Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Personal Relationship With God Also Public Relationship With God

Austin, TX—Jitendra Singh's personal relationship with God entered the public sphere once again Monday, when the 48-year-old Sai devotee shared word of his devotion with shoppers at Dorman's Supermarket.

"You're wondering why I have such a big smile on my face today!" Singh said, attracting the attention of several shoppers in the cereal aisle. "It's because I have allowed Swami into my life! Wherever I go, He is deep inside my heart."

According to family sources, Singh's relationship with Sathya Sai Baba, aka Swami began 14 years ago, when the then-alcoholic businessman was invited to a Sai Center in his hometown. After he entered into a pact with Swami to become his devotee and, in turn, receive liberation, Singh's bond with the Baba grew so intimate that he couldn't help but share it with his family, his friends, people who sat next to him on airplanes, and strangers he met on the street.

Donald Gaston, who shared an elevator with Singh yesterday, was able to elaborate. "Jeet's got a very personal, private relationship with that Sai Baba," Gaston said. "He told me all about it."

As a member of Sai's personal flock, Singh said he has been "called upon to spread Swami's message through my life." Singh has placed "What Would Swami Do?" and "I'm Liberated... Are YOU?" bumper stickers on his family's two SUVs, filled both floors of his home with religious iconography, and placed a large silver sarvadharma on his coat lapel. He has referenced his relationship with Swami while dressing down hungover employees, and frequently relates his journey into the Lord's house.

"I was talking to Swami the other day," Singh said. "He said, 'Jitendra, I know you're tired, but I want you to drive on down to [local AM radio station] KTXR and tell the people your story—and, by extension, Mine.'"

"Tired as I was," Singh said, "I listened to my Lord. I put on my white suit, and I drove down to KTXR, where I talked about my darkest days and how I found the light. And people tell me Mary Sue Patton's Sunrise Witness show that morning was one of the finest ever broadcast."

Singh said he is especially proud of the good works he and Swami have accomplished on the local school board, by working as a team. "Teamwork," Singh said, holding up a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast Of Champions. "I asked Swami, 'Swami, do you want trash like this at the library?' Swami didn't even have to take any time to think! He said, 'Jitendra, no book filled with drawings of women's privates and people's behinds belongs in a library!' I move we do what Swami would." Thanks to the combined efforts of Sai Baba and his friends in Austin, Vonnegut's book was removed from shelves.

According to Singh, the only regret he has about his personal relationship with Swami is that he is unable to share it with more people. "If I could, I'd tell the entire country about the message of liberation Swami has shared with me," Singh said.

"With Swami's guidance, I've become the wealthiest chicken-feed wholesaler in the entire state. Maybe someday, I'll be famous enough to be on television. I sure do have a truckload of respect for people like President Bush, who aren't afraid to talk about how they've come to know the Lord. If only I could proclaim my private faith to as many people as the president has, I know that Swami would be so proud of me. And, ultimately, that's who this is all about."

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