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Hunger and poverty - FAQ


Q. There are about 1,000 million people throughout the developing world living in absolute poverty. In the developed world, economic recession and crime pervasive. What are we doing wrong? What's the problem? 

A. The major problem is the fact that we have come to the end of our civilization. We are witnessing the breakup of the civilization of the last 2,000-odd years and the beginnings of the process of creating a new civilization. This is why Maitreya is in the world, to inspire and guide us, to educate us in the creation of the correct structures - political, economic, and social - which will allow us to go forward in our evolution on the right premises.

At the moment we see a super-division of the world, a separation into major groups - the developed and the developing world. The developed world usurps and wastes three-quarters of the world's food and 83 per cent of the resources. The Third World, as it is called, has to make do with the rest. As a result, 38 million people are, at this moment, starving to death in a world with a huge surplus of food. We have a 10 per cent per capita surplus of food in the world, so no one need starve. What is required is a reassessment of who and what we are in our relationship to each other. Maitreya says the first step we have to take to address these problems is to see ourselves as one, brothers and sisters of one humanity. We have to get that sense of globality, that we are one people, one group - and therefore the food, raw materials, energy, scientific know-how and educational facilities of the world belong to everyone. These resources are given so that all people may evolve correctly according to the plan which underlies our evolutionary process. As a result, we must share these resources more equitably. When we share, Maitreya says, we will create justice in the world, and when we create justice, and only then, will we have peace. He has come to show us how to have peace.

Q. Don't human souls incarnate in bodies which are subject to poverty and disease by choice - in order to grow?

A. No soul comes into the world to starve; it is against the law of life. Not even a worm is born to starve. If you are born in Africa, parts of India, South America, China, you may starve. If you are born in America or the UK you might be hungry but you are probably not starving. Maitreya has said that the only reason people starve is that they have the misfortune to be born in one part of the world rather than another.

No one incarnates deliberately to starve. If you starve intentionally you do it as a spiritual exercise or ritual - Jesus is said to have fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. Fasting has long been known to have beneficial effects on the body and therefore on the emotional and mental aspects as well. That is very different from a life in which you are born into total degradation and misery, in which there is no food or work, in which you have to walk perhaps 12 miles for water or firewood. That is the daily grind of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa today, but they did not come into incarnation to experience it. We come into incarnation in groups; these groups have probably been incarnating in that area for centuries. They are the inheritors of a colonization process which has now ended. Much of sub-Saharan Africa belonged to the British, and when we left them to fend for themselves, we did not educate or train them in the ways and means of doing so. Nor did the French, Belgians or Portuguese. The people are left with the results of our colonization. In some cases that has been completely acceptable; in others it has been a miserable tragedy, especially in those parts which are not naturally well-endowed. That is the reality, and no amount of theorizing that they chose it explains it away. They do not choose it, they find it when they are drawn into incarnation by the magnet of the group of which they are a part. We all incarnate in groups in any part of the world: you have probably been your mother's father, or mother, sister or brother many times over; perhaps you were in sub-Saharan Africa last time.

Q. You talk a lot about sharing with the Third World, bit I believe that when the people of the Third World work as hard as we do they will also have sufficient goods. 

A. This statement is by someone who, quite obviously, knows nothing at all about conditions for millions of people in many of the poorest parts of the world. Just to stay alive, millions in the Third World work harder, and for longer hours, than any 'developed' worker would countenance. Just to get water (often impure and potentially dangerous to health) many walk miles per day in temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade. To gather firewood for cooking becomes a major, all-day task. Without money or technology which Westerners take for granted, miracles of ingenuity are performed daily in otherwise hopeless conditions. I believe it is precisely the appalling complacency implied by this questioner that maintains the dangerous imbalance between the developed and developing worlds. We owe them our help.

Q. If we assume that everything is as it should be, then people in Africa have to learn from poverty and people in the West from wealth. Why then should there be any changes? 

A. How can we assume that 'everything is as it should be' when half the world lives in poverty and the other half lives in relative luxury? When, as Maitreya puts it: 'the rich parade their wealth before the poor'? 'When millions starve and die in squalour'? Such an idea - that 'everything is as it should be' - seems to me to be the most blatant rationalization of greed, complacency and self-deception I've heard in a long time.

Q. Why may not the Masters use Their supernatural powers to save from starving vast masses of humanity in the drought-sicken areas since you have said that the prevailing hunger and suffering are not the result of their bad karma. 

A. The saving from starvation of millions in the Third World requires only ordinary 'powers' and is the responsibility of humanity as a whole. For the Masters to use 'supernatural' powers to end the starvation would be an interference with our free will, and against the karmic law. Any reader of Share International will realize that the starvation in Ethiopia, for example, is unnecessary - foreseen and warned against for years by the aid-agencies, and the result, not simply of drought (an 'act of God') but of poverty and political machinations. Humanity must learn to identify with all branches of the human family and act as brothers, through sharing, and save itself.

Q. You are right to criticize the imbalance between the First and Third Worlds. Yet, because of wars, corrupt regimes, bad weather, etc, help is frustrated or impossible. How should we deal with this when we want to help?

A. The NGO Aid agencies are still of vital importance in helping to relieve suffering in the Third World and thus require constant donations from those who are concerned to help; but the real transformation - precisely because of the hindrances mentioned above - must come from a global attack on poverty and starvation by the united efforts of the rich Western countries. It is this which Maitreya will seek to inspire. The governments will act when the people demand it.

Q. What does Maitreya advise us to do in practice?

A. The number one priority is the saving of the starving millions. The fact of millions of people starving to death is a blasphemy - Maitreya calls it a crime. It is a cancer in our midst.

We do not accept responsibility, and if we do not accept responsibility our governments will not accept responsibility. Our governments know that ending hunger is not a vote-winner; we have to make it a vote-winner. We have to say: "Unless you address the question of hunger in the Third World I am not going to vote for you. If you want my vote, advocate the principle of sharing in the world." They will do it because they want your vote. If you live in a so-called democracy, you have to make that democracy a fact by participation. Participation also entails making your needs known. If your needs are to end hunger then you have to act through your representatives and force your government to act. The governments of the world have known of this particular famine situation in Somalia for well over a year. They were warned by the aid agencies that it was coming and they have done nothing - because there is no oil there. If oil for the West had been threatened, the Americans would have been in with aid, the French and the English and every one else.

The next priority is making known, if you believe it, that Maitreya is in the world. That helps create the climate of hope, of expectancy, so that He can enter our lives and begin His open mission in a smooth way. The world is in chaos at the moment, tremendous upheavals are going on, and His re-entry on to the world stage is dependent on a climate of expectancy, otherwise it would be an infringement of free will.

The major priority, once the Day of Declaration is over, once we have addressed the problem of hunger, and sharing is a reality, is the saving of planet Earth. The environment will become the number one priority.



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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005