In the eighteenth century, when the East India Company arrived in India, the Hindus had no memory of their philosophical heritage. They had little awareness of their culture. They had a number of festivals and rituals, but they didn’t have the philosophical sensibility and the historical knowledge to connect the festivals and rituals with the Hindu philosophies which were developed between two thousand and four thousand years ago. With a significant part of the country being under the Islamic kings, there was no incentive for anyone in the country to launch an intellectual investigation into the past.
The rediscovery of ancient Hindu philosophies was accomplished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the intellectual giants from another continent, Europe: Friedrich Max Müller, Ralph T. H. Griffith, Charles Wilkins produced the first translations of the Vedas and the Gita; Henry Thomas Colebrooke, William Jones, and James R. Ballantyne have made major contributions to Sanskrit literature; Arthur Schopenhauer tried to use the teachings of the Upanishads to expand Kantian philosophy; then there is the work of German Indologists like Theodor Aufrecht, Richard Garbe, Hermann Jacobi, Paul Deussen and others.
In the field of Vedic literature, the knowledge of the Europeans was far superior to the knowledge of their Indian counterparts till the middle of the twentieth century. The Europeans originated the intellectual structures and methods which are still being used for translating, interpreting, and analyzing the texts of ancient Hindu philosophy.