I was reading an essay by Raj Patel on a recent edition of the Guardian newspaper from the UK. The Indo-British author/professor/film maker was decrying the global trend to consider him as the ‘Maithreya’, the next Buddha/Messiah who would save the earth from an imminent catastrophe.
As it goes, Patel seems to fit the Maithreya prophesy of Benjamin Crème, the esoterist and owner of Share International. According to Crème, Maithreya will come to – or reappear on – earth to bring the concept of dharma – or justice.
But Patel, whose creative work includes the non-fiction book The Value of Nothing, denies all these. He just wants to be a simple guy. But just denying he is the Maithreya alone is enough to fuel the rumours. After all, Crème said the real Maithreya will deny he is the saviour of the world. (Creme would later acknowledge Patel’s claim the latter is no messiah, after all).
But what caught my attention was Patel’s frustration at the humankind for having given up hopes on the Self.
The Folly of Looking Out for Better In
We constantly look for outsiders to guide us to a better life. We put our faith on outsiders – messiahs – to lead us. Often, we believe in politicians simply because they found a better way to provide better sound clips, though they might prove to be nothing of substance. And the folly of putting our faith in false spiritual messiahs has been proven time and again.
But it is a pity, because we do not have to search outside to find balance and peace. Then, the solution is much closer.
All beings are created equal, but there is no denying of the fact that the human being is perhaps one of the most extraordinary creations of the universe. And our capabilities, spiritual and physical, are immense. Just think of sciences, such as tai-chi, yoga, the various breathing exercises and meditation that we have designed to tap our inner potential. Imagine the power martial artists can gather in various parts of their body through concentrated exercises.
Imagine the stories of people who through sheer hard work have risen up in life.
It is all in the inside. Of course, good stories, essays, music and even ‘Gurus’ can help us and provide the motivation, but they can only help us to tap our own potential.
It is up to us to do the rest.
It just needs confidence in our potential.