Derived from the French word Maitre, or master, the term Maitreya is used as a religious (often future) teacher. There are those who consider that all past messiahs' from each religion have represented different names for the same individual: The Lord Maitreya.
One group currently believes that on the day of Declaration, the Lord Maitreya will mentally overshadow all of humanity simultaneously. "We will hear his words inwordly, telepathically, in our own language, and we will know that the World Teacher is here."
This could be a another twist on the old story of the return of Christ, Krisna or whomever, as some people are unable to accept that they have their own ability to save themselves. Such individuals seem to need someone else who can provide them with salvation.
An emerging view is that all individuals can ascend and rise to their own messianic levels of consciousness, no one else can do it--it is part of our reason for being here. However, there will always be evolved souls who venture here or incarnate into the Earth plane to assist in raising conscious awareness. Those who venture here often channel their message through mediums.
Further information on the subject of the Maitreya can be found at: ShareIntl