John Muir (indologist)

Scottish Sanskrit scholar and Indologist

John Muir (5 February 1810 – 7 March 1882) was a Scottish Sanskrit scholar and Indologist and judge in India.

Quotes edit

  • “We may be assured that as Christianity comes into actual close contact with Orientals of acute intellects…it will be met with a style of controversy which will come upon some among us with surprise. Many things will be disputed which we have been accustomed to take for granted, and proofs will be demanded, which those who have been brought up in the external evidence school of the last century, may not be prepared to supply.”
    • Cited by R.F. Young and quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 10. ISBN 9788185990354 [1]
  • The Hindu, sickened by idolatry (Islam's and Christianity's common name for Hinduism), turns to the other two religions which surround him, and inquires into their respective claims ... we must be ready at hand to meet him with the proofs of our most holy faith... the comparison of the two religIOns, Christianity and Islam, cannot fail to be of essential service, under God's blessings, to lead to practical results.
    • Calcutta Review in 1845, Quoted from Swarup, Ram (1995). Hindu view of Christianity and Islam.
  • None of the Sanskrit books, not even the most ancient, contain any distinct reference or allusion to the foreign origin of the Indians.
    • (Muir [1860] 1874, 322), quoted from Bryant, E. F. (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture : the Indo-Aryan migration debate. Oxford University Press. chapter 3

About John Muirs Matapariksha edit

  • “You should never revile people who are satisfied with their own religion... Listen you disciples of Christ! I, solicitous of your own welfare, tell you this truthfully... Diminution of Hari’s religion, anger, cruelty, subversion of authority and dissensions among the populace would result from reviling the religion of others. Increase of God’s religion, contentment, gentleness, harmony between the ranks would result from praising all religions. For each person his own religion is best; the same religion would be perilous for another person.”
    • Subaji Bapu, MataparIkshAsikshA, from his reply to John Muirs Matapariksha, Cited by R.F. Young and quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 10. ISBN 9788185990354 [2]
  • “Only that man... who is deluded, who is desirous of acquiring profits, who has neither deliberated upon his own religion, nor looked at the defects in Christianity, would become a Christian.”
    • MataparIkshottara of Harachandra, from his reply to John Muirs Matapariksha, Cited by R.F. Young and quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 10. ISBN 9788185990354 [3]

About John Muir edit

  • “The materials in these still standard books never betray the author’s original purpose in amassing them: to demonstrate that Christianity is rationally superior to Hinduism.”
    • R.F.Young, quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 10. ISBN 9788185990354 [4]
  • A new opportunity came again for Christianity when Europe, and particularly England, dominated the world during the last few centuries. During this while, one would have expected, according to Muir, that Christian Europe would have improved its advantages for evangelizing the East, that "Britain, the bulwark of religion in the West, would have stepped forth as its champion in the East, and displayed her faith and her zeal where they were most urgently required." But, alas! it was not to be so and, Muir continues, "England was then sadly neglectful of her responsibility; her religion was shown only at home and she was careless of the spiritual darkness of her benighted subjects abroad; her sons, who adopted India as their country, so far from endeavouring to impart to its inhabitants the benefits of their religion, too often banished it from their own minds, and exhibited to heathens [Hindus] and Mohammadans the sad spectacle of men without falth ... [and] their lives too often presented a practical and powerful, a constant and a living, argument against the truth of our holy faith."
    • Quoted from Swarup, Ram (1995). Hindu view of Christianity and Islam.
  • These lectures were written to help candidates for a prize of Pound Sterling 200- given by John Muir, a well-known old Haileybury man and great Sanskrit scholar, for the best refutation of the Hindu Religious System.
    • Horace Hayman Wilson. On his book on 'The Religious and Philosophical System of the Hindus'. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [5]
  • We see the effects of this new skepticism in John Muir's influential collection, Original Sanskrit textson the origin and history of the people ofIndia. In the first edition (i858ff.) he had argued from the evidence of language that the Indians were kin to the Europeans on grounds that "affinity in language implies affinity in race" and went on to demonstrate that "there is no objection arising from physiological considerations, i.e. from colour or bodily structure, to classing the Hindus among the Indo-European races." But in the second edition (1868-73), in response to criticism, he scaled that back to the view that "affinity in language affords some presumption of affinity in race" (emphasis added) and treated it as a question of whether physiological considerations prevented classing the Indians among the Indo-European races (Muir 1874-84, 2:277-286). The retreat of the Sanskritists had begun.
    • Trautmann, Thomas R. (2008). Aryans and British India. p. 190-1

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