Swami Govindananda

Swami Ji is a KIWI! – he was born in New Zealand in 1953.

Swami Govindananda is affectionately known as Swami Ji.  In 1975 (age 22) he met a senior Swami of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Maharaj who was visiting New Zealand from India. This was Swami Ji’s introduction to the philosophy of Bhakti Yoga.
 Swami Ji travelled to India where he accepted Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj, known as Shri Maharaj Ji, as his spiritual Guru.

Swami Ji lived in Shri Maharaj Ji’s ashram for a number of years, practising meditation and philosophy, under his Guru’s guidance. In 1987 he became the first ever Caucasian Swami of Shri Maharaj Ji, and in 1989, following the wishes of his Guru, left India to help others learn and experience the mysteries of the self.

Swami Ji has created a website called Ji Living.com A resource rich website of his teachings that help support his vast charity work.


I hope you  listen to the entire interview.  This interview is rich with teachings, peppered with wisdom and thought provoking content. Download  to your smart phone or ipod. Or find Yoga Teacher Podcasts on iTunes here.



In the following SHOW NOTES, I have only provided a short summary of the answers to the questions that I asked Swami Ji.  (Mostly because I was SERIOUSLY challenged with the Sanskrit!) See below:- – The numbers represent the minutes in the time lines.

B: Your website is called Ji Living can you start off our chat with telling us what Ji in Sanskrit means?

SJ: Ji in a sense is a term of respect. Ji living is an attempt to put aside any barriers of gender or nationalities…(2:00)

B: Did you have a regular job before becoming a Swami?

SJ: At a young age I got into theatre. I got accepted into the National Drama school in Wellington NZ and moved away from home at the age of 17. I was working on stage, television and radio….

B: When did you decide to leave NZ and go off to India? (10:25)

SJ: I met the senior Swami in 1975, but it wasn’t until 1982 that I went to India.

B: Was this an obvious journey? Had you family; your parents and siblings and parents followed a spiritual path?

SJ: No they were Presbyterian, they sent me off to Sunday school and I didn’t really enjoy it I thought Top cat on TV was more interesting….

They didn’t stand in my way they just allowed me do what I thought was appropriate. The only proviso they had was… as long as your smiling naturally and looking healthy we are happy for you. (13:20)

B: I expect that becoming a Swami may require giving up personal possessions? (13:50)

SJ: It’s interesting I think there is a lot of misunderstanding in this area, I have everything I need….habits not worthy of keeping fall by the way side….


B: Can you help me understand the traditions behind the robes you wear and the colour? (16:10)

SJ: The colors are considered as sacred, spiritual colors. They are  timeless deities like Sri Krishna wore these colors they have spiritual value. When I wear these clothes it helps me, it enlivens me and when I put on a dark pair of trackies and a bush shirt I feel like the volume is turned down a bit. These clothes we think bring out the best in you spiritually.


B: On your website you provide an in-depth story of your guru, Shri Maharaj Ji. How would you describe the inspiration he’s given you? (17:00)

SJ: This is a very easy and difficult thing to quantify. His is so profound in his personality, always balanced, centred his humour, his extreme depth of knowledge. He’s got a history in India as being accepted as the 5th Jagadguru. He is now around 90 years of age. I can’t give enough accolades to him he is a flame.

Swami Ji’s Discover Your True Self provides a FREE, step-by-step guide to plan your own personal journey to consciousness Download a copy.

B: You present a range of talks that are certainly thought provoking and perhaps a bit challenging, however people describe your ability to talk about the complicated subjects in an easy to understand and fun way. You talk about How to Live a Happier, Stronger, and more Focused Life through Yoga, can you give us a bit of an insight of this talk? (20:10)

SJ: The main thing is to understand it’s not what happens in life, but how you respond to it…..


B: I’m personally intrigued about what you said about; when the soul leaves the body it collectively leaves with the mind intellect and the sense organs through one of the 720 million veins in the body.  I find this intriguing, from the perspective that, if we forget all that we have experienced in this life in this human body then why not leave behind the mind and sense organs to decay with the body? (30:30)

S: Yes it is complicated….

B: I understand that your talks also include Kirtan. (34:45) Carmen Franklin supports you on your tours can you tell us why you offer Kirtan? ….

SJ: Its got a wonderful positive energy and can shift your energy….like earth and sun help a seed to germinate Kirtan has been credited to helping enliven our spiritual power….

Chanting is attributed as a helper to bring that energy into prominence and make it stronger. It’s a deeper science….(37:00)

B:  Back 22 years ago In 1990, you established the Bhakti Meditation Centre Ltd., an Australian registered charitable organisation and the Australasian arm of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat which are established institutions in India which provide free health care and education to the poor. Tell us a bit about this (41:10)

SJ: There are three girls schools and three Hospitals. These are very serious projects. One of the hospitals treated 13,417 patients in the month of June 2012 it has a catchment area of 1M people. The schools are safe environments, teaching a curriculum approved by the Indian government.  (Swami Ji is looking for an editor to package footage of the charity efforts) (43:25)


B: You have a number of talks around Sydney and New Zealand do you have plans for Melbourne?

S: If studios in Melbourne would like to host Swami Ji please get in touch via swamigovindananda@me.com


B: What is the essence of your teaching, the core “Take Away” that you are striving for your students to gain from your teachings? ( 46:55)

SJ: I really want people to accept & respect the power within the body called the Atma (the soul). The conscience giving power….

B: Finally – Who would you like to hear interviewed on YTP?

SJ: Farida Irani founder of Subtle Energies and the Ayurveda conference she has a profound knowledge of Ayurveda.

53:15 end of interview Kirtan peformed by Swami Ji nd Carmen Franklin and followers.

To find out more about Swami Ji his charity work, events, teachings and retreats please visit www.ji-living.com  Donations will be gratefully recieved.

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6 comments to Swami Govindananda – Ji Living- Episode # 13

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