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Remembering Muller on his 120th Death Anniversary

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About Muller

• Friedrich Max Müller was born on 6 December 1823, generally referred to as Max Müller, was a German-born philologist and Orientalist, who lived and studied in Britain for many of his life. He was the son of Wilhelm Müller, a lyric poet and his mother, Adelheid Müller.

• He entered Leipzig University in 1841 to review philology, leaving his early interest in music and poetry. Müller received his degree in 1843.

Life and Career

• He was one among the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and therefore the discipline of comparative religion. He also displayed a flair for classical languages, learning Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit.

• In 1850 Müller was appointed deputy Taylorian professor of recent European languages at Oxford University. On succeeding to the complete professorship in 1854, he received the complete degree of M.A. by Decree of Convocation. In 1858 he was elected to a life fellowship in the least Souls’ College.

• He was defeated within the 1860 election for the Boden Professor of Sanskrit, which was a “keen disappointment” to him. Later in 1868, Müller became Oxford’s first Professor of Comparative Philology, an edge founded on his behalf. He held this chair until his death, although he retired from its active duties in 1875.

• In 1844, before commencing his academic career at Oxford, Müller studied in Berlin with Friedrich Schelling.

Love towards India and Sanskrit

• Although a number of his works might lead us to conclude that Max Müller thought little of India generally and Vedic literature, especially, his anthology India: What Can it Teach Us? conveys his genuine love for India within the twilight of his life and career.

• In 1845 Müller moved to Paris to review Sanskrit under Eugène Burnouf Burnouf encouraged him to publish the entire Rigveda, making use of the manuscripts available in England.

• He moved to England in 1846 to review Sanskrit texts within the collection of the Malay Archipelago Company. Müller’s Sanskrit studies came at a time when scholars had begun to see language development in reference to cultural development.

• Vedic culture of India was thought to possess been the ancestor of European Classical cultures. Scholars sought to match the genetically related European and Asian languages to reconstruct the earliest sort of the root language. The Vedic language, Sanskrit, was thought to be the oldest of the IE languages.

• Müller devoted himself to the study of this language, becoming one among the main Sanskrit scholars of his day. At that point, the Vedic scriptures were little-known within the West, though there was increasing interest within the philosophy of the Upanishads.

• He had to visit London to seem at documents held within the collection of the British Malay Archipelago Company. While there he persuaded the corporate to permit him to undertake a critical edition of the Rig-Veda, a task he pursued over a few years (1849–1874).

• He saw the gods of the Rig-Veda as active forces of nature, only partly personified as imagined supernatural persons. Muller published the entire Rig Veda in Sanskrit using manuscripts available in England, found within the collection of the Malay Archipelago Company. Muller also translated and published a set of Indian fables called Hitopadesha.

• In 1888, Müller was appointed Gifford Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. These Gifford Lectures were the primary in an annual series, given at several Scottish universities, that has continued to this day.

• Muller ushered within the renaissance of India’s culture and was its greatest interpreter to the western world. He didn’t only delve into India’s past but also took the liveliest interest in her political re-awakening. He regularly corresponded with prominent Indians who prepared the trail for India’s freedom.

• Under his guidance, the British empire funded an enormous sum of cash for education reforms in India.

Death and Legacy

• He died at his range in Oxford on 28 October 1900. He was interred at Holywell Cemetery on 1 November 1900.

• After his death a memorial fund was opened at Oxford for “the promotion of learning and research altogether matters concerning the history and archaeology, the languages, literature, and religion of ancient India”

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