by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme
It is becoming ever clearer that the momentum of change is growing
steadily throughout the world. Event follows so quickly on event that few
can discern the logic of the sequence by which the new supplants the old.
We, your Elder Brothers, recognize the inevitability of this process and
watch it with satisfaction, knowing, as We do, that all is moving towards
the more perfect expression of the Plan.
For men, however, this is a time of testing and trouble as they seek to
understand and cope with the effects of their actions. The logic of
happenings escapes them and makes them doubt the divinity in which they
place their trust. Thus, for men, has it always been, as they struggle
blindly to enforce their will or to escape the consequence of their
As we move from age to age, such periods of tension and indecision are
repeated again and again. Each new age brings into the world new and
unfamiliar forces which gradually impose themselves on men and invoke
response. Thus it is today, as men search dimly for the new direction which
the new age energies demand of them. Some there are who sense the way and
seek to educate their brothers in the required action. Many, though, are
afraid of change and see only an impending chaos and breakdown if the
‘radicals’ have their way.
Into this divided world has come the Christ. His is the task to reconcile
these disparate groups and to bring order out of the present confusion and
tumult. That His is not an easy task should be apparent to all. That the
gulf between the groups is vast and entrenched is equally clear. How, then,
must He work to bridge the chasm between the old and fearful and the
burgeoning new? How, too, can He counter the deep materialism which is the
hallmark of the present time? How deal with the intolerance of the religious
groups and help them to experience unity?
Presenting Himself as a man among men, Maitreya will make no claims, demand
no allegiance. Simple and direct will be His approach, moderate and calm His
manner. His clarity of mind will arrest attention. His wisdom will overcome
men’s fears. His sincerity of utterance will melt men’s hearts and remove
the burden of hate and greed. Thus will men experience a new appearance of
divinity, one which includes them in its manifestation, and sees no distance
As the Embodiment and Agent of cosmic power and love, Maitreya will open the
hearts of all who can respond, and, turning men from the fear and division
of the past, ready them for the glory of the future.
(Read more articles by the Master)
Q. I read a message from Maitreya on your website; in which Maitreya
says He is coming so soon that it “will surprise indeed”. (1) Does this mean
that all conditions for His public work have been met? (2) Is Maitreya
referring to a major interview when He says this?
A. (1) Nearly. (2) Not necessarily major.
Q. Watching George Bush’s recent State of the Union speech I was
amazed at some of the things he said which seemed like blatant lies or a
completely deluded sense of what his administration are doing; for example
their so-called desire to create peace in the world, which the US government
are clearly not doing. I was also amazed at all the people jumping up and
down to applaud him. It gave me chills and reminded me of footage of the
Nazi rallies in Germany. Does Bush actually believe his words or is it all a
huge exercise in manipulation?
A. Mr Bush is working under the illusion that he is ‘guided’ by God and that
therefore the idealistic picture that he presents of his government’s
intentions is noble and factual, no matter how far that may be from reality.
He does not write his speeches, however, and there are those in his
entourage who do, and who have a cynical and calculated aim to manipulate
American public opinion to accept government policy.
Before and during the war, Dr Goebbels in Germany used the same technique of
lies. He even said that the bigger the lie, repeated often enough, the more
it would be believed. “Germany has no more territorial ambitions”, repeated
endlessly, was followed time after time by invasion of its neighbours.
Q. (1) Do you think it’s true to say that since the Tsunami disaster
the atmosphere in the world has changed? It feels, to me, as if the world in
general has turned a corner or become more serious and realistic about
making necessary changes. (2) Were people shocked into a new realism and
A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes, the energies of Maitreya are affecting humanity more
Q. Do you think the troops — British and US — should be withdrawn from
Iraq now that the elections have been held?
A. If they were withdrawn now, having created chaos and mayhem, they would
leave greater chaos behind.
Q. What is your opinion of the so-called elections in Iraq?
A. America is attempting to impose a representative democratic system on
Iraq, but how can the people of Iraq elect representatives when there has
been no discussion of policies and aspirations, no opportunity to meet and
question candidates, when they are asked to vote for unknown people with or
without policies or ideas? It is a farce. A sad farce when 59 per cent of
those who had the opportunity, at least, to vote set such store by this
Q. We have always had “people power” — there’s nothing new in it.
Share International presents the idea as if it were new and revolutionary.
A. Historically, apart from great revolutionary movements like the French,
Russian and Chinese revolutions, the ‘voice of the people’, as presented by
Share International today, has been very muted indeed. Throughout history,
‘the people’ have watched, and often suffered, the succession of invasions,
pillages and cruelties meted out by conquering individuals with their armies
of conquest. Today, a new phenomenon has appeared. The people everywhere
have sensed their collective power and are demanding a free and just world
as theirs by right of being members of the one humanity. This, I submit, is
altogether new, and will manifest as a world public opinion with a voice so
powerful and united that no government can stand against it. As one of the
Masters has put it: “The voice of the people is the voice of wisdom.”
Q. Since the Tsunami disaster the number of doom and gloom predictions
relating to floods and more watery destruction have increased. (1) Is there
any truth in these forecasts, visions or dreams? (2) Is it true that large
parts of countries like the Netherlands are due to be flooded? (3) Children
are reported to be “seeing” or “dreaming” such scenarios. Is this possibly a
traumatized reaction to the horrific television images that they must have
seen since late December 2004?
A. (1) No. (2) No. (3) Yes.
(More questions and answers)
to the editor
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular
Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large
numbers of people around the world. They also appear at Benjamin Creme's
lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the opportunity to
intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share
International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin
Creme's Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to
inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, the
Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed
intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act
as saving 'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other
disasters. The following letters, previously published in Share
International magazine, are examples of this means of communication by the
One afternoon in Spring 2001 I took a train and sat in a compartment which
was, unusually, completely empty. A man got in and sat in the seat opposite,
across the aisle. I noticed him because he was shabbily dressed, had a
worn-out bag and a wrinkled face, but his eyes were very lively. I was
feeling rather sombre and not very cheerful. He looked at me and said: “Life
is not so hard, madam. Life is easy. I am a happy man.” I looked at him. He
didn’t give the impression of someone with an easy life, a homeless,
middle-aged man. I said: “Well, then tell me: how do you do it?” “Ah,” he
said laughing a bit mockingly at me. “That’s what everybody asks me. How do
you do it? Well, I will tell you something. You create your own problems.” I
saw some truth in this and actually began cheering up at the very humorous
nature of this encounter. Then the conductor came in and asked the man for
his ticket, which he couldn’t produce. I was very relieved to see that the
conductor was not harsh on him for not having a ticket. He was asked to
leave the train at the next station. The man stood up, looked the conductor
— a timid young Dutchman — in the eyes and asked him bluntly: “Tell me, what
is more important in life, love or sex?” The young man, embarrassed, asked
if he could think it over for a while. “Well, love, of course,” said the old
man laughing. Then he got off the train after greeting me very politely. I
saw him walk across the platform with his shabby clothes and bags and
disappear among the crowd. This peculiar encounter left me puzzled wondering
whether this man had been there at that very moment for any purpose at all.
Who was this man?
R.B., Utrecht, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
In the summer of 2004 I was having a particularly hard time with my
personality, being torn between, as far as I know, negative past karmic
tendencies and a desire to do the right thing. I put my hand on the
photograph of Maitreya’s ‘hand’ and said a prayer asking for help. Suddenly
energy travelled down my hand from the photograph into my heart. Since then
things have improved.
On another occasion in the summer, the photograph of the ‘hand’, which I had
stuck to my closet door so I could see it before I went to sleep, emanated
light while I was looking at it and thinking good thoughts.
Since these times I have tried to concentrate more on my good nature,
‘Godly’ qualities, rather than the darker elements of my past, and have been
reading a Course in Miracles with increasing interest.
Were these the blessings of Maitreya?
B.B., Markham, Ontario, Canada.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that these were, indeed, blessings from
In your own words
For Mr Creme’s lecture in Los Angeles in July 2004, I volunteered to help on
the book table. Since it was the first time I had done this, I was a bit
nervous and excited. People started to arrive and look through the books and
materials offered. Some asked questions and we answered as best we could.
As the time for the lecture got nearer, two young women approached the
table, one with blonde hair and one a brunette. The blonde-haired lady
seemed to be the spokeswoman for the two. She said to me: “We just walked in
off the street and don’t know anything.” The dark-haired lady said: “Yep, we
don’t know anything about anything.” The blonde said: “Who would you say
this Maitreya is?” I replied he was an Avatar, a very high spiritual being,
who had come to the world at this time to help humanity, the spiritual
Master of all Masters. She then said: “What can you tell me to convince me
to go in and listen to Mr Creme?” Being rather busy now making sales and
giving change, but mostly realizing I was afraid of not doing a good job of
explaining, I said: “If you go over to that first table, there are many
pamphlets full of information and if you ask that lady over there,” (I
pointed to a co-worker), “she is wonderful at explaining everything, she can
tell you much better than I.” “Well,” she said, “Aren’t you with this
group?” I answered: “Oh yes, I have been part of this group for many years,
but I may not be able to explain to you as well as she can.” I did not want
to be responsible for them possibly walking away. I was then handed a $20
bill and asked to deduct the sale. As I looked down for just a moment, I
heard the blonde lady say slowly and deliberately: “Noooooo, I want to hear
it from you.” Something in the way she said it seemed like a command. My
eyes widened and I went into panic mode. I knew I had to respond. I cannot
honestly recall exactly what I said. I talked about sharing, service,
compassion, being one, and only heaven knows what else. She was looking at
me intently but encouragingly and when I finished she said very slowly and
sweetly: “You did very well. You’ve convinced us. We’re going in.” I felt
she had been very kind. I thanked Maitreya silently and proceeded to work
the table as people were now being asked to go in and be seated. I did not
notice where the two ladies went and since there were many people, my
attention shifted to Mr Creme and I proceeded to listen to the lecture. I
just forgot about them.
However, I did not see them again when the lecture was over. On the way home
I kept playing the scene with the two women over and over in my mind and I
could hear her saying: “Noooooo, I want to hear it from you,” and feeling my
agitation all over again. I thought: “This is a bit unusual as most people
would have gone over to the first table and spoken with the lady I pointed
Will you please tell me if these two ladies were indeed two ladies who just
happened to walk in off the street? I felt I was being tested or encouraged
in some way.
M.C., Los Angeles, California, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the blonde ‘lady’ was Maitreya.
The ‘brunette’ was the Master Jesus.)
I went with a friend Ley to New York in July 2004 to attend the talk by
Benjamin Creme and the public Transmission Meditation. Since Ley is from
Brazil we went to have lunch on Sunday 25 July at a Brazilian restaurant.
While walking back to the hotel after lunch we met two older gentlemen
walking towards us on the sidewalk. One of them was wearing a blue suit and
hat and the other was wearing brown slacks and a plaid shirt and a casual
I was charmed by the sight of the men and heard that they were talking in
Portuguese. I said to my friend: “Say hello to these men in Portuguese.” The
men turned around and we greeted each other. The man in the blue suit asked:
“Do you speak Spanish or Portuguese?” We told them that I speak Spanish and
my friend speaks Portuguese. The man in the blue suit asked my friend where
she was from and she told him Rio de Janiero. He asked her: “What is the
difference between here (New York) and Rio?” She replied that “it depends
because Rio has some things that you can’t find in New York and New York has
some things that you can’t find in Rio.” The man in the blue suit said: “I
will tell you the difference. If we were walking in Rio right now, you would
know other people. Here you don’t know anyone and if you don’t know anybody
you are nobody.”
We asked the man in the brown slacks what languages he spoke and he said: “I
only speak English.” The man in the blue suit immediately said to him:
“Remember, you also speak Hebrew.” The man in the brown slacks said: “Oh yes
I also speak Hebrew, but actually I speak the most important language in the
world — the language of love.”
I asked the man in the blue suit what languages he spoke and he said with a
laugh: “I speak so many languages, they get all mixed up in my mind.”
We parted and watched as the men entered a deli nearby. As we walked past we
saw that they were sitting at a table talking with a third gentleman who
looked a lot like Benjamin Creme. This man had a black cap on. Later on in
the evening at the Transmission Meditation, Benjamin Creme arrived wearing
an identical black cap.
All during this encounter Ley and I were thinking that these two gentlemen
could very well be the Lord Maitreya and the Master Jesus. I humbly submit
this letter for verification by Benjamin Creme’s Master.
E.T., Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man in the plaid shirt and
golf hat was Maitreya. The man in the blue suit was the Master Jesus. The
third man in the deli was a disciple imitating Benjamin Creme.)
On 27 December 2004 I attended a coffee house gathering of the Dallas
Interfaith Spirituality group. During the latter part of the discussion (as
to what the relationship is between religion and spirituality, and how they
affect the social fabric), there was a wonderful energy which came over all
of the group. There were three people from Japan at the table and their
interpreter said they were feeling much love and warmth. The man next to me
was so moved that he could hardly speak. I too felt the wonderful love
I wonder if you could tell me if that was a blessing and from whom?
B.W., Dallas, Texas, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that it was indeed a blessing, from
of the time
Four people — Maria Tamares, 50, her 3-year-old grandchild, and two
14-year-old boys — were rescued on 9 December 2004 having survived 10 days
buried beneath the rubble of a chapel in Real, the Philippines. The area had
been hit by a typhoon and three tropical storms.
Rescuers had given up hope of finding survivors after three days’ digging
had produced only bodies, but as they began the process of clearing debris
they heard faint cries. “It was God who saved us,” Mrs Tamares said. “I
could not explain where we got our strength to last for days without food.”
She said they survived by drinking any kind of liquid that dripped through
the rubble. Her grandchild told her: “Don’t worry, grandma, we will come out
of this alive.”
(Source: The Independent, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that they were saved by the Master
Florida Keys rescue
On 11 December 2004, 80-year-old Cuban-born lawyer Ignacio Siberio took
his boat out 12 miles off the Florida Keys on a fishing trip. However, while
he was free-diving for snapper and grouper beneath the surface, his boat
dragged anchor in strong winds, and drifted away on the Gulf Stream
currents. Exhausted by his attempts to swim after it, he “encountered one
small buoy” and clung to it all night, his flippers grazed by large
predators (shark or barracuda) swimming beneath him. Eventually he let go
and set off to swim to shore, 12 miles away. When found by rescuers he had
been in the freezing Atlantic water for 20 hours, and swimming for five
hours, but was suffering only from mild hypothermia.
The number painted on the buoy — 731 — was the same as Mr Siberio’s
birthday, July 31, which he thought was providential.
(Source: The Guardian, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that he was saved by the Master Jesus.)
Turin Shroud older than previously believed
The Shroud of Turin is much older than indicated by radiocarbon dating
carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study. Raymond Rogers, a
chemist who was on a 1978 team allowed to study small pieces of the cloth,
says his new research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988
radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to
repair fire damage. This material was responsible for an invalid date being
assigned to the shroud, according to Rogers. "The radiocarbon sample has
completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud
relic," he said.
In the study, Rogers analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests
with other samples from the cloth. His new analysis revealed the presence of
a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and the medieval patch,
but not the rest of the shroud. Vanillin, present in linen from the flax
fibres used to weave it, slowly disappears from the fibres over time at a
calculable rate, Rogers said. Judging by those calculations, a medieval-age
cloth should have had 37 per cent of its vanillin left. But there was
virtually no vanillin left in the shroud sample Rogers analysed, leading the
chemist to calculate it was between 1,500 and 3,000 years old — far older
than the earlier radiocarbon testing had indicated. (Source: BBC News,
Transmission meditation conference keynote talk - part two
Part Two of the edited Question and Answer sessions with
Benjamin Creme from the Transmission Meditation Conferences held at San
Francisco, USA, in August 2004 and in the Netherlands in September 2004. The
Keynote Talk plus Part One of the Questions and Answer sessions appeared in
Share International January/February 2005.
Q. Aren’t there some other disciples who could be working as you do to
make known the Christ’s presence? (Europe)
A. There are five people who you might have thought would be key people in
the 4,000 people involved in this work around the world: one in New York, me
in London, one in Geneva, one in Darjeeling, one in Tokyo, all chosen to be
the first presenters. Around them would gather more, so that it would become
a worldwide happening. This information would be coming from five points
across the world from New York to Tokyo, a brilliant plan, except that the
one in New York does not believe. He has been to my lectures several times
but does not believe the story. I am the one in London. The one in Geneva,
like the one in New York, does not believe the story. They are both
Christian mystics, influenced by people like Steiner who died before the
plan that it would be the Christ Himself was finalized. Steiner was adamant
that the Christ could not return in a physical body and thought that when
the Christ Principle awakened sufficiently in the hearts of men, then we
could say the Christ is in the world. This is only one aspect of the
Reappearance of the Christ. People who follow Steiner have closed their
minds to the very possibility of the Reappearance of the Christ as a
physical man in the world, quite apart from all the 40 or so Masters Who are
likewise coming. They have done a disservice to the event.
The man in New York does not believe it; the man in Geneva does not
believe it; the man in Darjeeling is still asleep; and the one in Tokyo is a
woman who believes she is Maitreya, so they are not doing a very good job.
This was not the fault of Hierarchy, because They simply present the
opportunity to serve. It is up to the disciple to be aware enough of the
implications of such a story. The Masters do not tell you a story which They
know is not going to prove to be true.
We have to make it happen. We have to ‘make the noise’ in the world that
makes people understand that this is happening and so create the climate of
hope, of expectancy for it to happen, and so raise the hope of humanity, who
are desperate. They have to have hope for the future, and nothing so gives
them hope as the thought of the Reappearance of the Christ or the Imam Mahdi
or Maitreya Buddha or Krishna. It raises their spirits and alleviates their
anxiety and tension.
Humanity is ready for Maitreya
Q. Who are the 1.5 billion people who are ready to accept Maitreya's
ideas? Are you referring to the poorest of the poor? (US)
A. I am referring to everybody. Maitreya said a long time ago, in Agni Yoga:
“There was a time when 10 true men could save the world. Then came a time
when 10,000 was not enough. I shall call on 1 billion." Five or six years
ago, I asked my Master: “Has Maitreya got the billion yet?” He said: “1.5.”
That is the 1.5, and that was a few years ago. So it is 1.5, plus several
Q. You have talked about leaders in various fields who have had
contact with Maitreya and the Masters and have been prepared by Him. Why is
their work not more evident in the present situation? (Europe)
A. I wonder if that is true. How evident would you expect it to be? What is
the area of your research? I do not know what you expect. There are people
all over the world who know, like we know, that Maitreya is in the world and
who know why He is here. They may not know all the esoteric background to
His coming, but they know that a great Teacher is in the world and He could
be, from their point of view, the Christ. They know He has very explicit
ideas about the need for humanity to change, and in what direction, and that
they can be of service in influencing the direction of that change. They
know that, but they are not going to write it in the newspapers. They are
not necessarily in France or Germany or Holland. They might be in South
America; in fact they are in South America. They might be in China; they are
in China and Russia.
We in Europe tend to think that everything of any importance happens in
Europe just as if you are American you think America is where it all
happens. Well, it does not, of course. Some things — some of the worst
things, some of the good things — do happen in America and Europe, but much
that is of value to humanity, and the kind of thing which you suggest is not
evident, is actually becoming more and more evident at a higher and higher
level in some countries in South America, in China, in Russia. There is
affirmation in all these fields for change, not the old style Communistic
revolutionary leader but a new type of left-wing, committed-to-the-people
democratic leader coming to the fore in several states in South America and
elsewhere in the world. That is a healthier way to go than the old, now
dying, oligarchy of the Soviet groupings, both east and west. Democracy is a
reality and is the preferred mode of social life by the Masters.
They do not work exactly as a democracy. Hierarchy, as the name suggests,
is a hierarchy. They quite openly accept that, for example, Maitreya knows
more than the Masters because He is more evolved, older, and has an
awareness of aspects of cosmos which His immediate disciples do not have,
even if They are sixth-degree initiates. It is a hierarchy, and They take it
for granted that anyone more evolved will have a wider and more profound
area of knowledge and wisdom, by the very nature of consciousness. However,
They do work democratically in so far as each Master takes on a certain body
of work and from His own consciousness makes that effective in the world. He
is responsible for His own section of the work or teachings and has the
democratic right to put forward His views at the collective Hierarchical
meetings where all ideas are discussed and appraised.
We find it difficult to accept a hierarchical view of life, to accept
differences in people. Countries like Holland, Sweden and Norway, for
example, which are very democratic, find really distasteful the idea that
there is a Hierarchy, that there are people Who are Masters. They always
think that the Masters tell us what to do. As I have been at pains to say
over the years, the Masters are not here to tell us what to do at all. The
Masters will only advise and teach in the sense of revealing the results of
actions. If we do this action, so and so will inevitably result, and if we
do that action, then something quite different, probably preferable, will
result. Then They leave the choice to us. If we are intelligent we take
Their advice. They illuminate the results of the various actions which we
can take. That is an extraordinary bonus to decision making — if you have a
Master, a Teacher, a Guide Who tells you that if you do this then such and
such will come out of it, or if you do that then another thing entirely will
come out of it, then you can see which way you want to go. It is what you
want; you have free will. I cannot over-emphasize that fact.
We really do not understand what free will is. We have an understanding of
it in rather a superficial way, but we really do not understand how profound
a quality free will is and why it is so impossible for the Masters to
infringe our free will. Free will is the very element of our nature which
makes evolution possible. Without free will we would not evolve. The Masters
are in charge of the Plan of Evolution so They are involved with evolution,
and human evolution is part of it. If They were to infringe our free will,
which is fundamental to being able to evolve at all, They would put a stop
to Their own actions and put a stop to all evolution of humanity — so it
will never happen. We must become aware of how important that free will is
and not see it as something we hold on to even when we know we are doing the
Someone comes along, a teacher for example, somebody who knows the
answers and has been over the same ground and so knows that if you do this,
then that will happen, and tells you so. If you take it as some infringement
of your precious free will, then you are not going to benefit from that
I know people who will not take the fact of the Masters’ presence in the
world even when They are acting openly. They will not take Hierarchical
guidance because they are democrats and they will not take any kind of
hierarchical supervision if they feel it as supervision over their right to
be themselves and their right to be democratic. It is an obsession with
democracy. They have brought democracy, rightly, to a very high level of
importance in our social life and then they have deified it. They have made
it an ideology which puts a barrier around themselves, so they cannot grow.
They cannot accept anything higher than their democracy.
They are only men and woman and they are limited, as all men and women
are, by their point in evolution. I do not know what the average point in
evolution is of the governing, intelligent, politicians in the world. I
would say it is something like 1.4 or 1.35. It is not enough. They are
functioning astrally; they are not mentally polarized. They cannot make
decisions objectively and so they make a mess of the world.
The people whom Maitreya and the Masters have been training, you will find,
will be 1.5 or higher, probably even a few second-degree initiates, working
from a higher level. They can see more objectively. They might still be
fanatics and might still be sunk in their own particular ideology, but they
will have a greater sense of the whole. They will have greater tolerance in
the things that matter even if they are Christian fanatics or Muslim
fanatics or whatever.
Q. The world is waiting for the soul of America to manifest. Is this
manifestation to come exclusively through the initiates in America or from
the masses in the near future? (US)
A. It comes through the initiates. The soul of a country always demonstrates
through the initiates of that country. From the masses comes the personality
expression. The personality expression of America is the 6th ray of Abstract
Idealism or Devotion. Americans are indeed devoted to their own ideals. The
ideal of freedom is probably the biggest ideal, at least the one that we
hear of most. You do not hear about justice very much because the idea of
justice does not colour the consciousness of the masses of America.
America has elevated the concept of freedom to a degree which, to my
mind, takes it BEYOND freedom.. It is freedom to do what you like, under any
conditions, with no restrictions. If you scratch an ordinary American, you
see this powerful 6th ray, ready to brush aside all hindrances to get his
own way. To the person, it is not a wrong way, but his own ideal way, and
that is freedom.
The US President said that US freedom was being threatened by a little state
called Iraq. It had no weapons of mass destruction. How could Iraq threaten
America? The whole thing is absurd. I cannot understand how so many
Americans fall for their government's claim that somehow or other, given
that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, it was a threat to America. It
was never a threat to America. Nothing could persuade me that Iraq was a
threat to America. It could be a threat to Kuwait, a threat to the Kurds
certainly, a threat to Iran, perhaps, all over again, although I doubt it.
Iraq could be a threat to Syria if it wanted to be. Syria is probably the
only country that Iraq would really be a threat to, and it borders Iraq so
it would be very easy. Syria has no weapons of mass destruction to speak of.
Believing that Iraq was a threat to America is believing in a nonsense. For
Mr Blair to persuade the British people and about one-third of his own party
that Britain was threatened by Iraq is again a complete, utter nonsense. It
is just not true.
Freedom has been elevated to a position where it is no longer freedom
that you are talking about. Freedom is one of the imperative human needs.
Without freedom, there is no real life. It is a great divine quality, but
there is also justice. There cannot be freedom without justice, or justice
The American ‘myth’ of freedom is based on the fact that the masses of
Americans believe in what they call freedom, but obviously do not believe in
justice. I have found that in the American mind they equate justice with the
legal system. You are very concerned about legality. The legal system is
very developed in America. Some of it seems very odd to me, some of it very
advanced. But it has nothing to do with justice except legal justice.
Justice is something else. Justice is to do with right relationship, just as
freedom is to do with right relationship. You cannot have one without the
The masses of people making up the personality of America contrive somehow
to see freedom as the overriding necessity for all peoples, and justice to
be so far behind as to almost not be there. You have 275 million people in
this country of whom some 44 million do not have any healthcare. This is
unbelievable. That is a huge proportion of the population who cannot afford
to go to the doctor, who cannot afford false teeth or dentistry if they need
it, who are afraid to get ill because they have to take time off work and
are not going to be paid for it. It is an abomination.
That is why, among Maitreya's priorities, He has stated: enough food,
shelter, healthcare and education. These are the essentials for all peoples
as a matter of course, as a human right. That is also in the United Nations
Charter, which was largely written by President F.D. Roosevelt. You know
about this and yet there is no emphasis in American thought on the concept
of justice. They know what equality means, and they do not like it. They
call it communism, socialism.
Maitreya says that no nation can work on one wheel. If you see a nation as a
cart, it must have two wheels; otherwise it will not go. If one wheel alone
is capitalism, it will not move. If one wheel alone is socialism, it will
not move. The only thing that will make the cart, that is your
political/economic structure, work properly is to have the best of socialism
and the best of capitalism. The Masters advise 70 per cent socialism to 30
per cent capitalism as the best proportion.
healing and transforming the world
Interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner
by Monte Leach
Rabbi Michael Lerner is founding editor of Tikkun magazine;
author of numerous books, including The Politics of Meaning and Healing
Israel/Palestine; and executive director of the grassroots group the
Lerner describes the Tikkun Community this way: “We are a community of
people from many faiths and traditions, called together by Tikkun
magazine and its vision of healing and transforming our world. We include in
this call both the outer transformation needed to achieve social justice,
ecological sanity, and world peace, and the inner healing needed to foster
loving relationships, a generous attitude toward the world and toward others
unimpeded by the distortions of our egos, a habit of generosity and trust,
and the ability to respond to the grandeur of creation with awe, wonder and
radical amazement. We are guided in our work by our belief in the principle
Monte Leach interviewed Rabbi Lerner for Share International.
Share International: Would you talk about the focus of your work with
the Tikkun Community?
Michael Lerner: We believe that the healing and transformation of the world
has to go beyond the categories that the liberal and progressive world have
put forward. The left has formulated its demands primarily in terms of
economic entitlements and political rights. We support these demands but
believe they are not deep and radical enough. We think that they do not
really address a central dimension of capitalist oppression, which is the
triumph of an ethos of selfishness and materialism that is the bottom line
of a capitalist world.
Many who adhere to this ethos of selfishness and materialism feel terribly
dirtied by the whole enterprise, and desperately seek some escape, which
they often find in right-wing movements that put forward a different set of
values. These movements say that human beings are to be valued not for what
they can achieve in the capitalist marketplace, but for some aspect of who
they are. This is where you get the great appeal of fascist movements,
ultra-nationalist movements and fundamentalist religious movements, because
each of them has something legitimate to offer, namely the valuing of the
individual for just being (and you can fill in the blank) an American, a
Russian, an Italian, a German, an Israeli, or a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim,
a Hindu. Whatever it is, it always involves on the one hand a valuation of
anybody who is ‘in’, but also on the other hand the devaluation of everyone
who is ‘out’, of that group. Yet these groups have a tremendous appeal
because they are a place where you can feel valued for who you are and not
for what you can accomplish in the marketplace. It is a way of escaping the
selfishness and materialism of the marketplace.
We are trying to create a social movement that challenges these dynamics.
Instead of the left abandoning spirituality to the right and allowing the
right-wing movements (both nationalistic and religious) to pick up on this
deep psychological need, there needs to be a spiritual left that challenges
the ethos of the marketplace, that acknowledges the hunger that people have
for a framework of meaning and purpose in their lives which can transcend
the individualism and selfishness of the competitive marketplace and connect
them to something of higher value.
New bottom line
SI: How would these progressive forms of spiritual politics manifest?
ML: The progressive forces should organize not only around economic and
political rights but also centrally around a new bottom line. If the old
bottom line is money and power, the new bottom line has to be love and
caring. Or to put it more precisely, institutions should no longer be judged
efficient, rational and productive only to the extent that they maximize
money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring,
ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacities to respond to the
universe with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation. That is a new
What would develop ethical, spiritual sensitivity, what would develop
capacities for loving and caring in any given workplace? There is no one
formula; but the search for these qualities and the attempt to define them
in each workplace would be a very radical search. It would involve a
fundamental and very positive transformation. We have some specific ideas
about what that could look like, but the specifics are not the center of our
demand; the methodology is the center of our demand.
One part of our strategy is to advocate for a Social Responsibility
Amendment (SRA) to the US Constitution, saying that corporations with an
income of more than $30 million a year must receive a new corporate charter
once every 10 years; and that the new corporate charter will only be granted
to those corporations which can prove to a jury of ordinary citizens a
satisfactory history of social responsibility.
We are not expecting this to pass right away, but we are expecting in the
course of the next 20 to 30 years to be able to make significant changes in
American society through the struggle for the SRA. In US law, corporations
have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors. Investors can actually
sue corporations for not paying attention to maximizing their investment.
You cannot blame corporate leaders for making the decisions they do. The
SRA, however, will change that. It says to corporate managers: “Now you’ll
have an argument to make to your investors, because you’ll be able to say to
them: ‘I had no choice but to be more socially responsible. Otherwise,
you’ll lose your entire investment. I was forced by the SRA to be socially
responsible, and it was in your economic interest for me to be so.’”
Global Marshall Plan
SI: Our magazine is called Share International primarily
because we believe that there needs to be a more equitable sharing of the
food and resources of the world among all people. In a newspaper
advertisement that you took out recently, you included an element of the
Tikkun Community’s platform, calling for a global Marshall Plan to end
poverty, hunger and homelessness, and saying that the US will actually be
more secure if we adopt this plan. Can you talk about why you see this as
being so important to your platform?
ML: We certainly are on the same line there — it is certainly a central idea
of the Tikkun Community. We affirm the unity of all beings, the fundamental
truth that the well-being of each of us on this planet depends upon the
well-being of everyone else on the planet. The fundamental distortion in
political life today is the inability to recognize that, and to recognize
that we are all in the same boat. When we pollute somewhere in the Third
World, the pollution will come back and affect us in the First World. There
is no way for us to look out for our own interests that will not ultimately
hurt us unless we are looking out for the interests of everyone else.
This is the central spiritual message that the spiritual traditions have
been preaching for thousands of years, which the rest of the world,
including the West, has to understand. There is no way of looking out for
our self without looking out for others. We are all interconnected. Loving
your neighbor, loving the stranger, pursuing justice and pursuing peace are
not simply altruistic acts; they are also self-interested acts. Ultimately,
there is no sense of separation between altruism and self-interest. Anybody
with a rational self-interest will understand the need for altruism.
That understanding leads us to a politics that says our caring for
ourselves has to be caring for others. The well-being of the United States,
both economically and also from the standpoint of protection against those
who would strike against us as they did in 9/11, will come from a world in
which the fundamental needs of everyone on the planet have been met and in
which all of the needs of the planet itself will have been met. We are
talking about a completely different orientation towards politics.
Concretely, as a first step in this direction, we call for a global
Marshall Plan. We want to see the United States take the lead in creating a
consortium of the advanced industrial countries to dedicate about 5 per cent
of their Gross National Product each year for the next 20 years to
rebuilding the economies and infrastructures of the rest of the world —
particularly Third World countries where there is a high level of poverty —
in such a way as to eliminate poverty, hunger, hopelessness, inadequate
education and inadequate healthcare. And to do that in a way that is
ecologically and culturally sensitive to the realities of the people living
there, but nevertheless to put massive amounts of funding into rectifying
the vast imbalances in economic life on the planet so that we can all be
sharing together. That is also a part of the vision.
We also recognize that the central problem facing the human race in the 21st
century is rectifying 150 years of ecological irresponsibility. This is the
absolute survival necessity for the human race. The only way that is going
to happen is when people get over this ridiculous chauvinist nationalism and
begin to recognize that we are all in the same boat and have to work
together and care for each other.
SI: How are you going about getting these ideas out into society at
ML: Our major focus now is building a grassroots organization, the Tikkun
Community, as the vehicle through which these ideas get articulated in the
public sphere. We had a conference at the Democratic National Convention in
August 2004 to present some of these ideas. As a next step with our local
groups in the Tikkun Community, we are trying to set up meetings with the
leadership of the various social change movements, the Democratic Party, the
Greens and other political parties, the labor movement, the women’s
movement, the anti-war movement, and so forth, to try to explain these ideas
SI: You have been involved in progressive political issues as well as
Middle East issues for a long time. Have you seen progress made toward the
ideas that you espouse?
ML: Definitely on the Middle East there has been a huge movement in the
direction of what Tikkun has been putting forward. When we started out 18
years ago, Tikkun magazine was seen as extremist in calling for
reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. The vast majority of the Jewish
establishment did not even recognize the right of the Palestinians to exist
as a people, much less a Palestinian state. Today, we have George Bush
articulating the need for a Palestinian state. So, yes, there has been a
huge change in that sphere.
In regards to trying to get spiritual politics taken seriously in the
liberal progressive world, that is a harder sell. It has only been after the
2004 US election that I am beginning to hear some slight indication of
movement. We are going to be setting up a yearly conference of spiritual
activism, and hope over the course of the next several years to consolidate
spiritual activism into a more coherent political force.
For more information: www.tikkun.org
wall must fall
Interview with Israeli activist Tally Gur
by Suzette van IJssel
‘Bat Shalom’ is an Israeli national feminist grassroots organization
of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli women who are working together against the
Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and towards a just resolution of the
Israel-Palestine conflict. Tally Gur has been an activist with Bat Shalom
for over eight years. She has just finished her MA studies in public policy
and management. Suzette Van IJssel interviewed her for Share International.
International: What does Bat Shalom stand for?
Tally Gur: Bat Shalom means ‘daughter of peace’. This reflects the fact that
we, as women, not only believe in the possibility of peace, we are also
committed to it. We believe that advocating women’s political empowerment
and their active involvement in peacemaking processes is essential to the
resolution of the conflict. Women must be involved at both the grassroots
and the policy-making levels to seek solutions. By bringing together women
from different spheres of our society, like politics, education and local
communities, we raise one another’s consciousness. Women are becoming more
aware of Israel’s policies and its actions to destroy systematically the
basis for secure and orderly life in the Occupied Territories.
From our point of view, the violence will continue as long as the occupation
continues. The occupation is one of the major obstacles to peace. We call
upon all women to join our active struggle for peace and equality because we
refuse to stand silently by while witnessing the destruction of the hope and
future of a peaceful reconciliation. Together we protest against the 1967
occupation and all forms of racism, killing, house demolitions and land
confiscations. We protest against the siege and the daily curfews on
villages, camps and cities.
Not everyone knows this, but Israel is violating international laws and
norms and an extensive range of human rights every day. The building of the
Separation Wall is a unilateral imposition of borders by the Israeli
government, far beyond what is internationally recognized. The consequences
for the Palestinian people are devastating, cutting more than 300,000 people
from their agricultural lands, schools, hospitals and families, putting
their livelihood and existence under daily threat. The wall is putting the
life of thousands of mothers, children and babies in danger. And what is
more, the wall is a clear obstacle for peace activists from both sides,
preventing them from meeting and working together for a better future in the
SI: What kind of activities does Bat Shalom initiate and/or participate
TG: We work at different levels, at the level of public or social action but
also at the level of policy-making. We have just initiated a project titled
‘Women at the Negotiating Table’ based on UN Security Council Resolution
1325. This reaffirms the unique impact of war on women and the important
role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and in
peace-building. At this moment Israeli and Palestinian women are hardly
participating in decision-making or political negotiation. This needs to
But we are also engaged in public activities. One example of this within
Israeli society is the Women’s Supermarket Boycott Campaign, in which we
encourage women to participate locally in the ongoing struggle to evacuate
all the settlements. We distribute brochures that include a list of
settlement products that women can decide not to buy. The back page is a
tear-off letter that can be sent to the manufacturer, saying that this
client used to be a loyal consumer, but since she refuses to invest in
further development of the settlements, she is no longer willing to purchase
the products. And it is starting to work!
And then of course we organize a lot of public demonstrations. We stand at
road-junctions, we stand in the roads and on the construction sites where
the Separation Wall continues to be built. We stand and march with our
banners calling for an end of the Occupation, an end to the building of an
apartheid wall, an end to the violence. While taking part in some of these
campaigns women were attacked violently by the Israeli police. But we have
not given up on our vision and we will still believe that this wall must
fall. We hope that standing together in a spirit of non-violence will
encourage more women to join us in our struggle for peace and justice. Like
the one in Berlin and like other walls all over the world, it will collapse
SI: What is the response in Israel to your fight?
TG: The atmosphere of threat and fear makes it harder and harder to draw
people in Israel to joint Arab-Jewish initiatives. In demonstrations we feel
very vulnerable, because a lot of hatred is expressed against us. Of course,
we receive our regular hate-mail, in which we are accused of loving Arabs
and not Jews. For me it is just the opposite. I do this just because I love
my society, the people, the children. It is who I am. I am a descendant of
Holocaust-survivors from both sides of my family. Besides that, I come from
a military family and opposing military involvement was taboo. Making the
choices that I have made was not easy.
Personally I think that the Holocaust-history is being horribly abused in
order to justify the cruel Israeli policies. But now, after almost ten
years, my parents realize how important this is to me. I dare say that it
has changed them; they are more open now. I see this kind of openness
manifested on a larger scale in our society. Lately I see a lot of changes.
In the past, while I was growing up, it was not ‘done’ to discuss and
criticize the Israeli military involvement or to refuse military service.
Today there are more and more young people, men and women, who dare to do
so. Things seem less black and white. There is more openness, concern and
engagement. More alternative views and convictions are being expressed.
Gradually people are starting to realize that we activists are not so
radical. It seems as if people’s awareness is much broader now. This extends
also to the larger domain of women’s activities. Our voices are being
expressed, concerning human rights, politics, pornography, women, trade and
many other issues.
SI: What inspires you to do this work?
TG: This is who I am. I think about it when I go to sleep and when I wake
up. If I don’t do it, I am not myself and I am not alive. Asking how it
benefits me, as people sometimes do, is the wrong question, because this is
not about me. It is about helping and meaning, creating a change — basic
things all people need in their life. The world would be a better place if
people started to realize this.
SI: What do women in particular have to contribute to the resolution of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
TG: First of all we bring the stories of women suffering from this conflict
to the attention of the wider public. As Resolution 1325 states: war has a
unique impact on women. Many people do not know that it is particularly
women and children who suffer from the effects of the Wall. The checkpoints
are places where a lot of sexual harassment takes place, pregnant women are
not allowed to get to hospital and some even lose their babies because of
this. But I believe that we can also play an important role in the
prevention and resolution of conflicts.
From personal experience I have found out that we as women are able to stay
focused on the common goals that we share. We definitely do not always agree
with one another on how to go forward in our struggle, but we have a very
strong base in our shared longing to end both the occupation and the
violence. Again and again our co-operation shows that what we share is much
stronger than what divides us. Being able to accept one another’s
differences and stay focussed on what matters is, in my opinion, what women
have to offer. We, as the Jewish majority in Israel, have collectively to
take responsibility for the creation of a tremendously unequal situation.
And I see the women bringing about the beginning of this necessary change.
But we need more. Progressive groups like ours in Israel need a completely
different sort of intervention or involvement from the American one. We need
a European partnership. We need to educate public awareness. We need the
rest of the world to be involved!
of the people
Russian pensioners protest
Tens of thousands of pensioners have been demonstrating on city streets
across Russia in protest against Kremlin reforms which have withdrawn the
traditional free benefits which helped the elderly eke out meagre pensions,
in favour of a small cash payment.
Since the start of the new system on 1 January 2005, elderly Russians have
blockaded roads, occupied local government buildings and immobilized dozens
of city centres in large numbers. They complain that the new monthly cash
payments comes nowhere near compensating for the lost benefits, which
included free public transport, housing subsidies and discount medications.
“The first demonstrations were spontaneous, but soon we’ll see
well-organized protests break out across the country,” said Vladimir
Ryzhkov, an independent deputy in the Russian Duma. “The bottom line here is
that Russian pensioners are in a state of desperation.”
Retired war veteran Valentin Makarov, 84, was one of hundreds of pensioners
who blocked the main road between the dormitory suburb of Khimki and Moscow.
His monthly pension of 2,300 rubles (about US$82) was increased by just 450
rubles (US$16) to cover the loss of the free benefits, but his apartment
maintenance charges alone leapt 30 per cent (300 rubles) at the start of the
year, public transport will cost him a further 600 rubles, and the prices of
gas, electricity and most other living costs are rising. “There is no way to
make ends meet,” he said, “and the few things we could rely on to be free
have been taken away. The police set dogs on us and pushed us back. They
treated us like cattle,” said Mr Makarov. “I’m still boiling with rage that
the state I served all my life will not listen to my protests. I’m ready to
go on blocking the roads until it does.” (Source: Associated Press)
Over 150,000 gather for World Social Forum
than 150,000 people from 135 countries took part in the 2005 World Social
Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in January 2005. Since its inception
five years ago, the Forum has focused on searching for alternatives to war,
ending poverty, establishing fair trade, demanding human rights and
respecting the environment. Events this year included a massive street march
of more than 200,000 participants, and various demonstrations, rallies,
information booths, lectures and roundtable discussions on a wide range of
topics. One of the more prominent campaigns was the Global Call to Action
Against Poverty (www.whiteband.org), a civil society movement demanding that
nations accelerate their efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development
Goals by 2015.
Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres, current president of the
Socialist International, attended the Forum, promoting a “non-paternalistic
Marshall Plan” for Africa. In an interview with InterPress Service, Guterres
said that the world needs a new approach, that we need to find ways in which
we “take into account the needs for economic development, social cohesion
and environmental sustainability”, but that “international institutions
needed reforming and a multilateral system of governance should be
established. “All of this,” he said, “has to do with the problems of the
IMF, WTO and World Bank, and the need to move away from a situation in which
finance always comes before social development and the environment, because
all of these questions are inter-related.”
Also attending was Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, who
emphasised how important it is to “join forces and transform the hunger
problem from a social issue to a political issue”. Referring to the unifying
effect of the tragedy of the tsunami, Lula said that poverty is a “silent
earthquake reverberating from the ravines of global inequality”. He said
that the 20th century had been characterized by “abundance and injustice”
pointing out that “in the last 40 years, world Gross Domestic Product
doubled while economic inequality between the centre and the periphery of
the planet tripled. The richest 25 per cent of the planet consume 80 per
cent of available resources, while almost 2 billion people live beneath the
poverty line, on less than $2 per day. The industrialised economies spend
$900 billion to protect their borders but dedicate less than £60 ($111.5)
billion to poor countries, where hunger is the primary weapon of mass
destruction, killing 11 children each minute, 24,000 people each day — the
equivalent of one tsunami per week.”
Lula also highlighted the role of the United Nations, making the point
that it needs reform since decisions which impact the lives of millions are
in the hands of a few within the Security Council. “If poor countries are to
be able to make the fight for development a priority of the global agenda,
democracy must be deepened at the center of power. The reform of the United
Nations and particularly the Security Council is part of this agenda. But
the line of inequality will not shift as long as political power remains
locked in place by a financial system that perpetuates current
relationships. Forty-five per cent of the decision-making of the World Bank
is assigned to the seven richest countries. Five central economies hold 40
per cent of the votes in the International Monetary Fund, while 23 African
nations prostrated by hunger have 1 per cent.” However Lula found himself
put on the defensive at Porto Alegre where some Brazilians in the crowd,
impatient for change, heckled and interrupted his speech, calling for faster
improvements in the lot of the poor.
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, also speaking at the Forum, stood
firmly behind Lula’s initiatives and expressed respect for those great
humanitarian leaders and activists of the past who paved the way for
modern-day progressives. Jesus Christ, Chavez said, was the “greatest
fighter and revolutionary” — a thought befitting a Forum with the theme
‘another world is possible’.
Share International co-workers from the United States and France hosted an
information booth and distributed material in many languages. They provided
lectures and Transmission Meditation workshops that were translated into
Portuguese. Local Brazilians and other Forum visitors were very receptive to
the ideas of Maitreya’s emergence, sharing the world’s resources, global
co-operation, and Transmission Meditation.
(Source: IPS; The Guardian, UK; TerraViva online)
Nations ranked on environment
“The environment will become the number one issue
throughout the world. Even
a few years ago, no politician took the environment seriously; now the
concern is there. This growth in concern is the result of increasing
Self-awareness.” (Maitreya associate, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Two)
Countries from northern and central Europe and South America dominated
the top places in the 2005 Index of Environmental sustainability, which
ranks nations on their success at such tasks as improving air and water
quality, maximizing biodiversity and co-operating with other countries on
The top three spots in the ranking, prepared by researchers at Yale and
Columbia Universities, are held by Finland, Norway and Uruguay. The index is
the second produced in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, which
meets annually in Davos, Switzerland. The first index was produced in 2002.
The report is based on 75 measurements, including the rate of children
dying from respiratory diseases, fertility rates, water quality,
overfishing, emission of heat-trapping gases, and the export of sodium
dioxide, a major component of acid rain.
Irritation at low rankings in the 2002 index spurred countries like Mexico
and South Korea to improve their efforts, said Daniel C. Esty, director of
the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and an author of the
report. Young Keun Chung, an environmental economist with South Korea's
state Korea Environment Institute, agreed: "The first time we were shocked.
Our government wanted to improve our situation. So we concentrated on
improving environmental policy, pollution problems, and traffic problems."
South Korea moved up 13 places between 2002 and the new report. (Source:
The New York Times, USA)
China losing faith in US dollar
“They [the United States] will ruefully watch an attack on
their proudly held freedoms; they will see a steep decline in their standard
of living as the government, of necessity, strives to tackle their enormous
debts; they will witness a loss of confidence in their currency and a sharp
reversal of trade with their traditional trading partners.”
(Benjamin Creme’s Master, Share International, December 2004)
A top Chinese economist said China has lost faith in the stability of the
US dollar, and that his nation should no longer link the value of its
currency only to the dollar. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland in January 2005, Fan Gang, director of the National Economic
Research Institute at the China Reform Foundation, said: "The US dollar is
no longer (seen) as a stable currency, and is devaluating all the time, and
that's causing trouble."
(Source: Associated Press)