Monier Monier-Williams

British professor of Sanskrit (1819–1899)

Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE (/ˈmɒniər/; né Williams; 12 November 1819 – 11 April 1899) was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, England. He studied, documented and taught Asian languages, especially Sanskrit, Persian and Hindustani.

Monier Monier-Williams, c. 1860

Quotes edit

  • For what purpose then, has this enormous territory been committed to England? .... that every man, woman and child from Cape Comorin ot the Himalaya mountains, may be elevated, enlightened, Christianised.
    • Modern India and the Indians, 1878. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • But how is this previous process of elevating and Christianizing the men to be effected? We must begin with the schools... In this way we shall best prepare our Indian school-boys for a voluntary acceptance of Christian truth.
    • Modern India and the Indians, 1878. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahminism are encircled, undermined, and finally stormed by the soldiers of the Cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete.
    • Modern India and the Indians, 1878. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • I must draw attention to the fact that I am only the second occupant of the Boden Chair, and that its founder Colonel Boden stated most explicitly in his will that the special object of his munnificent bequest wass to promote the translation of Scriptures into Sanskrit, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian Religion.... My very first public lecture delivered after my election in 1860 was on "The Study of Sanskrit in Relation to Missionary Work in India".
    • Sanskrit English Dictionary, Oxford, 1899, Preface 9-10. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 157-9
  • “Such, indeed, is the exuberance and flexibility of this language and its power of compounding words, that when it has been, so to speak, baptised and thoroughly penetrated with the spirit of Christianity, it will probably be found, next to Hebrew and Greek, the most expressive vehicle of Christian truth.”
    • (Commenting on Sanskrit.) Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 10. ISBN 9788185990354
  • If only the self-deluded but fervent-spirited Muhammad, whose soul was stirred within him when he saw his fellow town-men wholly given to idolatry, had been brought into association with the purer form of Christianity ... he might have died a martyr for the truth, Asia might have numbered her millions of Christians, and the name of Saint Muhammad might have been in the calendar of our Book of Common Prayer ... Think, then, of the difference in the present condition of the Asiatic world, if the fire of Muhammad's eloquence had been kindled, and the force of his personal influence exerted on the side of veritable Christianity.
    • Modern India, 1878. Quoted from Swarup, Ram (1995). Hindu view of Christianity and Islam.
  • Indeed, if I may be allowed the anachronism, the Hindus were Spinozists more than two thousand years before the advent of Spinoza, and Darwinians many centuries before Darwin, and Evolutionists many centuries before the Doctrine of Evolution was accepted by the scientists of the present age, and before any word like ’Evolution’ existed in any language of the world.
    • Sir Monier Monier Williams. source: The Inner Teachings of the Philosophies and Religions of India, Yogi Ramacharaka.Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • [I]t must be borne in mind that Hinduism is far more than a mere form of theism resting on Brāhmanism. It presents for our investigation a complex congeries of creeds and doctrines which in its gradual accumulation may be compared to the gathering together of the mighty volume of the Ganges, swollen by a continual influx of tributary rivers and rivulets, spreading itself over an ever-increasing area of country and finally resolving itself into an intricate Delta of tortuous steams and jungly marshes. … The Hindu religion is a reflection of the composite character of the Hindus, who are not one people but many. It is based on the idea of universal receptivity. It has ever aimed at accommodating itself to circumstances, and has carried on the process of adaptation through more than three thousand years. It has first borne with and then, so to speak, swallowed, digested, and assimilated something from all creeds.
  • The strength of Hinduism lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human character and human tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosopher; it's practical to the man of the world, its aesthetic and ceremonial side attuned to the man of the poetic feeling and imagination; and its quiescent contemplative aspect that has its appeal for the man of peace and the lover of seclusion.
  • He (Rama) IS the type of a perfect husband, son, and brother. Sita also rises in character far above Helen and even above Penelope, both in her sublime devotion and loyalty to her husband, and her indomitable patience and endurance under suffering and temptation .... .it may be affirmed generally that the whole tone of the Ramayana is certainly above that of the Iliad." 4
  • The motions of the sun and moon were carefully observed by the Hindus and with such success that their determination of the moon's synodical revolution is a much more correct one than the Greeks ever achieved. They introduced the period of Jupiter with those of the sun and moon into the regulation of their calendar in the form of Sixty years common to them and the Chaldeans. They were keenly interested m logic and grammar, and in medicine and surgery they once kept pace with the most enlightened people of the world." 46<>
  • This Building, dedicated to Eastern sciences, was founded for the use of Aryas (Indians and Englishmen) by excellent and benevolent men desirous of encouraging knowledge. The High-minded Heir-Apparent, named Albert Edward, Son of the Empress of India, himself performed the act of inauguration. The ceremony of laying the Memorial Stone took place on Wednesday, the tenth lunar day of the dark half of the month of Vaisâkha, in the Samvat year 1939 (= Wednesday, May 2, 1883). By the favor of God may the learning and literature of India be ever held in honour; and may the mutual friendship of India and England constantly increase!
    • Sanskrit inscription in the Old Indian Institute Building, Oxford. composed by Monier-Williams, quoted from Thomas Trautmann, (2008). Aryans and British India.

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