Suppose Greek literature to be known in modern Greece only, and there to be in the hands of priests and philosophers; and suppose them to be still worshippers of Jupiter and Apollo; suppose Greece to have been conquered successively by Goths, Huns, Vandals and Tartars and lastly by the British; then suppose a court of judicature to be established by the British parliament, in Athens, and an inquisitive Englishman to be one of the judges; suppose him to learn Greek there, which none of his countrymen knew, and to read Homer, Pindar, Plato which no other European has ever heard of.
Such am I in this country, substituting Sanskrit for Greek, the Brahmins for the priests of Jupiter and Valmiki, Vyasa and Kalidasa for Homer, Plato and Pindar…….. In Sanskrit are written half a million stanzas on sacred history and literature, epic and lyric poems innumerable and (what is wonderful) tragedies and comedies not be counted, about 2000 years old, besides work on law, on medicine, on theology, on arithmetic, on ethics and so on to infinity.
1792, Sir William Jones,
Founder Asiatic Soc.