa’s apartheid system, was forced to shut down by the authorities. Finding himself out of a job, a talented musician from the age of seven, John found success as a singer-songwriter performing with some of South Africa’s popular bands. After recording a number of local and international hits, he later found his niche scoring music for film and television.

Awarded internationally for his work, despite enjoying his success, John found something missing. To fill the hole he started exploring African wilderness areas, visiting Namibia, Okavango Delta. Finding the flame of yoga could not be extinguished, in 2004, with the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, when the cultural boycott banning South Africans from visiting India was lifted, travelling across India John lived as a western sadhu साधु.

Meeting his guru, John’s guru pointed out that the only thing missing in his life was himself! Explaining that already everything we look for we bring with us. Hearing that happiness too is not a destination but the secret of ourselves, wanting to find out more, John withdrew into the seclusion of ‘Self-Knowledge Village’, his guru’s ashram. Immersed in the teachings of Atma Vidya in Tiruvanamali, in the lineage of Adi Shankara, John got his education in Self-knowledge of the veda/upanishads. Finding the eternal we seek is never further than oneself; finding peace is not the ‘Long walk to Freedom’ we imagine but ever oneself, ever gained, (we just have to recognise it), John’s Guru removed his blind spot.
No longer missing to himself, like the sun rising in his life, Self-knowledge exploded destroying all Johns doubts,.

Drawing water from many different ghats (springs, 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 these different lineages and 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 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 centre for higher learning and living.
John and Rachel currently live between Byron Bay, NSW. Australia and सुन्दरम् Sundaram Ashram their home in South Africa.

one word unlocks your secret

Carrying creations secret, and life’s biggest mystery and grand prize with you, to resolve your mystery, and collect the grand prize you just need someone to point it out. Long before you go searching for the truth, Truth has already found and reached you. Already ourselves, the Sun of the Self never sets. Just covered by a cloud of ignorance, to remove the cloud, all we have to do is show up, and make ourselves available. Having lived with it our whole lives and bringing nothing but the truth with us we cant hide or miss it. Ignorance of one word separates us from what is eternal. ‘I’ already eternal holds all our secrets. ‘I’ not only reveals the Truth, ‘I’ is the Truth. Wielding the word ‘I’ like a laser the teacher who knows how, explodes the mystery. For truth to be revealed, just one thought needs to be resolved. Obliterating the darkness, recognising Self removes the blackness. Once pointed out the vacuum of ignorance like a black hole the size of the universe instantly disappears. No longer bound, having always lived in the shadow of Truth recognising the limitless Self removes all fear, uncertainty and doubt. Like the sun rising in the morning destroys all darkness, Self-knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance instantaneously. Once recognised, revelling in the light of the Self that is brighter than a thousand suns, the Truth that was always shining becomes apparent. Recognising what has always been, complete in the knowledge, finding out the eternal destination and outcome is oneself, the weight of endless pain and suffering the size of the universe lifts instantly off your shoulders. 

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