English Hindi


Politics & War

Art & Craft

Max Muller

Max Muller




  • Friedrich Max Müller was born into a cultured family on 6 December 1823 in Dessau, the son of Wilhelm Müller, a lyric poet and his mother, Adelheid Müller.
  • Müller entered the gymnasium (grammar school) at Dessau when he was six years old. In 1829, after the death of his grandfather, he was sent to the Nicolai School at Leipzig, where he continued his studies of music and classics.
  • He entered Leipzig University in 1841 to study philology, leaving behind his early interest in music and poetry. Müller received his degree in 1843.


  • He also displayed an aptitude for classical languages, learning Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit.
  • In 1850 Müller was appointed deputy Taylorian professor of modern European languages at Oxford University.
  • On succeeding to the full professorship in 1854, he received the full degree of M.A. by Decree of Convocation. In 1858 he was elected to a life fellowship at All Souls’ College.


  • He was defeated in the 1860 election for the Boden Professor of Sanskrit, which was a “keen disappointment” to him.
  • Later in 1868, Müller became Oxford’s first Professor of Comparative Philology, a position founded on his behalf. He held this chair until his death, although he retired from its active duties in 1875.
  • In 1844, prior to commencing his academic career at Oxford, Müller studied in Berlin with Friedrich Schelling. He began to translate the Upanishads for Schelling, and continued to research Sanskrit.


  • In 1845 Müller moved to Paris to study Sanskrit under Eugène Burnouf Burnouf encouraged him to publish the complete Rigveda, making use of the manuscripts available in England.
  • He moved to England in 1846 to study Sanskrit texts in the collection of the East India Company. Müller’s Sanskrit studies came at a time when scholars had started to see language development in relation to cultural development.
  • Vedic culture of India was thought to have been the ancestor of European Classical cultures. Scholars sought to compare the genetically related European and Asian languages to reconstruct the earliest form of the root-language. The Vedic language, Sanskrit, was thought to be the oldest of the IE languages.


  • Müller devoted himself to the study of this language, becoming one of the major Sanskrit scholars of his day.
  • At that time the Vedic scriptures were little-known in the West, though there was increasing interest in the philosophy of the Upanishads.
  • He had to travel to London to look at documents held in the collection of the British East India Company. While there he persuaded the company to allow him to undertake a critical edition of the Rig-Veda, a task he pursued over many years (1849–1874).


  • He saw the gods of the Rig-Veda as active forces of nature, only partly personified as imagined supernatural persons.
  • In 1888, Müller was appointed Gifford Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. These Gifford Lectures were the first in an annual series, given at several Scottish universities, that has continued to the present day. Over the next four years, Müller gave four series of lectures.The titles and order of the lectures were as follows:
  • Natural Religion.
  • Physical Religion.
  • Anthropological Religion.
  • Theosophy or Psychological Religion.


  • Müller became a naturalized British citizen in 1855, at the age of 32.
  • He married Georgina Adelaide Grenfell on 3 August 1859. The couple had four children.
  • Müller’s health began deteriorating in 1898 and he died at his home in Oxford on 28 October 1900.