The Advaita Podcast #31 – Douglas Harding 1909 – 2007

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The Advaita Podcast #31 – Douglas Harding 1909 – 2007

Steve Da Wittness emailed me this morning to pass on the information that Douglas Harding, He Who Had No Head, passed away last night. So we did a show in his honour.

douglas harding

If you don’t know who he is, here’s a few links for you.

Douglas Harding’s biography

Links to his books.

PRESS PLAY [audio:]


  1. Mark Carpenter says:

    Nice Show. Will have to look into the work of this gentleman a bit more. Funny impression Steve.

  2. Clarity says:

    I enjoyed these podcasts when Bob was on the show, but it seems as though these later shows with Steve and Cam are just opportunities for the two to name drop and prove that they’ve read a lot of books. What gives?

  3. Cameron says:

    Hey Clarity, did I tell you about the time I met Sir Anthony Hopkins?! Maaaaan, that was cool. And then there was the time I stood in line at LAX next to Jean Reno. And the time I walked past Elvis Costello and Diana Krall at MOMA in NYC?

    Fred – great find!

  4. DharmaMike says:

    Another great show, guys!

    Steve, thanks for the recommendations. I only learned of John Wheeler when I started listening to The Advaita Show. I’d choose to check out some of his work if I had a choice. I’ve been reading Alan Watts’ “The Book” this week and would highly recommend it to listeners as a great summary of the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. By the way, who is this DharmaMike you guys mention? Someone in the past, maybe? I’m sure glad there is only the NOW.

  5. Steven Witt says:

    It had the biggest head you ever saw… A great enormous thing, – like nothing. A huge big – well, like a – I don’t know – like an enormous big nothing.
    …………………………………….A.A. Milne, “Winnie The Pooh”

    A wee gem from – Harding himself could not have put it better.

    Clarity, hmmm, a show in honour of a wonderful expression that includes many quotes from his work and those like his and from those who loved him.

    That is strange…comes the chuckle from the abyss…

  6. Rob says:

    Imagine a magician who explains to you his trick in great detail after which he performs his trick. You watch his trick and know what is going on, but you still get fooled and afterwards you think “what the fuck just happened!!”.

    That’s the advaita seeker!

  7. Rob says:

    “I enjoyed these podcasts when Bob was on the show, but it seems as though these later shows with Steve and Cam are just opportunities for the two to name drop and prove that they’ve read a lot of books. What gives? ”

    I do, I don’t care to hear bob speak(even though he is great), I have heard all the advaita talk a million times, I can dream it, so I don’t need a guru to explain it to me. Besides I have my own guru. I like that it is just two guys talking stuff.

  8. Mark says:

    I love James Brown! You guys cracked me up! “Get Jimmy!”

    All the Alan Watts references made me want to share a hilarious story I read about him in Rolling Stone. It was the edition devoted to Hunter S. Thompson’s death:

    A guy named John Clancy tells the story of how he and Hunter moved to Big Sur in 1960 and lived in a beautiful house. One night while driving home they hit a baby deer. They took it home and nursed it, putting a splint on it’s leg. Here’s Clancy’s quote from the mag…

    “A couple days later, Alan Watts, the great Zen Buddhist guru who was very popular at the time, happened to come by. He looked at the deer and said, “Oh I think I can help the little deer.” Then he kind of did all these weird mumbo-jumbo things and touched it. “This little deer’s going to be fine now”, he said. About an hour later it died. Hunter said, “That fucker, that crackpot, that fraud- don’t believe anything that charlatan speaks. He killed a deer.”

    I still love Alan Watts, but that story just slays me! HST rocked!

  9. Cameron says:

    Love that story! I named one of my kids Hunter after HST. God I loved that man’s spirit.

  10. Arek says:

    I know it is completely off topic, but what a weird name…
    What if poor kid would like to be vegetarian one day?

    No I’m not English and I could never understand how you could name a child after parents nationality (Norman). or a job (Hunter).

    Sorry, but I could not stop myself 😉

  11. Cameron says:

    Arek, I don’t think there’s much chance he’ll actually *be* a hunter, unless of course western civilization completely regresses about 2000 years.

  12. Mark Carpenter says:

    I saw on t.v. that they give so many dollars for killing cats and rabbits in the outback so maybe that could in fact be a career opportunity.

  13. James says:

    Clarity, give Steve a break. At least he articulates some of the oh-so-simple-yet-incredibly-complex concepts in a fun easily understood manner. I doubt that you would feel much more satisfied with the pablum that many so-called Advaita gurus seem awash in.

  14. Stan says:

    Cam, I enjoyed reading your interview in the Green Guide this morning. So THAT’S what you look like!

  15. mike smith says:


    Great show, simple conversation on an incridibly important topic. There aint no way its supposed to go… just speak and enjoy… what comes.. its all you.


    Life is never complete
    Life is never ending
    Life is never done creating itself
    You are never done creating life
    Because you are Life
    Existing, growing, changing always

  16. Mike A. from San Francisco says:

    I’m really glad you guys did this show. Douglas Harding has been a big influence on me. I had just finished recording a song called The Guillotine (inspired by Douglas and other teachers) and five minutes later I received Richard Lang’s email telling of Douglas’ death. RIP Headless One!

  17. marcelo says:

    I have a capitalist right wing Liberal(aus) party supporting friend( i.e. a mentally retarded person) who uses the ‘no free will’ line to support his belief system and actions.

    Why does the ‘no free will’ line get used purely to justify doing something you like? Or a mistake you’ve made? Or an action that doesn’t sit right?

    What about the thoughts that come up to encourage you to act in a different way? Are they not also part of that ‘no free will’?

    When I said that to him, he replied “no one here”

    Advaita can be dangerous when used purely for its word play, as opposed to it’s attempt at pointing to what your true nature is.

    Frankly, I think the only way to get rid of capitalism is thru an intense intake of peyote/mushrooms etc

    This may give way to another set of circumstances. It may produce a dream closer to its source i.e unbound. If thats whats meant to happen. If it actually matters as to what happens. Which It doesn’t, ultimately. But hey, since were just talkin’ here.

    I’ll try pointing him to Bob

  18. Mark says:

    So Cam, when’s the next show?

    Any chance of gettin’ John Wheeler?

  19. Stan says:

    Thought you might be interested in this essay on free will from one Michael Bearrentine, at

    Among other things, he says what I’ve heard you say, which is that we have no idea where our thoughts come from or how we organise them and move them around prior to thinking them, because most of what the brain does (which is a LOT) and how it does it, is completely inaccessible to us and remains out of our awareness.

    Oh, and for you advaita fans out there, he gets stuck into the illusory nature of the self.


  20. Corey Vance says:

    I’m just here to complain. I need some Advaita audio. I check this page atleast 5 times a day for updates and even the comments have dried up.

    Cam hook ‘me’ up with some pointers!

  21. Cameron says:

    Stan – thanks for the link, I’ll check it out!

    Corey – are you offering yourself up as a victim… sorry I mean “Guest” for the show?

  22. Corey Vance says:

    Hmmm, I don’t know what I have to offer and definitely can’t claim any great level of understanding, but I guess I’m willing to contribute. Who knows what will come out.

    I’m in Rochester, NY and have relatively modern gear and broadband.

    Let me know what I can do to get things moving.

  23. Helen says:

    Hi Cam,

    Any chance of getting John Wheeler?


    Helen in Los Angeles

  24. piers says:

    When is the advaita show returning!?

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