chronology
3600 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E. Indus Valley civilization, including sites at Mohenjodaro and Harappa, prospers. Archaeo-logical finds include a seal that some scholars identify as a proto-Shiva. 2050 ¶ Indo-Iranian people settle in Iran (Persia) and Afghanistan.
1900 ¶ Drying up of Sarasvati River due to climate changes. End of Indus-Sarasvati culture; center of civilization in ancient India relocates from the Sarasvati River to the Ganges River.
1500 ¶ Compilation of Rig Veda Samhita (the earliest extant text in Hinduism).
1350 ¶ At Boghaz Koy, Turkey, stone inscription of the treaty with Mitanni lists as divine witnesses the Vedic deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and the Nasatyas (Ashvins).
1000 ¶ End of compilation of the three original Vedas: Rig, Yajur, and Sama.
950 ¶ Decline of Sanskrit as a spoken language occurs over the next 300 years.
800 to 400 ¶ Orthodox Upanishads are compiled.
750 ¶ Prakrits (vernacular or “natural” languages) develop among India’s various cultures, as evi-denced from later Buddhist and Jain works.
c. 600 ¶ Death of Zoroaster, founder of Zoroastrianism, original religion of the Persians. His Zend Avesta, holy book of that faith, has much in common with the Rig Veda, sharing many verses.
599 ¶ Birth of Mahavira Vardhamana (c. 599–527), 24th Tirthankara, Jain master who stresses veg-etarianism, asceticism, and nonviolence. K xxviii Encyclopedia of Hinduism
563 ¶ Birth of Siddhartha Gautama (563–483), the Buddha. c. 500 to 200
¶ Over these 300 years numerous secondary Hindu scriptures (smriti) are composed: Shrauta Sutras, Grihya Sutras, Dharma Sutras, Mahab-harata, Ramayana, puranas, and others.
c. 450 ¶ Panini composes his Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi.
c. 400 ¶ Dharmashastra of Manu develops. Its verses codify cosmogony, four ashramas, government, domestic affairs, caste, and morality. ¶ The Ajivikas, an ascetic, atheistic sect of naked sadhus reaches the height of its popularity. Adversaries of the Buddha and the Jain Maha-vira, they have a philosophy that is determinis-tic, holding that everything is inevitable.
305 ¶ Chandragupta Maurya, founder of first pan-Indian empire. At its height under the Buddhist emperor Ashoka (r. 273 b.c.e.–232 b.c.e.), the Mauryan Empire includes all India except the far south.
c. 302 ¶ Kautilya (Chanakya), minister to Chandra-gupta Maurya, writes Arthashastra, a compen-dium of laws, procedures, and advice for ruling a kingdom.
300 B.C.E. to 100 C.E. ¶ Tamil Sangam age begins. Sage Agastya writes Agattiyam, first known Tamil grammar. Tolkap-piyar writes Tolkappiyam, a summary of earlier works on grammar, poetics, and rhetoric, indi-cating prior high development of Tamil. Gives rules for absorbing Sanskrit words. At this time Tamil literature refers to worship of Vishnu, Indra, Murugan, and Supreme Shiva.
¶ Pancharatra Vaishnavite sect is prominent. All later Vaishnavite sects are based on the Pan-charatra beliefs (formalized by Sandilya about 100 c.e.).
297 B.C.E. ¶ According to Jain history, Emperor Chandra-gupta Maurya abdicates; becomes Jain monk.
273 ¶ Ashoka, the greatest Mauryan emperor, grand-son of Chandragupta, seizes power and rules until 232. He converts to Buddhism. India’s national emblem features the lion capital from his pillar.
c. 200 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. ¶ Patanjali writes the Yoga Sutra.
c. 200 B.C.E. to 100 C.E. ¶ Jaimini writes the Mimamsa Sutra.
c. 75 C.E. ¶ A Hindu prince from Gujarat invades Java.
c. 80 ¶ Jains divide, on points of rules for monks, into the Shvetambara, “White-Clad,” and the Digambara, “Sky-Clad.”
c. 100 ¶ Birth of Kapila, founder of the Samkhya phi-losophy, one of six classical systems of Hindu philosophy.
¶ Birth of Sandilya, first systematic promulga-tor of the ancient Pancharatra doctrines. His Bhakti Sutras, devotional aphorisms on Vishnu, inspire a Vaishnavite renaissance. By 900 c.e. the sect has left a permanent mark on many Hindu schools. The Samhita of Sandilya and his followers embody the chief doctrines of pres-ent-day Vaishnavites.
c. 200 ¶ Hindu kingdoms are established in Cambodia and Malaysia.
c. 250 ¶ Pallava dynasty (c. 250–885) is established in Tamil Nadu. They erect the Kamakshi temple complex at the capital of Kanchipuram and the great seventh-century stone monuments at Mahabalipuram.
320 ¶ Imperial Gupta dynasty (320–540) emerges. During this “Classical Age” norms of literature, art, architecture, and philosophy are estab-lished. This North Indian empire promotes both Vaishnavism and Saivism and, at its height, rules or receives tribute from nearly all India. Buddhism also thrives under tolerant Gupta rule.
c. 380 ¶ Birth of Kalidasa (380–460), the great Sanskrit poet and dramatist, author of Shakuntala and Meghaduta
c. 400 ¶ Vatsyayana writes Kama Sutra, the famous text on erotics.
¶ Death of Karaikkalammaiyar, a woman, first of the 63 Shaivite saints of Tamil Nadu. c. 500 ¶ Sectarian folk traditions are revised, elabo-rated, and recorded in the puranas, Hindu-ism’s encyclopedic compendium of culture and mythology.
c. 570 ¶ Birth of Shaivite saint Appar (c. 570–670).
¶ Birth of Shaivite saint Sambanthar (c. 570–670). c. 600–900 ¶ Twelve Vaishnava Alvar saints of Tamil Nadu flourish, writing 4,000 songs and poems praising Vishnu and narrating the stories of his avatars.
c. 700 ¶ Over the next hundred years the small Indo-nesian island of Bali receives Hinduism from neighboring Java.
¶ Stone-carving and sculptural works completed at Mahabalipuram.
c. 710 ¶ Death of Bhavabhuti, Sanskrit dramatist, second only to Kalidasa. 712 ¶ Muslims conquer Sind region (Pakistan). c. 750 ¶ Rashtrakuta dynasty carves Kailasanatha Temple out of a rock hill at Ellora.
788 ¶ Shankara (788–820) is born in Malabar. The famous monk-philosopher establishes 10 tradi-tional monastic orders.
c. 800 ¶ Birth of Vasugupta, modern founder of Kashmiri Shaivism, a monistic, meditative school.
¶ Birth of Andal, girl saint of Tamil Nadu. Writes devotional poetry to Lord Krishna, disappears at age 16.
c. 825 ¶ Birth of Tamil Shaivite saint Sundarar.
c. 850 ¶ Birth of Manikkavacakar, Tamil Shaivite saint.
c. 880 ¶ Birth of Nammalvar (c. 880–930), greatest of Alvar saints. His poems shape beliefs of south-ern Vaishnavites to the present day.
c. 900 ¶ Birth of Matsyendranatha, exponent of the Nath sect emphasizing kundalini yoga practices.
950 ¶ Birth of Kashmiri Shaivite guru Abhinavagupta (950–1015).
960 ¶ Chola king Vira, after having a vision of Shiva Nataraja, commences enlargement of the Shiva temple at Chidambaram, completed in 1250 c.e.
1001 ¶ Turkish Muslims invade Afghanistan and the Punjab, the first major Muslim conquest in India.
c. 1010 ¶ Tirumurai, Tamil devotional hymns of Shaivite saints, is collected as an anthology by Nambian-dar Nambi.
1025 ¶ Chola ruler Rajendra I sends victorious naval expeditions to Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
1077 ¶ Birth of Ramanuja (1077–1157) of Kanchi-puram, Tamil philosopher-saint of Sri Vaish-navite sect. 1106
¶ Birth of Basavanna (1106–1167), founder and guru of the Virashaiva sect. c. 1130 ¶ Birth of Nimbarka (c.1130–1200), Vaishnavite teacher of Vedanta. Birth of Sekkilar, author of Periya Puranam, epic hagiography of the 63 Tamil Shaivite saints.
c. 1150 ¶ Khmer ruler completes Angkor Wat temple (in present-day Cambodia), the largest Hindu temple in Asia.
1197 ¶ Birth of Ananda Tirtha Madhva (1197–1276), venerable Vaishnavite dualist philosopher. c.1200 ¶ Birth of Gorakhnath, famous Nath yogi. ¶ All of North India is now under Muslim domination.
1230 to 1260 ¶ Temple to the Sun (Surya) is constructed at Konarak, Orissa.
c. 1300 ¶ Birth of Lalleshvari (c. 1300–1372) of Kashmir, Shaivite renunciant and mystic poet. She con-tributes significantly to the Kashmiri language.
1336 ¶ Vijayanagara empire (1336–1646) of South India is founded. 1398/9 ¶ Tamerlane (Timur) invades India with 90,000 cavalry and sacks Delhi (1398) and Haridvar, a Ganges pilgrimage town (1399).
c. 1400 ¶ Birth of Kabir, Vaishnavite reformer who has both Muslim and Hindu followers. His Hindi songs remain immensely popular to the pres-ent day.
1450 ¶ Birth of Mirabai (1450–1547), Vaishnavite Rajput princess-saint devoted to Lord Krishna. 1469 ¶ Birth of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), founder of Sikhism, a faith that rejects caste and renunciation. 1473
¶ Birth of Vallabhacharya (1473–1531), a saint who teaches pushtimarga, “path of grace.” 1486 ¶ Birth of Chaitanya (1486–1533), Bengali founder of popular Vaishnavite sect that pro-claims Krishna as Supreme God and emphasizes group chanting and dancing.
c. 1500 ¶ Shaivite Hindu princes resettle on Bali and con-struct a separate kingdom.
1526 ¶ Muslim conqueror Babur (1483–1530) occupies Delhi and founds the Indian Mughal Empire (1526–1761).
1532 ¶ Birth of monk-poet Tulsidas (1532–1623), author of Ramcharitmanasa (1574–77) (based on Ramayana), which advances worship of Rama.
1556 ¶ Akbar (1542–1605), grandson of Babur, becomes third Mughal emperor, promoting religious tol-erance.
1595 ¶ Construction begins on Hall of a Thousand Pil-lars at famous Shaivite temple in Chidambaram and is completed in 1685. 1600 ¶ Royal charter forms the East India Company, set-ting in motion a process that ultimately results in the subjugation of India under British rule.
¶ Birth of Surdas (c. 1600), sightless Hindi bard of Agra, whose hymns to Krishna are collected in the Sursagar.
1603 ¶ Guru Arjun compiles Adi Granth, Sikh scrip-ture.
1605 ¶ Akbar’s son Jehangir succeeds his father as fourth Mughal emperor. ¶ Sikh Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab, is fin-ished; later covered with gold leaf. 1608
¶ Birth of Tukaram (1608–1649), saint famed for his poems to Krishna. Considered greatest Marathi spiritual composer.
1647 ¶ Shah Jehan completes Taj Mahal in Agra on the Yamuna River.
1658 ¶ Zealous Muslim Aurangzeb (1618–1707) becomes Mughal emperor. K xxxii Encyclopedia of Hinduism
1675 ¶ Aurangzeb executes Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, beginning the Sikh-Muslim tensions that con-tinue to this day.
1708 ¶ Gobind Singh, 10th and last Sikh guru, is assas-sinated.
1718 ¶ Birth of Ramprasad Sen (1718–1780), Bengali poet-saint and worshipper of goddess Kali.
1751 ¶ Robert Clive is victorious in the British fight for control of South India.
1764 ¶ British defeat the weak Mughal emperor and gain full control of Bengal, richest province of India.
1781 ¶ Birth of Sahajanand Swami (1781–1830), Gujarati founder of the Swaminarayan sect (with 1.5 million followers today).
1784 ¶ Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds Calcutta’s (Kolkata’s) Royal Asiatic Society, first such scholastic institution.
1786 ¶ Sir William Jones uses the Rig Veda term Aryan (noble) to name the parent language of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and Germanic tongues. 1792 ¶ Britain’s Lord Cornwallis, governor-general of India, defeats Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the most powerful ruler in South India, which consti-tuted the main bulwark of resistance to British expansion in India.
1803 ¶ Second Anglo-Maratha war results in British capture of Delhi and control of large parts of India.
¶ Birth of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), American poet who helps popularize Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads in the United States. 1818 ¶ Birth of Swami Shiv Dayal Singh (1818–1878), founder of the esoteric reformist Radhasoami Vaishnavite sect in Agra.
1820 ¶ First Indian immigrants arrive in the United States.
1824 ¶ Birth of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (1824–1883), founder of Arya Samaj (1875), Hindu reformist movement stressing a return to the values and practices of the Vedas. 1828 ¶ Rammohan Roy (1772–1833) founds Brahmo Samaj in Calcutta (Kolkata). Influenced by Islam and Christianity, he denounces polythe-ism and idol worship. 1831
¶ Birth of Russian mystic Madame Helena P. Bla-vatsky (1831–1891), cofounder of Theosophical Society in 1875. Introduces amalgam of psy-chism, Buddhism, and Hinduism to the West.
1835 ¶ Mauritius receives 19,000 indentured laborers from India. Last ship carrying workers arrives in 1922.
1836 ¶ Birth of Sri Paramahansa Ramakrishna (1836–1886), God-intoxicated Bengali saint, devotee of goddess Kali, and guru of Swami Vivekananda. 1837 ¶ Britain formalizes importation of Indian inden-tured laborers throughout the Commonwealth.
1838 ¶ Birth of Keshab Chunder Sen (1838–1884), Hindu reformer. 1840s ¶ Hindus from India enter the Caribbean region as indentured laborers. 1841 ¶ First U.S. chair of Sanskrit and Indology estab-lished at Yale University.
1850 ¶ First English translation of the Rig Veda, by H. H. Wilson.
1851 ¶ Sir M. Monier-Williams (1819–1899) publishes English-Sanskrit Dictionary.
1853 ¶ Birth of Sri Sarada Devi (1853–1920), wife of Sri Ramakrishna, lineage holder in the Ramak-rishna tradition and inspiration for the Sarada Math convent for women.
¶ Max Müller (1823–1900), German Sanskrit scholar in England, advocates the term Aryan to describe speakers of Indo-European languages.
1857 ¶ First major Indian revolt against British rule, the “Sepoy Mutiny.” 1860 ¶ First indentured servants from Madras (Chen-nai) and Calcutta (Kolkata) arrive in Durban, South Africa to work on sugar plantations. 1861 ¶ Birth of Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), awarded the Nobel Prize in litera-ture in 1913.
1863 ¶ Birth of Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), dynamic missionary to West and catalyst of Hindu revival in India.
1869 ¶ Birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian nationalist and Hindu political activist, who develops the strategy of nonviolent disobedience that leads to the independence of India (1947) from Great Britain.
1872 ¶ Birth of Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950), Ben-gali Indian nationalist and yoga philosopher. 1873
¶ Birth of Swami Rama Tirtha (1873–1906), who lectures throughout Japan and America spread-ing “practical Vedanta.”
1875 ¶ Madame Blavatsky, with others, founds Theo-sophical Society in New York, later headquar-tered at Adyar, Madras (Chennai).
1876 ¶ British queen Victoria (1819–1901) is pro-claimed empress of India (r. 1876–1901).
¶ Birth of Dada Lekhraj (1876–1969), Hindu founder of Brahma Kumaris, an international social reform movement led by women that stresses meditation and world peace.
1876 to 1890 ¶ Max Müller (1823–1900), pioneer of compara-tive religion as a scholarly discipline, publishes 50-volume Sacred Books of the East, English translations of Indian and other Asian scrip-tures.
1879 ¶ First emigrant ship to Fiji adds 498 Indian indentured laborers to the nearly 340,000 already working in other colonies of the British Empire.
¶ Birth of Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950), Hindu advaita renunciant saint of Tiruvannama-lai, South India.
1884 ¶ Birth of Swami Ramdas (1884–1963), known as Papa, Indian saint and devotee of Lord Rama.
1885 ¶ Indian National Congress founded. 1886 ¶ René Guénon (1886–1951), first European phi-losopher of note to become a Vedantin, is born.
1887 ¶ Birth of Swami Shivananda (1887–1963), renowned universalist teacher, author of 200 books, founder of Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, and guru to many teachers who brought Hinduism to the West.
1888 ¶ Birth of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975), philosopher, eminent writer, and free India’s first vice president and second president.
1893 ¶ World Parliament of Religions in Chicago rec-ognizes Eastern religious traditions through presentations by representatives of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Swami Vive-kananda receives acclaim as spokesperson for Hinduism. 1894
¶ Birth of Meher Baba (1894–1969) of Poona, silent sage whose mystical teachings stress love, self-inquiry, and God consciousness.
1896 ¶ Birth of Anandamayi Ma (1896–1982), God-intoxicated yogini and mystic saint of Bengal. ¶ Birth of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896–1977). In 1966 he founds International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the United States.
1897 ¶ Swami Vivekananda founds Ramakrishna Math and Mission near Calcutta (Kolkata).
1908 ¶ Birth of Swami Muktananda (1908–1982), a guru of the Kashmiri Shaivite school who founds Siddha Yoga Dham to promulgate Indian mysticism, kundalini yoga, and philosophy throughout the world.
1912 ¶ Anti-Indian racial riots on the U.S. West Coast expel large Hindu immigrant population.
1916 ¶ Birth of Swami Chinmayananda (1916–1993), Vedantist scholar, lecturer, teacher, and founder of Chinmaya Mission.
1917 ¶ Last Hindu Indian indentured laborers are taken to British colonies of Fiji and Trinidad.
¶ U.S. government severely restricts Indian citi-zens from immigration. Restriction stands until 1965.
1918 ¶ Sai Baba of Shirdi (1856–1918), saint to Hindus and Muslims, dies at approximately age 62.
1920 ¶ Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) uses satya-graha, “truth power,” first articulated in South Africa, as a strategy of noncooperation and non-violence against India’s British rulers. ¶ Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952), famous author of Autobiography of a Yogi, teacher of kriya yoga and Hindu guru with many West-ern disciples, enters the United States, where he founds the Self-Realization Fellowship (1935).
1922 ¶ Tagore’s school at Shantiniketan (founded 1901) is made into Visva Bharati University and becomes a national university in 1951.
1923 ¶ U.S. law excludes Indian nationals from natu-ralization.
1924 ¶ Sir John Marshall (1876–1958) discovers relics of Indus Valley pre-Hindu civilization. Begins systematic large-scale excavations.
1925 ¶ K. V. Hedgewar (1890–1949) founds Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu nationalist movement.
1926 ¶ Birth of Satya Sai Baba, charismatic Hindu guru, educationalist, and worker of miracles.
1927 ¶ Shivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), founder of Saiva Siddhanta Church and Hinduism Today magazine, is born in Oakland, California.
¶ Maharashtra bars tradition of dedicating girls to temples as Devadasis, ritual dancers. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa soon follow suit. Twenty years later, Tamil Nadu bans devotional dancing and singing by women in its temples and in all Hindu ceremonies.
1928 ¶ Hindu leader and future prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) drafts plan for a free India; becomes president of Congress Party in 1929.
1931 ¶ Birth of Sri Chinmoy, yogi, artist, master of self-transcendence, and United Nations peace ambassador, in Bengal.
¶ Some 2.5 million Indian Hindus reside overseas; largest communities are in Sri Lanka, Malaya, Mauritius, and South Africa.
1934 ¶ Paul Brunton’s popular A Search in Secret India introduces Hindu teachers such as Ramana Maharshi to the West.
1938 ¶ Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is founded in Bom-bay (Mumbai) by K. M. Munshi to conserve, develop, and honor Indian culture.
1947 ¶ India gains independence from Britain on August 15. K xxxvi Encyclopedia of Hinduism
1948 ¶ Establishment of Sarva Seva Sangh, Gandhian movement for new social order (sarvodaya).
¶ Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated on January 30 in retaliation for his embracing of Muslim demands in India.
¶ The last British troops leave India on February 28. 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 abolishes the practice of “untouchability.”
1950 ¶ India is declared a secular republic. Prime Minis-ter Jawaharlal Nehru (r. 1947–64) is determined to abolish caste and industrialize the nation. 1964 ¶ India’s Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu religious nationalist movement, is founded to counter secularism.
¶ Rock group the Beatles practice Transcendental Meditation (T.M.), making Maharshi Mahesh Yogi famous.
1965 ¶ U.S. immigration law is rewritten to cancel racial qualifications and restore rights of natu-ralization to Asians. The first Hindu teacher to benefit from the lifting of immigration quotas is Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, famous Vaishnavite guru and founder of International Society of Krishna Consciousness. Annual immigration from India shifts from 100 (1925) to 170,000 (1985) per year. 1966 ¶ Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, becomes prime minister of India, world’s largest democracy. 1973 ¶ Neem Karoli Baba (1900–1973), Hindu mystic and siddha, dies.
1975 ¶ Netherlands gives independence to Dutch Guy-ana, which becomes Suriname; one-third of Hindus (descendants of Indian plantation work-ers) immigrate to Netherlands for better social and economic conditions.
1979 ¶ Shivaya Subramuniyaswami founds Hinduism Today, international journal to promote Hindu solidarity.
1980 ¶ Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is founded.
1984 ¶ Indian soldiers under orders from Prime Minis-ter Indira Gandhi storm Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar and crush rebellion. Gandhi is assas-sinated later in the year by her Sikh bodyguards. Her son Rajiv takes office.
1986 ¶ Swami Satchidananda (1914–2002) dedicates Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS) at Yogaville, Virginia, in the United States.
¶ Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), Indian phi-losopher, lecturer, and author, known for his teaching of radical self-awareness, dies.
1992 ¶ Hindu radicals demolish Babri Masjid, built in 1548 on Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya by Mus-lim conqueror Babur after he destroyed a Hindu temple marking the site. Chronology xxxvii J
1993 ¶ Chicago hosts centenary Parliament of World Religions, in September. 1994 ¶ Harvard University study identifies more than 800 Hindu temples open for worship in the United States.
1998 to 2004 ¶ Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) serves as India’s ruling party. 2001 ¶ History’s largest human gathering, 70 million people, worship at Kumbha Mela 2001, Alla-habad, at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers.
¶ Swami Amar Jyoti, 73, founder of four Jyoti ash-rams in the United States and India, dies.
2006 ¶ Hinduism continues to grow in most countries of the old diaspora: Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, Mau-ritius, Malaysia, and Suriname. Europe and the United States continue to be destinations for the current participants in the diaspora. Descen-dants maintain their faith and identity.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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