Keep Calm and Ruhi On – Thoughts on the Frontiers of Learning Video

Last year the ITC sent a team around to world to document the success of four Baha’i communities in implementing the core activities. This film was released during the international Baha’i convention and has become a central focus of attention and conversation for Baha’is around the world. A reader of this blog, Rowland, mentioned the video recently in the post about the election of the UHJ. In case you haven’t yet, I invite you to watch the video. I wanted to briefly share my thoughts on it and what it means from a broader perspective about the Baha’i worldwide community.

Keep Calm and Ruhi OnAt first glance the video is quite uplifting because it showcases examples of community development where Baha’is have had a meaningful and positive impact. For example, in India we are shown how the institute process has lead some villagers to soften their deep-seated male chauvinism and to question the cultural norm of ‘castes’. It seems all very wonderful! Apparently the Baha’i community has discovered community development. More than that, it comes across as if the Baha’is have invented community development.

The truth is that the contributions of Baha’is around the world is miniscule compared to everything else out there, both in terms of manpower and in terms of resources; and it comes very late. Nevertheless it is praiseworthy and should be acknowledged as such. At the same time, it is important to maintain perspective and realize that there are other groups doing amazing work out there light years ahead of the Baha’i community and that we can learn much from them. This, I would submit, is the more appropriate tone to strike, rather than one of triumphalism and chest-beating “overstatements of the Baha’i experience”.

As a matter of fact, many would suggest that the Baha’i community in India itself is in more dire need of this program than anyone else in that country. For generations it has been beset by scandals and improprieties. But that is another subject best left for another time.

The success of the community development programs in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Bihar Sharif in India shown in Frontiers of Learning also speak to another important point. Both these communities are in developing countries and have many specific needs that the Ruhi courses do address to some degree. For example, the position and role of women, the unity of mankind (castes discrimination in India and age discrimination in the Congo). However the same can not be said of other, more developed, countries; for example, Norway or Switzerland. In these countries such issues have been debated and resolved long ago. And while the treatment of gender equality takes place within a continuum and can never be truly finished, speaking about it in such basic terms simply would not resonate to the extent that it does in India and the Congo.

And this is exactly why the Ruhi courses receive scant attention in more developed countries and why they have gained minimal if any traction there. A simplistic and rudimentary treatment of such issues sounds tone-deaf and condescending to a more sophisticated and aware populace. The fact that the Baha’i community has received disproportionate results from the developing world in response to the Ruhi courses is a matter or record. Last year in the annual Ridvan message, the Universal House of Justice announced the plans for the construction of seven local houses of worship to support and augment the achievements of specific Baha’i communities with respect to the core activities.

All of the planned national Mashriqu’l-Adhkar are located in poor, developing countries : Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Bihar Sharif, India; Battambang, Cambodia; Bihar Sharif, India; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; and Tanna, Vanuatu. Not a single one is located in a Western, developed country.

This is not at all surprising when one approaches community development with a supercilious “one size fits all” cookie-cutter program focused on the lowest common denominator and demands that the practitioners and participants adapt to the methodology and content instead of adapting the content and program to the contingent needs of each audience. For more on this, see previous treatments of the subject in: Time for Ruhi to “Show Us the Money”.

Keep Calm and Ruhi On

It isn’t really noteworthy to find four locations around the world where there is a modicum of success. If the Ruhi courses are truly that great, the real question is, why isn’t there more? why don’t Baha’is see the same in their own communities?

The inclusion of the example of Colombia is a great case in point. As mentioned in the previous link, the specific area featured in Columbia is the birthplace of the Ruhi courses some 40+ years ago. The success shown in the video is put in its proper context when we realize that the program has been running continuously for more than two generations. With that in mind, any warm and fuzzy feelings give away to curiosity as to why so little has been achieved in so long a time period. What I wrote previously still applies:

If, after 40 plus years of gestation and maturation, through continuous implementation and iterative development and perfection; with a program structure incredibly attuned to and complementary to the culture of its host environment; with the full financial, moral and administrative support of the Baha’i institutions; if with all these advantages, Ruhi can not provide significant results that prove its efficacy beyond a doubt in its native country of Colombia… then by what rationale should we expect it to suddenly start to succeed now? and especially in other, much more hostile cultures?

The second major issue I have with the video and with the whole sequence of Ruhi courses is that it is beset by muddled thinking. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of all this?

If you have just finished watching the Frontiers of Learning video, you will most probably say community development or serving or contributing to society or similar noble and altruistic notions.

But if you think about it more carefully you’ll realize that that isn’t a full answer. In fact, if you pay particular attention to the video itself, you’ll notice that the purpose of Ruhi is to teach the Baha’i Faith and to grow the community. In the Toronto segment you may recall that the youngest member of the Toronto Local Spiritual Assembly, Alexandre Arjomand, refers to previous (awkward) teaching attempts:

In the early days very very few of us had any experience. I remember in those days we would go into a bookstore and hangout in the religions section and talk to anybody who wandered by there. Or we would sit in a coffee shop with a Baha’i book in our hands hoping somebody would ask us what to talk about.
Frontiers of Learning (46m 30 sec)

And there are many other pieces of evidence if you still doubt that “all this” is about teaching. The Universal House of Justice continuously has referred to the Ruhi courses as “developing the capacities for entry by troops”. The jargon of the institute process also belies its purpose: IPG or “intensive programmes of growth” and “expansion” and “consolidation”.

This term, by the way, was first mentioned by the Universal House of Justice in a message to the Conference of the Continental Board of Counsellors dated January 9th 2001:

The friends who participate in these intensive programmes of growth should bear in mind that the purpose is to ensure that the Revelation of Baha’u’llah reaches the masses of humanity…

Also, one of the key components of the Ruhi courses (Book Six) is “Anna’s Presentation”. Participants are asked to memorize it to teach and more so, to ask an individual to join the Baha’i Faith:

I am sure you are aware that I am inviting you to join a religion and not just accept a collection of nice ideals.

But you may ask, why is this question of purpose even important?

Well, for two reasons. First and very obvious, before embarking on any endeavor it is only intelligent to know why one is doing something. Second, because it is the only way that we can gauge the effectiveness or success of that undertaking.

So is the purpose to do good and to serve our fellow man? to teach the Faith (numerical growth)? to build capacity (qualitative growth)?

You see, this is what I mean by muddled thinking. Ask 5 Baha’is and you’ll get 8 answers.

The statement of purpose taken directly from the officlal Ruhi website makes no mention of the purposes outlined above but instead focuses on the community building aspect:

The Ruhi Institute is an educational institution, operating under the guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bah??’?s of Colombia, which dedicates its efforts to the development of human resources for the spiritual, social, and cultural development of the Colombian people.

In the recent document Insights from the Frontiers of Learning, the Universal House of Justice refers to these initiatives as “advancing the process of entry by troops”:

It represents the latest in a series of documents that have been issued, beginning in 1998, to provide a broad overview of the progress being made across the globe in advancing the process of entry by troops.

If we don’t know the purpose, how then will we ever know if what we are doing is effective? how will we ever measure our efforts either qualitatively or quantitatively? how do we measure success or that it has been achieved? or if we are on the right track? if it turns out that we are off the mark, then what?

While it is superficially presented for the most part as a ‘community development’ exercise, it really isn’t about that. It is, when we get down to it, about growing enrollments into the Baha’i community. Whatever answer we settle on, the truth of the matter is that it has crowded out all other activities in Baha’i communities around the world. In fact, all other teaching efforts are ignored in lieu of Ruhi.

Addressing such concerns, the Secretariat responded on October 31st 2002:

Dear Baha’i Friend,

In reply to your email of 23 October 2002 to the Universal House of Justice, we have been asked to convey the following. It is not possible, given all of the instructions and exhortations addressed to the believers by Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, that the House of Justice would ever advise communities that are free to pursue teaching plans that it was not timely to talk about such efforts and enrol new Baha’is. Nor could it, contrary to Baha’u’llah’s explicit command, allow any other activity in the Baha’i community to diminish the responsibility of individuals to teach the Cause. Precisely the opposite is true. A major object of the recent emphasis on establishing training institutes is to increase the capacity of individuals to teach the Cause effectively. Study circles, which are local extensions of an institute, are intended to serve this purpose. While it is highly desirable to include seekers in study circles wherever possible, the individual believer retains the inescapable duty to teach the Faith on his or her own initiative. Anyone who carefully reads the messages of the House of Justice will find that it has consistently exhorted and encouraged individuals to teach the Faith, pointing to the many possibilities of exploiting the opportunities that the turmoil of the present age provides. In this regard, there is abundant evidence from countries around the world, including the United States, that the institutions of the Faith at all levels and institutes through their courses focus attention on the importance of teaching.

The friends should not allow discussions that go on in the community to confuse or divert them from what has always been a clear understanding of their individual responsibility for teaching the Cause of God. The unfortunate consequence of so much discussion about teaching is that the friends often talk themselves out of taking action, when this is clearly a matter in which action speaks louder than words. Indeed, it is always time to teach the Faith and enrol new believers.

We are to assure you of the prayers of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines on your behalf that your individual efforts to teach the Faith may be divinely confirmed.

With loving Baha’i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

This reminds me of the exhortation to humility that Priscilla wrote about before.

It strikes me as rather odd and perhaps a bit disingenuous to say that the individual teaching methods and initiatives are valid and should be respected when in actuality the very opposite is being implemented by the institutions all over the world.

In reality the video, Frontiers of Learning, which showcases the experience and success of four example communities has been set as the focal point of reflection and consultation for the world-wide Baha’i community and the most important item on the agenda of the National Spiritual Assembly members at the international Baha’i convention in Haifa; it is referred to in the annual NawRuz statement: “A vibrant training institute functions as the mainstay of the community’s efforts to advance the Plan”. As well, the release of the supplementary document, Insights from the Frontiers of Learning; not to mention the plethora of letters over the years outlining Ruhi and placing it as the highest priority of all Baha’i communities. And that this has even seeped into the social action efforts directed by the Office of Social and Economic Development at the Baha’i World Centre.

The real message is clear, “Keep calm and Ruhi on”.

  • For an online 550 page book which integrates the May 2013 document from
    the ITC, and the Ridvan message of 2013 from the House of Justice, into
    an analysis of the Baha’i culture of learning as it has developed over
    the last two decades, go to this link:
    http://bahai-library.com/price_culture_learning_paradigm

  • Baquia

    Thank you Ron. For those who don’t have the time to read 550 pages can you provide an abstract?

  • Here is an abstract in two parts, Baquia:

    Part 1:

    This book of 550 pages(font 14) and 230 thousand words contains reflections and understandings regarding this new Bah??’? culture of learning and growth, what amounts to a paradigmatic shift, in the Baha’i community which it has been going through since the mid-1990s. This newest, this latest, of the Abrahamic religions, has been developing a new culture in the last two decades, from 1996 to 2016. This new culture or paradigm will be developing in the decades ahead at least until 2044, the end of the second century of the Bah??’? Era(1844 to 2044), and perhaps beyond into that third century, 2044 to 2144. Time will tell when the next paradigmatic shift will take place in the international Bah??’? community.

    Comparisons and contrasts are made to several previous paradigm shifts in the Bah??’? community. Thoughts on future developments within this paradigm and future paradigms are suggested. In the first six years, 2007 to 2013, of the presence of this book, this commentary, on the world-wide-web, this work has contributed to an extensive dialogue on the issues regarding the many related and inter-related processes involved in the many ongoing changes in the international Bahai community, a community which exists in more than 200 countries and territories, and more than 120,000 localities, across the planet.

    Part 2:

    The Baha’i community had already put in place, through the guidance of its leadership over more than a century-and-a-half, through prayer and meditation, through sacrifice and suffering, and through much else, an evolving structural base for community building. During those decades, filled as they were from the 1850s to the 1990s with a rapidly expanding population, with appalling suffering across the face of the earth, and with unparalleled scientific and technological change, the Bah??’? Faith spread to every corner of the planet and forged its Bah??’? administration in many thousands of localities.

    The latest of the Abrahamic religions, which is what this new Faith claims to be, entered the 21st century with a structural-base that could be called embryonic, having been in what you might call the chrysalis phase, a century before, in 1900. The community-building that has been taking-place in the last two decades, 1996 to 2016, has been built on this structure, and on the work of several million adherents in the Bah??’? community. Bah??’? institutions and the millions of individuals who have been part of its tapestry over more than 150 years before the emergence of this new paradigm have a story that I encourage readers to become as familiar with as they possibly can. This new religion has grown up in the light of modern history and there is much to study, in some ways, far too much for any of us to really take in to its fullest. We can but try and, hopefully, we have the interest and the discipline to make the effort and avoid the massive distractions that beset us all in this new digital age of print and image-glut.

    If readers just read the headings and sub-headings of this book, they will get the core of factual material.-Ron Price, Australia

  • Roland Green

    There is much that one could say in response to your critique of
    Frontiers of Learning. For example, you assert that “these communities are in
    developing countries and have many specific needs that the Ruhi courses do
    address to some degree”…but that “the same can not be said of other, more
    developed, countries; for example, Norway or Switzerland. In these countries
    such issues have been debated and resolved long ago.” I suggest that you
    consider the many issues which have not been resolved in developed countries
    such as high levels of violent crime in many inner city areas (to take one of
    many examples) and the correlation between these levels and inner city poverty,
    organized crime, youth gangs, rampant drug related violence.and other factors.

    In this regard, it is
    significant that in a locality in Toronto which is
    featured in the film, at 1:04:55 – 1:05:16 a young lady states the following:
    “If you were in this community five years ago there was a lot of violence that
    was present in this community but through the establishment of this program the
    future generation were guided towards a more positive direction and the service
    projects they have done has impacted the community in a positive way and
    presently you do not see violence in our community.” That the Ruhi program could have had such a significant impact in reducing violence in this developed country is indeed highly laudable.

    I humbly submit that to
    suggest as you do that some issues are capable of being addressed only in
    developing countries as they have already been debated and resolved in developed
    countries is a gross simplification. It ignores, for example, the considerable
    work still required to redress gender inequality affecting women in developed
    countries as demonstrated in numerous studies re income and job promotion
    disparities between men and women in numerous professions and types of business, There are many problems in developed
    countries. Highly problematic alcohol (binge drinking among youth in the UK for
    example) and drug use, domestic violence and their concomitant inimical effects,
    recrudescence of racism and fascism in the US and several European countries
    (linked in Greece for example to the ongoing severe economic crisis) are just a
    few of many ills afflicting which could be mentioned.

    It is worth noting also, in
    response to your criticism that no Houses of Worship are being established in
    developed countries, that the vast majority of humanity (1.1 billion subsist
    below the internationally accepted extreme-poverty line of $1.25 a day) lives in
    developing countries so that one might want to consider taking this into account
    as a factor in evaluating where the most pressing needs for community
    development exist and therefore where Houses of Worship should be established.

    Some habitual critics will
    always see a glass half empty. Others will see a glass half full. To the extent
    that, as Ron Price notes in his abstract, there is a “new Baha’i culture of
    learning and growth” emerging in “what amounts to a paradigmatic shift, in the
    Baha’i community” I am deeply grateful for the positive changes being
    implemented in both developing and developed countries, however still relatively understandably small and
    limited, by this developing and vibrant culture as evidenced not only in Frontiers of learning but
    in many other localities worldwide.

  • Quip

    Christianity, considered “out of date” by the Bahais, do a better job of gaining new converts worldwide- They focus on personal salvation first and upon feeling a sense of belonging, of being loved and accepted, they naturally take part in the group efforts to spread the gospel. Nobody joins a faith specifically because they want to ‘advance civilization”, as there are many secular means to do this. I think you have mentioned this in your blog already, Baquia, but I’m stating it here again, as a non-Bahai who gets your point of view.

    I live in Canada and during the 1990’s, met well meaning Bahais who believed that their faith was more difficult to accept because it required Sophisticated Thinking, and since most people want Easy Answers to, they reject the Bahai Faith. And this coming from Phd’s! I can assure you that anyone with a sophisticated mind can see the inherent flaws in Bahai Logic.

    Since then, I’ve met Christians, Muslims, etc.. who all believe the same thing: That they have the truth and a new civilization will emerge in which all will recognize THEIR Truth. Well, certainly, they all can’t be right? This is what Bahais are fighting against: A wide smorgasbord of choices. The most appealing choice wins. Among the educated, what is gaining momentum is either Atheism or simply being a free thinker who believe in the power of Love.

    Religion is an incredible waste of human resources and stunts intellectual development and creativity. Those who are educated and not religious can clearly see that it is a man made construct. I explored various religions for a about a decade and came to this conclusion. It is unfortunate that you Baquia, have to grapple with the issues that you write about. To put it bluntly: the Bahai faith is uncool and stodgy. This is the essence I get from your blog. It’s something that many people think, but are too polite to say.

    Spirituality without Religion is highly possible and is naturally appealing to those who want to become better people and a better world. You can help the world sans religion. And it’s better if we do so.

  • Baquia

    Roland, thank you for your comment. In response to the effect of Ruhi in Toronto in alleviating violence, one needs to remember that this is merely anecdotal evidence – that is, one person is saying this. We don’t have any real evidence.

    But let us assume that this is true, that violence has indeed been reduced or even altogether eliminated.

    It is still erroneous or at least presumptuous to assert that the decline in violence is as a result of Ruhi courses. Why? For two reasons off the top of my head, one, crime has been decreasing as a trend for many years and two, it is the all too common mistake of mixing up correlation with causation.

    That is to say, even if the two events happened, it does not follow automatically that one caused the other.

    I am by now used to being called many names. All I’ve done is to highlight some issues and ideas related to Ruhi which many Baha’is may not feel comfortable asking.

    Lastly, I do wish to point out that you didn’t address or comment on the main issues I brought up.

  • Roland Green

    Baquia, Thank you fro your response.

    One could certainly take into account the pros and cons of anecdoctal evidence. However, I prefer to also give the young lady some credit for knowing what has previously occurred and and is now occurring in her own community with regard to violence and why it has stopped .

    It is interesting that you raise the issue of anecdotal evidence re violence in Toronto but in your critique you conceded as praiseworthy, based on the anecdotal comments by Baha?s in the Indian villages, that (for example) “male chauvinism and to question the cultural norm of ?castes’ ” had been positively affected by the Ruhi program.

    It was not my intention to comment on the main issues you think you raised. As I said in my opening sentence of my reply, there is much one could say about your comments but I do not have the time for an exhaustive critique.

  • Quip

    Roland,

    Your thinking parallels other such Religious/Spiritual reasoning:

    That any individual who attains enlightenment, receives Christ, etc.. impacts it’s community in some way. This is somewhat accurate if partially because of your love and faith in another person ( because of your own faith in God) they are able to become better people and actualize their potential…. and through this they help their communities.

    However, if you believe that prayer or Ruhi alone, will help save some poor woman in your city from being assaulted, then this is just pure superstition. And it will weaken the argument for your faith.

    If I were an Atheist Surgeon who saves the life of a shooting victim admitted to the ER, then it is I who should be credited, not some person praying remotely. However, if somewhere in my youth, someone believed in my abilities and showed me love and support and thus I was given the courage to pursue medical studies, then, yes indeed, a person who’s heart has been changed by faith and extends love to others will help the community.

    Everyday, there is senseless violence worldwide. The secular world does get tired of stories from the Religious claiming that their prayers work. Especially since there are so many non believers employed as police officers, nurses, teachers, etc… who are doing the actual grunt work of helping.

    If you want to claim success, why not find a cure for a disease, or engineer something astounding that helps humanity and then proclaim it was done through the Power of God working through you? Unless you Bahais come up with an accomplishment that is truly notable, no one is going to pay attention. And even if you do, you are in competition with accomplishments that are emerging from all different avenues.

    As it stands there are more “likes” on facebook for new types of mascara that have only been on the market for less than a year than there are “likes” for the Bahai Faith which has been around for decades.

    People are not dumb. Even the third world has the internet and a quick search will give you idea of who/what is making an impact.

  • Alejandra Burros

    In response to your statement: “the specific area featured in Columbia is the birthplace of the Ruhi courses some 40+ years ago.”

    Actually this is wrong. The specific area featured in the video is the Norte de Bol?var cluster on the north coast of the country (around Cartagena). The area where the first versions of the Ruhi materials were created is the Cali area in the south; the opposite end of the country.

    Oh and by the way, it’s spelled “Colombia”.

  • Baquia

    Thank you for the corrections Alejandra. The main question remains: after operating in Colombia for 40+ years, what does Ruhi have to show us for its efforts?

  • Stephen Gray

    Other religious options are popular thought the world. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Deism, Paganism, and Secularism are competing for fastest growing. Humanism is blurring the line between religion and secularity with Chrisitan Humanism, Buddhist Huamnism, Jewish Humanism, Integral Humanism (Hinduism), Cosmic Humanism (New Age), and Deistic Humanism (Unitarian Universalism).

    Various subcultures are attracted to various religions. Hippies are drawn to Buddhism, Christianty, Hinduism, Paganism, and Unitarian Universalism. Punks are drawn to Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Rastafarianism. Goths are drawn to Buddhism, Christianity, New Age, Paganism, etc.

    Any stats for you claims of more educated people being more secular? I remember a Heritage Foundation study finding the exact opposite.

  • Stephen Gray

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/god-details_735224.html
    http://www.booktv.org/Program/14664/How+the+West+Really+Lost+God.aspx
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865581202/How-religious-faith-benefits-society.html?pg=all

    I remember watching on Book TV focusing on trends in the West and not worldwide. Watch the Book TV CSPAN lecture and review it for me.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/313048-1

    This is the Heritage Foundation study I was referring to.

  • tah9

    The ?rants? of the author of this blog remind me of the following quote from Bah??’u’ll??h: ?O YE THAT ARE FOOLISH, YET HAVE A NAME TO BE WISE! Wherefore do ye wear the guise of shepherds, when inwardly ye
    have become wolves, intent upon My flock? Ye are even as the star, which riseth ere the dawn, and which, though it seem radiant and luminous, leadeth the wayfarers of My city astray into the paths of perdition.?

  • Baquia

    welcome tah9, and thank you for your contribution.

    sadly, it is not the first time that the Baha’i writings have been used as a cudgel in an attempt to eradicate intelligent discourse.

  • Audacity9

    I am no expert, nor have time to waste in useless and
    pointless and lengthy arguments and discussions. Nor particularly interested in
    the content and purpose of this document, and what it is trying to prove and disapprove.
    And as a matter of fact googled the frontiers documents to read and your article
    came up and I briefly looked at it and at the comments which followed.

    What I see in the arrogance, corrupt, selfish, self-loving and self-caring pattern of behavior of the materially wealthy ?intellectuals? and ?educators?
    of the well advanced , well developed European communities, is the basis of the
    rate in their depressions, suicides, lawlessness,
    family break downs, self-gratification
    in luxury , sex , violence , discrimination , drug and alcohol addiction and the
    list goes on, carelessness, indifference, non-commitment to their marital and parenting responsibilities, ignorant and prejudiced attitude. Norway for
    one – and by no means I have anything against the people and society of Norway –I
    just have closely touched and experienced it – which in your opinion , is the
    most advanced from the equality of genders perspective and intellectuality ,
    etc, has just had extremist right wings massacring 10s of its own people in the
    fear of otherness, the main square of their capital city , the center of their
    international tourist attraction – has a largest monument of 5-7 half naked masculine
    men arm in arm carrying the planet earth
    on their shoulders, I was quite offended and astonished to see this a main attraction
    to their tourism industry in the center
    of their capital !! What message are they giving to the world? And to their own
    females in their own ?equal? society? One can argue it is a rare work of art –
    yes a great work of art which belongs to museums of the past history. How is
    this embodiment and representation of equality? One can think that expressions
    of work of art is to encourage individuals think and be educated, though displaying
    this work to me is well past its used by date, we all over the world are truly
    past the stage of thinking about equality
    and even well past how to establish it………….

    Do you for a moment think that advanced societies by handing
    out cash to mothers through their social
    services , and encouraging and supporting them to separate from their partners
    instead of working toward achieving balance and unity in the unit of their
    community , and as a result the cycle of upbringing children who are emotionally
    imbalanced, undereducated, unemployed , suicidal , drowned in sexual
    gratification and indulgence , dole bludgers, and the list goes on – they can claim they have achieved equality ?–
    Aren’t they the most educated in the world after all ?– what kind of education
    leads them to such incredible loss . And this is just two incidences of one
    subject area of your discussion, they are quite complex issues and not just
    exclusive, but show fundamental lack of true spirituality in establishing
    peace and harmony all over the world in
    other shapes and forms.

    I am sorry that you sit and waste your life on analyzing messages
    so incredibly that you get yourself entangled and lose your light and along the
    way darken the path for others as well. Instead of sitting and spending hours,
    days and months in, analyzing , statistics, referencing, reading and more and reading
    and criticizing messages and guides and
    wording them out in this disappointing, pessimistic and negative outpourings of
    emotions in the corner of your room , you should go out in to your neighborhood
    , lift your head up , smile and say hello to your neighbors , invite them to a
    cup of tea and create an upliftment in an attempt to be of true service and
    care for them and in this attempt build communities, it doesn’t have to be
    Ruhi, as per continuous messages of UHJ –
    and it can’t be any clearer than that – Ruhi though is proving to be the most effective
    method – it would take a lot of humility and purity and detachment from the
    same intellectuals and educated !! and hearts must be ready to experience the humility,
    it is unfair that you should attribute the trials and failures you may
    experience in the field of teaching, to what you are trying to convince is not
    working e.g. Ruhi. Have you done other
    methods of teaching and have you been any more successful? if so, why not continue
    and enjoy it, you need to remember that we are just instruments in His plans ,
    He does not need none of us , NONE of us, to establish His great peace on earth
    , HE is bestowing His gift and blessings on us if He is permitting you and I to
    be a part of it , don’t become a statistics of the white fluff over the ocean
    waves which hit the shores and disappear, and don’t spend the rest of your days
    philosophizing opinions and critiquing until your end comes, there is so much
    knowledge and potential in you to be a leader of the community of the youth in your
    area who can move the world. Pure acts of service is what helps one to grow,
    and if you think by blogging material like these you are an instrument of acts
    of service, I am afraid you are lost. Hoping for your ever increasing enlightenment
    – your true and humble sister.

  • desirivans

    ”I am no expert, nor have time to waste in useless and
    pointless and lengthy arguments and discussions. Nor particularly interested in
    the content and purpose of this document, and what it is trying to prove and disapprove.”

    For someone who have no time to waste in useless … but you have penned down more than any other blogger.
    Congratulation..

  • DNA

    I remember Abdu-Baha saying that mankind had progressed materially in leaps and bounds but spiritually over thousands of years had progressed very slowly and made tiny steps towards spiritually. Maybe someone knows that quote. Ruhi seeks to address the imbalanced.

    When I read the title Time for Ruhi to show us the money I laughed. Mankind has been backward spiritually for thousands of years. Turning it around is not your American slot machine where you put in a coin and out drops the chocolate. It’s an arduous, painstaking task that will take generations to bear fruit but it will because it uses the Counsels and Teachings of the Word of God which has the power to transform IF people subject themselves to its power. But it’s all up to the individual. I know people who’s life has been dramatically changed by Ruhi and also those who fight and bicker even though they have done all books.

    If you want to complain that Ruhi must show us the money which is laughable then please note that Baha’u’llah and the Master couldn’t change the world in their lifetime and they had how many 70 odd years between them? Add the Guardian’s years. It’s up to US to make the effort. Ruhi’s success or failure depends upon individual obedience something which not even a Prophet of God can guarantee. To make Ruhi success contingent upon an impossibility is unfair. It is impossible for any course to force obedience on an individual. If Baha’is, after studying Ruhi are not transformed it is their own fault not the Ruhi Course or the Word of God contained therein. Ruhi is a universal spiritual course and tool for spiritual education of humanity. It is not an Arts Degree Course and cannot be compared to other forms of education.

    The world’s problems all stem from lack of a spiritual perspective which Ruhi tries to address but it is not obligatory however for those without spiritual education it is indispensable. It is only common sense that if mankind has been so wayward spiritually for so long it is going to take more than a couple of decades for us to spiritually mature. There’s a lot of hard work ahead and we are assured that when we make an effort we are assisted.

  • Baquia

    You misunderstand completely. It is not a matter of expecting or asking Ruhi to “change the world” but to show some tangible results.

  • DNA

    Hi Baquia. My wife and I have been doing Ruhi for a few years now and our relationship and unity have grown and even impressed our relatives who put our unity down to ‘our religion’. Before, we didn’t have any structure or course and neither of us did any real reading until Ruhi came along. It deepened us in the Covenant. If your looking for statistical results that will come because spiritual results take time to happen unlike acquiring a degree. I see results and am very impressed BUT I have made the effort and done the hard work to put Ruhi into practice. If people wait for Ruhi to get results that’ll never happen because Ruhi is a CATALYST for people to make an effort in the spiritual realm to progress. If that effort is not forthcoming there will be no results but that is nothing to do with Ruhi but those who are not making the effort to put into practise the Teachings promoted in Ruhi. For instance. Visiting a friend is encouraged to be a part of Baha’i culture. However, some or rather many Baha’is are taking the LAZY way out and only doing a home visit to get a TICK so they can say they completed the book? So without any more home visits apart from the one to get the tick, Baha’i unity doesn’t develop and neither does our Baha’i bonding and identity leaving us as still strangers amongst ourselves. If we were more sincere than that we would be visiting each other regularly and find ourselves forming bonds of intimacy and friendship which would attract the world for it is seeking true love and friendship not just token gestures. Visiting each other is such a simple concept that it seems too simple for a Ruhi course yet I have not received any visits from nearby or distant Baha’is in 15 years!!! Can’t they even do something simple as that? Apparently not. We are really at the kindergarten stage. We don’t like being treated as kids but in reality that’s what we are. How many isolated Baha’is have left the Faith because Baha’is couldn’t be bothered practising home visits? Ruhi represents to me what we long to see in our world. It is for the Baha’is to put into practice but doing Ruhi a 100,000 times will achieve nothing if the individual Baha’i doesn’t put it into practise. Ruhi Books teach truthfulness, honesty but then it is for the Baha’is to be honest and truthful. Ruhi cannot guarantee that a Baha’i will be sincere. It is a course to guide and assist Baha’is who want to try but for those dead against Ruhi they will never gain any benefit from it. Ruhi is universal spiritual education OFFERED to all humanity for our benefit ONLY if we practise its teachings and exhortations. It keeps Baha’is active doing something while the world is so unreceptive. It prepares us for when the world will begin to awaken. We’ve been married 35 years today. Ruhi has been by far the best years of our married life. From doing the books together we moved onto reading verses of the Most Holy Book every morning which has enriched our life beyond belief. All thanks to Ruhi inculcating in us the discipline to regularly read the Writings. I personally have nothing but gratitude and deep admiration for Ruhi and the House of Justice. But what we get out of Ruhi depends upon what we put into it and what we put into practice. Just reading Ruhi achieves nothing. After reading Ruhi then the Baha’i must act or its a waste of time. We cannot put the failure of the individual Baha’i to act as a failure of Ruhi when Ruhi is just a means to and end. Ruhi will not give us magical powers or convert the world. It only gives us spiritual guidance then it is up to us to walk this path.

  • Eric Pierce

    The decline of reason, and collective meaning and purpose, are the basic features of the postmodern, commercialized world. Bahaism’s critique of the evils of “materialism”, etc., are inadequate, necessary, but not sufficient.

    Ruhi was meant to be a “reset”, one of many examples of futile bureaucratic reinvention that are exhibited by dysfunctional organizational cultures beset by groupthink , conformism and worship of authoritarian “daddy gods”.

  • Stephen Gray

    Curious, but why all the emphasis on the fact, the Baha’i Faith is an Abrahamic religion. While it is factual, I don’t see the point in pointing it out. Why would it be any more relevant than a simmilar Dharmic, Taoic, Pagan, Esoteric, Folk, Indigenous, Spiritist, Syncretic, or whatever category religion?

  • Audacity9

    you have totally missed the point – such opinionated on the individuality of individuals who recognize themselves as part a larger plan – larger than their own egos

  • Audacity9

    thank you- I felt really sad and disappointed for the person who has started this and had to voice my understanding, “this is a process and we cannot be result oriented, or we get lost.”