About the Book:
Max Muller and His Contemporaries is a collection of papers presented at an international seminar to commemorate the death centenary of the great German Indologist (1823-1900).
The seminar was a part of the German Festival in India and was organized by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in collaboration with the Governments of India and the Federal Republic of Germany. The purpose of the seminar was to appraise the current Indological situation and look ahead to the future in areas like Sanskrit studies, comparative religion, philosophy, and social criticism in which Max Muller made significant contributions. The seminar was held on 15 and 16 December 2000 and its inauguration ceremony was graced by the presence of Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Twenty-one scholars from India and abroad participated.
When the formal request came from Dr. R. V. Iyer, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, to participate in the German Festival in India by holding a seminar, we heartily welcomed it. Besides fostering Indo-German friendship, the festival would also commemorate the death centenary of Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900), regarded by Swami Vivekananda as the reincarnation of Sayana, the great ancient rsi. The theme chosen for the seminar here was 'Max Muller and His Contemporaries'. Its purpose was to take stock of the field of Indology today and look ahead to the future in areas - such as Sanskrit studies, comparative religion, philosophy, and social criticism - in which Max Muller made such outstanding contributions.
Twenty-one scholars from India and abroad participated in the seminar, which was held on 15 and 16 December 2000, at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. Mr Wolfgang Seiwert, the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Kolkata, inaugurated the seminar. Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, was the chairman of the inaugural session. Concluded by a dinner given at the Institute, the seminar brought smiles of satisfaction to its participants and also generated interest among scholars in general.
The dinner given by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Kolkata, in his residence, as well as the presentation of the film, 'I Point to India', prepared and introduced by Dr Georg Lechner, were nice additions to the seminar.
We are grateful to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, for their active support and financial assistance to the Institute to partially meet expenses, and also to Mr Wolfgang Seiwert, Mrs Aruna George, Coordinator, Max Muller Bhavan, New Delhi, Mr S. V. Raman, Programme Officer, Max Muller Bhavan, Kolkata, Dr Georg Lechner, Commissioner, German Festival in India, and several others, for the planning and success of the seminar.
This volume presents the papers read by the participants in the seminar, along with portions of the interesting question-answer sessions that could be deciphered from the tapes. We are thankful to Dr Visvanath Chatterjee, Professor Hiranmoy Banerjee, and a few others, for editing these papers.
8 August 2001
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