Ruhi classes are based on eight books in the Ruhi curriculum. There are a series of courses and many books have 2 to 3 units. There is no charge to attend any Bahá’í classes. The purpose of these Ruhi classes is to have a better understanding of the Bahá’í writings, the central figures of the Faith and to better educate our children.
The first book in the sequence of courses is largely concerned with the question of identity. What is the real identity of the “I” in the sentence “I walk a path of service”? Three aspects of identity from a Bahá’í perspective are explored in the book: “The reality of my existence is my soul which passes through this world to acquire the attributes it needs for an eternal and glorious journey towards God. My most cherished moments are those spent in communion with God, for prayer is the daily nourishment that my soul must receive if it is to accomplish its exalted purpose. One of my principal concerns in this life is to study the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, strive to increase my understanding of His teachings, and learn to apply them to my own daily life and to the life of the community.” The book consists of the units “Understanding the Bahá’í Writings”, “Prayer”, and “Life and Death”.
Book 2 of the main sequence explores the nature of a path of service and the manner in which it is to be trodden. An essential feature of community life is unity and fellowship. Visiting people in their homes—family and friends, neighbors and acquaintances—and talking with them about themes central to spiritual and social existence is the first conscious act of service carried out by those engaged in building such communities. The book helps participants acquire the skills and abilities, knowledge and qualities, needed to enter into conversations with others that are uplifting to the mind and spirit. Participants also think about the nature of the joy one derives from service. There are three units in the book: “The Joy of Teaching”, “Deepening Themes”, and “Introducing Bahá’í Beliefs”.
The second act of service addressed by the Institute is in the area of the spiritual education of children. The education of children is essential to the transformation of society. Book 3 focuses on some of the knowledge, skills and qualities necessary for those wishing to enter this important field of service. The first unit, “Some Principles of Bahá’í Education”, briefly examines certain principles and concepts inherent to education from a Bahá’í point of view. It does this in the context of character development, as preparation for the next unit, “Lessons for Children’s Classes, Grade 1”, which offers a set of lessons intended to foster the development of spiritual qualities in small children. The third unit, “Conducting Classes for Children”, seeks to develop the skills and abilities needed to manage a class with a great deal of love and understanding and, at the same time, with the discipline necessary to create a proper learning environment.
This book, which builds on the experience gained in Book 3 in teaching classes for the spiritual education of children, is intended for those interested in pursuing this highly meritorious path of service. It presents an opportunity for participants to reflect on their first year in conducting a children’s class and offers lessons for the second grade of an educational program inspired by the Bahá’í teachings. Also included in the book is a collection of songs for use in educational activities with children. Recordings of the songs can be downloaded by clicking here.
Book 4 in the main sequence returns to the question of identity, the “I” in the statement “I walk a path of service”. History shapes much of the identity of individuals, as well as entire peoples. The second and third units in the book are dedicated to the study of the life history of Bahá’u’lláh, the Author of the Bahá’í Faith, and His Forerunner, the Báb. In the first unit, the significance of this Day is briefly examined. Seeing clearly the elements that characterize the past enables individuals to contribute more effectively to shaping the future.
This book has a special place in the sequence of the Ruhi Institute. According to the Bahá’í teachings, an individual reaches the age of maturity at 15, when spiritual and moral obligations become binding. The years immediately before this age, then, take on special significance. This is the time when fundamental concepts about individual and collective life are formulated in the mind of an adolescent struggling to leave behind the habits of childhood. Youth between the ages of 12 to 15 have much to say, and whoever treats them as children misses the opportunity to help them form a proper identity. The three units that make up Book 5 focus on some of the concepts, skills, qualities, and attitudes that experience has shown are required by those wishing to implement a program for the spiritual empowerment of junior youth.
People from every walk of life are welcome to explore the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and learn how they can apply them to better their lives. All Bahá’ís, then, share liberally and unconditionally the teachings and precepts of their Faith. Although the propagation of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is one of the most essential services to be rendered, teaching is also a state of being—a state of being in which one is constantly sharing with others that which one has been so bountifully blessed. This concept is explored in the first unit of Book 6, “The Spiritual Nature of Teaching”. The next two units, “The Qualities and Attitudes of the Teacher” and “The Act of Teaching”, examine various notions about the nature of teaching in light of the Bahá’í writings and how it should be approached, emphasizing the importance of adopting a posture of learning. Of particular significance is the example offered in the third unit of how to introduce the Faith to a seeker through the story of Anna and Emilia.
Book 7 is dedicated to an act of service crucial to the functioning of the Ruhi Institute itself, namely, helping a group of individuals go through the initial six courses in the sequence. That individuals accompany one another on a path of service to their communities is central to the process of capacity building set in motion by the courses. The first unit of the book, “The Spiritual Path,” raises awareness of the spiritual dynamics of advancing along a path of service and increases understanding of the forces at work. The second unit, “Becoming a Tutor of Books 1-6,” examines some of the concepts, attitudes, skills and abilities that contribute to the capability of helping a group of friends to go through the earlier courses. This is generally done by bringing together eight or ten people in what is termed a “study circle”. The third unit, “Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots,” is designed to create appreciation for the role of artistic endeavors in the activity of a study circle.