How to Read the Timeline
-2.5m to -1000
The thick line represents the flow of time from the date
on the top to dates on the bottom. The thinner lines to the
left indicate the duration of major ruling dynasties. Not
all are included, for at times India was divided into dozens
of small independent kingdoms. Approximate dates are
preceded by the letter “ca,” an abbreviation of the word
“circa,” which denotes “about,” “around” or “in
approximately.” all dates prior to Buddha (624 bce) are
bce: Abbreviation for “before common era,” referring to
dating prior to the year zero in the Western, or Gregorian
ce: Abbreviation for “common era.” Equivalent to the
abbreviation ad. Following a date, it indicates that the
year in question comes after the year zero in the Western,
or Gregorian calendar, system.
-2.5 m: Genus Homo originates in Africa, cradle of
-2 m: Stone artifacts are made and used by hominids in
North India, an area rich in animal species, including the
-500,000: Stone hand axes and other tools are used in N.
-470,000: India’s hominids are active in Tamil Nadu and
-400,000: Soan culture in India is using primitive
-360,000: Fire is first controlled by homo erectus in
-300,000: Homo sapiens roams the earth, from Africa to
-100,000: Homo sapiens sapiens (humans) with 20th-century
man’s brain size (1,450 cc) live in East Africa. Populations
separate. Migrations proceed to Asia via the Isthmus of
-75,000: Last ice age begins. Human population is 1.7
-45,000: After mastery of marine navigation, migrations
from Southeast Asia settle Australia and the Pacific
-40,000: Groups of hunter-gatherers in Central India are
living in painted rock shelters. Similar groups in Northern
Punjab work at open sites protected by windbreaks.
-35,000: Migrations of separated Asian populations settle
-30,000: American Indians spread throughout the
-10,000: Last ice age ends after 65,000 years; earliest
signs of agriculture. World population 4 million; India is
-10,000: Taittiriya Brahmana 3.1.2 refers to
Purvabhadrapada nakshatra’s rising due east, a phenomenon
occurring at this date (Dr. B.G. Siddharth of Birla Science
Institute), indicating the earliest known dating of the
-10,000: Vedic culture, the essence of humanity’s eternal
wisdom, Sanatana Dharma, lives in the Himalayas at end of
-9000: Old Europe, Anatolia and Minoan Crete display a
Goddess-centered culture reflecting a matriarchial
-8500: Taittiriya Samhita 6.5.3 places Pleiades asterism
at winter solstice, suggesting the antiquity of this
-7500: Excavations at Neveli Cori in Turkey reveal
advanced civilization with meticulous architecture and
planning. Dr. Sri B.G. Siddharth believes this was a Vedic
-7000: Proto-Vedic period ends. Early Vedic period
-7000: Time of Manu Vaivasvata, “father of mankind,” of
Sarasvati-Drishadvati area (also said to be a South Indian
Maharaja who sailed to the Himalayas during a great
-7000: Early evidence of horses in the Ganga region
-7000: Indus-Sarasvati area residents of Mehrgarh grow
barley, raise sheep and goats. They store grain, entomb
their dead and construct buildings of sun-baked mud
-6776: Start of Hindu lists of kings according to ancient
Greek references that give Hindus 150 kings and a history of
6,400 years before 300bce; agrees with next entry.
-6500: Rig Veda verses (e.g., 1.117.22, 1.116.12,
184.108.40.206) say winter solstice begins in Aries (according to
Dr. D. Frawley), indicating the antiquity of this section of
-6000: Early sites on the Sarasvati River, then India’s
largest, flowing west of Delhi into the Rann of Kutch;
Rajasthan is a fertile region with much grassland, as
described in the Rig Veda. The culture, based upon barley
(yava), copper (ayas) and cattle, also reflects that of the
-5500: Mehrgarh villagers are making baked pottery and
thousands of small, clay of female figurines (interpreted to
be earliest signs of Shakti worship), and are involved in
long-distance trade in precious stones and sea shells.
-5500: Date of astrological observations associated with
ancient events later mentioned in the Puranas (Alain
-5000: World population, 5 million, doubles every 1,000
-5000: Beginnings of Indus-Sarasvati civilizations of
Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Date derived by considering
archeological sites, reached after excavating 45 feet. Brick
fire altars exist in many houses, suggesting Vedic fire
rites, yajna. Earliest signs of worship of Lord Siva. This
mature culture will last 3,000 years, ending around
-5000: Rice is harvested in China, with grains found in
baked bricks. But its cultivation originated in Eastern
-4300: Traditional dating for Lord Rama’s time.
-4000: Excavations from this period at Sumerian sites of
Kish and Susa reveal existence of Indian trade products.
-4000: India’s population is 1 million.
-4000: Date of world’s creation (Christian
-3928: July 25th, the earliest eclipse mentioned in the
Rig Veda (according to Indian researcher Dr. Shri P.C.
-3200: Hindu astronomers called nakshatra darshas record
in Vedic texts their observations of full moon and new moon
at the winter and summer solstices and spring and fall
equinoxes with reference to 27 fixed stars (nakshatras)
spaced nearly equally on the moon’s ecliptic or apparent
path across the sky. The precession of the equinoxes (caused
by the wobbling of the Earth’s axis of rotation) causes the
nakshatras to appear to drift at a constant rate along a
predictable course over a 25,000-year cycle. From these
observations historians are able to calculate backwards and
determine the date when the indicated position of moon, sun
and nakshatra occurred.
-3102: Kali Era Hindu calendar starts. Kali Yuga
-3100: Reference to vernal equinox in Rohini (middle of
Taurus) from some Brahmanas, as noted by B.G. Tilak, Indian
scholar and patriot. Traditional date of the Mahabharata war
and lifetime of Lord Krishna.
-3100: Early Vedic period ends, late Vedic period
-3100: India includes Afghanistan and parts of Central
-3100: Aryan people inhabit Iran, Iraq and Western
Indus-Sarasvati Valley frontier. Frawley describes Aryans as
“a culture of spiritual knowledge.” He and others believe 1)
the Land of Seven Rivers (Sapta Sindhu) mentioned in the Rig
Veda refers to India only, 2) that the people of
Indus-Sarasvati Valleys and those of Rig Veda are the same,
and 3) there was no Aryan invasion. This view is now
prevailing over the West’s historical concept of the Aryans
as a separate ethnic or linguistic group. Still others claim
the Indus-Sarasvati people were Dravidians who moved out or
were displaced by incoming Aryans.
-3000: Weaving in Europe, Near East and Indus-Sarasvati
Valley is primarily coiled basketry, either spiraled or
-3000: Evidence of horses in South India.
-3000: People of Tehuacan, Mexico, are cultivating
-3000: Saiva Agamas are recorded in the time of the
earliest Tamil Sangam. (A traditional date.)
-2700: Seals of Indus-Sarasvati Valley indicate Siva
worship, in depictions of Siva as Pashupati, Lord of
-2600: Indus-Sarasvati civilization reaches a height it
sustains until 1700 bce. Spreading from Pakistan to Gujarat,
Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, it is the largest of the world’s
three oldest civilizations with links to Mesopotamia
(possibly Crete), Afghanisthan, Central Asia and Karnataka.
Harappa and Mohenjo-daro have populations of 100,000.
-2600: Major portions of the Veda hymns are composed
during the reign of Vishvamitra I (Dating by Dr. S.B.
-2600: Drying up of Drishadvati River of Vedic fame,
along with possible shifting of the Yamuna to flow into the
-2600: First Egyptian pyramid is under construction.
-2500: Main period of Indus-Sarasvati cities. Culture
relies heavily on rice and cotton, as mentioned in Atharva
Veda, which were first developed in India. Ninety percent of
sites are along the Sarasvati, the region’s agricultural
bread basket. Mohenjo-daro is a large peripheral trading
center. Rakhigari and Ganweriwala (not yet excavated in
1994) on the Sarasvati are as big as Mohenjo-daro. So is
Dholarvira in Kutch. Indus-Sarasvati sites have been found
as far south as Karnataka’s Godavari River and north into
Afghanistan on the Amu Darya River.
-2500: Reference to vernal equinox in Krittika (Pleiades
or early Taurus) from Yajur and Atharva Veda hymns and
Brahmanas. This corresponds to Harappan seals that show
seven women (the Krittikas) tending a fire.
-2300: Sargon founds Mesopotamian kingdom of Akkad,
trades with Indus-Sarasvati Valley cities.
-2300: Indo-Europeans in Russia’s Ural steppelands
develop efficient spoked-wheel chariot technology, using
1,000-year-old horse husbandry and freight-cart
-2050: Vedic people are living in Persia and
-2051: Divodasa reigns to -1961, has contact with
Babylon’s King Indatu (Babylonian chronology). Dating by
ca -2040: Prince Rama is born at Ayodhya, site of future
Rama temple. (This and next two datings by S.B. Roy.)
-2033: Reign of Dasharatha, father of Lord Rama. King
Ravana, villain of the Ramayana, reigns in Sri Lanka.
-2000: Indo-Europeans (Celts, Slavs, Lithuanians,
Ukranians) follow cosmology, theology, astronomy, ritual,
society and marriage that parallel early Vedic patterns.
-2000: Probable date of first written Saiva Agamas.
-2000: World population: 27 million. India: 5 million or
22%. India has roughly G of human race throughout
-1915: All Madurai Tamil Sangam is held at
Thiruparankundram (according to traditional Tamil
-1900: Late Vedic period ends, post Vedic period
-1900: Drying up of Sarasvati River, end of
Indus-Sarasvati culture, end of the Vedic age. After this,
the center of civilization in ancient India relocates from
the Sarasvati to the Ganga, along with possible migration of
Vedic peoples out of India to the Near East (perhaps giving
rise to the Mittani and Kassites, who worship Vedic Gods).
The redirection of the Sutlej into the Indus causes the
Indus area to flood. Climate changes make the Sarasvati
region too dry for habitation. (Thought lost, its river bed
is finally photographed from satellite in the 1990s.)
-1500: Egyptians bury their royalty in the Valley of the
-1500: Polynesians migrate throughout Pacific
-1500: Submergence of the stone port city of Dwarka near
Gujarat, where early Brahmi script, India’s ancient
alphabet, is used. Recent excavation by Dr. S.R. Rao. Larger
than Mohenjo-daro, many identify it with the Dwarka of
Krishna. Possible date of Lord Krishna. Indicates second
urbanization phase of India between Indus-Sarasvati sites
like Harappa and later cities on the Ganga.
-1500: Indigenous iron technology in Dwarka and
-1500: Cinnamon is exported from Kerala to Middle
-1472: Reign of Dhritarashtra, father of the Kauravas.
Reign of Yudhisthira, king of the Pandavas. Life of Sage
Yajnavalkya. Date based on Mahabharata’s citation of winter
solstice at Dhanishtha, which occurs around this time.
-1450: End of Rig Veda Samhita narration.
-1450: Early Upanishads are composed during the next few
hundred years, also Vedangas and Sutra literature.
-1424: Bharata battle is fought, as related in the
Mahabharata. (Professor Subash Kak places the battle at
-2449. Other authors give lower dates, up to 9th century
-1424: Birth of Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna, and next
-1350: At Boghaz Koi in Turkey, stone inscription of the
Mitanni treaty lists as divine witnesses the Vedic Deities
Mitra, Varuna, Indra and the Nasatyas (Ashvins).
-1316: Mahabharata epic poem is composed by Sage
-1300: Panini composes Ashtadhyayi, systematizing
Sanskrit grammar in 4,000 terse rules. (Date according to
-1300: Changes are made in the Mahabharata and Ramayana
through 200 bce. Puranas are edited up until 400 ce. Early
smriti literature is composed over next 400 years.
-1255: King Shuchi of Magadha writes Jyotisha Vedanga,
including astronomical observations which date this
scripture-that summer solstice occurs in Ashlesha
-1250: Moses leads 600,000 Jews out of Egypt.
-1200: Probable time of the legendary Greek Trojan War
celebrated in Homer’s epic poems, Iliad and Odyssey (ca
-1124: Elamite Dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar (-1124-1103)
moves capital to Babylon, world’s largest city, covering
10,000 hectares, slightly larger than present-day San
-1000: Late Vedic period ends. Post-Vedic period
Hindu Timeline #2
-1000 to 1000
-1000: World population is 50 million, doubling every 500
-975: King Hiram of Phoenicia, for the sake of King
Solomon of Israel, trades with the port of Ophir (Sanskrit:
Supara) near modern Bombay, showing the trade between Israel
and India. Same trade goes back to Harappan era.
-950: Jewish people arrive in India in King Solomon’s
merchant fleet. Later Jewish colonies find India a tolerant
-950: Gradual breakdown of Sanskrit as a spoken language
occurs over the next 200 years.
-925: Jewish King David forms an empire in what is
present-day Israel and Lebanon.
-900: Iron Age in India. Early use dates to at least
ca -900: Earliest records of the holy city of Varanasi
(one of the world’s oldest living cities) on the sacred
-900: Use of iron supplements bronze in Greece.
-850: The Chinese are using the 28-nakshatra zodiac
called Shiu, adapted from the Hindu jyotisha system.
ca -800: Later Upanishads are recorded.
-800: Later smriti, secondary Hindu scripture, is
composed, elaborated and developed during next 1,000
-776: First Olympic Games are held in Greece.
-750: Prakrits, vernacular or “natural” languages,
develop among India’s common peoples. Already flourishing in
500 bce , Pali and other Prakrits are chiefly known from
Buddhist and Jain works composed at this time.
-750: Priestly Sanskrit is gradually refined over next
500 years, taking on its classical form.
-700: Life of Zoroaster of Persia, founder of
Zoroastrianism. His holy book, Zend Avesta, contains many
verses from the Rig and Atharva Veda. His strong
distinctions between good and evil set the dualistic tone of
God and devil which distinguishes all later Western
-700: Early Smartism emerges from the syncretic Vedic
brahminical (priestly caste) tradition. It flourishes today
as a liberal sect alongside Saiva, Vaishnava and Shakta
-623-543: Life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, born in
Uttar Pradesh in a princely Shakya Saivite family. (Date by
Sri Lankan Buddhists. Indian scholars say -563-483.
Mahayanists of China and Japan prefer -566-486 or
ca -600: Life of Sushruta, of Varanasi, the father of
surgery. His ayurvedic treatises cover pulse diagnosis,
hernia, cataract, cosmetic surgery, medical ethics, 121
surgical implements, antiseptics, use of drugs to control
bleeding, toxicology, psychiatry, classification of burns,
midwifery, surgical anesthesia and therapeutics of
ca -600: The Ajivika sect, an ascetic, atheistic group of
naked sadhus reputated for fierce curses, is at its height,
continuing in Mysore until the 14th century. Adversaries of
both Buddha and Mahavira, their philosophy is deterministic,
holding that everything is inevitable.
ca -600: Lifetime of Lao-tzu, founder of Taoism in China,
author of Tao-te Ching. Its esoteric teachings of simplicity
and selflessness shape Chinese life for 2,000 years and
permeate the religions of Vietnam, Japan and Korea.
-599-527: Lifetime of Mahavira Vardhamana, 24th
Tirthankara and revered renaissance Jain master. His
teachings stress strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism
and nonviolence. (Some date his life 40 years later. )
-560: In Greece, Pythagoras teaches math, music,
vegetarianism and yoga-drawing from India’s wisdom ways.
-551-478: Lifetime of Confucius, founder of Confucianist
faith. His teachings on social ethics are the basis of
Chinese education, ruling-class ideology and religion.
-518: Darius I of Persia (present Iran) invades Indus
Valley. This Zoroastrian king shows tolerance for local
ca -500: Lifetime of Kapila, founder of Sankhya Darshana,
one of six classical systems of Hindu philosophy.
ca -500: Dams to store water are constructed in
-500: World population is 100 million. India population
is 25 million (15 million of whom live in the Ganga
ca -500: Over the next 300 years (according to the later
dating of Muller) numerous secondary Hindu scriptures
(smriti) are composed: Shrauta Sutras, Grihya Sutras, Dharma
Sutras, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas, etc.
ca -500: Tamil Sangam age (500 bce-500 ce) begins. Sage
Agastya writes Agattiyam, first known Tamil grammar.
Tolkappiyar writes Tolkappiyam Purananuru, also on grammar,
stating that he is recording thoughts on poetry, rhetoric,
etc., of earlier grammarians, pointing to high development
of Tamil language prior to his day. He gives rules for
absorbing Sanskrit words into Tamil. Other famous works from
the Sangam age are the poetical collections Paripadal,
Pattuppattu, Ettuthokai Purananuru, Akananuru, Aingurunuru,
Padinenkilkanakku. Some refer to worship of Vishnu, Indra,
Murugan and Supreme Siva.
ca -486: Ajatashatru (reign -486-458) ascends Magadha
-480: Ajita, a nastika (atheist) who teaches a purely
material explanation of life and that death is final,
-478: Prince Vijaya, exiled by his father, King
Sinhabahu, sails from Gujarat with 700 followers. Founds
Singhalese kingdom in Sri Lanka. (Mahavamsa chronicle, ca
-450: Athenian philosopher Socrates flourishes (ca
-428-348: Lifetime of Plato, Athenian disciple of
Socrates. This great philosopher founds Athens Academy in
ca -400: Panini composes his Sanskrit grammar, the
Ashtadhyayi. (Date accepted among most Western
ca -400: Lifetime of Hippocrates, Greek physician and
“father of medicine,” formulates Hippocratic oath, code of
medical ethics still pledged by present-day Western
ca -350: Rainfall is measured by Indian scientists.
-326: Alexander the Great of Greece invades, but fails to
conquer, Northern India. His soldiers mutiny. He leaves
India the same year. Greeks who remain in India intermarry
with Indians. Interchanges of philosophy influence both
civilizations. Greek sculpture impacts Hindu styles. Bactria
kingdoms later enhance Greek influence.
305: Chandragupta Maurya, founder of first pan-Indian
empire (-324-184), defeats Greek garrisons of Seleucus,
founder of Seleucan Empire in Persia and Syria. At its
height under Emperor Ashoka (reign -273-232), the Mauryan
Empire includes all India except the far South.
ca -302: Kautilya (Chanakya), minister to Chandragupta
Maurya, writes Arthashastra, a compendium of laws,
administrative procedures and political advice for running a
-302: In Indica, Megasthenes, envoy to King Seleucus,
reveals to Europe in colorful detail the wonders of Mauryan
India: an opulent society with abundant agriculture,
engineered irrigation and 7 castes: philosophers, farmers,
soldiers, herdsmen, artisans, magistrates and
ca -300: Chinese discover cast iron, known in Europe by
ca -300: Pancharatra Vaishnava sect is prominent. All
later Vaishnava sects are based on the Pancharatra beliefs
(formalized by Shandilya around 100 ce).
ca -300: Pandya kingdom (-300-1700 ce) of S. India is
founded, constructs magnificent Minakshi temple at its
capital, Madurai. Builds temples of Shrirangam and
Rameshvaram, with its thousand-pillared hall (ca 1600
-297: Emperor Chandragupta abdicates to become a Jain
-273: Ashoka (-273-232 reign), greatest Mauryan Emperor,
grandson of Chandragupta, is coronated. Repudiating conquest
through violence after his brutal invasion of Kalinga, 260
bce, he converts to Buddhism. Excels at public works and
sends diplomatic peace missions to Persia, Syria, Egypt,
North Africa and Crete, and Buddhist missions to Sri Lanka,
China and other Southeast Asian countries. Under his
influence, Buddhism becomes a world power. His work and
teachings are preserved in Rock and Pillar Edicts (e.g.,
lion capital of the pillar at Sarnath, present-day India’s
-251: Emperor Ashoka sends his son Mahendra (-270-204) to
spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka, where he is to this day
revered as the national faith’s founding missionary.
ca -250: Lifetime of Maharishi Nandinatha, first known
satguru in the Kailasa Parampara of the Nandinatha
Sampradaya. His eight disciples are Sanatkumar, Shanakar,
Sanadanar, Sananthanar, Sivayogamuni, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada
and Tirumular (Sundaranatha).
ca -221: Great Wall of China is built, ultimately 2,600
miles long, the only man-made object visible from the
ca -200: Lifetime of Rishi Tirumular, shishya of
Maharishi Nandinatha and author of the 3,047-verse
Tirumantiram, a summation of Saiva Agamas and Vedas, and
concise articulation ofthe Nandinatha Sampradaya teachings,
founding South India’s monistic Saiva Siddhanta school.
ca -200: Lifetime of Patanjali, shishya of Nandinatha and
gurubhai (brother monk) of Rishi Tirumular. He writes the
Yoga Sutras at Chidambaram, in South India.
ca -200: Lifetime of Bhogar Rishi, one of eighteen Tamil
siddhas. This mystic shapes from nine poisons the
Palaniswami murti enshrined in present-day Palani Hills
temple in South India. Bhogar is either from China or visits
ca -200: Lifetime of Saint Tiruvalluvar, poet-weaver who
lived near present-day Madras, author of Tirukural, “Holy
Couplets,” the classic Tamil work on ethics and statecraft
(sworn on in today’s South Indian law courts).
ca -200: Jaimini writes the Mimamsa Sutras.
ca -150: Ajanta Buddhist Caves are begun near present-day
Hyderabad. Construction of the 29 monasteries and galleries
continues until approximately 650 ce. The famous murals are
painted between 600 bce and 650 ce.
-145: Chola Empire (-145-1300 ce) of Tamil Nadu is
founded, rising from modest beginnings to a height of
government organization and artistic accomplishment,
including the development of enormous irrigation works.
-140: Emperor Wu begins three-year reign of China;
worship of the Mother Goddess, Earth, attains
-130: Reign ends of Menander (Milinda), Indo-Greek king
who converts to Buddhism.
-58: Vikrama Samvat Era Hindu calendar begins.
-50: Kushana Empire begins (-50-220 ce). This Mongolian
Buddhist dynasty rules most of the Indian subcontinent,
Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia.
ca -10: Ilangovadikal, son of King Cheralathan of the
Tamil Sangam age, writes the outstanding epic
Silappathikaram, classical Tamil treatise on music and
Western Calendar Begins. C.E. – Common Era
-4: Jesus of Nazareth (-4-30 ce), founder of
Christianity, is born in Bethlehem (current Biblical
10: World population is 170 million. India population is
35 million: 20.5% of world.
ca 50: South Indians occupy Funan, Indochina. Kaundinya,
an Indian brahmin, is first king. Shaivism is the state
53: Legend records Saint Thomas’ death in Madras, one of
the twelve Apostles of Christ and founder of the Church of
the Syrian Malabar Christians (Syrian Rite) in Goa.
ca 60: Buddhism is introduced in China by Emperor Ming Di
(reign: 58-76) after he converts to the faith. Brings two
monks from India who erect temple at modern Honan.
ca 75: A Gujarat prince named Ajishaka invades Java.
78: Shaka Hindu calendar begins.
ca 80: Jains divide, on points of rules for monks, into
the Shvetambara, “white-clad,” and the Digambara,
ca 80-180: Lifetime of Charaka. Court physician of the
Kushan king, he formulates a code of conduct for doctors of
ayurveda and writes Charaka Samhita, a manual of
ca 100: Lifetime of Shandilya, first systematic
promulgator of the ancient Pancharatra doctrines, whose
Bhakti Sutras, devotional aphorisms on Vishnu, inspire a
Vaishnava renaissance. The Samhita of Shandilya and his
followers, the Pancharatra Agama, embody the chief doctrines
of present-day Vaishnavas. By the 10th century the popular
sect leaves permanent mark on many Hindu schools.
100: Zhang Qian of China establishes trade routes to
India and as far west as Rome, later known as the “Silk
105: Paper is invented in China.
117: The Roman Empire reaches its greatest extent.
125: Shatakarni (ca 106-130 reign) of Andhra’s
(-70-225) dynasty destroys Shaka kingdom of Gujarat.
ca 175: Greek astronomer Ptolemy, known as Asura Maya in
India, explains solar astronomy, Surya Siddhanta, to Indian
students of the science of the stars.
180: Mexican city of Teotihuacan has 100,000 population
and covers 11 square miles. Grows to 250,000 by 500 ce.
ca 200: Lifetime of Lakulisha, famed guru who leads a
reformist movement within Pashupata Saivism.
ca 200: Hindu kingdoms established in Cambodia and
205-270: Lifetime of Plotinus, Egyptian-born monistic
Greek philosopher and religious genius who transforms a
revival of Platonism in the Roman Empire into what
present-day scholars call Neoplatonism, which greatly
influences Islamic and European thought. He teaches ahimsa,
vegetarianism, karma, reincarnation and belief in a Supreme
Being, both immanent and transcendent.
ca 250: Pallava dynasty (ca 250-885) is established in
Tamil Nadu, responsible for building Kailasa Kamakshi Temple
complex at their capital of Kanchi and the great 7th-century
stone monuments at Mahabalipuram.
ca 275: Buddhist monastery Mahavihara is founded in
Anuradhapura, capital of Sri Lanka.
350: Imperial Gupta dynasty (320-540) flourishes. During
this “Classical Age” norms of literature, art, architecture
and philosophy are established. This North Indian empire
promotes Vaishnavism and Saivism and, at its height, rules
or receives tribute from nearly all India. Buddhism also
thrives under tolerant Gupta rule.
ca 350: Lifetime of Kalidasa, the great Sanskrit poet and
dramatist, author of Shakuntala and Meghaduta. (The
traditional date, offered by Prof. Subash Kak, is 50
ca 350: Licchavi dynasty (ca 350-900) establishes Hindu
rule in Nepal. Small kingdom becomes the major intellectual
and commercial center between South and Central Asia.
358: Huns, excellent archers and horsemen possibly of
Turkish origin, invade Europe from the East.
375: Maharaja Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, greatest
Hindu monarch, reigns to 413, expanding the prosperous Gupta
empire northward beyond the Indus River.
391: Roman Emperor Theodosius destroys Greek Hellenistic
temples in favor of Christianity.
ca 400: Laws of Manu (Manu Dharma Shastras) written. Its
2,685 verses codify cosmogony, four ashramas, government,
domestic affairs, caste and morality (others date at
ca 400: Polynesians sailing in open outrigger canoes
reach as far as Hawaii and Easter Island.
ca 400: Shaturanga, Indian forerunner of chess, has
evolved from Ashtapada, a board-based race game, into a
four-handed war game played with a die. Later, in deference
to the Laws of Manu, which forbid gambling, players discard
the die and create Shatranj, a two-sided strategy game.
ca 400: Vatsyayana writes Kamasutra, famous text on
419: Moche people of Peru build a Sun temple 150 feet
high using 50 million bricks.
438-45: Council of Ferrara-Florence, Italy, strengthens
Roman Catholic stance against doctrine of reincarnation.
ca 440: Ajanta cave frescoes (long before Islam) depict
Buddha as Prince Siddhartha, wearing “chudidara pyjama” and
a prototype of the present-day “Nehru shirt.”
450-535: Life of Bodhidharma of South India, 28th
patriarch of India’s Dhyana Buddhist sect, founder of Ch’an
Buddhism in China (520), known as Zen in Japan.
ca 450: Hephtalite invasions (ca 450-565) take a great
toll in North India. These “white Huns” (or Hunas) from
China are probably not related to Europe’s Hun invaders.
ca 450: As the Gupta Empire declines, Indian sculptural
style evolves and continues until the 16th century. The
trend is away from the swelling modeled forms of the Gupta
period toward increasing flatness and linearity.
453: Attila the Hun dies after lifetime of plundering
499: Aryabhata I (476-ca 550), Indian astronomer and
mathematician, using Hindu (aka Arabic) numerals accurately
calculates pi () to 3.1416, and the solar year to
365.3586805 days. A thousand years before Copernicus,
Aryabhata propounds a heliocentric universe with
elliptically orbiting planets and a spherical Earth spinning
on its axis, explaining the apparent rotation of the
heavens. Writes Aryabhatiya, history’s first exposition on
plane and spherical trigonometry, algebra and
ca 500: Mahavamsa, chronicling Sri Lankan history from
-500 is written in Pali, probably by Buddhist monk Mahanama.
A sequel, Chulavamsha, continues the history to 1500.
ca 500: Sectarian folk traditions are revised, elaborated
and reduced to writing as the Puranas, Hinduism’s
encyclopedic compendium of culture and mythology.
500: World population is 190 million. India population is
50 million: 26.3% of world.
510: Hephtalite Mihirakula from beyond Oxus River crushes
imperial Gupta power. Soon controls much of N.C. India.
ca 533: Yashovarman of Malva and Ishanavarman of Kanauj
defeat and expel the Hephtalites from North India.
ca 543: Pulakeshin I founds Chalukya Dynasty (ca 543-757;
975-1189) in Gujarat and later in larger areas of West
548: Emperor Kimmei officially recognizes Buddhism in
Japan by accepting a gift image of Buddha from Korea.
553: Council of Constantinople II denies doctrine of
soul’s existence before conception, implying reincarnation
is incompatible with Christian belief.
565: The Turks and Persians defeat the Hephtalites.
570-632: Lifetime of Mohammed, preacher of the Quraysh
Bedoin tribe, founder of Islam. Begins to preach in Mecca,
calling for an end to the “demons and idols” of Arab
religion and conversion to the ways of the one God,
ca 590-671: Lifetime of Saiva saint Nayanar
Tirunavukkarasu, born into a farmer family at Amur, now in
South Arcot, Tamil Nadu. He writes 312 songs, totalling
3,066 Tirumurai verses. Cleaning the grounds of every temple
he visits, he exemplifies truly humble service to Lord Siva.
His contemporary, the child-saint Nayanar Sambandar,
addresses him affectionately as Appar, “father.”
ca 598-665: Lifetime of Brahmagupta, preeminent Indian
astronomer, who writes on gravity and sets forth the Hindu
astronomical system in his Brahma Sphuta Siddhanta. Two of
25 chapters are on sophisticated mathematics.
ca 600: Religiously tolerant Pallava King Narasinhavarman
builds China Pagoda, a Buddhist temple, at the Nagapatam
port for Chinese merchants and visiting monks.
ca 610: Muhammed begins prophecies, flees to Mecca in
ca 600-900: Twelve Vaishnava Alvar saints of Tamil Nadu
flourish, writing 4,000 songs and poems (assembled in their
cannon Nalayira Divya Prabandham) praising Narayana, Rama
and narrating the love of Krishna and the gopis.
ca 600: Life of Banabhatta, Shakta master of Sanskrit
prose, author of Harshacharita (story of Harsha) and
606: Buddhist Harshavardhana, reigning 606-644,
establishes first great kingdom after the Hephtalite
invasions, eventually ruling all India to the Narmada River
in the South.
ca 630: Vagbhata writes Ashtanga Sangraha on
630-34: Chalukya Pulakeshin II becomes Lord of South
India by defeating Harshavardhana, Lord of the North.
630-44: Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang (Huan Zang) travels
in India, recording voluminous observations. Population of
Varanasi is 10,000, mostly Saiva. Nalanda Buddhist
university (his biographer writes) has 10,000 residents,
including 1,510 teachers, and thousands of manuscripts.
641-45: Arab Muslims conquer Mesopotamia, Egypt and
ca 650: Lifetime of Nayanar Saiva saint Tirujnana
Sambandar. Born a brahmin in Tanjavur, he writes 384 songs
totalling 4,158 verses that make up the first three books of
Tirumurai. At 16, he disappears into the sanctum of Nallur
temple, near Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu.
ca 650: More than 60 Chinese monks have traveled to India
and her colonies. Four hundred Sanskrit works have been
translated into Chinese, 380 survive to the present day.
686-705: Reign of Pallava King Rajasinha. He inherits the
stone-carving legacy of Emperor Mahendra and his son,
Narasinha, who began the extensive sculptural art in the
thriving sea-port of Mahabalipuram.
ca 700: Over the next 100 years the Indonesian island of
Bali receives Hinduism from its neighbor, Java.
712: Muslims conquer Sind region (Pakistan), providing
base for pillaging expeditions that drain North India’s
732: French prevent Muslim conquest of Europe, stopping
Arabs at Poitiers, France, the NW limit of Arab
739: Chalukya armies beat back Arab Muslim invasions at
Navasari in modern Maharashtra.
ca750-1159: Pala dynasty arises in Bihar and Bengal, last
royal patrons of Buddhism, which they help establish in
ca 750: Kailasa temple is carved out of a hill of rock at
ca 750: Hindu astronomer and mathematician travels to
Baghdad, with Brahmagupta’s Brahma Siddhanta (treatise on
astronomy) which he translates into Arabic, bestowing
decimal notation and use of zero on Arab world.
ca 750: Lifetime of Bhavabhuti, Sanskrit dramatist,
second only to Kalidasa. Writes Malati Madhava, a Shakta
ca 750: Valmiki writes 29,000-verse Yoga Vasishtha.
ca 750: A necklace timepiece, kadikaram in Tamil, is worn
by an Emperor (according to scholar M. Arunachalam).
788: Adi Shankara (788-820) is born in Malabar, famous
monk philosopher of Smarta tradition who writes mystic poems
and scriptural commentaries including Viveka Chudamani, and
regularizes ten monastic orders called Dashanami. Preaches
Mayavada Advaita, emphasizing the world as illusion and God
as the sole Reality.
ca 800: Bhakti revival curtails Buddhism in South India.
In the North, Buddha is revered as Vishnu’s 9th
ca 800: Life of Nammalvar, greatest of Alvar saints. His
poems shape the beliefs of Southern Vaishnavas to the
ca 800: Lifetime of Vasugupta, modern founder of Kashmir
Saivism, a monistic, meditative school.
ca 800: Lifetime of Auvaiyar, woman saint of Tamil Nadu,
great devotee of Lord Ganesha and author of Auvai Kural. She
is associated with the Lambika kundalini school. (A second
date for Auvaiyar of 200 bce is from a story about Auvaiyar
and Saint Tiruvalluvar as siblings. A third Auvaiyar
reference is dated at approximately 1000. (Auvaiyar is a
Tamil word meaning “old, learned woman;” some believe it may
refer to three different persons.)
ca 800: Lifetime of Karaikkal Ammaiyar, one of the 63
Saiva saints of Tamil Nadu. Her mystical and yogic hymns,
preserved in the Tirumurai, remain popular to the present
ca 825: Nayanar Tamil saint Sundarar is born into a
family of Adishaiva temple priests in Tirunavalur in
present-day South Arcot. His 100 songs in praise of Siva
(the only ones surviving of his 38,000 songs) make up
Tirumurai book 7. His Tiru Tondattohai poem, naming the
Saiva saints, is the basis for Saint Sekkilar’s
ca 800: Lifetime of Andal, woman saint of Tamil Nadu.
Writes devotional poetry to Lord Krishna, disappears at age
ca 825: Vasugupta discovers the rock-carved Siva
846: Vijayalaya reestablishes his Chola dynasty, which
over the next 100 years grows and strengthens into one of
the greatest South Indian Empires ever known.
ca 850: Shri Vaishnava sect established in Tamil Nadu by
Acharya Nathamuni, forerunner of great theologian
ca 850: Life of Manikkavasagar, Saiva Samayacharya saint,
born in Tiruvadavur, near Madurai, into a Tamil brahmin
family. Writes famed Tiruvasagam, 51 poems of 656 verses in
3,394 lines, chronicling the soul’s evolution to God Siva.
Tirupalli-eluchi and Tiruvembavai are classic examples of
his innovative style of devotional songs.
875: Muslim conquests extend from Spain to Indus
885: Cholas kill Aparajita, king of the Pallavas, in
ca 900: Lifetime of Matsyendranatha, exponent of the
Natha sect emphasizing kundalini yoga practices.
ca 900: Under the Hindu Malla dynasty (ca 900-1700) of
Nepal, legal and social codes influenced by Hinduism are
introduced. Nepal is broken into several principalities.
ca 900-1001: Lifetime of Sembiyan Ma Devi, queen of
Maharaja Gandaraditta Chola from 950-957 and loyal patron of
Saivism, builds ten temples and inspires and molds her
grand-nephew prince, son of Sundara Chola, into the great
temple-builder, Emperor Rajaraja I.
900: Mataramas dynasty in Indonesia reverts to Saivism
after a century of Buddhism, building 150 Saiva temples.
ca 950: Lifetime of Gorakshanatha, Natha yogi who founds
the order of Kanphatha Yogis and Gorakshanatha Saivism, the
philosophical school called Siddha Siddhanta.
ca 950-1015: Lifetime of Kashmir Saiva guru
960: Chola King Vira, after having a vision of Siva
Nataraja dancing, commences enlargement of the Siva temple
at Chidambaram, including the construction of the
gold-roofed shrine. The enlargement is completed in 1250
985: Rajaraja I (reign 985-1014) ascends the South Indian
Chola throne and ushers in a new age of temple architecture
exemplified at Tanjavur, Darasuram, Tirubhuvanam and
Chidambaram. Pallava architectural influences (dominant
vimanas, inconspicuous gopuras) fade.
ca 1000: Gorakshanatha writes Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati,
“Tracks on the Doctrines of the Adepts.” The nature of God
and universe, structure of chakras, kundalini force and
methods for realization are explained in 353 verses.
Hindu Timeline #3
1000ce to 1500
1000: World population is 265 million. India population
is 79 million, 29.8% of world.
ca 1000: A few Hindu communities from Rajasthan, Sindh
and other areas, the ancestors of present-day Romani, or
Gypsies, gradually move to Persia and on to Europe.
ca 1000: Vikings reach North America, landing in Nova
ca 1000: Polynesians arrive in New Zealand, last stage in
the greatest migration and navigational feat in history,
making them the most widely-spread race on Earth.
1001: Turkish Muslims sweep through the Northwest under
Mahmud of Ghazni, defeating Jayapala of Hindu Shahi Dynasty
of S. Afghanisthan and Punjab at Peshawar. This is the first
major Muslim conquest in India.
ca 1010: Tirumurai, Tamil devotional hymns of Saiva
saints, is collected as an anthology by Nambiandar
1017: Mahmud of Ghazni sacks Mathura, birthplace of Lord
Krishna, and establishes a mosque on the site during one of
his 17 Indian invasions for holy war and plunder.
1017-1137: Life of Ramanuja of Kanchipuram, Tamil
philosopher-saint of Shri Vaishnava sect that continues
bhakti tradition of S. Indian Alvar saints. His strongly
theistic nondual Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy restates
Pancharatra tradition. Foremost opponent of Shankara’s
system, he dies at age 120 while head of Shrirangam
1018-1060: Lifetime of Bhojadeva Paramara, Gujarati king,
poet, artist and monistic Saiva Siddhanta theologian.
1024: Mahmud of Ghazni plunders Somanath Siva temple,
destroying the Linga and killing 50,000 Hindu defenders. He
later builds a mosque on the remaining walls.
1025: Chola ruler Maharaja Rajendra I sends victorious
naval expeditions to Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia,
initiating decline of Mahayana Buddhist empire of
ca 1040: Chinese invent the compass and moveable type and
perfect the use of gunpowder, first invented and used in
India as an explosive mixture of saltpetre, sulfur and
charcoal to power guns, cannons and artillery.
ca 1050: Lifetime of Shrikantha, promulgator of Siva
Advaita, a major philosophical school of Saivism.
ca 1130-1200: Lifetime of Nimbarka, Telegu founder of the
Vaishnava Nimandi sect holding the philosophy of
dvaitadvaita, dual-nondualism. He introduces the worship of
Krishna together with consort Radha. (Present-day Nimavats
revere Vishnu Himself, in the form of the Hamsa Avatara, as
the originator of their sect.)
ca 1130: Lifetime of Sekkilar, Tamil chief minister under
Chola Emperor Kulottunga II (reign 1133-1150) and author of
Periyapuranam, 4,286-verse epic biography (hagiography) of
the 63 Saiva saints and 12th book of Tirumurai.
ca 1150: Life of Basavanna, renaissance guru of the Vira
Saiva sect, stressing free will, equality, service to
humanity and worship of the Sivalinga worn around the
ca 1150: Khmer ruler Suryavarman II completes Angkor Wat
temple (in present-day Cambodia), where his body is later
entombed and worshiped as an embodiment of Vishnu. This
largest Hindu temple in Asia is 12 miles in circumference,
with a 200-foot high central tower.
ca 1162: Mahadevi is born, female Saiva ascetic saint of
Karnataka, writes 350 majestic and mystical poems.
1175: Toltec Empire of Mexico crumbles.
1185: Mohammed of Ghur conquers Punjab and Lahore.
1191: Eisai founds Rinzai Zen sect in Japan after study
1193: Qutb ud-Din Aybak founds first Muslim Sultanate of
Delhi, establishing the Mamluk Dynasty (1193-1290).
1197: Great Buddhist university of Nalanda is destroyed
by Muslim Ikhtiyar ud-din.
1200: All of North India is under Muslim domination.
1200: India population reaches 80 million.
ca 1200: An unknown author writes Yoga Yajnavalkya.
1215: King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta, giving
greater rights to citizens in England.
1227: Mongolian Emperor Genghis Khan, conqueror of a vast
area from Beijing, China, to Iran and north of Tibet, the
largest empire the world has yet seen, dies.
1230-60: Surya temple at Konarak, Orissa, India, is
1238-1317: Lifetime of Ananda Tirtha, Madhva, venerable
Vaishnava dualist and opponent of Shankara’s mayavadin
advaita philosophy. He composes 37 works and founds Dvaita
Vedanta school, the Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya and its
eight monasteries, ashtamatha, in Udupi.
ca 1250: Lifetime of Meykandar, Saiva saint who founds
the Meykandar school of pluralistic Saiva Siddhanta, of
which his 12-sutra Sivajnanabodham becomes its core
1260: Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, is born.
1268-1369: Lifetime of Vedanta Deshikar, gifted Tamil
scholar and poet who founds sect of Vaishnavism called
Vadakalai, headquartered at Kanchipuram.
1270-1350: Lifetime of Namadeva, foremost poet saint of
Maharashtra’s Varkari (“pilgrim”) Vaishnava school, disciple
of Jnanadeva. He and his family compose a million verses in
praise of Lord Vithoba (Vishnu).
1272: Marco Polo visits India en route to China.
1274: Council of Lyons II declares that souls go
immediately to heaven, purgatory or hell; interpreted by
Catholic fathers as condemning the doctrine of
1275-96: Lifetime of Jnanadeva, Natha-trained Vaishnava
saint, founder of the Varkari school, who writes
Jnaneshvari, a Marathi verse commentary on Bhagavad Gita,
which becomes Maharashtra’s most popular book.
1279: Muktabai is born, Maharashtrian Varkari saint and
Natha yogini, writes 100 sacred verses.
1280: Mongol (Yuen) dynasty (1280-1368) begins in China,
under which occurs the last of much translation work into
Chinese from Sanskrit.
1296: Ala-ud-din, second king of Khalji dynasty, rules
most of India after his General Kafur conquers the South,
extending Muslim dominion to Rameshwaram.
ca 1300: Lifetime of Janabai, Maharashtrian Varkari
Vaishnava woman saint who writes a portion of Namadeva’s
million verses to Vithoba (Vishnu).
ca 1300: The Ananda Samucchaya is written, 277 stanzas on
hatha yoga, with discussion of the chakras and the
1300: Muslim conquerors reach Cape Comorin at the
southernmost tip of India and build a mosque there.
1317-72: Life of Lalla of Kashmir. Saiva renunciate,
mystic poetess contributes significantly to the Kashmiri
1336: Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565-1646) of South India
is founded. European visitors are overwhelmed by the wealth
and advancement of its 17-square-mile capital.
1345: Aztecs establish great civilization in Mexico.
1346-90: Life of Krittivasa, translator of Ramayana into
1347: Plague called the Black Death spreads rapidly,
killing 75 million worldwide before it recedes in 1351.
ca 1350: Svatmarama writes Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
ca 1350: Lifetime of Appaya Dikshita, South Indian
philosoper saint whose writings reconcile Vaishnavism and
Saivism. He advances Siva Advaita and other Saiva schools
and compiles a temple priests’ manual still used today.
1398: Tamerlane (Timur) invades India with 90,000 cavalry
and sacks Delhi because its Muslim Sultanate is too tolerant
of Hindu idolatry. A Mongolian follower of Sufism, he is one
of the most ruthless of all conquerors.
1399: Hardwar, Ganga pilgrimage town, is sacked by
ca 1400: Goraksha Upanishad is written.
1414: Hindu prince Parameshvara of Malaysia converts to
1414-80: Life of Gujarati Vaishnava poet-saint Narasinha
1415: Bengali poet-singer Baru Chandidas writes
Shrikrishnakirtana, a collection of exquisite songs praising
1429: Joan of Arc, age 17, leads the French to victory
over the English.
ca 1433: China cloisters itself from outside world by
banning further voyages to the West. (First bamboo
1440-1518: Lifetime of Kabir, Vaishnava reformer with who
has both Muslim and Hindu followers. (His Hindi songs remain
immensely popular to the present day.)
ca 1440: Johannes Gutenberg (ca 1400-1468) invents the
West’s first moveable-type printing press in Germany.
1450?-1547: Lifetime of Mirabai, Vaishnava Rajput
princess saint who, married at an early age to the Rana of
Udaipur, devotes herself to Krishna and later renounces
worldly life to wander India singing to Him beautiful mystic
compositions that are sung to the present day.
1469-1538: Lifetime of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism,
originally a reformist Hindu sect stressing devotion, faith
in the guru, repetition of God’s name and rejection of
renunciation and caste. (Most Sikhs in the present day
consider themselves members of a separate religion.)
1478: Spanish Inquisition begins. Over the next 20 years,
Christians burn several thousand persons at the stake.
1479-1531: Lifetime of Vallabhacharya, a married Telegu
brahmin saint who teaches pushtimarga, “path of love,” and a
lofty nondual philosophy, Shuddhadvaita Vedanta, in which
souls are eternally one with Brahman. Vallabhacharya’s
Vaishnavism worships Krishna in the form of Shri Nathji.
1483-1563: Lifetime of Surdas, sightless Hindi bard of
Agra, whose hymns to Krishna are compiled in the
1486-1543: Life of Chaitanya, Bengali founder of popular
Vaishnava sect which proclaims Krishna Supreme God and
emphasizes sankirtan, group chanting and dancing.
1492: Looking for India, Christopher Columbus lands on
San Salvador island in the Caribbean, thus “discovering” the
Americas and proving that the earth is round, not flat.
1498: Portugal’s Vasco da Gama sails around Cape of Good
Hope to Calicut, Kerala, first European to find sea route to
ca 1500: Life of Arunagirinathar, Tamil saint, author of
Tiruppugal hymns; emphasizes feeding the hungry during a
time of Muslim oppression and disrupted family life.
ca 1500: Buddhist and Saiva Hindu princes are forced off
Java by invading Muslims. They resettle on neighboring Bali,
with their overlapping priesthoods and vast royal courts:
poets, dancers, musicians and artisans. Within 100 years
they construct what many call a fairytale kingdom.
Hindu Timeline #4
1500 to 1800ce
1500: World population 425 million; 105 million live in
1503-1566: Lifetime of Nostradamus, French physician and
astrologer who wrote Centuries (1555), a book of
1509-1529: Reign of Maharaja Krishnadevaraya of the
Vijayanagara Empire in Andhra Pradesh.
1510: Portuguese Catholics conquer Goa to serve as
capital of their Asian maritime empire, beginning conquest
and exploitation of India by Europeans.
1517: Luther begins Protestant reformation in Europe.
ca 1520: Poet-saint Purandardas (1480-1564) of the
Vijayanagara court systematizes Karnatak music.
1526: Mughal conqueror Babur (1483-1530) defeats the
Sultan of Delhi and captures the Koh-i-noor diamond.
Occupying Delhi, by 1529 he founds the Indian Mughal Empire
(1526-1761), consolidated by his grandson Akbar.
1528: Emperor Babur destroys temple at Lord Rama’s
birthplace in Ayodhya, erects Muslim masjid, or
1532-1623: Life of Monk-poet Tulasidasa. Writes
Ramacharitamanasa (1574-77), greatest medieval Hindi
literature (based on Ramayana). It advances Rama worship in
1542: Portuguese Jesuit priest Francis Xavier
(1506-1552), most successful Catholic missionary, lands in
Goa. First to train and employ native clergy in conversion
efforts, he brings Christianity to India, Malay Archipelago
1544-1603: Life of Dadu, ascetic saint of Gujarat,
founder of Dadupantha, which is guided by his Bani poems in
1556: Akbar (1542-1605), grandson of Babur, becomes third
Mughal Emperor at age 13. Disestablishes Islam as state
religion and declares himself impartial ruler of Hindus and
Muslims; encourages art, culture, religious tolerance.
1565: Muslim forces defeat and completely destroy the
city of Vijayanagara. Empire’s final collapse comes in
1565: Polish astronomer Copernicus’ (1473-1543)
Heliocentric system, in which the Earth orbits the sun,
gains popularity in Europe among astronomers and
1569: Akbar captures fortress of Ranthambor, ending
Rajput independence. Soon controls nearly all of
ca 1570: Ekanatha (1533-99), Varkari Vaishnava saint and
mystic composer, edits Jnanadeva’s Jnaneshvari and
translates Bhagavata Purana, advancing Marathi language.
1588: British ships defeat the Spanish Armada off the
coast of Calais, France, to become rulers of the high
1589: Akbar rules half of India, shows tolerance for all
1595: Construction is begun on Chidambaram Temple’s Hall
of a Thousand Pillars in South India, completed in 1685.
ca 1600: “Persian wheel” to lift water by oxen is
adopted, one of few farming innovations since Indus Valley
1600: Royal Charter forms the East India Company, setting
in motion a process that ultimately results in the
subjugation of India under British rule.
1603-4: Guru Arjun compiles Adi Granth, Sikh
1605: Akbar the Great dies at age 63. His son Jahangir
succeeds him as fourth Mughal Emperor.
1605: Sikh Golden Temple (Harimandir) at Amritsar,
Punjab, is finished, completely covered with gold leaf.
1608-49: Lifetime of Tukaram, beloved Varkari sant famed
for his abhangas, “unbroken hymns,” to Krishna. Considered
greatest Marathi spiritual composer.
1608-81: Lifetime of Ramdas, mystic poet, Sivaji’s guru,
Marathi saint, who gives Hindus the dhvaja, saffron
1610: Galileo of Italy (1564-1642) perfects the
telescope, with which he confirms the Copernican theory.
Condemned a heretic by the Catholic Inquisition for his
1613-14: British East India Company sets up trading post
1615-18: Mughals grant Britain right to trade and
establish factories in exchange for English navy’s
protection of the Mughal Empire, which faces Portuguese sea
1619: Jaffna kingdom is annexed and Sri Lanka’s ruling
dynasty deposed by Portuguese Catholics who, between 1505
and 1658, destroy most of the island’s Hindu temples.
1619: First black slaves from Africa are sold in the
1620: European pilgrims land and settle at Plymouth Rock,
1627-80: Life of Sivaji, valiant general and tolerant
founder of Hindu Maratha Empire (1674-1818). Emancipates
large areas confiscated by Muslims, returning them to Hindu
control. First Indian ruler to build a major naval
ca 1628-88: Lifetime of Kumaraguruparar, prolific
poet-saint of Tamil Nadu who founds monastery in Varanasi to
propound Saiva Siddhanta philosophy.
1630: Over the next two years, millions starve to death
as Shah Jahan (1592-1666), fifth Mughal Emperor, empties the
royal treasury to buy jewels for his “Peacock Throne.”
1647: Shah Jahan completes Taj Mahal in Agra beside
Yamuna River. Its construction has taken 20,000 laborers 15
years, at a total cost equivalence of US$25 million.
1649: Red Fort is completed in Delhi by Shah Jahan.
ca 1650: Dharmapuram Aadheenam, Saiva monastery, founded
near Mayuram, South India, by Guru Jnanasambandar.
ca 1650: Robert de Nobili (1577-1656), Portuguese Jesuit
missionary noted for fervor and intolerance, arrives in
Madurai, declares himself a brahmin, dresses like a Hindu
monk and composes Veda-like scripture extolling Jesus.
ca 1650: Two yoga classics, Siva Samhita and Gheranda
Samhita, are written.
1654: A Tamil karttanam is written and sung to celebrate
recovery installation of Tiruchendur’s Murugan murti.
1658: Zealous Muslim Aurangzeb (1618-1707) becomes Mughal
Emperor. His discriminatory policies toward Hindus, Marathas
and the Deccan kingdoms contribute to the dissolution of the
Mughal Empire by 1750.
1660: Frenchman Francois Bernier reports India’s
peasantry is living in misery under Mughal rule.
1664: Great Plague of London kills 70,000, 15% of the
1675: Aurangzeb executes Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur,
beginning the Sikh-Muslim feud that continues to this
1679: Aurangzeb levies Jizya tax on non-believers,
1688: Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolishes all temples in
Mathura, said to number 1,000. (During their reign, Muslim
rulers destroy roughly 60,000 Hindu temples throughout
India, constructing mosques on 3,000 sites.)
1700: World population is 610 million. India population
is 165 million: 27% of world.
1705-42: Lifetime of Tayumanavar, Tamil Saiva poet saint
and devotional yogic philosopher of Tiruchirappalli.
1708: Govind Singh, tenth and last Sikh guru, is
1708-37: Jai Singh II builds astronomical observatories
in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Benares and Mathura.
1718-75: Lifetime of Ramprasad, Bengali Shakta
1722: Peter the Great rules in Russia.
ca 1725: Jesuit Father Hanxleden compiles first Sanskrit
grammar in a European language.
ca 1750: Shakta songs of Bengali poets Ramprasad Sen and
Kamalakanta Bhattacharya glorify Her as loving Mother and
Daughter and stimulate a rise in devotional Shaktism.
1751: Robert Clive, age 26, seizes Arcot in modern Tamil
Nadu as French and British fight for control of South
1760: Saiva sannyasis fight Vaishnava vairagis in tragic
battle at Hardwar Kumbha Mela; 18,000 monks are killed.
1760: Eliezer (Besht), liberal founder of Hasidic
1761: Afghan army of Ahmad Shah Durrani routs Hindu
Maratha forces at Panipat, ending Maratha hegemony in North
India. As many as 200,000 Hindus are said to have died in
the strategic eight-hour battle.
1764: British defeat the weak Mughal Emperor to become
rulers of Bengal, richest province of India.
1769: Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruler of Gorkha
principality, conquers Nepal Valley; moves capital to
Kathmandu, establishing present-day Hindu nation of
ca 1770-1840: Life of Rishi from the Himalayas, guru of
Kadaitswami and first historically known satguru of the
Nandinatha Sampradaya’s Kailasa Parampara since
1773: British East India Company obtains monopoly on the
production and sale of opium in Bengal.
ca 1780-1830: Golden era of Karnatik music. Composers
include Tyagaraja, Dikshitar and Shastri.
1781: George Washington defeats British at Yorktown,
1781-1830: Lifetime of Sahajanandaswami, Gujarati founder
of the Swaminarayan sect (with 1.5 million followers
1784: Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds
Calcutta’s Royal Asiatic Society. First such scholastic
1786: Sir William Jones uses the Rig Veda term Aryan
(“noble”) to name the parent language (now termed
Indo-European) of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Germanic
1787-95: British Parliament impeaches Warren Hastings,
Governor General of Bengal (1774-85) for misconduct.
1787: British Committee for the Abolition of the Slave
Trade is formed, marking the beginning of the end of
1789: French revolution begins with storming of the
1792: Britain’s Cornwallis defeats Tipu Sahib, Sultan of
Mysore and most powerful ruler in South India, main bulwark
of resistance to British expansion in India.
1793: Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin in the US,
greatly affecting the institution of slavery.
1796: Over two million worshipers compete for sacred
Ganga bath at Kumbha Mela in Hardwar. Five thousand Saiva
ascetics are killed in tragic clash with Sikh ascetics.
1799: Sultan Tipu is killed in battle against 5,000
British soldiers who storm and raze his capital,
Hindu Timeline #5
1800ce to the Present and Beyond!
1803: Second Anglo-Maratha war results in British
Christian capture of Delhi and control of large parts of
1803: India’s population is 200 million.
1803-82: Lifetime of Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet
who helps popularize Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads in US.
1807: Importation of slaves is banned in the US through
an act of Congress motivated by Thomas Jefferson.
1809: British strike a bargain with Ranjit Singh for
exclusive areas of influence.
ca 1810-75: Lifetime of renaissance guru Kadaitswami,
born near Bangalore, sent to Sri Lanka by Rishi from the
Himalayas to strengthen Saivism against Catholic
1812: Napoleon’s army retreats from Moscow. Only 20,000
soldiers survive out of a 500,000-man invasion force.
1814: First practical steam locomotive is built.
1817-92: Lifetime of Bahaullah, Mirza Husayn ‘Ali,
founder of Baha’i faith (1863), a major off-shoot religion
1818-78: Lifetime of Sivadayal, renaissance founder of
the esoteric reformist Radhasoami Vaishnava sect in
1820: First Indian immigrants arrive in the US.
1822-79: Life of Arumuga Navalar of Jaffna, Sri Lanka,
renaissance activist who propounds Advaita Siddhanta, writes
first Hindu catechism and translates Bible into Tamil so it
can be compared faithfully to the Vedas and Agamas.
1823-74: Life of Ramalingaswami, Tamil saint, renaissance
founder of Vadalur’s “Hall of Wisdom for Universal
1824-83: Lifetime of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati,
renaissance founder of Arya Samaj (1875), Hindu reformist
movement stressing a return to the values and practices of
the Vedas. Author of Satya Prakash, “Light on Truth.”
1825: First massive immigration of Indian workers from
Madras is to Reunion and Mauritius. This immigrant Hindu
community builds their first temple in 1854.
1828: Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) founds Adi Brahmo Samaj
in Calcutta, first movement to initiate religio-social
reform. Influenced by Islam and Christianity, he denounces
polytheism, idol worship; repudiates the Vedas, avataras,
karma and reincarnation, caste and more.
1831-91: Lifetime of Russian mystic Madame H.P.
Blavatsky, founder of Theosophical Society in 1875, bringing
aspects of psychism, Buddhism and Hinduism to the West.
1831: British Christians defeat Ranjit Singh’s forces at
Balakot, in Sikh attempt to establish a homeland in N.W.
1833: Slavery is abolished in British Commonwealth
countries, giving impetus to abolitionists in United
1835: Civil service jobs in India are opened to
1835: Macaulay’s Minute furthers Western education in
India. English is made official government and court
1835: Mauritius receives 19,000 immigrant indentured
laborers from India. Last ship carrying workers arrives in
1836-86: Lifetime of Shri Ramakrishna, God-intoxicated
Bengali Shakta saint, guru of Swami Vivekananda. He
exemplifies the bhakti dimension of Shakta Universalism.
1837: Britain formalizes emigration of Indian indentured
laborers to supply cheap labor under a system more morally
acceptable to British Christian society than slavery,
illegal in the British Empire since 1833.
1837: Kali-worshiping Thugees are suppressed by
1838: British Guyana receives its first 250 Indian
1838-84: Lifetime of Keshab Chandra Sen, Hindu reformer
who founds Brahma Samaj of India, a radical offshoot of the
Adi Brahmo Samaj of Ram Mohan Roy.
1840-1915: Lifetime of Satguru Chellappaswami of Jaffna,
Sri Lanka, initiated at age 19 by Siddha Kadaitswami as next
satguru in the Nandinatha Sampradaya’s Kailasa
1840: Joseph de Goubineau (1816-1882), French scholar,
writes The Inequality of Human Races. Proclaims the “Aryan
race” superior to other great strains and lays down the
aristocratic class-doctrine of Aryanism that later provides
the basis for Adolf Hitler’s Aryan racism.
1842-1901: Life of Eknath Ranade, founder of Prarthana
Samaj. His social-reform thinking inspires Gokhale and
1843: British conquer the Sind region (present-day
1845: Trinidad receives its first 197 Indian immigrant
1846: British forcibly separate Kashmir from the Sikhs
and sell it to the Maharaja of Jammu for
1849: Sikh army is defeated by the British at
1850: First English translation of the Rig Veda by H.H.
Wilson, first holder of Oxford’s Boden Chair, founded “to
promote the translation of the Scriptures into English, so
as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of
the natives of India to the Christian religion.”
1851: Sir M. Monier-Williams (1819-99) publishes
English-Sanskrit Dictionary. His completed Sanskrit-English
Dictionary is released in 1899 after three decades of
1853-1920: Lifetime of Shri Sharada Devi, wife of Shri
1853: Max Muller (1823-1900), German Christian
philologist and Orientalist, advocates the term Aryan to
name a hypothetical primitive people of Central Asia, the
common ancestors of Hindus, Persians and Greeks. Muller
speculates that this “Aryan race” divided and marched west
to Europe and east to India and China around 1500 bce. Their
language, Muller contends, developed into Sanskrit, Greek,
Latin, German, etc., and all ancient civilizations descended
from this Aryan race.
1856: Catholic missionary Bishop Caldwell coins the term
Dravidian to refer to South Indian Caucasian peoples.
1857: First Indian Revolution, called the Sepoy Mutiny,
ends in a few months with the fall of Delhi and Lucknow.
1858: India has 200 miles of railroad track. By 1869
5,000 miles of steel track have been completed by British
railroad companies. In 1900, total track is 25,000 miles,
and by World War I, 35,000 miles. By 1970, at 62,136 miles,
it has become the world’s greatest train system.
Unfortunately, this development depletes India’s forest
1859: Charles Darwin, releases controversial book, The
Origin of Species, propounding his “natural selection”
theory of evolution, laying the foundations of modern
1860: S.S. Truro and S.S. Belvedere dock in Durban, S.
Africa, carrying first indentured servants (from Madras and
Calcutta) to work sugar plantations. With contracts of five
years and up, thousands emigrate over next 51 years.
1861: American Civil War begins in Charleston, S.
1861-1941: Lifetime of Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore,
awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
1863-1902: Life of Swami Vivekananda, dynamic renaissance
missionary to West and catalyst of Hindu revival in
1869-1948: Lifetime of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian
nationalist and Hindu political activist who develops the
strategy of nonviolent disobedience that forces Christian
Great Britain to grant independence to India (1947).
1870: Papal doctrine of infallibility is asserted by the
1872-1964: Lifetime of Satguru Yogaswami, Natha
renaissance sage of Sri Lanka, Chellappaswami’s successor in
the Kailasa Parampara of the Nandinatha Sampradaya.
1872-1950: Life of Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, Bengali Indian
nationalist and renaissance yoga philosopher. His 30-volume
work discusses the “superman,” the Divinely transformed
individual soul. Withdraws from the world in 1910 and founds
international ashram in Pondicherry.
1873-1906: Lifetime of Swami Rama Tirtha, who lectures
throughout Japan and America spreading “practical
1875: Madame Blavatsky founds Theosophical Society in New
York, later headquartered at Adyar, Madras, where Annie
Besant, president (1907-1933), helps revitalize Hinduism
with metaphysical defense of its principles.
1876: British Queen Victoria (1819-1901), head of Church
of England, is proclaimed Empress of India (1876-1901).
1876: Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.
1876-1990: Max Muller, pioneer of comparative religion as
a scholarly discipline, publishes 50-volume Sacred Books of
the East, English translations of Indian-Oriental
1877-1947: Lifetime of Sri Lanka’s Ananda Coomaraswamy,
foremost interpreter of Indian art and culture to the
1879: Incandescent lamp is invented by Thomas Edison
(1847-1931). The american inventor patents more than a
thousand inventions, among them the microphone (1877) and
the phonograph (1878). In New York (1881-82) he installs the
world’s first central electric power plant.
1879: The “Leonidas,” first emigrant ship to Fiji, adds
498 Indian indentured laborers to the nearly 340,000 already
working in other British Empire colonies.
1879-1966: Lifetime of Sadhu T.L. Vaswani, altruistic
Sindhi poet and servant of God, founds several Hindu
missions in India and seven Mira Educational
1879-1950: Lifetime of Shri Ramana Maharshi, Hindu
Advaita renunciate renaissance saint of Tiruvannamalai,
1882-1927: Lifetime of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Indian-born
Muslim mystic, instrumental in bringing Sufism to the
1884-1963: Lifetime of Swami Ramdas, known as “Papa,”
Indian saint and devotee of Lord Rama.
1885: A group of middle-class intellectuals in India,
some of them British, found the Indian National Congress to
be a voice of Indian opinion to the British government. This
was the origin of the later Congress Party.
1885: First automobile powered by an internal combustion
engine is produced by Karl Benz in Mannheim, Germany. Henry
Ford makes his first car in 1893 in the US and later invents
assembly line production.
1886: Rene Guenon is born, first European philosopher to
become a Vedantin, says biographer Robin Waterfield.
1887-1963: Life of Swami Sivananda, Hindu universalist
renaissance guru, author of 200 books, founder of Divine
Life Society, with 400 branches worldwide in present
1888: Max Muller, revising his stance, writes, “Aryan, in
scientific language, is utterly inapplicable to race. If I
say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair nor
skull; I mean simply those who spoke the Aryan
1888-1975: Lifetime of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, renowned
Tamil panentheist, renaissance philosopher, eminent writer;
free India’s first vice-president and second president.
1891: Maha Bodhi Society, an organization to encourage
Buddhist studies in India and abroad, is founded in Sri
Lanka by Buddhist monk Anagarika Dharmapala.
1893: Swami Vivekananda represents Hinduism at Chicago’s
Parliament of the World’s Religions, first ever interfaith
gathering, dramatically enlightening Western opinion as to
the profundity of Hindu philosophy and culture.
1893-1952: Life of Paramahamsa Yogananda, universalist
Hindu, renaissance founder of Self Realization Fellowship
(1925) in US, author of famed Autobiography of a Yogi
(1946), popular book globalizing India’s spiritual
1894: Gandhi drafts first petition protesting the
indentured servant system. Less than six months later,
British announce the halt of indentured emigration from
1894-1994: Lifetime of Swami Chandrashekarendra,
venerated Shankaracharya saint of Kanchi monastery in South
1894-1969: Life of Meher Baba of Poona, silent sage whose
mystical teachings stress love, self-inquiry and God
1896-1982: Lifetime of Anandamayi Ma, God-intoxicated
yogini and mystic Bengali saint. Her spirit lives on in
1896: Nationalist leader, Marathi scholar Bal Bangadhar
Tilak (1857-1920) initiates Ganesha Visarjana and Sivaji
festivals to fan Indian nationalism. He is first to demand
complete independence, Purna Svaraj, from Britain.
1896-1977: Lifetime of Vaishnava Hindu renaissance
activist Bhaktivedanta Swami Pradhupada. Founds Krishna
Consciousness (ISKCON) in US in 1966. Dies 11 years
1896: American humorist Mark Twain writes Following the
Equator, describing his three-month stay in India, during
voyage to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka,
Mauritius, South Africa and England. According to him and
his critics, it is one of his finest works.
1897: Swami Vivekananda founds Ramakrishna Mission.
1898-1907: Cholera epidemic claims 370,000 lives in
1900: World population is 1.6 billion. India population
is 290 million: 17.8% of world.
1900: India’s tea exports to Britain reach 137 million
1900-77: Uday Shankar of Udaipur, dancer and
choreographer, adapts Western theatrical techniques to Hindu
dance, popularizing his ballet in India, Europe and the
1905: Lord Curzon, arrogant British Viceroy of India,
1905: Sage Yogaswami, age 33, is initiated by
Chellappaswami at Nallur, Sri Lanka; later becomes the next
preceptor in the Nandinatha Sampradaya’s Kailasa
1906: Muslim League political party is formed in
1906: Dutch Christians overtake Bali after Puputan
massacres in which Hindu Balinese royal families are
1908-82: Lifetime of Swami Muktananda, global Kashmir
Saiva renaissance satguru and founder of Siddha Yoga
1909-69: Lifetime of Dada Lekhraj (1909-1969), Hindu
renaissance founder of Brahma Kumaris, Saivite social reform
movement stressing meditation and world peace.
1909: Gandhi and assistant Maganlal agitate for better
working conditions and abolition of indentured servitude in
S. Africa. Maganlal continues Gandhi’s work in Fiji.
1912: Anti-Indian racial riots on the US West Coast expel
large Hindu immigrant population.
1913: New law prohibits Indian immigration to S. Africa,
primarily in answer to white colonists’ alarm at competition
of Indian merchants and expired labor contracts.
1914: US government excludes Indian citizens from
immigration. Restriction stands until 1965.
1914: Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated by
Christian Serb nationalists. Chain reaction leads to W.W.
1914: Swami Satchidananda is born, founder of Integral
Yoga Institute and Light of Truth Universal Shrine in the
1917: Communists under Lenin seize power in Russia, 1/6th
of the Earth’s land mass, following the Bolshevik
1917: Last Hindu Indian indentured laborers are brought
to British Christian colonies of Fiji and Trinidad.
1917-93: Life of Swami Chinmayananda, Vedantist writer,
lecturer, Hindu renaissance founder of Chinmaya Mission and
a co-founder of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.
1918: World War I ends. Death toll is estimated at ten
1918: Spanish Influenza epidemic kills 12.5 million in
India, 21.6 million worldwide.
1918: Shirdi Sai Baba, saint to both Hindus and Muslims,
dies at approximately age 70.
1919: Brigadier Dyer orders Gurkha troops to shoot
unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, killing 379. Massacre
convinces Gandhi that India must demand full independence
from oppressive British Christian rule.
1920: Gandhi formulates the satyagraha, “firmness in
truth,” strategy of noncooperation and nonviolence against
India’s Christian British rulers. Later resolves to wear
only dothi to preserve homespun cotton and simplicity.
1920: System of indentured servitude is abolished by
India, following grassroots agitation by Mahatma Gandhi.
1920: Ravi Shankar is born in Varanasi, sitar master,
composer and founder of National Orchestra of India, he
inspires Western appreciation of Indian music.
1922: Pramukh Swami is born, renaissance traditionalist
Hindu, head of Bochasanwasi Swaminarayan Sanstha Sangh.
1922: Tagore’s school at Shantineketan (founded 1901) is
made into Vishva Bharati Univ. Becomes national Univ.,
1923: US law excludes citizens of India from
1924: Sir John Marshall (1876-1958) discovers relics of
the Indus Valley Hindu civilization. Begins large-scale
1925: K.V. Hedgewar (1890-1949) founds Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist movement.
1926: Satya Sai Baba is born, Hindu universalist
renaissance charismatic guru, educationalist, worker of
1927: Sivaya Subramuniyaswami is born, present-day
satguru in the Nandinatha Sampradaya’s Kailasa
1927: Maharashtra bars tradition of dedicating girls to
temples as Devadasis, ritual dancers. Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh and Orissa soon follow suit; 20 years later, Tamil
Nadu bans devotional dancing and singing by women in its
thousands of temples and in all Hindu ceremonies.
1927 & 34: Indians permitted to sit as jurors and
1928: Hindu leader Jawaharlal Nehru drafts plan for a
free India; becomes president of Congress Party in 1929.
1929: Chellachiamman, woman saint of Sri Lanka, dies. She
was mentor to Sage Yogaswami and Kandiah Chettiar.
1931: Shri Chinmoy is born in Bengal, yogi, artist,
self-transcendence master and United Nations peace
1931: 2.5 million Indians reside overseas; largest
communities are in Sri Lanka, Malaya, Mauritius and S.
1931: Dr. Karan Singh is born, son and heir apparent of
Kashmir’s last Maharaja; becomes parliamentarian, Indian
ambassador to the US and global Hindu spokesman.
1934: Paul Brunton’s instantly popular A Search in Secret
India makes known to the West such illumined holy men as
Shri Chandrashekharendra and Ramana Maharshi.
1936-1991: Lifetime of Shrimati Rukmini Devi, founder of
Kalakshetra-a school of Hindu classical music, dance,
theatrical arts, painting and handicrafts-in Madras.
1938: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is founded in Bombay by K.M.
Munshi to conserve, develop and diffuse Indian culture.
1939: Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”),
manifesto of Nazism, published 1925, sells 5 million copies
in 11 languages. It reveals his racist Aryan, anti-Semitic
ideology, strategy of revenge and Socialist rise to
1939: World War II begins September 3, as France and
Britain declare war on Germany after Germany invades
1939: Maria Montessori (1870-1952), first Italian female
physician and “discoverer of the child,” spends nine years
in India teaching her kindergarten method and studying
Hinduism through the Theosophical Society in Adyar.
1939: Mohammed Ali Jinnah calls for a separate Muslim
1941: First US chair of Sanskrit and Indology established
at Yale Univ.; American Oriental Society founded in
1942: At sites along the lost Sarasvati River in
Rajasthan, archeologist Sir Aurel Stein finds shards with
incised characters identical to those on Indus Valley
1945: Germany surrenders to Allied forces. Ghastly
concentration camps that killed 6 million Jews are
1945: US drops atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima,
Japan, ending World War II. Total war dead is 60
1945: United Nations founded by 4 Allied nations and
China to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of
1947: India gains independence from Britain August 15.
Pakistan emerges as a separate Islamic nation, and 600,000
die in clashes during subsequent population exchange of 14
million people between the two new countries.
1948: Britain grants colony of Sri Lanka Dominion status
and self-government under Commonwealth jurisdiction.
1948: Establishment of Sarva Seva Sangh, Gandhian
movement for new social order (Sarvodaya).
1948: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated January 30th by
Nathuram Godse, 35, editor-publisher of a Hindu Mahasabha
weekly in Poona, in retaliation for Gandhi’s concessions to
Muslim demands and agreeing to partition 27% of India to
create the new Islamic nation of Pakistan.
1949: Sri Lanka’s Sage Yogaswami initiates Sivaya
Subramuniyaswami as his successor in Nandinatha Sampradaya’s
Kailasa Parampara. Subramuniyaswami founds Saiva Siddhanta
Church and Yoga Order the same year.
1949: India’s new constitution, authored chiefly by B.R.
Ambedkar, declares there shall be no “discrimination”
against any citizen on the grounds of caste, jati, and that
the practice of “untouchability” is abolished.
1950: Wartime jobs in West, taking women out of home,
have led to weakened family, delinquency, cultural
1950: India is declared a secular republic. Prime
Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-1964) is determined to
abolish casteism and industrialize the nation. Constitution
makes Hindi official national language; English to continue
for 15 years; 14 major state languages are recognized.
1951: India’s Bharatiya Janata Sangh (BJP) party is
1955-6: Indian government enacts social reforms on Hindu
marriage, succession, guardianship, adoption, etc.
1950-60s Tours of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan lead to
worldwide popularization of Indian music.
1955: Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German physicist
formulator of the relativity theory dies. He declared Lord
Siva Nataraja best metaphor for the workings of the
1956: Indian government reorganizes states according to
linguistic principles and inaugurates second Five-Year
1956: Swami Satchidananda makes first visit to
1957: Sivaya Subramuniyaswami founds Himalayan Academy
and opens US’s first Hindu temple, in San Francisco.
1959: Dalai Lama flees Tibet and finds refuge in North
India as China invades his Buddhist nation.
1959: The transistor makes computers smaller and faster
than prototypes like the 51-foot-long, 8-foot high Mark I,
containing I-million parts and 500 miles of wire, invented
for the US Navy in 1944 by IBM’s Howard Aiken. From the
1960s onward, integrated circuitry and microprocessors will
take computers-descendants of the 5,000-year-old Oriental
abacus-to unimaginable levels to revolutionize Earth’s
technology and society.
1960: Since 1930, 5% of immigrants to US have been
Asians, while European immigrants have constituted 58%.
1960: Border war with China shakes India’s nonaligned
1961: India forcibly reclaims Goa, Damao and Diu from the
Portuguese. Goa became a state of India in 1987.
1963: US President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas,
1963: Hallucinogenic drug culture arises in US. Hindu
gurus decry the false promise and predict “a chemical
1964: India’s Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu
religious nationalist movement, is founded to counter
1964: Rock group, the Beatles, practice Transcendental
Meditation (TM), bringing fame to Maharshi Mahesh Yogi.
1965: US immigration cancels racial qualifications and
restores naturalization rights. Welcomes 170,000 Asians
1966: J. Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, becomes Prime
Minister of India, world’s largest democracy, succeeding L.
B. Shastri who took office after Nehru’s death in 1964.
1968: US Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King is
1969: US astronaut Neil Armstrong sets foot on the
1970: Kauai Aadheenam, Hindu monastery, site of Kadavul
Hindu Temple, Saiva Siddhanta Church headquarters, San Marga
Sanctuary and editorial offices of Hinduism Today is founded
February 5 on Hawaii’s Garden Island.
1971: Rebellion in East Pakistan (formerly Bengal). Ten
million Bengalis, mainly Hindus, flee to India. Indo-Pak
border clashes escalate to war. India defeats West Pakistan.
E. Pakistan becomes independent Bangladesh.
1972: A Historical Atlas of South Asia is produced by
Joseph E. Schwartzberg, Siva G. Bajpai, Raj B. Mathur, et
1972: Muslim dictator Idi Amin expels Indians from
1973: Neem Karoli Baba, Hindu mystic and siddha,
1974: India detonates a “nuclear device.”
1974: Watergate scandal. US President Nixon resigns.
1975: Netherlands gives independence to Dutch Guyana,
which becomes Suriname; one third of Hindus (descendants of
Indian plantation workers) emigrate to Netherlands for
better social and economic conditions.
1977: One hundred thousand Tamil Hindu tea-pickers
expatriated from Sri Lanka are shipped to Madras, South
1979: Sivaya Subramuniyaswami founds Hinduism Today
international newspaper to promote Hindu solidarity.
1980: Grand South Indian counterpart to Kumbha Mela of
Prayag, the Mahamagham festival, held every 12 years in
Kumbhakonam, on the river Kaveri, two million attend.
1981: India has one-half world’s cattle: 8 cows for every
1981: Deadly AIDS disease is conclusively identified.
1981: First bharata natyam dance in a temple since 1947
Christian-British ban on Devadasis is arranged by Sivaya
Subramuniyaswami at Chidambaram; 100,000 attend.
1983: Violence between Hindu Tamils and Buddhist
Singhalese in Sri Lanka marks beginning of Tamil rebellion
by Tiger freedom fighters demanding an independent nation
called Eelam. Prolonged civil war results.
1984: Balasarasvati, eminent classical Karnatic singer
and bharata natyam dancer of worldwide acclaim, dies.
1984: Since 1980, Asians have made up 48% of immigrants
to the US, with the European portion shrinking to 12%.
1984: Indian soldiers under orders from Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi storm Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar to crush
rebellion. She is assassinated this year by her Sikh
bodyguards in retaliation. Her son Rajiv takes office.
1986: Swami Satchidananda dedicates Light of Truth
Universal Shrine (LOTUS) at Yogaville in Virginia, USA.
1986: Jiddha Krishnamurti, anti-guru guru,
semi-existentialist philosophical Indian lecturer and
1986: World Religious Parliament in New Delhi bestows the
title Jagadacharya, “world teacher,” on five spiritual
leaders outside India: Swami Chinmayananda of Chinmaya
Mission (Bombay, India); Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of
Saiva Siddhanta Church and Himalayan Academy
(Hawaii-California, USA); Yogiraj Amrit Desai of Kripalu
Yoga Center (New York, USA); Pandit Tej Ramji Sharma of
Nepali Baba (Kathmandu, Nepal); Swami Jagpurnadas Maharaj
(Port Louis, Mauritius).
1987: Colonel S. Rabuka, a Methodist, leads coup deposing
Fiji’s Indian-dominated government and instituting military
rule. July, 1990, constitution guarantees political majority
to ethnic (mostly Christian) Fijians.
1988: General Ershad declares Islam state religion of
Bangladesh, outraging 12-million (11%) Hindu population.
1988: US allows annual influx of 270,000 Asian
1988: First Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary
Leaders on Human Survival is held at Oxford University,
England. Hindus discuss international cooperation with 100
religious leaders and 100 parliamentarians.
1989: Christian missionaries are spending US%165 million
per year to convert Hindus.
1990: The Berlin Wall is taken down February 12. Germany
is reunited over the next year. Warsaw Pact is
1990: Under its new democratic constitution, Nepal
remains the world’s only Hindu country.
1990: Hindus flee Muslim persecution in Kashmir
1990: Foundation stones are laid in Ayodhya for new
temple at the birthplace of Lord Rama, as Hindu nationalism
1990: Vatican condemns Eastern mysticism as false
doctrine in letter by Cardinal Ratzinger approved by Pope
Paul II, to purge Catholic monasteries, convents and clergy
of involvement in Eastern meditation, yoga and Zen.
1990: Second Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders and
Parliamentarians for Human Survival, in Moscow, cosponsored
by Supreme Soviet, gives stage for Hindu thinking. Shringeri
sannyasin Swami Paramananda Bharati concludes Forum with
Vedic peace prayer in Kremlin Hall, leading 2,500 world
leaders in chanting Aum three times.
1990: Communist leadership of USSR collapses, to be
replaced by 12 independent democratic nations.
1991: Hindu Renaissance Award is founded by Hinduism
Today and declares Swami Paramananda Bharati of Shringeri
Matha “1990 Hindu of the Year.”
1991: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated in
Tamil Nadu in May. India blames Sri Lankan Tamil
1991: Indian tribals, adivasis, are 45 million
1991: In Bangalore, India, Satguru Sivaya
Subramuniyaswami authorizes renowned architect V. Ganapati
Sthapati to begin carving the Chola-style, white-granite,
moksha Iraivan Temple in a project guided by Shri Shri
Trichy Swami, Shri Shri Balagangadaranathaswami and Shri
Sivapuriswami. Shipped to Hawaii’s Garden Island of Kauai
and erected on San Marga, Iraivan will be the Western
Hemisphere’s first all-stone Agamic temple.The world’s
largest single-pointed, six-sided crystal (700 lbs.), known
as the Earthkeeper, will be enshrined as its Sivalinga.
1992: Swami Chidananda Saraswati, spiritual head of
Parmarth Niketan Trust, with 26 ashramas, is named Hinduism
Today’s 1991 Hindu of the Year for founding historic
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Indian Heritage project.
1992: World population is 5.2 billion; 17% or 895
million, live in India. Of these, 85%, or 760 million, are
1992: Third Global Forum of Spiritual Leaders and
Parliamentarians for Human Survival meets in Rio de Janeiro
in conjunction with Earth Summit (UNCED). Hindu views of
nature, environment and traditional values help inform the
70,000 delegates planning global future.
1992: Hindu radicals demolish Babri Masjid built in 1548
on Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya by Muslim conqueror Babar
after he destroyed a Hindu temple marking the site. The
monument was a central icon of Hindu resentment toward
Muslim destruction of 60,000 temples.
1993: Fourth Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary
Leaders on Human Survival meets in Kyoto, Japan. Green Cross
is founded for environmental protection.
1993: Swami Chinmayananda is named 1992 Hindu of the
Year, for lifetime of dynamic service to Sanatana Dharma
worldwide-attains mahasamadhi July 26, at age 77.
1993: Swami Brahmananda Sarasvati, renowned yoga scholar,
and Swami Vishnu-devananda, author of world’s most popular
manual on hatha yoga, reach parinirvana.
1993: Chicago’s historic centenary Parliament of the
World’s Religions convenes in September. Presidents’
Assembly, a core group of 25 men and women representing the
world’s faiths, is formed to perpetuate Parliament
1994: Harvard University research identifies over 800
Hindu temples open for worship in the United States.
1994: Mata Amritanandamayi (1953-) charismatic woman
saint of Kerala, is named 1993 Hindu of the Year.
1994: All India pays homage to Kanchi’s beloved
peripatetic tapasvin sage, Shri la Shri Shankaracharya
Chandrashekharendra, who passes away January 7, during his
1994: Hindu Heritage Endowment, first Hindu international
trust, founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.
2000: World population is 6.2 billion. India population
is 1.2 billion: 20% of world (projection by World
2050: British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)
predicted that at the close of the 20th century the world
would still be dominated by the West, but during the 21st
century India will conquer her conquerors, preempting the
place formerly held by technology. Religion worldwide will
be restored to its earlier importance, and the center of
world happenings will wander back from the shores of the
Atlantic to the East where civilization originated.
2094: Bharat (formerly India) is world’s most populous
nation. Sanatana Dharma, finding new expressions through
interactive electronic tools, guides humankind’s future.
Time flows on. Live long and prosper.
Aum. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Aum.