The history of Bharat (Indian Subcontinent) can be traced in fragments as far back as 700,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the oldest in the world, dates back at least 10,000 years.
Human civilizations in India are some of the earliest ever and were as significant as counterpart civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. India’s History essentially includes all of the Indian subcontinent including the more recent nations of Pakistan founded in 1947 after the partition of India, and Bangladesh founded in 1971. India is also inalienably linked with the history and heritage of close nations like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. India’s culture, economy, and politics have in turn influenced the history of the nations of South East Asia and Central Asia, as well as Tibet, Afghanistan, Iran and China over thousands of years. India has also strongly influenced life in medival Europe, especially since the landing of Vasco Da Gama and the incorporation of India into the British Empire.
Note: ‘-‘ Sign indicates BCE and “m” indicates 10,000 (million) for example -2.5 m indicates 2,50,000 BCE. Approximate dates are preceded by ca, an abbreviation for circa,which denotes “around” or “in approximately.” Most dates prior to Buddha (624 bce) are considered estimates.
-2.5 m: Genus Homo originates in Africa, cradle of humanity.
-2 m: Stone artifacts are made and used by hominids in North India, an area rich in animal species, including the elephant.
-500,000: Stone hand axes and other tools are used in N. India.
-470,000: India’s hominids are active in
-400,000: Soan culture in India is using primitive chopping tools.
-360,000: Fire is first controlled by homo erectus in China.
-300,000: Homo sapiens roams the earth, from Africa to Asia.
-100,000: Homo 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 Suez.
-75,000: Last ice age begins. Human population is 1.7 million.
-45,000: After mastery of marine navigation, migrations from Southeast Asia settle Australia and the Pacific islands.
-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 Europe.
-30,000: American Indians spread throughout the Americas.
-10,000: Last Ice Age ends after 65,000 years; earliest signs of agriculture. World population 4 million, India is 100,000 – 10,000: Taittiriya Bhramana 3.1.2 refers to Purvabhadrapada nakshatra’s rising due east, a phenomenon occuring at this date (Dr.B.G.Siddharth of Birla Science Institute), indicating the earliest known dating of sacred Veda.
-10,000: Vedic culture, the essance of humanity’s eternal wisdom, Sanatana Dharma, lives in Himalayas at end of Ice Age.
-9000: Old Europe, Anatolia and Minoan crete display a Goddess – centered culture reflecting a matriarchal order.
-8500: Taittiriya Samhita 6.5.3 places Pleiades asterism at winter solstice, suggesting the antiquity of this Veda.
-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 culture.
-7000: Proto-Vedic period ends. Early Vedic period begins.
Early Vedic Period
-7000: Time of Manu Vaivasvata, “father of mankind”, of Sarasati – Drishvdvati area (also said to be a South Indian Maharaja who sailed to the Himalayas during a grea flood).
-7000: Early evidence of horses in the Ganga region (Frawley).
-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 bricks.
-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, 18.104.22.168) say winter solstice begins in Aries (according to Dr. D. Frawley), indicating the antiquity of this section of the Vedas.
-6000: Early sites on Sarasvati River, then India’s largest. Rajasthan is a fertile region with much grassland as described in the Rig Veda. The culture based on barley (yava), copper (ayas) and cattle, also reflects that of the Rig Veda.
-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 Danielou). -5000: World population, 5 million, doubles every 1,000 years.
-5000: Beginnings of Indus – Sarasvati civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Date derived by considering archaeological sites, reached after excavating 45 feet. Brick fire altars exist in many houses, suggesting Vedic fire rites, yajna. Earliest sign of worship of Lord Siva. This mature culture will last 3,000 years, ending around.
-1700. -5000: Rice is harvested in China, with grains found in baked bricks. But its cultivation originated in Eastern India.
-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.
-3928: July 25th, the earliest eclipse mentioned in the Rig Veda (according to Indian researcher Dr. Shri P.C. Sengupta).
-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 Earth’s axis of rotation) causes the nakshathras 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 nakshathra occurred.
-3101: Commencement of Kaliyuga
— — — — — — Kali Yuga — — — — — —
-3102: Kali Era Hindu calendar starts. Kali Yuga begins on Jan 23rd of 3102 BCE.
-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 begins.
Late Vedic Period
-3100-1700: Indian Empire collapsed. Separate JANAPADAS come into picture.
-3100: India includes Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia.
-3100: Aryan people inhabit Iran, Iraq and Western Indus – Sarasvati valley frontier. Frawley describes Aryans as a
-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 sewn.
-3000: Evidence of horses in South India.
-3000: People of Tehuacan, Mexico, are cultivating corn.
-3000: Saiva Agamas are recorded in the time of the earliest Tamil Sangam. (A
-2700: Seals of Indus-Sarasvati Valley indicate Siva worship, in depictions of Siva
as Pashupati, Lord of Animals.
-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. Roy).
-2600: Drying up of Drishadvati River of Vedic fame, along with possible shifting of
the Yamuna to flow into the Ganga.
-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 Afghanistan.
-2051: Divodasa reigns to -1961, has contact with Babylon’s King Indatu
(Babylonian chronology). Dating by S.B. Roy.
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 history.
-1915: All Madurai Tamil Sangam is held at Thiruparankundram (according to
traditional Tamil chronology).
-1900: Late Vedic period ends, post Vedic period begins.
-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 Kings.
-1500: Polynesians migrate throughout Pacific islands.
-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 Kashmir.
-1500: Cinnamon is exported from Kerala to Middle East.
-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 king.
-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 Vyasa.
-1300: Panini composes Ashtadhyayi, systematizing Sanskrit grammar in 4,000
terse rules. (Date according to Roy.)
-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
-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 -750).
-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 Francisco.
-1000: Late Vedic period ends. Post-Vedic period begins.
Hindu Timeline Part 2
-1000bce to 1000ce
-1000: World population is 50 million, doubling every 500 years.
-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 home.
-950: Gradual breakdown of Sanskrit as a spoken language occurs over the next
-925: Jewish King David forms an empire in what is present-day Israel and
-900: Iron Age in India. Early use dates to at least -1500.
ca -900: Earliest records of the holy city of Varanasi (one of the world’s oldest
living cities) on the sacred river Ganga.
-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 years.
-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
-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 religions.
-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 later.)
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
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 religions.
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 India.
-500: World population is 100 million. India population is 25 million (15 million of
whom live in the Ganga basin).
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 throne.
-480: Ajita, a nastika (atheist) who teaches a purely material explanation of life and
that death is final, dies.
-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 -470-400).
-428-348: Lifetime of Plato, Athenian disciple of Socrates. This great philosopher
founds Athens Academy in -387.
ca -400: Panini composes his Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi. (Date accepted
among most Western scholars.)
ca -400: Lifetime of Hippocrates, Greek physician and “father of medicine,”
formulates Hippocratic oath, code of medical ethics still pledged by present-day
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
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 kingdom.
-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 counselors.
ca -300: Chinese discover cast iron, known in Europe by 1300 ce.
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 ce).
-297: Emperor Chandragupta abdicates to become a Jain monk.
-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 national emblem).
-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
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
ca -221: Great Wall of China is built, ultimately 2,600 miles long, the only
man-made object visible from the moon.
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 of the 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 there.
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 importance.
-130: Reign ends of Menander (Milinda), Indo-Greek king who converts to
-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 dance.
Western Calendar Begins. C.E. – Common Era
-4: Jesus of Nazareth (-4-30 ce), founder of Christianity, is born in Bethlehem
(current Biblical scholarship).
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 religion.
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
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
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, “sky-clad.”
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
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 Roads.”
105: Paper is invented in China.
117: The Roman Empire reaches its greatest extent.
125: Shatakarni (ca 106-130 reign) of Andhra’s Satavahana
(-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
ca 200: Hindu kingdoms established in Cambodia and Malaysia.
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
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
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
ca 350: Licchavi dynasty (ca 350-900) establishes Hindu rule in Nepal. Small
kingdom becomes the major intellectual and commercial center between South and
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
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 -600).
ca 400: Polynesians sailing in open outrigger canoes reach as far as Hawaii and
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 erotics.
419: Moche people of Peru build a Sun temple 150 feet high using 50 million
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
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
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 Europe.
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 arithmetic.
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
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 India.
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, Allah.
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 622.
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 Kadambari.
606: Buddhist Harshavardhana, reigning 606-644, establishes first great kingdom
after the Hephtalite invasions, eventually ruling all India to the Narmada River in the
ca 630: Vagbhata writes Ashtanga Sangraha on ayurveda.
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 Persia.
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
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 wealth.
732: French prevent Muslim conquest of Europe, stopping Arabs at Poitiers,
France, the NW limit of Arab penetration.
739: Chalukya armies beat back Arab Muslim invasions at Navasari in modern
ca750-1159: Pala dynasty arises in Bihar and Bengal, last royal patrons of
Buddhism, which they help establish in Tibet.
ca 750: Kailasa temple is carved out of a hill of rock at Ellora.
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 work.
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
ca 800: Bhakti revival curtails Buddhism in South India. In the North, Buddha is
revered as Vishnu’s 9th incarnation.
ca 800: Life of Nammalvar, greatest of Alvar saints. His poems shape the beliefs of
Southern Vaishnavas to the present day.
ca 800: Lifetime of Vasugupta, modern founder of Kashmir Saivism, a monistic,
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
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 16.
ca 825: Vasugupta discovers the rock-carved Siva Sutras.
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 Ramanuja.
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
875: Muslim conquests extend from Spain to Indus Valley.
885: Cholas kill Aparajita, king of the Pallavas, in battle.
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
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
ca 950-1015: Lifetime of Kashmir Saiva guru Abhinavagupta.
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 ce.
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 Part 3
1000ce to 1500ce
1000: World population is 265 million. India population is 79 million, 29.8% of
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
ca 1000: Vikings reach North America, landing in Nova Scotia.
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 Nambi.
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
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
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 in China.
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
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 constructed.
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
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 reincarnation.
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
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 nadis.
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 language.
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
1345: Aztecs establish great civilization in Mexico.
1346-90: Life of Krittivasa, translator of Ramayana into Bengali.
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 Timur.
ca 1400: Goraksha Upanishad is written.
1414: Hindu prince Parameshvara of Malaysia converts to Islam.
1414-80: Life of Gujarati Vaishnava poet-saint Narasinha Mehta.
1415: Bengali poet-singer Baru Chandidas writes Shrikrishnakirtana, a collection of
exquisite songs praising Krishna.
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 curtain.)
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 Sursagar.
1486-1543: Life of Chaitanya, Bengali founder of popular Vaishnava sect which
proclaims Krishna Supreme God and emphasizes sankirtan, group chanting and
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
1498: Portugal’s Vasco da Gama sails around Cape of Good Hope to Calicut,
Kerala, first European to find sea route to India.
ca 1500: Life of Arunagirinathar, Tamil saint, author of Tiruppugal hymns;
emphasizes feeding the hungry during a time of Muslim oppression and disrupted
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 Part 4
1500ce to 1800ce
1500: World population 425 million; 105 million live in India.
1503-1566: Lifetime of Nostradamus, French physician and astrologer who wrote
Centuries (1555), a book of prophecies.
1509-1529: Reign of Maharaja Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire in
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 monument.
1532-1623: Life of Monk-poet Tulasidasa. Writes Ramacharitamanasa (1574-77),
greatest medieval Hindi literature (based on Ramayana). It advances Rama worship
in the North.
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 and Japan.
1544-1603: Life of Dadu, ascetic saint of Gujarat, founder of Dadupantha, which is
guided by his Bani poems in Hindi.
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 1646.
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 Rajasthan.
ca 1570: Ekanatha (1533-99), Varkari Vaishnava saint and mystic composer, edits
Jnanadeva’s Jnaneshvari and translates Bhagavata Purana, advancing Marathi
1588: British ships defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Calais, France, to
become rulers of the high seas.
1589: Akbar rules half of India, shows tolerance for all faiths.
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 civilization.
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 scripture.
1605: Akbar the Great dies at age 63. His son Jahangir succeeds him as fourth
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 flag.
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 at Surat.
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
1619: First black slaves from Africa are sold in the USA.
1620: European pilgrims land and settle at Plymouth Rock, US.
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 force.
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
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
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 population.
1675: Aurangzeb executes Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, beginning the Sikh-Muslim
feud that continues to this day.
1679: Aurangzeb levies Jizya tax on non-believers, Hindus.
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
1705-42: Lifetime of Tayumanavar, Tamil Saiva poet saint and devotional yogic
philosopher of Tiruchirappalli.
1708: Govind Singh, tenth and last Sikh guru, is assassinated.
1708-37: Jai Singh II builds astronomical observatories in Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain,
Benares and Mathura.
1718-75: Lifetime of Ramprasad, Bengali Shakta poet-saint.
1722: Peter the Great rules in Russia.
ca 1725: Jesuit Father Hanxleden compiles first Sanskrit grammar in a European
ca 1750: Shakta songs of Bengali poets Ramprasad Sen and Kamalakanta
Bhattacharya glorify Her as loving Mother and Daughter and stimulate a rise in
1751: Robert Clive, age 26, seizes Arcot in modern Tamil Nadu as French and
British fight for control of South India.
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 Judaism, dies.
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 Nepal.
ca 1770-1840: Life of Rishi from the Himalayas, guru of Kadaitswami and first
historically known satguru of the Nandinatha Sampradaya’s Kailasa Parampara
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, US.
1781-1830: Lifetime of Sahajanandaswami, Gujarati founder of the Swaminarayan
sect (with 1.5 million followers today).
1784: Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds Calcutta’s Royal Asiatic Society.
First such scholastic institution.
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 slavery.
1789: French revolution begins with storming of the Bastille.
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
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
1799: Sultan Tipu is killed in battle against 5,000 British soldiers who storm and
raze his capital, Srirangapattinam.
Hindu Timeline Part 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 India.
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 of Islam.
1818-78: Lifetime of Sivadayal, renaissance founder of the esoteric reformist
Radhasoami Vaishnava sect in Agra.
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 Worship.”
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. India.
1833: Slavery is abolished in British Commonwealth countries, giving impetus to
abolitionists in United States.
1835: Civil service jobs in India are opened to Indians.
1835: Macaulay’s Minute furthers Western education in India. English is made
official government and court language.
1835: Mauritius receives 19,000 immigrant indentured laborers from India. Last
ship carrying workers arrives in 1922.
1836-86: Lifetime of Shri Ramakrishna, God-intoxicated Bengali Shakta saint, guru
of Swami Vivekananda. He exemplifies the bhakti dimension of Shakta
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 British.
1838: British Guyana receives its first 250 Indian laborers.
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
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 Gandhi.
1843: British conquer the Sind region (present-day Pakistan).
1845: Trinidad receives its first 197 Indian immigrant laborers.
1846: British forcibly separate Kashmir from the Sikhs and sell it to the Maharaja of
Jammu for pounds1,000,000.
1849: Sikh army is defeated by the British at Amritsar.
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 Ramakrishna.
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
1859: Charles Darwin, releases controversial book, The Origin of Species,
propounding his “natural selection” theory of evolution, laying the foundations of
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. Carolina.
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 India.
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 Vatican.
1872-1964: Lifetime of Satguru Yogaswami, Natha renaissance sage of Sri Lanka,
Chellappaswami’s successor in the Kailasa Parampara of the Nandinatha
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 Vedanta.”
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
1877-1947: Lifetime of Sri Lanka’s Ananda Coomaraswamy, foremost interpreter
of Indian art and culture to the West.
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, South India.
1882-1927: Lifetime of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Indian-born Muslim mystic,
instrumental in bringing Sufism to the West.
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
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 language.”
1888-1975: Lifetime of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, renowned Tamil panentheist,
renaissance philosopher, eminent writer; free India’s first vice-president and second
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 traditions.
1894: Gandhi drafts first petition protesting the indentured servant system. Less
than six months later, British announce the halt of indentured emigration from India.
1894-1994: Lifetime of Swami Chandrashekarendra, venerated Shankaracharya
saint of Kanchi monastery in South India.
1894-1969: Life of Meher Baba of Poona, silent sage whose mystical teachings
stress love, self-inquiry and God consciousness.
1896-1982: Lifetime of Anandamayi Ma, God-intoxicated yogini and mystic Bengali
saint. Her spirit lives on in devotees.
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
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 India.
1900: World population is 1.6 billion. India population is 290 million: 17.8% of
1900: India’s tea exports to Britain reach 137 million pounds.
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, resigns.
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 India.
1906: Dutch Christians overtake Bali after Puputan massacres in which Hindu
Balinese royal families are murdered.
1908-82: Lifetime of Swami Muktananda, global Kashmir Saiva renaissance satguru
and founder of Siddha Yoga Dham.
1909-69: Lifetime of Dada Lekhraj (1909-1969), Hindu renaissance founder of
Brahma Kumaris, Saivite social reform movement stressing meditation and world
1909: Gandhi and assistant Maganlal agitate for better working conditions and
abolition of indentured servitude in S. Africa. Maganlal continues Gandhi’s work in
1912: Anti-Indian racial riots on the US West Coast expel large Hindu immigrant
1913: New law prohibits Indian immigration to S. Africa, primarily in answer to
white colonists’ alarm at competition of Indian merchants and expired labor
1914: US government excludes Indian citizens from immigration. Restriction stands
1914: Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated by Christian Serb nationalists.
Chain reaction leads to W.W. I.
1914: Swami Satchidananda is born, founder of Integral Yoga Institute and Light of
Truth Universal Shrine in the US.
1917: Communists under Lenin seize power in Russia, 1/6th of the Earth’s land
mass, following the Bolshevik Revolution.
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
1918: World War I ends. Death toll is estimated at ten million.
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
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., 1951.
1923: US law excludes citizens of India from naturalization.
1924: Sir John Marshall (1876-1958) discovers relics of the Indus Valley Hindu
civilization. Begins large-scale excavations.
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 miracles.
1927: Sivaya Subramuniyaswami is born, present-day satguru in the Nandinatha
Sampradaya’s Kailasa Parampara.
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 court magistrates.
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 ambassador.
1931: 2.5 million Indians reside overseas; largest communities are in Sri Lanka,
Malaya, Mauritius and S. Africa.
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
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
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 power.
1939: World War II begins September 3, as France and Britain declare war on
Germany after Germany invades Poland.
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 state.
1941: First US chair of Sanskrit and Indology established at Yale Univ.; American
Oriental Society founded in 1942.
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 seals.
1945: Germany surrenders to Allied forces. Ghastly concentration camps that killed
6 million Jews are discovered.
1945: US drops atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, ending World
War II. Total war dead is 60 million.
1945: United Nations founded by 4 Allied nations and China to “save succeeding
generations from the scourge of war.”
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
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 breakdown.
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 founded.
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 Plan.
1956: Swami Satchidananda makes first visit to America.
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
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 policy.
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, Texas.
1963: Hallucinogenic drug culture arises in US. Hindu gurus decry the false promise
and predict “a chemical chaos.”
1964: India’s Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu religious nationalist
movement, is founded to counter secularism.
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 yearly.
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
1968: US Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King is assassinated.
1969: US astronaut Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon.
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 al.
1972: Muslim dictator Idi Amin expels Indians from Uganda.
1973: Neem Karoli Baba, Hindu mystic and siddha, dies.
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 India.
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 10 Indians.
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
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 author, dies.
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,
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 immigrants.
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
1990: The Berlin Wall is taken down February 12. Germany is reunited over the
next year. Warsaw Pact is dissolved.
1990: Under its new democratic constitution, Nepal remains the world’s only Hindu
1990: Hindus flee Muslim persecution in Kashmir Valley.
1990: Foundation stones are laid in Ayodhya for new temple at the birthplace of
Lord Rama, as Hindu nationalism rises.
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
1990: Communist leadership of USSR collapses, to be replaced by 12 independent
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 separatists.
1991: Indian tribals, adivasis, are 45 million strong.
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
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 Hindu.
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
1993: Swami Chinmayananda is named 1992 Hindu of the Year, for lifetime of
dynamic service to Sanatana Dharma worldwide-attains mahasamadhi July 26, at
1993: Swami Brahmananda Sarasvati, renowned yoga scholar, and Swami
Vishnu-devananda, author of world’s most popular manual on hatha yoga, reach
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 goals.
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 Watch).