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Biography: Max Mueller

Max Mueller was born at Dessau in Germany in 1823, the only son of Wilhelm Mueller, a distinguished poet, some of whose poems were set to music by Franz Schubert. Max Mueller attended the gramer school in his native town till 1836. He than entered the University of Leipzig in 1841 with the intention of studying Latin and Grek. However studying these languages proved somewhat tiring to him, and when he heard of the foundation of a Chair in Sanskrit, he took to the study of the language with deep devotion and started learning that language. Taking has decorate in philosophy in 1943, Max Mueller proceeded to the University of Berlin in 1844 to continue his work on Sanskrit and philosophy under Franz Bopp, the founder of the Science of Comparative Philosophy, and under Friendrich von Schelling, the eminent philosopher. 

Indologist Max Mueller (1823-1900)
Indologist Max Mueller (1823-1900)

In 1846, Mueller went to England, with an introduction to the Prussian Minister in London, Baroon Bunsen, who later became his well-wisher, to copy and collate manuscripts in Sanskrit. The greatest difficulty he faced was money for the publication of the Rig-Veda which he in a meanwhile, had begun to translate. This difficulty was, however, overcome with the help of Baron Bunsen and H.H. Wilson, the first Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford who recommended him to East India Company for financial support. As his Rig-Veda was being printed at the University Press, he migrated to Oxford in 1848 and spent the rest of his life there. The first volume of Max Mueller's edition was appeared in 1849, the sixth and the last in 1874. This printed Rig-Veda caused great enthusiasm in India. With the translation of the Rig-Veda, and innumerable publications on Indian religion and literature, Max Mueller ushered in renaissance of India's culture and was its greatest interpreter to the Western world. Later it was specially the Vedanta which attracted him so much that Swami Vivekananda said for him: "Max Mueller is a Vedantist of Vedantists". He has, indeed, caught the real soul of the melody of the Vedanta." Gradually, Mueller's reputation spread in India. His book 'India: What it can teach us' has a special place among his publications. It contains a series of lectures given by Mueller at the University of Cambridge. When reading these books, the reader will find it difficult to believe that Max Mueller was never in India. Max Mueller did not only delve into India's past but also took the liveliest interest in her political reawakening. He regularly corresponded with prominent Indians who prepared the path for India's freedom. When he died in 1900, India had indeed lost a great friend, on whom she rightly bestowed the title "Moksha Mula." 

The Posts and Telegraphs Department is privileged to bring out a stamp in honor of Max Mueller

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 1974

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