Swami Vivekananda has claimed that the great Vedic scholar Sayanacharya, who wrote a commentary on the Vedas, had reincarnated as the infamous Max Muller.

Does this claim have any basis?

From what the Swami said, it appears that he guessed that Muller was the rebirth of Sayanacharya because Muller used Sayanacharya's commentary of the Vedas in his translation of the Vedas.

This is like claiming that Aurangzeb was the rebirth of Duryodhana because both were evil, killed people, oppressed Dharma, etc.

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    Are you asking - Does this claim have any basis in scripture?
    – user16581
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 15:58
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    Must have been a fake Sayana in any case. Read this - en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Müller "It was revealed that Max Muller had in fact usurped the full credit for the translation of the Rig veda which was actually not his work at all, but of another unnamed german scholar whom Muller had paid to translate the text. To quote from his obituary in Scientific American, "What he constantly proclaimed to be his own great work, the edition of the "Rig Veda," was in reality not his at all. A German scholar did the work, and Muller appropriated the credit for it"
    – user16581
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:13
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    yes, it can NOT be answered.We do not have that Trikalajnas here
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:21
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    @Ikshvaku bhavishyapuran does not have it so far as i know and such forecasts are not found in the famous puranas.some allopanishad or similar puran can write something.yesterday i came to know about Ramakrishna-Upanishad which i was told is accepted by the mission. these are tomfooleries
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:26
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    I personally find it blasphemous (no offense to Vivekananda) to compare Max Mueller with Sayanacharya. Mueller dedicated his life to uproot Hinduism and establish Christianity in India.
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


Swami Vivekananda just inferred as the original bengali version says :

"mone holo ki jaanis, Sayan i nijer bhashya nije uddhar korte Max Muller hoye jonmechhen,aamaar anek din hoitei oi dhaarana." (Swami-Sishya-Samvad, Sarachchandra Chakraborti, Udbodhan, page 56)

Meaning: Do you know what seemed to me? It was Sayana Himself who was born as Max Mueller to revive his commentaries. This is my "Dhaarana"(impression).

He did NOT make any claim that by using any yogic power He knew that Sayana was born as Max Muller. This was His personal impression or imagination only, which became stronger (vaddhamula) after meeting Max Muller.

But it was not a claim.

Manu writes "Antyaadapi param dharmam" and so learning from mlechchas is not denigrating.

  • This is why words in the original language are more reliable than in translations.
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:45
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    @Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury yes but thats not available online and so no link can be given:D
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:47
  • Thanks. Well the word "claim" just means "asserts," and he did assert that Sayana was reborn as Mueller.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:53
  • @ikshvaku i being a bwngali found no assertion in His language.
    – user17294
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:59
  • @Partha What do you make of this English sentence in Bengali: " It was Sayana Himself who was born as Max Mueller to revive his commentaries."
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 19:00

This is Vivekananda metaphorically predicting the future of Hinduism research/scholarship- its greatest scholars will be Western and its language of commentary and analysis will be English. I don't see Brererton and Jamison's Rig Veda translation being equaled by Hindu researchers/religious figures in the foreseeable future. The BORI critical edition of Mahabharata had significant input from Westerners.

Max Mueller was not an enemy of Hinduism. He has said both good and bad things about Hinduism and there are Max Mueller Bhavans in Indian big cities to promote Indo-German friendship.

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    Mlecchas who make up interpretations about the Vedas are not the authority on Hinduism. From the Manusmriti: "Those Brāhmaṇas, by whom the Veda, along with its supplements, has been learnt in the right manner, and who are guided directly by the revealed texts,—shall be regarded as ‘cultured.’" And: "That which even a single Brāhmaṇa learned in the Veda decides to be the law, shall be understood to be the highest law,—and not what is asserted by ten thousand ignoramuses."
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 17:56
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    What do you mean there are no mlecchas? Mlecchas are non-Vedic people.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:49
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    This is what Max Mueller said to Chevalier Bunsen in a letter dated August 25, 1856: “India is much riper for Christianity than Rome or Greece were at the time of St. Paul. The rotten tree has for some time had artificial supports… For the good of this struggle I should like to lay down my life, or at least to lend my hand to bring about this struggle. Dhulip Singh is much at Court, and is evidently destined to play a political part in India.”
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:56
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    In his view, caste: . . . which has hitherto proved an impediment to conversion of the Hindus, may in future became one of the most powerful engines for the conversion not merely of the individuals, but of whole classes of Indian society. (Dirks, 2004)
    – Lokesh
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 20:04
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    @Rickross Yes, Manusmriti does say you can learn from any qualified person, but that is only for on any topic other than the Vedas, which Brahmanas are only allowed to teach.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 11:16

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