by Jozef D. Astley
Scottish painter, esotericist and author Benjamin Creme has died on 24 October 2016 at his home in London, surrounded by family, at the age of 93. His death is announced on the website of Share International, the non-profit organization founded by Creme in 1975, and in an obituary in the Telegraph dated November 11.
Creme was a leading New Age writer and spent much of his life as an evangelist for Maitreya, the so-called “new world teacher,” whom he identified with the saviours of all world religions, including Christ, the future Buddha, the Imam Mahdi, the Jewish Messiah, and Krishna.
Benjamin Creme first gained worldwide attention in 1982 when he announced in seventeen of the world’s major newspapers that Christ had returned to earth physically (more on this later). He claimed that Maitreya would solve the world’s major problems – social, economic, and political – and usher in a New Age of peace and prosperity.
Creme was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on 5 December 1922. He began painting at the age of thirteen, inspired by the work of Rembrandt, and left school at sixteen to pursue his artistic ambitions. He became interested in the occult at age fourteen, when he read With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet by Belgian–French spiritualist Alexandra David-Néel.
His interest in the occult was revived in the 1950s, when he began reading the theosophical writings of H.P. Blavatsky, C.W. Leadbeater, and Alice A. Bailey, besides various swamis and other esotericists.
From 1957 to 1959 he served as the Vice-President of the Aetherius Society, a UFO religion based largely on Theosophy. In 1958 he met George Adamski, a Polish American ufologist and spaceship photographer whose UFO contacts Benjamin Creme declared to be genuine.
Creme claimed to have received his first telepathic message from a spirit being called “Maitreya, the Christ, Head of our planetary Hierarchy” in January 1959. Maitreya spoke to Creme about his soon reappearance and instructed him to make tape recordings of his messages. Creme later said that he was reluctant at that time to preach the message of Maitreya.
In March 1974 Benjamin Creme and 14 like-minded occultists started a New Age meditation group. By June they began to receive messages from Maitreya, with frequent communications in the period from March 1976 to September 1977. Late 1974 Maitreya told Creme several times, “You know, you must take all this to the public.”
Creme assumed his role as the prophet of Maitreya’s reappearance in 1975, when he finally yielded to the voice within. Helena Petrovna Blavatksy (1831-1891), the famous occultist and founder of the Theosophical Society, had written years earlier, “No master of wisdom from the East will himself appear or send anyone to Europe or America… until the year 1975,” the very year in which Creme commenced his public labours.
Blavatsky writes in her book The Secret Doctrine that “MAITREYA is the secret name of the Fifth Buddha, and the Kalki Avatar of the Brahmins – the last MESSIAH who will come at the culmination of the Great Cycle.” She called him “a new Saviour of Humanity.” Salvation in occultism means the deification of man, so Maitreya presumably makes humanity divine. This explains why Benjamin Creme so completely identified himself with Maitreya that he claimed to be the Maitreya when telepathically speaking on his behalf. He fully espoused the teachings of Theosophy and considered himself to be the Christ.
In 1975 Creme offered to speak at some forty esoteric groups and was invited by three of them. He spoke about “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of the Wisdom.” That same year he also founded Share International, also known as the Tara Center, a non-profit organization with offices in London, Amsterdam, New York and Los Angeles.
On July 7th, 1977, Maitreya telepathically announced through Creme that His “self-made” human body was now complete, and that he was about to make his physical appearance in the world. He had purportedly left his ascended “body of light” at his retreat in the Himalayas, where he had been living up to that time. (It is interesting to see the parallel with the mythical gods of ancient Greece, who were supposed to live on Mount Olympus.)
On April 25, 1982, Creme took out a series of full-page advertisements in seventeen of the world’s largest newspapers in Europe and America, announcing that Christ had come. He declared:
“The world has had enough of hunger, injustice, war. In answer to our call for help, as world teacher for all humanity, THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE.”
Creme explained his announcement at a packed press conference in Los Angeles on 14 May 1982. He said that Maitreya had left his abode in the Himalayas and flown from Pakistan in a Jumbo jet to London, where he had been living among the Asian community since 19 July 1977. Creme further explained that Maitreya is an enlightened world teacher who has come to aid humanity in solving its political, economic and social problems. “He is not a religious leader,” according to the ad, “but an educator in the broadest sense of the word—pointing the way out of our present crisis.”
It is important to bear in mind here that “the Christ” of Benjamin Creme and the New Age movement is not the Biblical Jesus. While the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will come again to judge the world in righteousness (cf. Jude 1:14-15; 2 Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 19:11-16), Creme declared the exact opposite. “He comes not to judge,” he said, “but to aid and inspire.” While Bible-believing Christians expect that Christ’s return on doomsday will mark the end of the world, New Agers expect to save the planet under the guidance of Maitreya. The divergence of opinions could hardly be greater.
So what are we to think of Creme’s message concerning the Maitreya in light of Jesus’ own words recorded in the Bible? Jesus warned that one of the signs of his second coming would be the appearance of false prophets and false Christs. He said:
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:23-27)
Creme’s 1982 advertisement fulfilled this prophecy to the letter. It not only declared that “THE CHRIST IS NOW HERE” but also answered the question “Who is the Christ” with the assertion that he and his disciples had been living in “remote desert and mountain places of earth.” Creme wrote:
“Throughout history, humanity’s evolution has been guided by a group of enlightened men, the Masters of Wisdom. They have remained largely in remote desert and mountain places of earth, working mainly through their disciples who live openly in the world. At the center of this “Spiritual Hierarchy” stands the World Teacher, Lord Maitreya, known by Christians as the Christ. And as Christians await the Second Coming, so the Jews await the Messiah, the Buddhists the fifth Buddha, the Moslims the Imam Mahdi, and the Hindus await Krishna. These are all names for one individual. His presence in the world guarantees there will be no third World War.”
This statement clearly reveals the New Age agenda to unite the world’s religions, yet it completely ignores the theological differences. Jesus warned us of false prophets who would deceive people by saying, “Lo, here is Christ” or “Behold, he is in the desert.” Since Benjamin Creme claimed both of these things, we are bound to identify him as a false prophet when judged by biblical standards.
His message has made quite an impact however. On June 11, 1988, a mysterious Jesus-figure appeared ‘out of the blue’ to 6,000 people at an open-air prayer/healing meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Worshippers believed that this mysterious visitor—a dark-skinned Arab-looking man with beard and moustache, veiled in a white robe and a turban-like hat—was Jesus who had returned back to earth. Share International later claimed that this was the Maitreya spoken of by Benjamin Creme. The event was photographed by a local photographer and received widespread media coverage from CNN and many newspapers.
According to Share International, Maitreya has made many public appearances since that time. Benjamin Creme continued to channel the messages of his “Master” throughout his life. Many of his claims and predictions are demonstrably false. He died at the age of 93.