Book: Celestial India
Chapter: Friedrich Max Müller – Orientalism at the Zenith
This chapter deals with the best-known Orientalist in the second half of the nineteenth century – Friedrich Max Müller, heir to England’s Jones, Wilson and Colebrooke, and Germany’s Schlegel and Bopp. Max Müller developed his predecessors’ ideas into a coherent whole, which called for East and West to collaborate and learn from each other. Perhaps more than any other contemporary factor, it was his thought which gave rise to the new spiritual image of India. In this sense, he was the inadvertent link between the seemingly disparate spheres –the academic and the esoteric – and also had a direct effect on the Theosophical Society. As we shall see, this movement became the outstanding practitioner of the ideas he had originated. The following is a summary of his biography and his Orientalist ideology, which reached its peak in his Aryan vision.