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Spiritual group adopts ordinary man as Messiah

Sunday 21 Mar 2010 5:27 p.m.

By Jono Hutchison

A London-born author has found himself in the peculiar situation of having to deny that he is the Messiah.

A recent TV interview with Raj Patel convinced members of a spiritual organisation that he will save the world – but he is not convinced.

Scottish artist and self-styled mystic Benjamin Crème, says a Messiah called “Maitreya” recently gave an interview on American TV.

Crème’s followers reckon that Patel’s appearance on Comedy Central show The Colbert Report and the interview Crème makes reference to, are the very same.

Patel was discussing his latest financial book, The Value Of Nothing, but some viewers took more than that from it.

“Can you imagine what it means, for the first time in human history, the World Teacher, not only can come himself, but can speak to the world through the link television channels of the world and address all humanity,” Crème said.

But it’s not Patel’s first television appearance, Campbell Live spoke to the alleged “saviour of the world” three years ago.

Adherents say Patel fulfils prophecies of a messiah with dark skin, born in 1972, and who speaks with a stutter.

Patel denies his deity, but it’s somewhat futile – because denial is another trait of the Messiah, according the Crème.

When asked by Colbert Report host, James Colbert if he was the Messiah, Patel answered simply that he wasn’t.

“Hurrah! He’s the Messiah,” Colbert said.

After getting emails asking if he is the Maitreya, Patel posted a rebuttal from Monty Python’s Life of Brian on his website.

“He is not the Messiah, he is just a very naughty boy,” the clip says.

But Crème is undeterred and continues to make prophecies.

“The Year of the Tiger, according to Maitreya, is the year in which great things take place,” he says.

“Great big things.”

Which could be a shame – because they would definitely squeeze stories like this one out of the news.

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