Divide and Rule

“Our method will be divide and rule!” said Guru Baba.

“Divide and rule – are you serious?” asked Sami.

“Yes, why not? It worked for the British in India. Why shouldn’t we learn from their methods?”

Divide and Rule was the opposite of everything that Guru Baba stood for. To Sami colonialism seemed a scar on human history, with a clutch of European countries ruling most of the world. It had destroyed cultural diversity, traditional power structures, local industries, and stable societies. The colonizers had stolen priceless treasures and in their place left artificial boundaries that ruined untold lives. And Guru Baba quoted this as a successful methodology?

Sure, the British had left a positive legacy too, of roads, railways, government buildings, a police force, civil service and judiciary, but that was a different matter. Sami shook his head and smiled. He returned to the problem in hand.

The thousand people present here, and thousands more coming, would need careful managing. Their queue had already become a sprawl, and bad feelings were building. People were letting in their family and friends ahead of people who had queued for hours, even overnight.

He recognized regulars near the front of the queue, people who came to every darshan – holy viewing – in Arcadia, whenever and wherever it was. He appreciated their enthusiasm – their donations paid Sami’s wages as Guru Baba’s assistant – but it seemed unfair. Other, older, weaker or busier people, simply couldn’t wait that long and went home.

Maybe Guru Baba was right in a way. How could he implement divide and rule?

Sami’s first job in the City, selling cell phones, had taught him negotiation skills. That’s what they needed now, a negotiation strategy, where rules were agreed, not imposed.

Sami called the marshalls over. “To earn their place at the darshan, I would like each person to negotiate.”

There were blank faces all round.

“We must gauge people’s spiritual needs, rather than granting access simply because of their habit of getting up early. People sleeping in are doing it for a reason. They indulge in night because they can’t handle day. Their need of darshan is greater.”

A marshall asked, “So how do we assess their spiritual need? By checking their karma?”

“Good idea, but I’m not sure we are qualified to do that. We will ask if they must see, want to see, or would like to see Baba.”

The blank faces looked blanker. They were tabulae rasa, empty slates.

“Those that must see Baba receive priority. Those who want to see him come next. Then those who would like to see him. It is a hierarchy of need with their words providing the clues. Don’t get into deep discussions, just ask them that question and direct them based upon their answer. Persons will have earned their places, and the lines inside will be prioritized accordingly.”

The marshalls’ strategy led to some unexpected responses.

A boy said, “He wants to see me, for I am the One!”

A woman said, “Oh, I thought this was the queue for pakoras.”

A man refused to speak anything other than Sanskrit.

A girl said, “None of them. He is an illusion, as are you, and us all.” She knew that in the cosmic context, that of an imperishable whole, it was impossible to divide and rule conscious beings.

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