Max Müller

Max Müller

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Friedrich Max Müller more regularly known as Max Müller, was a German
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 philologist and Orientalist
Oriental studies
Oriental studies is the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology; in recent years the subject has often been turned into the newer terms of Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies...

, one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies
Indology
Indology is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent , and as such is a subset of Asian studies....

 and the discipline of comparative religion
Comparative religion
Comparative religion is a field of religious studies that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes, myths, rituals and concepts among the world's religions...

. Müller wrote both scholarly and popular works on the subject of Indology
Indology
Indology is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent , and as such is a subset of Asian studies....

, a discipline he introduced to the British reading public, and the Sacred Books of the East
Sacred Books of the East
The Sacred Books of the East is a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious writings, edited by Max Müller and published by the Oxford University Press between 1879 and 1910...

, a massive, 50-volume set of English translations prepared under his direction, stands as an enduring monument to Victorian scholarship.

Life and work


He was born in Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

, the son of the Romantic poet Wilhelm Müller
Wilhelm Müller
Wilhelm Müller was a German lyric poet.-Life:Wilhelm Müller was born at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the university of Berlin, where he devoted himself to philological and historical studies...

, whose verse Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

 had set to music in his song-cycles Die schöne Müllerin
Die schöne Müllerin
Die schöne Müllerin , is a song cycle by Franz Schubert on poems by Wilhelm Müller. It is the earliest extended song cycle to be widely performed. The work is considered one of Schubert's most important, and it is widely performed and recorded....

 and Winterreise
Winterreise
Winterreise is a song cycle for voice and piano by Franz Schubert , a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller. It is the second of Schubert's two great song cycles on Müller's poems, the earlier being Die schöne Müllerin...

. Max Müller's mother, Adelheide Müller, was the eldest daughter of a chief minister of Anhalt-Dessau
Anhalt-Dessau
Anhalt-Dessau was a principality and later a duchy located in Germany. It was created in 1396 following the partition of the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst. The capital of the state was Dessau. Anhalt-Dessau experienced a number of partitions throughout its existence with Anhalt-Köthen being...

. Müller knew Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 and had Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria von Weber
Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber was a German composer, conductor, pianist, guitarist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school....

 as a godfather
Godparent
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. A male godparent is a godfather, and a female godparent is a godmother...

.

In 1841 he entered Leipzig University, where he left his early interest in music and poetry in favour of philosophy. Müller received his Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in 1843 for a dissertation on Spinoza's Ethics. He also displayed an aptitude for languages, learning the Classical languages Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, as well as Arabic, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. In 1844 Müller went to Berlin to study with Friedrich Schelling. He began to translate the Upanishads for Schelling, and continued to research Sanskrit under Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages.-Biography:...

, the first systematic scholar of the Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

. Schelling led Müller to relate the history of language to the history of religion. At this time, Müller published his first book, a German translation of the Hitopadesa
Hitopadesha
Hitopadesha is a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse written in the 12 century C.E. It is an independent treatment of the Panchatantra...

, a collection of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n fable
Fable
A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized , and that illustrates a moral lesson , which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.A fable differs from...

s.

In 1845, Müller moved to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 to study Sanskrit under Eugène Burnouf
Eugène Burnouf
Eugène Burnouf was an eminent French scholar and orientalist who made significant contributions to the deciphering of Old Persian cuneiform....

. It was Burnouf who encouraged him to publish the complete Rig Veda in Sanskrit, using manuscripts available in England.

Müller moved to England in 1846 in order to study Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 texts in the collection of the East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. He supported himself at first with creative writing, his novel German Love being popular in its day. Müller's connections with the East India Company and with Sanskritists based at Oxford University led to a career in Britain, where he eventually became the leading intellectual commentator on the culture of India
Culture of India
India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality....

, which Britain controlled as part of its Empire. This led to complex exchanges between Indian and British intellectual culture, especially through Müller's links with the Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj is the societal component of the Brahmo religion which is mainly practiced today as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1859. It was one of the most influential religious movements responsible for the making of...

. He became a member of Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

 in 1851, when he gave his first series of lectures on comparative philology. He gained appointments as Taylorian Professor of Modern European Languages in 1854. Defeated in the 1860 competition for the tenured Chair of Sanskrit, he later became Oxford's first Professor of Comparative Theology (1868 – 1875), at All Souls College.

Müller attempted to formulate a philosophy of religion that addressed the crisis of faith engendered by the historical and critical study of religion by German scholars on the one hand, and by the Darwinian revolution
Darwinism
Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin....

 on the other. Müller was wary of Darwin's work on human evolution, and attacked his view of the development of human faculties. His work was taken up by cultural commentators such as his friend John Ruskin
John Ruskin
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political...

, who saw it as a productive response to the crisis of the age (compare Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator...

's "Dover Beach
Dover Beach
"Dover Beach" is a short lyric poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold. It was first published in 1867 in the collection New Poems, but surviving notes indicate its composition may have begun as early as 1849...

"). He analyzed mythologies as rationalizations of natural phenomena, primitive beginnings that we might denominate "protoscience
Protoscience
In the philosophy of science, a protoscience is an area of scientific endeavor that is in the process of becoming established. Protoscience is distinguished from pseudoscience by its standard practices of good science, such as a willingness to be disproven by new evidence, or to be replaced by a...

" within a cultural evolution; Müller's "anti-Darwinian" concepts of the evolution of human cultures are among his least lasting achievements.

Müller shared many of the ideas associated with Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, which coloured his account of ancient religions, in particular his emphasis on the formative influence on early religion of emotional communion with natural forces.

Müller's Sanskrit studies came at a time when scholars had started to see language development in relation to cultural development. The recent discovery of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 (IE) language group had started to lead to much speculation about the relationship between Greco-Roman
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 cultures and those of more ancient peoples. In particular the Vedic
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 culture of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 was thought to have been the ancestor of European Classical cultures, and scholars sought to compare the genetically related European and Asian languages in order to reconstruct the earliest form of the root-language. The Vedic language, Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

, was thought to be the oldest of the IE languages. Müller therefore devoted himself to the study of this language, becoming one of the major Sanskrit scholars of his day. Müller believed that the earliest documents of Vedic culture should be studied in order to provide the key to the development of pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 European religions, and of religious belief in general. To this end, Müller sought to understand the most ancient of Vedic scriptures, the Rig-Veda.

Müller was greatly impressed by Ramakrishna Paramhansa, his contemporary and proponent of Vedantic
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

 philosophy, and authored several essays and books on him.

A 1907 study of Müller's inaugural Hibbert Lecture of 1878 was made by one of his contemporaries, D. Menant. It argued that a crucial role was played by Müller and social reformer Behramji Malabari
Behramji Malabari
Behramji Merwanji Malabari was an Indian poet, publicist, author, and social reformer best known for his ardent advocacy for the protection of the rights of women.- Early life :...

 in initiating debate on child marriage and widow remarriage questions in India.

For Müller, the study of the language had to relate to the study of the culture in which it had been used. He came to the view that the development of languages should be tied to that of belief-systems. At that time the Vedic scriptures were little-known in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, though there was increasing interest in the philosophy of the Upanishads. Müller believed that the sophisticated Upanishadic philosophy could be linked to the primitive henotheism
Henotheism
Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities...

 of early Vedic Brahmanism from which it evolved. He had to travel to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in order to look at documents held in the collection of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. While there he persuaded the company to allow him to undertake a critical edition of the Rig-Veda, a task he pursued doggedly over many years (1849–1874), and which resulted in the critical edition for which he is most remembered.

For Müller, the culture of the Vedic peoples represented a form of nature worship
Nature worship
Nature worship describes a variety of religious, spiritual and devotional practices that focus on natural phenomenon. A nature deity can be in charge of nature, the biosphere, the cosmos or the universe. Nature worship can be found in panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism,...

, an idea clearly influenced by Romanticism. He saw the gods of the Rig-Veda as active forces of nature, only partly personified as imagined supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 persons. From this claim Müller derived his theory that mythology is 'a disease of language'. By this he meant that myth transforms concepts into beings and stories. In Müller's view 'gods' began as words constructed in order to express abstract ideas, but were transformed into imagined personalities. Thus the Indo-European father-god appears under various names: Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, Jupiter, Dyaus Pita
Dyaus Pita
In the Vedic pantheon ' or ' or Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra , and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi...

. For Müller all these names can be traced to the word 'Dyaus', which he understands to imply 'shining' or 'radiance'. This leads to the terms 'deva', 'deus', 'theos' as generic terms for a god, and to the names 'Zeus' and 'Jupiter' (derived from deus-pater). In this way a metaphor becomes personified and ossified. This aspect of Müller's thinking closely resembled the later ideas of Nietzsche.

Nevertheless Müller's work contributed to the developing interest in Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 culture which set Indo-European ('Aryan') traditions in opposition to Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 religions. He was deeply saddened by the fact that these later came to be expressed in racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 terms. This was far from Müller's own intention. For Müller the discovery of common Indian and European ancestry was a powerful argument against racism, arguing that "an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar" and that "the blackest Hindus represent an earlier stage of Aryan speech and thought than the fairest Scandinavians".

In 1881, he published a translation of the first edition of Kant
KANT
KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...

's Critique of Pure Reason
Critique of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is considered one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant's "first critique," it was followed by the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgement...

. He agreed with Schopenhauer that this edition was the most direct and honest expression of Kant's thought. His translation corrected several errors that were committed by previous translators. In his Translator's Preface, Müller wrote, "The bridge of thoughts and sighs that spans the whole history of the Aryan world has its first arch in the Veda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, its last in Kant's Critique.…While in the Veda we may study the childhood, we may study in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason the perfect manhood of the Aryan mind.…The materials are now accessible, and the English-speaking race, the race of the future, will have in Kant's Critique another Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 heirloom, as precious as the Veda — a work that may be criticised, but can never be ignored." Müller remained profoundly influenced by the Kantian Transcendentalist
Transcendental idealism
Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century. Kant's doctrine maintains that human experience of things is similar to the way they appear to us — implying a fundamentally subject-based component, rather than being an activity that...

 model of spirituality, and was opposed to Darwinian ideas of human development, arguing that "language forms an impassable barrier between man and beast."

He was also influenced by the work Thought and Reality, of the Russian philosopher African Spir
African Spir
Afrikan Aleksandrovich Špir was a Russian Neo-Kantian philosopher of German descent who wrote primarily in German...



His wife, Georgina Adelaide (died 1916) had his papers and correspondence carefully bound; they are at the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library
The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

, Oxford. The Goethe Institutes in India are named Max Müller Bhavan in his honour. Müller's son Wilhelm Max Müller
Wilhelm Max Müller
Wilhelm Max Müller, Ph.D. was an United States orientalist.-Biography:He was born at Gleißenberg, Germany, the son of Friedrich Max Müller and the grandson of German romantic poet Wilhelm Müller. He was educated at Erlangen, Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig, where he received his Ph.D...

 was also an important scholar.

Contemporary controversies


Müller's comparative religion was criticized as subversive of the Christian faith. According to Monsignor Munro, the Roman Catholic bishop of St Andrew's Cathedral
St. Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow
The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city centre of Glasgow, Scotland. It is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow. The Cathedral, which was designed in 1814 by James Gillespie Graham in the Neo Gothic style, lies on the...

 in Glasgow, his 1888 University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

 Gifford Lectures
Gifford Lectures
The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

 on the "science of religion" represented nothing less than "a crusade against divine revelation, against Jesus Christ and Christianity". Munro argued that Müller's theories "uprooted our idea of God, for it repudiated the idea of a personal God." He made "divine revelation simply impossible, because it [his theory] reduced God to mere nature, and did away with the body and soul as we know them."

Similar accusations had already led to Müller's exclusion from the Boden chair in Sanskrit in favour of the conservative Monier Monier-Williams
Monier Monier-Williams
Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England...

. By the 1880s Müller was being courted by Charles Godfrey Leland
Charles Godfrey Leland
Charles Godfrey Leland was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe....

, Helena Blavatsky and other writers who were seeking to assert the merits of "Pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

" religious traditions over Christianity. The designer Mary Fraser Tytler
Mary Fraser Tytler
Mary Seton Fraser Tytler was a symbolist craftswoman, designer and social reformer.-Biography:...

 stated that Müller's book Chips from a German Workshop (a collection of his essays) was her "Bible", which helped her to create a multi-cultural sacred imagery.

Müller distanced himself from these developments, and remained within the Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 faith in which he had been brought up. Nevertheless, according to C. Beckerlegge, "Müller's background as a German Lutheran and his identification with the Broad Church party" led to "suspicion by those opposed to the political and religious positions which they felt Müller represented", particularly his latitudinarianism.

Views on the future of India


He several times expressed the view that a "reformation" within Hinduism needed to occur comparable to the Christian Reformation. In his view, "if there is one thing which a comparative study of religions places in the clearest light, it is the inevitable decay to which every religion is exposed... Whenever we can trace back a religion to its first beginnings, we find it free from many blemishes that affected it in its later states". He used his links with the Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj
Brahmo Samaj is the societal component of the Brahmo religion which is mainly practiced today as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1859. It was one of the most influential religious movements responsible for the making of...

 in order to encourage such a reformation on the lines pioneered by Ram Mohan Roy
Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian religious, social, and educational reformer who challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule. He is sometimes called the father of modern India...

. Müller believed that the Brahmos would engender an Indian form of Christianity, and that they were in practice "Christians, without being Roman Catholics, Anglicans or Lutherans." In the Lutheran tradition, he hoped that the superstition and "idolatry" which he considered to be characteristic of modern popular Hinduism would disappear.

In a letter to his wife, he said:
The translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years.


Müller hoped that increased funding for education in India would promote a new form of literature combining Western and Indian traditions. In 1868 he wrote to George Campbell
George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll
George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll KG, KT, PC, FRS, FRSE , styled Marquess of Lorne until 1847, was a Scottish peer, Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion, and the politics of the 19th century.-Background:Argyll was born at Ardencaple Castle, Dunbartonshire, the...

, the newly appointed Secretary of State for India
Secretary of State for India
The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

,
"India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again, and that second conquest should be a conquest by education. Much has been done for education of late, but if the funds were tripled and quadrupled, that would hardly be enough… A new national literature may spring up, impregnated with western ideas, yet retaining its native spirit and character… By encouraging a study of their own ancient literature, as part of their education, a national feeling of pride and self-respect will be reawakened among those who influence the large masses of the people. A new national literature will bring with it a new national life, and new moral vigour. As to religion, that will take care of itself. The missionaries have done far more than they themselves seem to be aware of, nay, much of the work which is theirs they would probably disclaim. The Christianity of our nineteenth century will hardly be the Christianity of India. But the ancient religion of India is doomed — and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?"

Publications


Müller’s scholarly works, published separately as well as an 18-volume Collected Works, include:

External links