PANDIT RAJMANI TIGUNAIT, PHD, IS THE SPIRITUAL head of the Himalayan Institute. Family tradition gave him access to a vast range of spiritual wisdom preserved in both the written and oral traditions. As a young man, he lived and studied with renowned adepts before meeting his spiritual master, Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Pandit Tigunait is fluent in both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the scriptures. He holds a doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad, and another in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He has written more than a dozen books, running the gamut from scholarly analysis and scripture translation to spiritual biographies and practical advice on applying yogic concepts to the problems of daily life. In addition to lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than thirty years, Pandit Tigunait is the inspiration for the InstituteYs rural empowerment projects and the motive force behind the Himalayan Institute Community Centers taking root in Asia and Africa.
THIS BOOK, HAPPINESS IS YOUR CREATION, IS A living testimony of a man who made happiness his lasting companion. His name is Swami Rama (whom I lovingly call Swamiji), my master, my guide who filled my heart with the conviction that happiness is the only wealth worth acquiring, and all other forms of possession-power, money, prestige-can perform their magic only when happiness breathes life into them.
I lived with this man for twenty years. In this long span of time, I saw how hard he worked and yet how relaxed he was; how complex were the projects that he undertook and yet how tranquil he remained. An aura of joy surrounded him whether he lived in the Himalayan caves or fancy hotels of Tokyo or New York. He was a man who, in the face of death, could at once laugh, make jokes, issue directives to administer a multinational organization, the Himalayan Institute, and instruct students on their inner voyage. As he lay on his deathbed, I saw his face gleaming with a joy not seen before. Puzzled, I asked him, "Swamiji, these days I see you happier than ever before. Why is that?"
With a twinkle in his eyes, he answered, "I used to play in her courtyard. Now She is calling me to play in her lap. That makes me exceedingly happy."
Then he paused for a moment and spoke again. "You are a creation of God, but happiness is your creation. You are equipped with everything that you need to live a happy life. Your only job is to discover the source of happiness within and infuse your surroundings with that inner happiness."
Then, referring to my daughter, who lived in a boarding school just an hour away from him, Swamiji asked, "Where is the little one? When is she coming to visit me?"
My wife and I brought our eight-year-old daughter from the school. As soon as she saw him, she ran to him and climbed into his lap. Swamiji gave her a biscuit. Holding the treat in her hand, she said, "Baba, why are you so thin and weak?"
"Because I am not eating anything these days," he responded.
In her innocence, she inquired, "Why aren't you eating?"
With the same innocence, he answered, "Because I have finished all the food that has been allotted to me, so there is no food left for me."
At this, she spontaneously put that biscuit in his mouth and said, "So ... you can share some of mine!"
"Since you said so," he said and took a small bite. "I am now full. How old are you?"
When she answered, "Eight," he said, "You know, on your sixteenth birthday, I am going to throw you the biggest birthday party."
"At my master's home."
"Where does your master live?" she asked.
"At Mount Kailash."
Without knowing the context of the conversation, the little girl giggled. "So, Baba, when are you going to your master's home?"
He said, "Soon after you go to school."
"But Baba, I don't know how to reach your master's home."
Looking at me he said, "I have given your papa the address of my master."
When he dismissed her, the little girl ran out of the room, dancing and declaring to everyone outside, "Baba is going to visit his master, and Baba will give my birthday party at his master's home!"
Then Swamiji looked at my wife and I and said, "How beautiful and pure she is."
This last encounter with him threw me into a deep state of contemplation: How can a person, knowing that he is dying, be so full of cheerfulness and enthusiasm? How can a person about to close his eyes forever see beauty in everything? How, while lying on his deathbed, can he, with so much confidence, promise to throw a birthday party for a little girl eight years from today? What is the state of consciousness of this man, and how did he acquire it? My twenty years of life with him flashed before my eyes, and I heard him lecturing in the auditorium of the Himalayan Institute :
Over the next several months, my heart was flooded by his words, and I spent many hours contemplating what they meant. I realized how right he was when, on many occasions, he told his students :
This is what Swami Rama, his teachings, and this book are all about.
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