Asiatic’s Society of Bengals’ journal attained immediate fame in European circles of intellectuals and its studies were translated into German and French. Vedic knowledge and Sanskrit became the center focus of attention for German romanticists. Having no economic agenda, their interest in India was purely intellectual.
The first one to express his passion for Vedic knowledge was Johann Gottfried von Herder – a philosopher and thinker who’s writings formed the basis of German Romanticism and influenced Goethe. He wrote: “ the brahmins…so effectively established their people in virtues that, in comparison, Europeans frequently appear as beastly, drunken and mad.”
Another German writer Friedrich von Schlegel took to studying Sanskrit and published “ Essay on Language and Wisdom of Indians” in 1808 where he expressed his opinion that migration of intellect from India had introduced civilization in Europe. His brother August von Schlegel became the first professor of Sanskrit at the University of Bonn. Seeing Sanskrit as the unifying power and wanting Germans to be established as the first to embrace the new rediscovery he proclaimed Germany as the Orient of Europe. Other European communities joined soon and the term Indo-Europeans was born shortly after.
The Prussian minister of education and the founder of linguistics Wilhelm von Humboldt began study of Sanskrit in 1821 and published works where he described Bhagavad-Gita – as “ the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show”. Ludwig van Beethoven published manuscripts containing fragments from Gita and Upanishads.
Another well-known German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer became absorbed by the Latin translations of the Upanishads. He considered them to contain almost superhuman values and called them “ the production of the highest human wisdom”. He stated Vedas to be “most satisfying and elevated reading which is possible in the world; it has been solace in life and will be the solace of my death.”
So deep was immersion of Germans into the Vedic studies that when numerous German states were united into German Empire in 1871 Sir Henry Maine declared that “ a nation has been born out of Sanskrit.”