Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Raj Patel: He is not the Messiah, do you understand?

Surely one of the oddest things to turn up on a talk show in recent memory was Stephen Colbert's segment last night on author Raj Patel, whose January appearance on "The Colbert Report" managed to get him the ultimate "Colbert Bump" -- a New Age religious sect declared Patel the messiah.

As Colbert explained it, the sect, Share International, had a very specific set of requirements for its new messiah, who is known as Maitreya: born in 1972, traveled from India to London in 1977, dark-skinned, speaks with a stutter. When Patel appeared on "TCR" to plug his book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, "it was the final sign," according to a New York Times report on Patel's "godliness." The author "removed the contact information from his Web site, but dozens of pages, discussion groups and videos have emerged online proclaiming his holiness."

As Patel told Stephen last night, he emphatically denies being the messiah. Of course, according to a Share spokesperson, "Maitreya will neither confirm, or will fail to confirm, he is Maitreya." So Patel is living the life of Brian, as in the Monty Python movie: "Only the true Messiah denies His divinity."

Patel, incidentally, now lives in San Francisco. As a Bay Area resident myself, I can attest to the fact that those of us who live here are convinced we're in the center of the universe, so it makes perfect sense that the Messiah would choose to reside here. (Just kidding, Raj!)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha - Raj Patel
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  1. Anonymous said...

    Totally hilarious video. These people are crazy and I feel sorry for the messiah guy. It can't be nice to have that kind of pressure on you, even if it's only a handful of crazy people who believe you are God.


  2. Anonymous said...

    Laugh out loud funny. Benjamin Creme (not cream) is playing the part of John the Baptist (sorry Stephen). Why would the Messiah announce himself as such? It didn't work out well for Him the last time. Share International was formed as a communications clearing house not a sect. Aside from that, it was a hilarious bit.

  3. knowledge is power said...

    Raj Patel is being used as a mouthpiece for maitreya. Don't be fooled by any of these smooth talking liars.

  4. Joe said...

    As someone who knows a lot about this situation, I have to say that it wasn't funny in the least. (Now I know why people watch Jon Stewart and then change the channel.)
    ALL of Colbert's information was incorrect.
    Not only is Share International NOT a religious organization, NO ONE in Share believes Raj Patel is Maitreya.
    NO ONE.
    Raj Patel is not associated with Share International in any way.
    The people who perpetrated this rumor are people on the fringe of Share or people who just heard about it and acted like morons--like Colbert.
    In fact, Share International--which is a not for profit, totally volunteer organization--is specifically NOT pointing out anyone who might be Maitreya.
    You're supposed to figure it out for yourself.
    (Here's a clue: Maitreya would not have parents and there would be no pictures of him as a child.)

  5. Unknown said...

    A Rebbi's Proverb

    If you always assume the person
    sitting next to you is the Messiah
    waiting for some simple human kindness
    You will soon come to weigh your words
    and watch your hands.
    And if he/se so chooses
    not to reveal him/herself
    in your time-
    it will not matter.

    Aside a great talk from
    Raj Patel from the recent
    2010 Cultivating Food Justice Conference
    San Diego, April 24-25.

    He is a good man
    doing good work, but does
    not claim to be anything but himself.
    He encourages everyone to be the
    master of their own life.