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Gandalf or Galadriel?

Through the dark valley with Rohini Ralby


I knew Rohini from recountings by Johannes. She had been his advisor and teacher for many years. Back in the beginning I had been suspicious for a moment, but I found that Johannes was developing well and his horizons were expanding, not narrowing. And I gathered from his reports that Rohini and I had converging views about God and the world in many areas. I liked her approach to silence, her interest in mysticism, and we also had common ground on issues of child rearing. We sent greetings to each other from time to time, but I didn't think we would ever meet face to face.


Then something unexpected happened in my life, something that was very painful, something that threatened to throw me off track. Even though it is not really my style to accept help from others, I did not want to go the way through this valley without company. I sought and found support in several places. Johannes connected me with David, Rohini's husband, who had experienced a similar situation. And so it happened that I finally knocked directly on Rohini's door.


Rohini surprised me right away by saying that I had belonged to this circle anyway for a long time already. Besides Johannes, my daughter Maria was also in the group at that time, and I had already met other students of Rohini when I had been in England. Through the many stories, she and her worldview were so present to me that I myself had at times thought something similar.


My new situation was at that time very unclear, I saw no goal and no way yet, knew only that it had become abruptly very dark and groped step by step further. Maybe that's why one of my first questions to Rohini was whether she was a kind of Galadriel, whether she could give me a first orientation like Frodo, maybe even a light for dark hours. Rohini said her role was more like that of a Gandalf. The difference? Well, Gandalf is on the path with Frodo for a long time. Even where they are separated, he is concerned for the success of the mission.


I had asked the question without thinking much, but I was still amazed at her answer – an ocean lay between us, how could that be possible? We met online from time to time, wrote a few emails, I was sometimes in her classes and somewhat more often at her meditations. In the beginning, despite my situation, maybe I just wanted to "philosophize a bit" without commitment, a little support, maybe a little "bathing" in the aura that seemed to surround her. But Rohini entered directly into my life and, like Gandalf, began to accompany my mission.


Rohini's questions and answers to me were always short, blunt, and sometimes stern. What amazed me most was her perceptiveness. While I was trying to describe something I hardly understood myself, she seemed to intuitively grasp the matter quickly. She assessed my situation, I would almost like to say "unabashedly", no beating around the bush, holding a not always flattering mirror in front of me, told me what I should and should not do, described to me from what I was moving away and where I was moving towards. And put all that in the context of what had happened in my life over the previous three decades. From her perspective, everything that had happened seemed to have come at the right moment, and she was convinced that I was at the beginning of a new, happier chapter in my life.


Oh dear reason! I was not only flabbergasted by what Rohini was telling me, resistance was stirring. Of course, it was tempting to hear such a prophecy. Someone who is in a dark valley would like to believe that there is a meaning to it all, that there will be a happy ending. Alright, some things she could know because she knew various things from my family history by Johannes and Maria. Some things one can know because they are common things. And an "everything will be okay" can always be said. But it seemed to me that she had gone quite far out on a limb in analyzing my situation and its further development, and also said things that were beyond any probability.


I talked about this with Johannes. He said something along the lines, that Rohini had told him many similarly adventurous, sometimes seemingly abstruse things over ten years, that he had needed courage to follow through, that he had finally decided to do it – and that everything had come true. I countered that there could be no one who knew the answer to everything and could foresee the course of events. He said, yes, he had not received an answer to some questions from Rohini either. And with a wink he added: But to all that mattered.


Of course, I wanted to believe all this, but I was not ready to do so then and probably I am not ready now. At the same time, I myself can say today that so far everything Rohini told me has come true and borne fruit. I have become what I never was after the death of my wife, namely happy. I have let go of the things that needed to be let go of, I have set out on a new way, worked a lot in the garden, and after years of procrastination, I have given photography a place in my life again, as it used to during my student days. Or an even better one. Thanks be to Gandalf!


That would have been more than enough considering the starting point, but it's not all. In the time of the crisis I had already begun to read in Rohini's book "Walking Home with Baba". At the beginning without much interest, more out of a desire to better understand the background of what she was teaching and thus what she was telling me. I found what I was looking for, even though my first impression was that these biographical stories, centering on her time with her own teacher, were too loosely related to the basics of what she taught.


But I kept reading the book, and the longer I did, the richer it became for me. In the end, it was a guide and source of inspiration for many months. Sometimes I would pick it up in very dark hours. I would open it at a random place, and always found that one sentence that mattered, and which then unfolded its effect like a light. And finally, without my consciously looking for it, this book gave my thoughts and actions and my life as a whole a completely new direction. Or let's say I was already inwardly ripe for that step, but it accompanied me in the metamorphosis.


Life is a journey with an open end. It leads through dark valleys and it leads to sunlit meadows. I went through this dark valley with Gandalf. The book was then to me the light that Galadriel gave to Frodo, and that he also carried with him on further paths.

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