Gerald Heard: Grandfather of the New Age

by Charles E. Vernoff, Ph.D.

Gerald's vision both preceded and transcended the attempted spiritual revolution of the 1960's.

One of the most remarkable experiences of my life was a several-year acquaintance with Gerald Heard that began in 1959 during my freshman year at the University of Chicago. Due to a unique personal history, I was a precocious “spiritual seeker” before the New Age had officially dawned in the mid-1960's. Born into an ethnically rooted but spiritually assimilated Jewish family, I was abducted — with permission (a long story!) — by North Carolina Southern Baptists during a summer month of my eighth year. The postcards about Jesus I wrote to my parents in Miami Beach no doubt inspired their placing me in a Reform Jewish Sunday school the following year. Another year and we were in California where, in short order, I had met my first yogi (a young Mexican just returned from five years at Shri Aurobindo's famous Pondicherry ashram in India) and was accordingly smitten by Hinduism. So by my early adolescence, I was juggling the truth claims of three great religions. Such is the childhood formation of a destined comparative religionist....

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