ALL THE WORLD’S major religions expect another visit by a supremely holy man. Hindus await the arrival of Krishna; Jews expect the appearance of a Messiah; Muslims believe in an Imam Mahdi; Christians expect the Second Coming of Christ and Buddhists imagine Him as a Buddha. There is a large organisation operating across the world which believes these various figures all refer to the same, single being, that He is a teacher sent to direct Mankind towards a future of peace and love, and that this being already walks amongst us – in fact, he lives in a suburb of London.
The Share International Magazine company operates as the mouthpiece for this great leader whom they call Maitreya. The organisation’s leading light is Benjamin Creme, a former artist from Glasgow born in 1922. Creme is a follower of Theosophy, the movement created by Madame Helena Blavatsky, whose members believe that Earth and Humanity is controlled by a select council of inter-dimensional super-beings.
Creme believes these super-beings or ‘Masters’ told him in 1975 of Maitreya’s impending appearance, and gave him the task of preparing for his arrival. Many people think that Creme sees himself as a modern day John the Baptist, and uses Share International to promote the Maitreya cause. He writes books and articles and appears on television shows and in lecture halls discussing the upcoming Maitreya unveiling. Creme says Maitreya emerged from a spiritual centre in the Himalayas on 19th July 1977, and flew to Europe by aeroplane. He then disappeared into an ethnic community in a suburb of London, and has lived quite anonymously ever since. However, the Tara Centre, another organisation close to Creme, has run a series of full page adverts in major newspapers across the world announcing the presence of the ‘Lord Maitreya’. It is even said that a major American television network has asked to interview Maitreya at any time of his choosing.
Maitreya has also made some personal appearances. One of the most celebrated happened on 11th June 1988 in Nairobi, when 6000 worshippers in the village of Kawangware saw him appear in the form of Jesus Christ. The white-robed, bearded figure walked among them and declared that the world was ‘nearing the time for the reign of heaven’. Maitreya then left in a car. Share International also claims that Maitreya has performed many miracles. The phenomenon is spreading throughout Africa, and many villages are being visited by the man in white.
In 1996 there was the biggest outbreak of strange ‘crosses of light’ reports in recent years. CBS television news broadcast a story about 40-feet-high glowing crosses which had appeared in the windows of a Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The local priest said 30,000 people came to view the bizarre sight and miraculous happenings have since occurred there. Similar crosses of light have appeared throughout the world, and Share International claims this is a sign of Maitreya being in our world.
Share International claims that before his public appearances, Maitreya likes to energise local water sources. Magic water in the little town of Tlacote in Mexico is said to heal everything from AIDS and cancer to obesity and high cholesterol. Other miraculous water is said to have sprung up at a disused slate mine at Nordenau, 100km east of Dusseldorf in Germany. In August 1994 a strange image of the Madonna and Child appeared on a church wall in the small South Australia town of Yankalilla. A dowser came to the site and said there was water running underneath the church. Benjamin Creme informed them that this was the work of Maitreya and said the water would have healing powers. Creme told the Yankalilla people where to dig, and sure enough, a miraculous spring was discovered.
Share International has performed some miracles of its own. It is now an official non governmental organisation recognised by the United Nations, and has published articles written by some very respected figures – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles amongst others. The future of Maitreya is uncertain depending on your belief. If you are a follower, his appearances will only increase until he becomes a global voice. If not, he will quietly disappear just as the dozens of self-proclaiming Messiahs over the centuries always have.