Thursday, March 10, 2005

Max Muller, paid hack

March 10th

thanks to reader ganesh.

old max was a hired gun, told to do a job for a fee. which he did, quite well.

i have a copy of this encyclopaedia, didnt know it was available on the web.


Girish said...


The link refers to comments the Max Muller made between 1847 and 1867, before he started his work on the Vedas and Upanishads.

It appears that his study of these scriptures had significantly changed his views on the Hindus and their scriptures.

In 1879 Muller wrote in the introduction to the first volume, ‘ … the earliest of these philosophical treatises will always, I believe, maintain a place in the literature of the world, among the most astounding productions of the human mind in any age and in any country.’

In 1882, Muller delivered a bold series of lectures at the University of Cambridge. He gave his lectures the title, ‘India: What Can It Teach Us?’ These lectures became a landmark publication of 315 pages on the historical record of Europe’s understanding of Indian philosophy and religion. (12)
In the first lecture he expressed the highest admiration for India:

"If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow - in some parts a very paradise on earth - I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant - I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact, more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life - again I should point to India. "

Swami Vivekananda met Max Mueller in 1896 and here are his observations on Prof.Mueller:
"The visit was really a revelation to me. That nice little house in its setting of a beautiful garden, the silver-headed sage, with a face calm and benign, and forehead smooth as a child's in spite of seventy winters, and every line in that face speaking of a deep-seated mine of spirituality somewhere behind; that noble wife, the helpmate of his life through his long and arduous task of exciting interest, overriding opposition and contempt, and at last creating a respect for the thoughts of the sages of ancient India"

Let's not be too hasty to tar everyone with the same brush.


nizhal yoddha said...


the stuff that you are quoting is what max mueller said in public. of course he wanted to sound 'politically correct' in public, so he indulged in fulsome praise of india.

in his private letters, the truth comes out.

this is the difference between what people say publicly and in private. the latter is usually what they really believe.

so i think your defense of mueller is off the mark. and who else am i tarring with the same brush? i am simply saying that mueller was a racist religious bigot. he invented the aryan invasion theory, he believed in bishop ussher's date of 10th october 4004 bce at 10am as the time of the creation of the world according to the bible, and thereby dated the vedas at 1500 bce; and he has said explicitly to his wife that his work was intended to destroy the roots of hinduism. what more do you need?

it is true, however, that in his old age, he retracted his date of 1500 bce, but by then the vested interests had latched on to it and so they ignored his feeble protests.

these colonial bigots may have had their good points, but they were basically white supremacist christian fundamentalists who knowingly or unknowingly worked for the british policy of divide and rule and of christianizing their colonies.

there are other examples, too: bishop caldwell who invented the idiotic 'dravidian' theory; colonel munro who aliented all the temple lands in travancore and lavishly donated travancore government land and money to christians.