It’s in The New Yorker: God spotted in Berkeley

Photo of Raj Patel by Eliot Khuner

At long last, the truth can be revealed: God has visited Berkeley. And apparently he is tall, broad-shouldered and six foot three. No word on his hair length.

This news of God’s appearance was revealed last week in the New Yorker’s Thanksgiving edition, in an article by Lauren Collins titled “Are You The Messiah?”

Apparently, a Scottish man named Benjamin Creme, who heads up Share International, a London-based religious organization with acolytes around the world, has been predicting for decades that God, whom he calls Maitreya, will soon make an appearance on Earth.

Benjamin Creme

The bulk of the article concerns Raj Patel, a San Francisco writer whose latest book is called The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Markets and Redefine Democracy. Creme had made some cryptic comments about Maitreya’s identity, and many of the clues he uttered suggested Patel was the messiah. Followers of Creme flocked to Patel’s readings, his Facebook page and flooded him with e-mails.

After an article appeared in the New York Times about Patel’s exalted status, whipping up even more frenzy, more television appearances for Patel, and even talk about a film on Patel’s life, Creme announced there was no connection between Patel and Maitreya.

But that doesn’t mean God hasn’t appeared to Creme numerous times, he told The New Yorker. Crème first met him in 1959, he said. He later ran into him on the streets of Berkeley.  (Which explains the “Is God in Berkeley?” paper promo on the cover.)

In Berkeley, Maitreya appeared “modern day, slightly hippie, quite casually dressed, but nicely dressed, with a little bomber jacket on,” Creme told the New Yorker.

“He is tall, broad-shouldered, six feet three.”

Keep your eyes peeled.

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  • The local Berkeley group, part of the Share International Network, hosts Benjamin Creme every summer. He is such a fascinating man with a wonderful story to tell. A local member,
    Michiko Ishikawa had an online interview which may be in KWMR’s archives:
    Date: Monday, November 29, 2010
    Time: 10:00 pm PST
    Location: Point Reyes Station, CA
    Station: KWMR-90.5-FM (and 89.9-FM)
    Show: “The Amateur’s Guide to Life”
    Host: Christian Anthony
    Guest: Michiko Ishikawa
    Internet: (live streaming)
    Notes: Call-in numbers are 415-663-8492 or 415-663-8317

  • Adam Heilbrun

    I first encountered Creme about 30 years ago in Berkeley at Will Noffke’s “Shared Visions” bookstore/meeting space. At that time I couldn’t decide if he was a fool or a clever huckster. I’m amazed that he’s been able to sustain a lifetime career with such a shallow pitch.

  • Melanie

    This is hardly an original idea; predictions about Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, have been around for centuries: e.g., check out Creme and Patel just profit (yes, sorry, bad pun) from it. But, after all, where would religion be without hucksters?

  • Not an original idea, true, Melanie, but Creme’s information that Maitreya Buddha (as called by Buddhists) is actually in the everyday world now is unique. Every Teacher of major stature seems to have come to teach mankind something new about God, about relationships, about Man, and they all were initially pretty much rejected. Maybe dogma chokes off the pearl of Truth at the heart of each tradition. Patel seems to be an intelligent humanitarian, and is due whatever payment he gets through sale of his books. Creme receives absolutely no remuneration from sale of his books, speaks without honorarium, and the people of Share International are all volunteers and are paid nothing. The magazine, Share International, contains no advertising. I live in Texas and have watched this process of Maitreya’s emergence for 25 years…noting the accuracy of Maitreya’s predictions, the honesty of Creme’s information, and the selfless service of the network of volunteers who write the articles for the magazine, print Creme’s many books, host Transmission Meditation groups (all over the world) and sponsor and host Creme’s lecture tours. Sorry to be long winded, but really there is quite a lot to research before dismissing this unusual story. I may be wrong, but I think I read that Patel is an atheist, and that Creme’s information is spiritual, but not religious.

  • just Like the convo Raj Patel and I had when I met him. We ALL have Maitreya in us. Ask David de Rothschild if he is Maitreya

  • TheTruthIsFromGod

    Raj Patel is Maitreya, there is no doubt about it. All this cinema just exposes him a bit more. We all have a bit of Maitreya in us (that’s the devil within us, the little voice):

  • Melanie

    “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha.” –Attributed to 9th-century Chinese Buddhist sage Lin Chi

    If we all contain the Buddha within and therefore do not need to consult “masters,” why has Mr. Creme pushed the Maitreya shtick so hard for the last several decades? (He also claims that “Maitreya represents a group of beings from Venus called the Space Brothers”; further information in an amusing article from the Guardian newspaper:

    Still sounds like an exhibitionistic old coot to me, like so many of his well-heeled fellow-travelers in the “spiritual”/religious community of cults. (And, no, I do not necessarily number the Dalai Lama among these loonies; the D.L. appears to have a brain.)

  • Horatio:
    O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
    And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167

  • DC

    That was a great article. But poor Raj Patel…at least he has a good sense of humor over the whole thing.

  • Ephemerol

    “He is tall, broad-shouldered, six feet three.” We all know this fellow. He goes through our recycling cans every week at 2 am. and wakes up all up.

  • Melanie

    Why, Ephemerol, that could only be Zachary Running Vole! I’ve always suspected he thinks he’s god.

  • Ephemerol

    One of our neighbors here who works for the times from her home, took this picture of him after she yelled at him to get way from the recycling cans and to go out and get a girl friend and to seek regular employment. That’s when all of the screaming began and well all know the rest of the story that is played out here in Berkeley 24/7- 365 with this nonsense. I told her to try a crucifix next time and to see if that would have any effect.