Ram Dass Has a Son!
In his seventies, Ram Dass, the renowned spiritual teacher who was instrumental in bringing Eastern spirituality to America, discovered that he had a son and grandchild he’d never known about.
When he was Richard Alpert, a primarily gay man teaching psychology at Stanford in the 1950’s, he’d had a one-night affair with a woman and used a condom. She married another man shortly afterward, discovered she was pregnant, and knew there was a chance that it was Alpert’s baby, because the condom had “slipped.” At the time, though, there was no DNA testing— no way to know who the father was. She told her husband, who said they’d raise the child as their own.
Fifty years later, the truth came out, which was a shock to Ram Dass and to the son, a businessman in North Carolina who liked to eat pork, smoke cigars, and “didn’t go in for spirituality.”
How did the son and his family react? How did Ram Dass respond? He’d never wanted children and had distanced himself from his own family. What did they both learn about relationships and love? The remarkable story is told from the father’s and son’s points of view.
Also included is the article Davidson wrote for the New York Times Magazine about Ram Dass suffering a stroke, and how he came to see it as “fierce grace.”
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