A bewildered Indian-origin British economist has been hailed as a messiah by a cult. 37-year-old Raj Patel was bombarded with emails from followers of Share International after he gave a television interview in the US, reports The Sun, London.
Two of the secretive organisation's members - which has thousand of followers worldwide - even travelled 2,400 miles to meet him.
But echoing the scene in Monty Python's Life Of Brian - in which Brian was mistaken for the saviour - Raj said: "I'm not the messiah... I'm just an economics expert!"
The confusion began after Raj, from Golders Green, North London, appeared on TV in January to plug his book on the global financial crisis, The Value Of Nothing.
Two days later, Share International founder Benjamin Creme, 87, announced the chosen one his cult calls "Maitreya" had arrived, telling followers: "Maitreya recently gave his first interview in America.
"The master of all the masters for the first time in human history himself came on a well-known television programme on a major network. But undeclared as Maitreya, just as one of us."
Raj was misidentified soon after as he shared many of the prophesied characteristics of Maitreya.
Both are dark-skinned, were born in 1972 and grew up in London;
Maitreya took a flight from India to the UK in 1977, which matches the date Raj flew back from a holiday there;
Maitreya would appear on TV and speak with a slight stutter - which Raj did on The Colbert Report show;
Frustratingly for Raj, it also states the Maitreya will immediately deny his identity.
Raj, who was raised a Hindu, said: "I started getting emails saying 'Are you the world teacher?'
Then it wasn't just random internet folk, but also friends saying, 'Have you seen this?'
"It's absurd to be put in this position when I'm just some bloke."
Although Raj swiftly rejected his holy credentials, two devotees from Detroit flew 2,400 miles to meet him at a book signing in his current US home town, San Francisco.
Raj said: "They were really nice, straightforward people. They said they thought I was the Maitreya. They also said I had appeared in their dreams.
"I said, 'I'm really flattered you came all the way here, but it breaks my heart you spent all this money to meet someone who isn't who you think he is.'"
The cult was founded by Scotsman Creme in the 1950s.
It believes that the 18 million-year-old Maitreya - who combines elements of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam - has been hiding in the Himalayas for 2,000 years.
His arrival will unite humanity and improve life for everyone on Earth.
Share International has its HQ in Amsterdam with offices in London, the US, Japan, France and Germany. Creme has refused to confirm or deny whether he believes Raj is his saviour.
Meanwhile Raj has had to remove contact details from his website and refuses to talk further about the Maitreya.
He said: "It frustrates me it might disappoint those looking for Maitreya that, in fact, I'm just an ordinary bloke."