Here is a citation, about Indian culture in general:

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.

Are there examples of his praise of aspects of Hinduism?

Its not for nothing that Vivekananda would call him a reincarnation of Sayana or that there were Max Müller Bhavans all over India which seem to have been renamed Goethe Institute now.

1 Answer 1


There have been various instances of Max Müller praising Hinduism.

Quoting some lines from "India: What can it teach us? A Course of Lectures Delivered by Friedrich Max Müller before the University Of Cambridge":

1) “The study of Mythology has assumed an entirely new character, chiefly owing to the light that has been thrown on it by the ancient Vedic Mythology of India. But though the foundation of a true Science of Mythology has been laid, all the detail has still to be worked out and could be worked out nowhere better than in India.

2) “But that Self, that Highest Self, the Paramâtman, could be discovered after a severe moral and intellectual discipline only, and those who had not yet discovered it were allowed to worship lower gods, and to employ more poetical names to satisfy their human wants. Those who knew the other gods to be but names or persons—personae or masks, in the true sense of the word—pratîkas, as they call them in Sanskrit—knew also that those who worshipped these names or persons, worshipped in truth the Highest Self, though ignorantly. This is a most characteristic feature in the religious history of India. Even in the Bhagavadgîtâ, a rather popular and esoteric exposition of Vedântic doctrines, the Supreme Lord or Bhagavan himself is introduced as saying: “Even those who worship idols, worship me.”

3) “This fundamental idea is worked out with systematic completeness in the Vedânta philosophy, and no one who can appreciate the lessons contained in Berkeley’s philosophy, will read the Upanishads and the Brahmasûtras, and their commentaries without feeling a richer and a wiser man…

However, these praises become redundant once we do a deeper research on Max Mueller. Mueller, in various letters to his friends and family has shown his primary motive of studying Hinduism:

1) To his wife, Georgina Adelaide Grenfell, Oxford, December 9, 1867:

I feel convinced, though I shall not live to see it, that this edition of mine and 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 that root is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3,000 years.

2) To Chevalier Bunsen. 55 St. John Streer, Oxford, 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.”

So, it is evident from his letters what he actually thought about Hinduism. It is also said that Müller was hired by the British East Indian Company only to distort Hindu scriptures.

  • 1
    Intent aside, did he actually distort any Hindu scriptures? Feb 12, 2019 at 17:31
  • @sv. I don't have particular examples.
    – user9969
    Feb 12, 2019 at 18:26

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