This second hand story, recounted by John Henry Barrows, one of Vivekananda’s detractors, is not dependable. It was published in the Outlook magazine and re- published in several newspapers.
Times Democrat Lima, Ohio
Not A Miracle
November 06, 1897
The Rev. John Henry Barrows. D. D., cites in The Outlook an amusing instance of the prompt worsting of oriental fancy by occidental-reason.
The learned Oxford professor,Max Muller, told me that he asked Vivekananda if Ramakrishna, a great Hindoo religious teacher, knew Sanskrit.
The answer at first was evasive, but finally Vivekananda said, 'When Ramakrishna was in the jungle as an ascetic, a beautiful woman came down from heaven and taught him the language."
"Nonsense" was Max Muller's reply. "The only way to learn Sanskrit is to get a grammar and a dictionary and go to work.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.