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Magazine Web Edition > December 1994 > Hindu Timeline #1

Hindu Timeline #1

-2.5m to -1000

How to Read the Timeline

The thick line represents the flow of time from the date on the top to dates on the bottom. The thinner lines to the left indicate the duration of major ruling dynasties. Not all are included, for at times India was divided into dozens of small independent kingdoms. Approximate dates are preceded by the letter "ca," an abbreviation of the word "circa," which denotes "about," "around" or "in approximately." all dates prior to Buddha (624 bce) are considered estimates.

bce: Abbreviation for "before common era," referring to dating prior to the year zero in the Western, or Gregorian calendar, system.

ce: Abbreviation for "common era." Equivalent to the abbreviation ad. Following a date, it indicates that the year in question comes after the year zero in the Western, or Gregorian calendar, system.

-2.5 m: Genus Homo originates in Africa, cradle of 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 Tamil Nadu and Punjab.

-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 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 Brahmana 3.1.2 refers to Purvabhadrapada nakshatra's rising due east, a phenomenon occurring at this date (Dr. B.G. Siddharth of Birla Science Institute), indicating the earliest known dating of the sacred Veda.

-10,000: Vedic culture, the essence of humanity's eternal wisdom, Sanatana Dharma, lives in the Himalayas at end of Ice Age.

-9000: Old Europe, Anatolia and Minoan Crete display a Goddess-centered culture reflecting a matriarchial 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.

-7000: Time of Manu Vaivasvata, "father of mankind," of Sarasvati-Drishadvati area (also said to be a South Indian Maharaja who sailed to the Himalayas during a great 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, say winter solstice begins in Aries (according to Dr. D. Frawley), indicating the antiquity of this section of the Vedas.

-6000: Early sites on the Sarasvati River, then India's largest, flowing west of Delhi into the Rann of Kutch; Rajasthan is a fertile region with much grassland, as described in the Rig Veda. The culture, based upon barley (yava), copper (ayas) and cattle, also reflects that of the 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 archeological sites, reached after excavating 45 feet. Brick fire altars exist in many houses, suggesting Vedic fire rites, yajna. Earliest signs of worship of Lord Siva. This mature culture will last 3,000 years, ending around -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.

-4000: Date of world's creation (Christian genealogies).

-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 the Earth's axis of rotation) causes the nakshatras to appear to drift at a constant rate along a predictable course over a 25,000-year cycle. From these observations historians are able to calculate backwards and determine the date when the indicated position of moon, sun and nakshatra occurred.

-3102: Kali Era Hindu calendar starts. Kali Yuga begins.

-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.

-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 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 traditional date.)

-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 technology.

-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 bce)

-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 years.

-1255: King Shuchi of Magadha writes Jyotisha Vedanga, including astronomical observations which date this scripture-that summer solstice occurs in Ashlesha Nakshatra.

-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.

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