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India What Can It Teach Us

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Item Code: UAE307
Author: F. Max Muller
Publisher: Kaveri Books
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788174791948
Pages: 252
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 460 gm
Book Description

Professor Max Muller has been so long and widely known in the world of letters as to render any formal introduction unnecessary. He has been from his early youth an assiduous student of philology, justly regarding it as an important key to history and an invaluable auxiliary to intellectual progress. A glance at his personal career will show the ground upon which his reputation is established.

Friedrich Maximilian Muller, the son of Wilhelm Muller, the Saxon poet, was born at Dessau, December 6th, 1823. He matriculated at Leipzig in his eighteenth year, giving his principal attention to classical philology, and receiving his degree in 1843. He immediately began a course of Oriental studies, chiefly Sanskrit, under the supervision of Professor Brockhaus, and in 1844 engaged in his translation of the "Hitopadesa." He removed from Leipzig to Berlin, and attended the lectures of Bopp, Rucker, and Schelling. The next year he went to Paris to listen to Eugene Burnouf at the College de France. He now began the collecting of material for his great quarto edition of the "Rig-Veda Sanhita" and the "Commentary of Saganadranja." He visited England for this purpose to examine the manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and at the Indian House. At the recommendation of H. H. Wilson, the Orientalist, he was commissioned by the East India Company to publish his edition in England at their expense. The first volume appeared in 1849, and five others followed during the next few years.

In 1850 he delivered a course of "Lectures on Comparative Philology" at Oxford, and the next year was made member of Christ Church, curator, etc., and appointed Taylorian Professor of Modern European Languages and Literature. He received also numerous other marks of distinction from universities, and was made one of the eight foreign members of the Institute of France. The Volney prize was awarded him by the French Academy for his "Essay on the Comparative Philology of Indo-European Languages and its Bearing on the Early Civilization of Mankind."

His writings have been numerous. Besides editing the translations of the "Sacred Books of the Principal Religions," he has published a "Handbook for the Study of Sanskrit," a "Sanskrit-English Dictionary and Grammar," "Lectures upon the Science of Language," "An Introduction to the Science of Religion," "Essays on Mythology," "Chips from a German Workshop," etc. He seems to have no intermission, but penetrates where others would not have ventured, or have faltered from utter weariness. In the field of philology he has few peers, while in early Sanskrit learning he has virtually taken the part of an innovator. While reverently following after Sir William Jones, Colebrooke, Windischmann, Bopp, and others of equal distinction, he sets aside the received views in regard to chronology and historical occurrences. The era of Vikramaditya and the Golden Age of Sanskrit literature, bearing a date almost simultaneous with the Augustan period at the West, are postponed by him to a later century. It may be that he has overlooked some canon of interpretation that would have modified his results. Those, however, who hesitate to accept his conclusions freely acknowledge his scholarly enthusiasm, persistent energy, and great erudition.

Sanskrit in his judgment constitutes an essential element of a liberal education. While heartily admiring the employment of some of the best talent and noblest genius of our age in the study of development in the outward world, from the first growth of the earth and the beginning of organic life to the highest stages, he pleads earnestly that there is an inward and intellectual world also to be studied in its historical development in strict analogy with the other, leading up to the beginning of rational thought in its steady progress from the lowest to the highest stages. In that study of the history of the human mind, in that study of ourselves, our true selves, India occupies a place which is second to no other country. Whatever sphere of the human mind may be selected for special study, whether language, religion, mythology, or philosophy, whether laws, customs, primitive art or primitive science, we must go to India, because some of the most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up there, and there only. He inveighs most eloquently against the narrowing of our horizon to the history of Greeks and Romans, Saxons and Celts, with a dim background of Palestine, Egypt, and Babylon, leaving out of sight our nearest intellectual relatives, the Aryans of India, the framers of that most wonderful language the Sanskrit, the fellow-workers in the construction of our fundamental concepts, the fathers of the most natural of natural religions, the makers of the most transparent of mythologies, the inventors of the most subtle philosophy, and the givers of the most elaborate laws. It is the purpose of historical study to enable each generation to profit from the experience of those who came before, and advance toward higher aims, without being obliged to start anew from the same point as its ancestors after the manner of every race of brutes. He who knows little of those who preceded is very likely to care little for those coming after. "Life would be to him a chain of sand, while it ought to be a kind of electric chain that makes our hearts tremble and vibrate with the most ancient thoughts of the Past, as well as with the most distant hopes of the Future."

In no just sense is this an exaggeration. Deep as science and research have explored, extensive as is the field which genius and art have occupied, they have an Herculean labor yet to perform before India will have yielded up all her opulence of learning.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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