Robey works with Uber. One day a passenger of his, who happens to be our neighbour, asked to be dropped off across the street from the Hare Krishna Centre.
“The Hare Krishna Centre. You know? I wake up every morning to the sound of their drums. They have a vegetarian restaurant inside. You should try it.”
Robey got the idea to visit and today was his first. “I loved the meal,” he told me as I seated myself at the table next to him. He said he was from Nigeria. Aside from Uber, he also does social work with youths in group homes. We talked about everything from Christ to Krishna, St. Nicolas—who got converted to Santa Claus—and from Al Jolson to Black Pete.
I told him I was born in Canada of Dutch descent.
“What’s that thing about Black Pete where someone gets painted black?” he asked, taking this notion to be derogatory, and a Dutch tradition.
“To my knowledge, Black Pete—in Dutch referred to as Zwarte Piet—was a helper to Saint Nicholas, who was very generous with children. As kids, we were taught that Piet was greatly revered. Al Jolson was a Jewish-Russian immigrant to the U.S. who loved the black man’s sense of rhythm. As a routine, he would don black make-up, sing sentimental songs and enthrall white audiences. If anything, he gave honour to African Americans. The most important thing to come to terms with, though, in all this regard, is we are not these bodies, but instead, pure spirits.”
Robey is really nice. I hope he returns. He took with him a copy of the book, Science of Self Realization.
May the Source be with you!