Culture and People / My POV

Hindu Timelines..(Part 4b) : Some Interesting Questions about Hinduism…

Some Interesting Questions about  Hinduism… (Part 4)

Hindu Timeline (Part 4.b)

  • India one is home to some of the oldest places on earth which human being made their home and still thriving and evolving. It is home to a a number of civilization and cultural traditions. The current political map of India post the partition of country at the end of British Colonial rule is only a part of that old India/ Hindustan which including the neighboring countries of Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and had strong ties with other South East Asian countries at various (Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bali and Thailand). For a long period of time, available archaeological evidence suggested that the Indus Valley Civilization flourished from about 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE and marked the beginning of the urban civilization on the subcontinent. Even though the Hindu scriptures talk about the thriving civilizations residing in this geographical area centuries before that. Some recent archaeological discoveries (e.g. Mehrgarh Civilization) also confirm to that. Indus Valley Civilization was centred on the Indus River and its tributaries. The civilization is famous for its cities that were built of brick, had a road-side drainage system and multi-storied houses.
  • During the Maurya dynasty founded in 321 BCE most of the Indian subcontinent was united under a single government for the first time. Asoka the Great who in the beginning sought to expand his kingdom, then followed a policy of ahimsa (non-violence) after converting to Buddhism. The Edicts of Asoka are the oldest preserved historical documents of India, and under Asoka Buddhist ideals spread across the whole of East Asia and South-East Asia. Gupta an important ruler during the Gupta period was also known as wise and noble person.
  • The revival of Hinduism started during the life time of Adi Shankaracharya and it keeps evolving even today. Hinduism survived in India despite all odds, it had to face challenges from outside (foreign invaders) as well as inside (intellectuals and school of thoughts born out of Hinduism evolved into major sub-religion on their own). It has evolved over the thousads of centuries and it keeps evolving. Many people refer to Hinduism not as a religion but a way of life for the people/civilizations who lived in this geographical we call Indian Sub-continent.
  • Lets look at the history of India to understand the key events that impacted the belief system of the people living here and how Hinduism evolved over the thousands of centuries.

The History of Hindustan (India) as per the Archaeological evidences and expert opinions

  • Stone Age : 7000-3300 BCE: Neolithic Age India – Mehrgarh civilization
    • Mehrgarh is one of the most important Neolithic (7000 BCE to c. 2500 BCE) sites in archaeology. It lies on the Kacchi Plain of Balochistan part of India (now in Pakistan). It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia. Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi. The site was discovered in 1974 by an archaeological team directed by French archaeologists Jean-François Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige. The earliest settlement at Mehrgarh, in the northeast corner of the 495-acre site, was a small farming village that has been dated to between 7000 BCE to 5500 BCE. The whole area covers a number of successive settlements. Archaeological material has been found in six mounds, and about 32,000 artifacts have been collected.The oldest ceramic figurines in South Asia were found at Mehrgarh. They occur in all phases of the settlement and were prevalent even before pottery appears. The earliest figurines are quite simple and do not show intricate features. However, they grow in sophistication with time and by 4000 BC begin to show their characteristic hairstyles and typical prominent breasts. All the figurines up to this period were female. Male figurines appear only from period VII and gradually become more numerous. Many of the female figurines are holding babies, and were interpreted as depictions of the mother goddess.
Mehrgarh Figurine - 3000BC India

Mehrgarh Figurine – 3000BC India

  • Bronze Age : 3300 to 1300 BCE : Indus Valley Civilizatiion
    • In view of the large number of figurines found in the Indus valley, some scholars believe that the Harappan people worshipped a Mother goddess symbolizing fertility, a common practice among rural Hindus even today

Ancient Civilisation Map

  • The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which once coursed through northwest India.  At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin). The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings.
  • The Indus Valley Civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated in the 1920s, in the Punjab province India (now in Pakistan after partition of India in 1947). The discovery of Harappa, and soon afterwards, Mohenjo-Daro, was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India. Excavation of Harappan sites has been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999. There were earlier and later cultures, often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan, in the same area of the Harappan Civilization. The Harappan civilization is sometimes called the Mature Harappan culture to distinguish it from these cultures. Until 1999, over 1,056 cities and settlements had been found, of which 96 have been excavated, mainly in the general region of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers and their tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centres of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dholavira, Ganeriwala in Cholistan and Rakhigarhi.
  • The Harappan language is not directly attested and its affiliation is uncertain since the Indus script is still undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favored by a section of scholars.
  • Iron Age : 1500 to 600 BCE : Vedic period : Composition of the Vedas and the Brahmana
    • Vedic Hinduism was the sacrificial religion of the early Indo-Aryans, speakers of early Old Indic dialects, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian peoples of the Bronze Age. Its liturgy is preserved in the three Vedas –  the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda and the Yajur-Veda. Of these, the Rig-Veda the oldest, a collection of hymns dated to between 1500 and 1000 BCE. The other two add ceremonial detail for the performance of the actual sacrifice. The Atharva-Veda contain compositions dating to before 1000 BCE, its material pertinent to domestic ritual and folk magic of the period. These texts, as well as the voluminous commentary on orthopraxy collected in the Brahmanas compiled during the early 1st millennium BCE, were transmitted by oral tradition alone until the advent of the Pallava and Gupta period and by a combination of written and oral tradition since then.
Vedas

Vedas

Vedas

Vedas

  • The Brahmaṇas are part of the Hindu sruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals. Each Vedic school had its own Brahmana, and it is not known how many of these texts existed during the Mahajanapadas period. A total of 19 Brahmanas are extant at least in their entirety – 2 associated with the Rigveda, 6 with the Yajurveda, 10 with the Samaveda and 1 with the Atharvaveda. Additionally, there are a handful of fragmented preserved texts. They vary greatly in length; the edition of the Shatapatha Brahmana fills five volumes of the Sacred Books of the East.

  • The Brahmanas are glosses on the Sacred history of India, philosophy and rituals of the Vedas. Whereas the Rig Veda relied on the effectiveness of truth contained in the mantras but was not dogmatic, the Brahmanas express confidence in the infallible power of correctly pronounced the mantras. The Brahmanas hold the view that, if executed with shraddhaa (belief), the rituals will not fail. The later Brahmanas were composed during a period of urbanisation and considerable social change. During the first millennium BCE the people who composed the Veda gradually abandoned their semi-nomadic lifestyle and began to settle permanently. The rituals became increasingly complex, giving rise to developments in mathematics, geometry, animal anatomy and grammar.
  • The Brahmanas were seminal in the development of later Indian thought and scholarship, including Hindu philosophy, predecessors of Vedanta, law, astronomy, geometry, linguistics (Paṇini), the concept of Karma, or the stages in life such as brahmacarya, grihastha and eventually, sannyasi. Some Brahmanas contain sections that are Aranyakas or Upanishads in their own right.
  • The language of the Brahmanas is a separate stage of Vedic Sanskrit, younger than the text of the samhitas – the mantra texts of the Vedas proper, ca. 1000BCE, but for the most part are older than the text of the Sutras. Some of the younger Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), date to about the 6th century BC. Historically, this corresponds to the great kingdoms or Mahajanapadas emerging out of the earlier tribal kingdoms during the later Vedic period.

  • 1000 BC: Iron Age of India. Iron Age kingdoms rule India – Panchala, Kuru, Kosala, Videha.
    • In Iron Age India, during a period roughly spanning the 10th to 6th centuries BCE, the Mahajanapadas arise from the earlier petty kingdoms of the various Rigvedic tribes, and the failing remnants of the Late Harappan culture. In this period the mantra portions of the Vedas are largely completed, and a flowering industry of Vedic priesthood organised in numerous schools (shakha) develops exegetical literature, viz. the Brahmanas. These schools also edited the Vedic mantra portions into fixed recensions, that were to be preserved purely by oral tradition over the following two millennia.
Vedas

Vedas

Vedas

Vedas

  • The history of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent began during the 2nd millennium BC. Archaeological sites in India, such as Malhar, Dadupur, Raja Nala Ka Tila and Lahuradewa in present day Uttarpradesh show iron implements in the period 1800BC–1200BC. Archaeological excavations in Hyderabad show an Iron Age burial site. Around the beginning of Indian Iron Age (13th century BC), iron smelting was widely practiced in India. Such use suggests that the date of the technology’s inception may be around the 16th century BC.
  • The beginning of the 1st millennium BC saw extensive developments in iron metallurgy in India. Technological advancement and mastery of iron metallurgy was achieved during this period of peaceful settlements. One iron working centre in east India has been dated to the first millennium BC. In Southern India (present day Mysore) iron appeared as early as 12th to 11th centuries BC; these developments were too early for any significant close contact with the northwest of the country.
  • The Indian Upanishads mention metallurgy and the Indian Mauryan period saw advances in metallurgy. As early as 300 BC, certainly by AD 200, high quality steel was produced in southern India, by what would later be called the crucible technique. In this system, high-purity wrought iron, charcoal, and glass were mixed in crucible and heated until the iron melted and absorbed the carbon.[49]
  • 700 BC to 300 BC: Composition of the Upanishads
    • 500 BC to 500 CE : Epic and Puranic period
      • The Upanishads are a collection of philosophical texts which form the theoretical basis for the Hindu religion. They are also known as Vedanta – ‘the end of the Veda’. The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain revealed truths (Sruti) concerning the nature of ultimate reality (Brahman) and describing the character and form of human salvation (moksha).
      • The Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and have been passed down in oral tradition. More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. With the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi), the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for the several later schools of Vedanta, among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism. The mukhya Upanishads all predate the Common Era, possibly from the Pre-Buddhist period (6th century BCE) down to the Maurya period. The remainder of the Muktika canon was mostly composed during medieval Hinduism, and new Upanishads continued being composed in the early modern and modern era, down to at least the 20th century.
      • The significance of Upanishads has been recognized by writers and scholars such as Schopenhauer, Emerson, Thoreau, and others. Scholars also note similarity between the doctrine of Upanishads and those of Plato and Kant. The Upanishads were collectively considered among the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written by the British poet Martin Seymour-Smith. Some criticism of the Upanishads revolves around the denial of pluralistic ideas due to the core philosophy of unity of the Upanishads.
    • 527 or 526 BC: Death of Mahavira, the historical founder of Jainism
      • Mahavira also known as Vardhamana, was the twenty-fourth and last tirthankara of Jainism. He was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar state in India. At the time of his birth, the whole town marked prosperity in term of agriculture, health, wealth and wisdom. It is for this reason that he was named as Vardhman by his parents. At the age of 30 he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening. For the next 12 and a half years he practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he achieved Kevala Jnana or enlightenment. He travelled all over India for next 30 years to teach his philosophy which is based on Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Asteya(honesty – non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness or non-greediness). Mahavira attained nirvana after his physical death at the age of 72. He was one of the most popular propagators of Jainism, and he is regarded as a reformer of Jainism rather than its founder.

Mahavir Jain

  • 486 BC: Gautam Buddha
    • Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. A native of the ancient Shakya republic in the Himalayan foothills, Gautama Buddha taught primarily in northeastern India. Buddha means awakened one or the enlightened one. Buddha is also used as a title for the first awakened being in an era. In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha of our age.
    • Buddha taught the Middle Path (Madhya Marg) between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the renunciation movement common in his region. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala.
    • The times of Buddha’s birth and death are uncertain: most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE,but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE.
    • Buddha is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Buddha

Buddha

Buddha, Ellora Caves Maharashtra, India

Buddha, Ellora Caves Maharashtra, India

Bodh Gaya, India

Bodh Gaya, India

Ajanta Buddha statue Aurangabad, Maharastra, India

Ajanta Buddha statue Aurangabad, Maharastra, India

  • 558 BC to 491 BC: Rule of Bimbisara – Emperor of Magadha
    • Bimbisara was Emperor of the Magadha empire from 543 BC to his death and belonged to the Haryanka dynasty. His expansion of the kingdom, especially his annexation of the kingdom of Anga to the east, is considered to have laid the foundations for the later expansion of the Maurya Empire. He is also known for his cultural achievements and was a great friend and protector of the Buddha. Bimbisara built the city of Rajagriha, famous in Buddhist writings. He was succeeded on the throne by his son Ajatashatru.
King Bimbisara and the Buddha

King Bimbisara and the Buddha

  • 492 BC – 460 BC: Rule of King Ajatasatru of Magadha
    • Ajatasatru was a king of the Magadha empire in north India. He was the son of King Bimbisara, the great monarch of Magadha. He was contemporary to Mahavira (599 BCE–527 BCE) and Buddha (563 BCE–483 BCE). He took over the kingdom of Magadha from his father forcefully by imprisoning him. He fought a terrible war against the Vajjis/ Lichhvis and conquered the once considered invincible democratic Vaishali Republic. He followed the policy of conquest and expansion. He defeated his neighbors including the King of Kosala; his brother occupied Kashi which was given to Bimbisara as dowry. This led to a war between Magadha and Kosala. Ajatshatru occupied Kashi and captured the smaller kingdoms. Ajatshatru’s Magadha became the most powerful kingdom in Northern India and its power was felt far and wide.

Ajatashatru of Magadha

  • 400 BC: Composition of Sanskrit Grammar by Panini
    • Paṇini was a Sanskrit grammarian from Pushkalavati, Gandhara, northwestern Iron Age India. Paṇini is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology, syntax and semantics in the grammar known as Ashtadhyayi meaning Eight Chapters, the foundation text of the grammatical branch of the Vedanga, auxiliary scholarly disciplines of Vedic religion or Hinduism.
    • The Ashtadhyayi is one of the earliest known grammars of Sanskrit, although Paṇini refers to previous texts like the Unadisutra, Dhatupatha, and Ganapatha. It is the earliest known work on descriptive linguistics, and together with the work of his immediate predecessors (Nirukta, Nighantu, Pratishakyas) stands at beginning of the history of linguistics itself. His theory of morphological analysis was more advanced than any equivalent Western theory before the mid 20th century, and his analysis of noun compounds still forms the basis of modern linguistic theories of compounding, which have borrowed Sanskrit terms such as bahuvrihi and dvandva. Paṇini’s comprehensive and scientific theory of grammar is conventionally taken to mark the end of the period of Vedic Sanskrit, introducing the period of Classical Sanskrit.
  • 4th century BC Composition of Ramayana and Mahabharata in the form that we know them today. 
  • 327 BC – 25 BC: Alexander the Great invades India
    • Indian campaign of Alexander began in 326 BC. Alexander was born September 20, 356 B.C. in Pella, in the Kingdom of Macedonia. During his leadership, he united the Greek city-states and led the Corinthian League. He also became the king of Persia, Babylon and Asia, and created Macedonian colonies in Iran. After conquering the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, the Macedonian king (and now high king of the Persian Empire) Alexander launched a campaign in north west India. The rationale for this campaign is usually said to be Alexander’s desire to conquer the entire known world, which the Greeks thought ended in north-western India. While considering the conquests of Carthage and Rome, Alexander died in Babylon on June 13, 323 BC.

Alexander on his quest to win the world, returned back from India

Surrender of Indian King Porus to the Emperor Alexander

Surrender of Indian King Porus to the Emperor Alexander

  • 320 BC to 650CE : Golden Age (Gupta Empire)
    • 321 BC – 181 BC: Chandragupta Maurya founded Maurya Empire
    • 300 BC: Composition of the Arthashastra by Vishnugupta Chanakya/ Kautalya
      • The Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries) saw a flowering of scholarship, the emergence of the classical schools of Hindu philosophy, and of classical Sanskrit literature in general on topics ranging from medicine, veterinary science, mathematics, to astrology and astronomy and astrophysics. The famous Aryabhata and Varahamihira belong to this age. The Gupta established a strong central government which also allowed a degree of local control. Gupta society was ordered in accordance with Hindu beliefs. This included a strict caste system, or class system. The peace and prosperity created under Gupta leadership enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors.
      • In 321 BC, two years after Alexander’s death, Chandragupta Maurya of Magadha, founded the Maurya Empire in India. Chanakya was an Indian teacher, philosopher, and royal advisor. Originally a professor of economics and political science at the ancient Takshashila University, Chanakya managed the first Maurya emperor Chandragupta’s rise to power at a young age. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Maurya Empire, which was the first empire in archaeologically recorded history to rule most of the Indian subcontinent. Chanakya served as the chief advisor to both Chandragupta and his son Bindusara. Chanakya is traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnu Gupta, who authored the ancient Indian political treatise called Arthasastra (Economics). As such, he is considered as the pioneer of the field of economics and political science in India, and his work is thought of as an important precursor to classical economics. Chanakya is also called the “Indian Machiavelli” by some, despite the fact that his works predate Niccolò Machiavelli’s by many centuries. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta dynasty and not rediscovered until 1915.
Vishnugupta 'Chanakya'

Vishnugupta ‘Chanakya’

Arthashastra

Arthashastra

    • 300 BC: Visit of Greek Traveler Megasthenes to the Maurya kingdom in India
      • Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica. He was born in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of the Seleucid dynasty possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain. Scholars place it before 298 BC, the date of Chandragupta’s death.
      • Arrian explains that Megasthenes lived in Arachosia, with the satrap Sibyrtius, from where he visited India. Megasthenes lived with Sibyrtius, satrap of Arachosia, and often speaks of his visiting Sandracottus, the king of the Indians. Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri. We have more definite information regarding the parts of India Megasthenes visited. He entered the subcontinent through the district of the Pentapotamia, providing a full account of the rivers found there (thought to be the five affluents of the Indus that form the Punjab region), and proceeded from there by the royal road to Pataliputra. There are accounts of Megasthenes having visited Madurai (then, a bustling city and capital of the Pandyas), but he appears not to have visited any other parts of India.
      • At the beginning of his Indica, he refers to the older Indians who know about the prehistoric arrival of Dionysus and Hercules in India, which was a story very popular amongst the Greeks during the Alexandrian period. Particularly important are his comments on the religions of the Indians. He mentions the devotees of Heracles and Dionysus but he does not mention Buddhists, something that gives support to the theory that the latter religion was not widely known before the reign of Ashoka.
      • His Indica served as an important source for many later writers such as Strabo and Arrian. He describes such features as the Himalayas and the island of Sri Lanka. He also describes a caste system different from the one that exists today, which shows that the caste system may to some extent be fluid and evolving. However, it might be that, being a foreigner, he was not adequately informed about the caste system. His description follows:
      • The first is formed by the collective body of the Philosophers, which in point of number is inferior to the other classes, but in point of dignity preeminent over all. The philosopher who errs in his predictions incurs censure, and then observes silence for the rest of his life.
      • The second caste consists of the Husbandmen, who appear to be far more numerous than the others. They devote the whole of their time to tillage; nor would an enemy coming upon a husbandman at work on his land do him any harm, for men of this class, being regarded as public benefactors, are protected from all injury.
      • The third caste consists of the Shepherds and in general of all herdsmen who neither settle in towns nor in villages, but live in tents.
      • The fourth caste consists of the Artizans. Of these some are armourers, while others make the implements that husbandmen and others find useful in their different callings. This class is not only exempted from paying taxes, but even receives maintenance from the royal exchequer.
      • The fifth caste is the Military. It is well organized and equipped for war, holds the second place in point of numbers, and gives itself up to idleness and amusement in the times of peace. The entire force–men-at-arms, war-horses, war-elephants, and all–are maintained at the king’s expense.
      • The sixth caste consists of the Overseers. It is their province to inquire into and superintend all that goes on in India, and make report to the king, or, where there is not a king, to the magistrates.
      • The seventh caste consists of the Councillors and Assessors,–of those who deliberate on public affairs. It is the smallest class, looking to number, but the most respected, on account of the high character and wisdom of its members; for from their ranks the advisers of the king are taken, and the treasurers, of the state, and the arbiters who settle disputes. The generals of the army also, and the chief magistrates, usually belong to this class.
      • Later writers such as Arrian, Strabo, Diodorus, and Pliny refer to Indica in their works. Of these writers, Arrian speaks most highly of Megasthenes, while Strabo and Pliny treat him with less respect. Indica contained many legends and fabulous stories, similar to those we find in the Indica of Ctesias.
      • Megasthenes’ Indica is the first well-known Western account of India and he is regarded as one of the founders of the study of Indian history in the West. He is also the first foreign Ambassador to be mentioned in Indian history.
      • Megasthenes also comments on the presence of pre-Socratic views among the Brahmans and Jews. Five centuries later Clement of Alexandria, in his Stromateis, may have misunderstood Megasthenes to be responding to claims of Greek primacy by admitting Greek views of physics were preceded by those of Jews and Indians. Megasthenes, like Numenius of Apamea, was simply comparing the ideas of the different ancient cultures.[3]
    • 268 BC – 233: BC Reign of Asoka the Great
      • Asoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. One of India’s greatest emperors, Asoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests. His empire stretched from the parts of the ancient territories of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan including parts which are now in Afghanistan and possibly eastern Iran, through the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, to present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The empire had Taxila, Ujjain and Pataliputra as its capital.
      • In about 260 BCE Asoka waged a bitterly destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha). He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors – starting from Chandragupta Maurya had done. His reign was headquartered in Magadha, now Bihar state in India. He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths during the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. Asoka reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations. Asoka converted gradually to Buddhism beginning about 263 BCE at the latest. He was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha. Asoka regarded Buddhism as a doctrine that could serve as a cultural foundation for political unity. Asoka is now remembered as a philanthropic administrator. In the Kalinga edicts, he addresses his people as his children, and mentions that as a father he desires their good.
      • Asoka is referred to as Samraat Chakravartin Ashoka – the “Emperor of Emperors Asoka.” His name Asoka means painless, without sorrow in Sanskrit. In his edicts, he is referred to as Devanampriya (The Beloved of the Gods), and Priyadarsin (He who regards everyone with affection). His fondness for his name’s connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or the Asoka tree is also referenced in the Asokavadana.
      • H.G. Wells wrote of Asoka in his book The Outline of History: “Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Asoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star. Along with the Edicts of Asoka, his legend is related in the 2nd-century Ashokavadana (Narrative of Asoka a part of Divyavadana), and in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle). Asoka played a critical role in helping make Buddhism a world religion. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Asoka.
Edicts of Ashoka

Edicts of Ashoka

Asoka the Great

Asoka the Great

    • 185 BC – 75 BC: Shunga dynasty reigns over central Republic of India
      • The Sunga Empire was an ancient Indian dynasty from Magadha that controlled vast areas of the Indian Subcontinent from around 187 to 78 BCE. The dynasty was established by Pusyamitra Sunga, after the fall of the Maurya Empire. Its capital was Pataliputra, but later emperors such as Bhagabhadra also held court at Besnagar, modern Vidisha in Eastern Malwa.
      • Pushyamitra Sunga ruled for 36 years and was succeeded by his son Agnimitra. There were ten Sunga rulers. The empire is noted for its numerous wars with both foreign and indigenous powers. They fought battles with the Kalingas, Satavahanas, the Indo-Greeks, and possibly the Panchalas and Mathuras. Art, education, philosophy, and other forms of learning flowered during this period including small terracotta images, larger stone sculptures, and architectural monuments such as the Stupa at Bharhut, and the renowned Great Stupa at Sanchi. The Sunga rulers helped to establish the tradition of royal sponsorship of learning and art. The script used by the empire was a variant of Brahmi and was used to write the Sanskrit language.
      • The Sunga Empire played an imperative role in patronizing Indian culture at a time when some of the most important developments in Hindu thought were taking place. Patanjali`s Mahabhasya was composed in this period. Artistry also progressed with the rise of the Mathura school of art. Thereafter, there was a downfall of the dynasty and Kanvas succeeded around 73 BCE.
    • 2nd century BC – 3rd century BC: Buddhism and Jainism influences in India at its peak
      • Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Prince Siddhartha ‘Gautama Buddha’, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning “the awakened one”. The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering (dukkha) through the elimination of ignorance (avidya) by way of understanding and the seeing of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) and the elimination of desire (taṇha), and thus the attainment of the cessation of all suffering, known as the sublime state of nirvaņa. Two major branches of Buddhism are generally recognized: Theravada (The School of the Elders) and Mahayana (The Great Vehicle). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar etc.). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai). In some classifications, Vajrayana practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russia, is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana. While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia and India, both branches are now found throughout the world. Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking refuge in the triple gem has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist. Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
      • Jainism or Jaina dharma is closely linked with Hinduism, its an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and emphasises spiritual independence & equality between all forms of life. Practitioners believe that non-violence and self-control are means by which they can obtain liberation. Jainism is divided into two major sects – Digambara & Svetambara. The word Jainism is derived from a Sanskrit verb Jin which means to conquer. It refers to a battle with passions & bodily pleasures that jaina ascetics undertake. Those who win this battle are termed as Jina (conqueror). The term Jaina is thus used to refer to laymen and ascetics of this tradition alike. Jainism is one of the oldest living religions in the world. Jains traditionally trace their history through a succession of twenty-four propagators of their faith known as tirthankara with Adinatha as the first tirthankara and Mahavira as the last of the current era. For long periods of time Jainism was the state religion of Indian kingdoms and widely adopted in the Indian subcontinent. Jainism has small but notable immigrant communities in Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. Jains have the high degree of literacy in India (94.1%), and their manuscript libraries are the oldest in the country.
  • 1st Century BC – 1st century AD: Shakas, Parthians & Kushana invade Indus valley region
  • 1st Century BC – 2nd Century AD: Satavahana rule
    • The Satavahana Empire was a royal Indian dynasty based from Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar (Pune) and Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward. Although there is some controversy about when the dynasty came to an end, the most liberal estimates suggest that it lasted about 450 years, until around 220 CE. The Satavahanas are credited for establishing peace in the country, resisting the onslaught of foreigners after the decline of Mauryan Empire.
    • Satavahanas started out as feudatories to the Mauryan dynasty, but declared independence with its decline. They are known for their patronage of Hinduism and Buddhism which resulted in Buddhist monuments from Ellora (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to Amaravati. The Satavahanas were one of the first Indian states to issue coins struck with their rulers embossed. They formed a cultural bridge and played a vital role in trade as well as the transfer of ideas and culture to and from the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the southern tip of India.
    • They had to compete with the Sungas and then the Kanvas of Magadha to establish their rule. Later, they played a crucial role to protect a huge part of India against foreign invaders like the Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas. In particular their struggles with the Western Kshatrapas went on for a long time. The great rulers of the Satavahana Dynasty Gautamiputra Satakarni and Sri Yajna Sātakarni were able to defeat the foreign invaders like the Western Kshatrapas and stop their expansion. In the 3rd century CE the empire was split into smaller states.
  • 58 BC – 57 BC: Vikrama Samvat era begins Chera, Chola & Pandiya Kingdoms in South
    • Vikramaditya was a legendary 1st century BCE emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. According to the Pratisarga Parvan of Bhavisya Purana, he was the second son of Ujjain’s King Gandharvasena of the Paramara dynasty.
    • The Vikramarka Shaka epoch is attributed to him. Many Indian kings took him as ideal and kept his name as their title. The Baital Pachisi and Dwatrimshati (Sanskrit for “32”, a story about Vikramaditya’s throne, supported by 32 dolls, each of which told Raja Bhoja a story about Vikramaditya’s greatness) are popular stories about him. Vikramaditya, Shalivahana and Boja Kings are detailed in Bhavishya Purana. The first two kings had independent sakas or epochs, while Shalivahana era continues to be followed in the Indian Calendar. Among these kings, Vikramaditya stands first.
    • In the Bhavishya Purana Vikramaditya is portrayed as the first great Hindu King among the ten great kings. He is said to be a son of Gandharvasena. Gods showered flowers at his birth. At the age of five, he went to do austere penance (Tapasya) for 12 years. Bethala or Vethala who was sent by Goddess Parvati became his assistant as he sacrificed a treacherous mantrika to Kalika Devi. He received a throne from Indra as he settled a dispute between Rambha and Urvasi. In his Judgement Urvasi’s dance was superior to Rambha’s because Rambha lost confidence and her garland flowers became pale as she worried about victory while dancing. He received a boon that he and his descendants would rule the kingdom for 1000 years. His grandson was King Shalivahana of Paithan (Pratisthan). Vikramaditya performed a Yagna attended by all the gods except the Moon god. Hence he went to the Moon world (Chandra Loka) and asked for the reason. The Moon God replied that he did not come as it was kaliyuga. His queen’s name is Rani Tapawini.
    • Indian tradition claims that Dhanwanthari, Kshapanaka, Amarasimha, Shankhu, Khatakarpara, Kalidasa, Vetalbhatt (or Vetalabhatta), Vararuchi, and Varahamihira were a part of Vikramaditya’s court in Ujjain. The king commissioned nine men of letters, called the “nava-ratna” (literally, Nine Gems), to work in his court. Kalidasa had been the legendary Sanskrit laureate. Varahamihira had been a soothsayer of renown in his era, predicting the death of Vikramaditya’s son. Vetalbhatt had been a Maga Brahmin known for writing work of the sixteen stanza Nīti-pradipa (literally, the lamp of conduct) in tribute to Vikramaditya.
      • 1. Kalidas: Author of the great epic, ‘Shakuntala’, great poet, dramatist and the most prominent scholar of Sanskrit language. 2. Amarnath: Author of ‘Sanskrit Amarkosh’ 3. Shapanak: Prominent Astrologist who had achieved mastery in Astrology. 4. Dhanvantri: A Doctor who had achieved mastery in the science of medicine; one who was an expert in diagnosis and one who could prescribe different treatments for a single disease. 5. Varruchi: Expert Linguist and an expert in Grammar 6. Varahmihir: Author of World famous epic, ‘Bruhatsahita’ and mastery in Astrology. 7. Ghatakpar: Expert in sculpture and architecture. 8. Shanku: Expert in Geography (This name is even well known today in the field of geography) 9. Vetalbhadra : Expert in black magic & tantric sciences
    • The rule of Vikramaditya offers a great example of how the rule under a Hindu King could be complete in all respects with peace and prosperity existing everywhere in the kingdom when there were no threats of external attacks. Its a kind of ideal world under the philosophy of Hindusim where each society/nation/ country carries out their roles and responsibilities to the best of their abilities without getting into any conflict with other societies/ countries. 

Vikramaditya

  • 78 AD: Beginning of the Shaka era
  • 1st – 3rd century: Reign of the Kushan dynasty; first depiction of Jaina tirthankara and multi-armed Hindu deities
    • The Kushan Empire was the Indian Kingdom originally formed in the early 1st century CE under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria around the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul, Afghanistan. The Kushans spread from the Kabul River Valley to defeat other Central Asian tribes that had previously conquered parts of the northern central Iranian Plateau once ruled by the Parthians, and reached their peak under the Buddhist emperor Kanishka (127–151), whose realm stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic Plain.
    • The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, a possibly Tocharian, Indo-European nomadic people who had migrated from the Tarim Basin and settled in ancient Bactria. During the 1st and early 2nd centuries CE, the Kushans expanded across the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares), where inscriptions have been found dating to the era of the Kushan emperor Kanishka, which began about 127 CE. Around 152 CE, Kanishka sent his armies north of the Karakoram mountains. They captured territories as far as Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkant, in the Tarim Basin of modern-day Xinjiang, China. A direct road from Gandhara to China was opened which remained under Kushan control for more than 100 years. The security offered by the Kushans encouraged travel across the Khunjerab Pass and facilitated the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to China.
    • The Kushan dynasty had diplomatic contacts with the Roman Empire, Sassanid Persia and Han China. While much philosophy, art, and science was created within its borders, the only textual record we have of the empire’s history today comes from inscriptions and accounts in other languages, particularly Chinese.
    • The Kushan control fragmented into semi-independent kingdoms in the 3rd century CE, which fell to the Sassanians who targeted from the west. In the fourth century, the Guptas, an Indian dynasty also pressed from the east. The last of the Kushan and Sassanian kingdoms were eventually overwhelmed by the Hepthalites, another Indo-European people from the north.
Kanishka Coins from Kushan Empire

Kanishka Coins from Kushan Empire

Sculpture of Kushan Emperor Kanishka

Sculpture of Kushan Emperor Kanishka

  • 4th-5th century: Vaktaka rule over central India and the Deccan
  • 500 AD: Ajanta Cave temples completed
    • The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 300 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures are the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting, which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭha, about 59 kilometres (36 miles) from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres (64 miles) from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghora (or Wagura), and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.
    • The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct monasteries or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. 9A”; Cave 15A was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.
    • The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.
Art from Ajanta Cave Temples

Art from Ajanta Cave Temples

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves Temples

Ajanta Caves Temples

Ajanta Cave Temples

Ajanta Cave Temples

  • 4th to 9th Century
    • 6th – 8th century: Pallava dynasty in southern India; rock-cut architecture begins in the south; temple building flourishes at Mamallapurama and Kanchipuram
    • 6th-10th century: Tamil devotional poetry
      • The Pallavas were, alongside the Guptas of the North, patronisers of Sanskrit in the South of the Subcontinent. The Pallava reign saw the first Sankrit inscriptions in a script called Grantha. Early Pallavas had different connections to South-East Asian countries. The Pallavas used Dravidian architecture to build some very important Hindu temples and academies in Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram and other places; their rule saw the rise of great poets, who are as famous as Kalidasa.
Kanchipuram Temple Complex

Kanchipuram Temple Complex

Mahabalipuram Temple

Mahabalipuram Temple

Kavi Kalidas

Kavi Kalidas

  • The practice of dedicating temples to different deities came into vogue followed by fine artistic temple architecture and sculpture.
Sun Temple Konark Orissa

Sun Temple Konark Orissa

  • From about the 1st century, India started to strongly influence Southeast Asian countries. Trade routes linked India with southern Burma, central and southern Siam, lower Cambodia and southern Vietnam and numerous urbanised coastal settlements were established there. For more than a thousand years, Indian Hindu/Buddhist influence was therefore the major factor that brought a certain level of cultural unity to the various countries of the region. The Pali and Sanskrit languages and the Indian script, together with Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, Brahmanism and Hinduism, were transmitted from direct contact as well as through sacred texts and Indian literature, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata epics. From the 5th to the 13th century, South-East Asia had very powerful Indian colonial empires and became extremely active in Buddhist architectural and artistic creation.
Influence of Hinduism in Asia

Influence of Hinduism in Asia

Bagan Hindu Temple in Myanmar

Bagan Hindu Temple in Myanmar

Hinduism in Bali

Hinduism in Bali

Hinduism in Bali

Hinduism in Bali

Prambanan Hindu temple, Indonesia

Prambanan Hindu temple, Indonesia

Thai dancer at Phra Brahma Erawan, Bangkok, Thailand

Thai dancer at Phra Brahma Erawan, Bangkok, Thailand

Trimurti at Bangkok, Thailand

Trimurti at Bangkok, Thailand

  • The Sri Vijaya Empire to the south and the Khmer Empire to the north competed for influence. From the 5th-15th centuries Sri Vijayan empire, a maritime empire centred on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, had adopted Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism under a line of rulers named the Sailendras. The Empire of Sri Vijaya declined due to conflicts with the Chola rulers of India. The Majapahit Empire succeeded the Singhasari empire. It was one of the last and greatest Hindu empires in Maritime Southeast Asia.
Muara Takus Hindu Temple, Sumatra Indonesia

Muara Takus Hindu Temple, Sumatra Indonesia

  • Funan was a pre-Angkor Cambodian kingdom, located around the Mekong delta, probably established by Mon-Khmer settlers speaking an Austroasiatic language. According to reports by two Chinese envoys, K’ang T’ai and Chu Ying, the state was established by an Indian Brahmin named Kaundinya, who in the 1st century CE was given instruction in a dream to take a magic bow from a temple and defeat a Khmer queen, Soma, the daughter of the king of the Nagas, married Kaundinya and their lineage became the royal dynasty of Funan. The myth had the advantage of providing the legitimacy of both an Indian Brahmin and the divinity of the cobras, who at that time were held in religious regard by the inhabitants of the region.
The Lost Hindu Kingdom of Cambodia

The Lost Hindu Kingdom of Cambodia

Influence of Hinduism in Cambodia

Influence of Hinduism in Cambodia

  • Kingdom of Champa controlled south and central Vietnam from approximately 192 through 1697. The dominant religion of the Cham people was Hinduism and the culture was heavily influenced by India.
Reclining Buddha and Brahma - Hindu Buddhism, Park Laos, Vietnam

Reclining Buddha and Brahma – Hindu Buddhism, Park Laos, Vietnam

Cham People

Cham People

Champa, Vietnan

Champa, Vietnan

  • Later, from the 9th to the 13th century, the Mahayana Buddhist and Hindu Khmer Empire dominated much of the South-East Asian peninsula. Under the Khmer, more than 900 temples were built in Cambodia and in neighboring Thailand. Angkor was at the centre of this development, with a temple complex and urban organisation able to support around one million urban dwellers. The largest temple complex of the world, Angkor Wat, stands here; built by the king Vishnuvardhan, a king of the dynasty that believed themselves to be incarnations of Vishnu.
Angkorwat Hindu Temple, Cambodia

Angkorwat Hindu Temple, Cambodia

  • 5th – 7th century: Spread of Vaishnavism, especially Krishna cult; emergence of worship of local deities; emergence of Tantrism
    • Vaishnavism is one of the major branches of Hinduism along with Shaivism, Smartism, and Shaktism. It is focused on the veneration of Supreme Lord Vishnu.
    • Vaishnavites, or the followers of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, lead a way of life promoting differentiated monotheism (henotheism), which gives importance to Lord Vishnu and his ten incarnations.
    • The Vedic text, of Rigveda, describes Lord Vishnu as : om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah – diviva caksur atatam. Just as the sun’s rays in the sky are extended to the mundane vision, so in the same way the wise and learned devotees always see the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu. tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrvam sah samindhate – visnor yat paramam padam. Because those highly praiseworthy and spiritually awake devotees are able to see the spiritual world, they are also able to reveal that supreme abode of Lord Vishnu.
    • In general, the Vaishnava Agamas describe Lord Vishnu as the supreme being and the foundation of all existence. This is explained in Katha Upanishad 2.2.13: nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam/ eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman, the Supreme Being, the Personality of Godhead, is the chief living being amongst all living beings and grants the desires of all other eternal sentient beings
    • Its beliefs and practices, especially the concepts of Bhakti and Bhakti Yoga, are based largely on the Upanishads, and associated with the Vedas and Puranic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, and the Padma, Vishnu and Bhagavata Puranas.
    • The followers of Vaishnavism are referred to as Vaishnava or Vaishnavites. Awareness, recognition, and growth of the belief has significantly increased outside of India in recent years. The Gaudiya Vaishnava branch of the tradition has significantly increased the awareness of Vaishnavism internationally, since the mid-1900s, largely through the activities and geographical expansion of the Hare Krishna movement founded by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in New York City in 1966, and more recently, through several other Vaishnava organizations such as Pure Bhakti Yoga Society of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj, conducting preaching activities in the West.
Virat Roop of Sri Krishna

Virat Roop of Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna Vishvarupa

Sri Krishna Vishvarupa

  • Hindu religious learning first reached Persia in an organised manner in the 6th century, when the Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I (531–579) deputed Borzuya the physician as his envoy, to invite Indian and Chinese scholars to the Academy of Gundishapur. Burzoe had translated the Sanskrit collection of stories on ethics and wisdom ‘Panchatantra’ in his Pahlavi version which was later translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Moqaffa under the title of Kalila and Dimna or The Fables of Bidpai. Under the Abbasid caliphate, Baghdad had replaced Gundishapur as the most important centre of learning in the then vast Islamic Empire, wherein the traditions as well as scholars of the latter flourished. Hindu scholars were invited to the conferences on sciences and mathematics held in Baghdad.
Burzuya Travel to India from Arabia

Burzuya Travel to India from Arabia

Kalila-wa-Dimna - Panchatantra Tales

Kalila-wa-Dimna – Panchatantra Tales

  • 5th – 6th century: Invasion of Huns from Northern frontiers of India 
  • 6th century: Kalachuri dynasty rules the western coast of modern India
    • Kalachuri Empire is the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan) and were called Chedi or Haihaya (northern branch) and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka. They are supposed to be offshoot of Abhira of Traikutakas dynasty. The earliest known Kalachuri family (AD 550–620) ruled over northern Maharashtra, Malwa and western Deccan. Their capital was Mahismati situated in the Narmada river valley. There were three prominent members; Krishnaraja, Shankaragana and Buddharaja. They distributed coins and epigraphs around this area. By religious affiliation they were usually followers of Hinduism, specifically of the Pasupata sect.
    • Southern Kalachuris (1130–1184) at their peak ruled parts of the Deccan extending over regions of present day North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. This dynasty rose to power in the Deccan between 1156 and 1181 AD. They traced their origins to Krishna who was the conqueror of Kalinjar and Dahala in Madhya Pradesh. It is said that Bijjala a viceroy of this dynasty established the authority over Karnataka. He wrested power from the Chalukya king Taila III. Bijjala was succeeded by his sons Someshwara and Sangama but after 1181 AD, the Chalukyas gradually retrieved the territory. Their rule was short and turbulent and yet very important from a socio-religious movement point of view; a new sect called the Lingayat or Virashaiva sect was founded during these times. A unique and purely native form of Kannada literature-poetry called the Vachanas was also born during this time. The writers of Vachanas were called Vachanakaras (poets). Many other important works like Virupaksha Pandita’s Chennabasavapurana, Dharani Pandita’s Bijjalarayacharite and Chandrasagara Varni’s Bijjalarayapurana were also written.
    • Northern Kalachuris ruled in central India with its base at the ancient city of Tripuri (Tewar); it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.
  • 7th – 8th century: Decline of Buddhism in the northern Republic of India
  • 788 – 820 AD: Adi Shankaracharya revived Hinduism
    • Adi Shankara also known as Adi Shankaracharya was a Hindu philosopher from Kaladi in present day Ernakulam district, Kerala, India who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedanta. He led the revival of Hinduism in India at a time when Buddhism was declining and India was under constant attacks from Northern frontiers by foreign Islamic invaders
    • His works in Sanskrit establish the doctrine of advaita, the unity of the Atman and Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without attributes). His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutra, principal upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.
    • The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism.
    • Shankaracharya travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. He is reputed to have founded four mathas (monasteries), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist.[6] Adi Shankara is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship.
    • Because of his unification of two seemingly disparate philosophical doctrines, Atman and Brahman, Westerners who know about him perceive him as the “St. Thomas Aquinas of Indian thought”[47] and “the most brilliant personality in the history of Indian thought.”[48]
    • At the time of Adi Shankara’s life, Hinduism was increasing in influence in India at the expense of Buddhism and Jainism.[49] Hinduism was divided into innumerable sects, each quarrelling with the others. The followers of Mimamsa and Sankhya philosophy were atheists, insomuch that they did not believe in God as a unified being. Besides these atheists there were numerous theistic sects. There were also those who rejected the Vedas, like the Charvakas.[citation needed]
    • Adi Shankara held discourses and debates with the leading scholars of all these sects and schools of philosophy to controvert their doctrines. He unified the theistic sects into a common framework of Shanmata system. In his works, Adi Shankara stressed the importance of the Vedas, and his efforts helped Hinduism regain strength and popularity. Many trace the present worldwide prominence of Vedanta to his works. He travelled on foot to various parts of India to restore the study of the Vedas.
    • Even though he lived for only thirty-two years his impact on India and on Hinduism was striking. He reintroduced a purer form of Vedic thought. His teachings and tradition form the basis of Smartism and have influenced Sant Mat lineages.[50] He is the main figure in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He was the founder of the Daśanāmi Sampradāya of Hindu monasticism and Ṣaṇmata of Smarta tradition. He introduced the Pañcāyatana form of worship.
    • Adi Shankara, along with Madhva and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism. These three teachers formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects even today. They have been the most important figures in the recent history of Hindu philosophy. In their writings and debates, they provided polemics against the non-Vedantic schools of Sankhya, Vaisheshika etc. Thus they paved the way for Vedanta to be the dominant and most widely followed tradition among the schools of Hindu philosophy. The Vedanta school stresses most on the Upanishads (which are themselves called Vedanta, End or culmination of the Vedas), unlike the other schools that gave importance to the ritualistic Brahmanas, or to texts authored by their founders. The Vedanta schools hold that the Vedas (which include the Upanishads) are unauthored, forming a continuous tradition of wisdom transmitted orally. Thus the concept of apaurusheyatva (“being unauthored”) came to be the guiding force behind the Vedanta schools. However, along with stressing the importance of Vedic tradition, Adi Shankara gave equal importance to the personal experience of the student. Logic, grammar, Mimamsa and allied subjects form main areas of study in all the Vedanta schools.
    • Regarding meditation, Shankara refuted the system of Yoga and its disciplines as a direct means to attain moksha, rebutting the argument that it can be obtained through concentration of the mind. His position is that the mental states discovered through the practices of Yoga can be indirect aids to the gain of knowledge, but cannot themselves give rise to it. According to his philosophy, knowledge of Brahman springs from inquiry into the words of the Upanishads, and the knowledge of Brahman that shruti provides cannot be obtained in any other way.[51] It has to be noted that it is generally considered that for Shankara the Absolute Reality is attributeless and impersonal, while for Madhava and Ramanuja, the Absolute Truth is Vishnu. This has been a subject of debate, interpretation, and controversy since Shankara himself is attributed to composing the popular 8th-century Hindu devotional composition Bhaja Govindam (literal meaning, “Worship Govinda”). This work of Adi Shankara is considered as a good summary of Advaita Vedanta and underscores the view that devotion to God, Govinda, is not only an important part of general spirituality, but the concluding verse drives through the message of Shankara: “Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool! Other than chanting the Lord’s names, there is no other way to cross the life’s ocean”. Bhaja Govindam invokes the almighty in the aspect of Vishnu; it is therefore very popular not only with Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s immediate followers, the Smarthas, but also with Vaishnavas and others.
Adi Shankaracharya

Adi Shankaracharya

 

Kedarnath temple rediscovered by Adi Shankaracharya

Kedarnath temple rediscovered by Adi Shankaracharya

Saint Tulasidas

Saint Tulasidas

Surdas

Surdas

  • 7th – 10th century: Rashtrakuta dynasty rules over northern part of the Deccan
    • The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the 10th centuries. The earliest known Rashtrakuta inscription is a 7th-century copper plate grant that mentions their rule from Manpur in the Malwa region of modern Madhya Pradesh. Other ruling Rashtrakuta clans from the same period mentioned in inscriptions were the kings of Achalapur (modern Elichpur in Maharashtra) and the rulers of Kannauj. Several controversies exist regarding the origin of these early Rashtrakutas, their native home and their language.
    • The clan that ruled from Elichpur was a feudatory of the Badami Chalukyas and during the rule of Dantidurga, it overthrew Chalukya Kirtivarman II and went on to build an empire with the Gulbarga region in modern Karnataka as its base. This clan came to be known as the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, rising to power in South India in 753. At the same time the Pala dynasty of Bengal and the Prathihara dynasty of Malwa were gaining force in eastern and northwestern India respectively. An Arabic writing Silsilatuttavarikh (851) called the Rashtrakutas one of the four principal empires of the world.
    • This period, between the 8th and 10th centuries, saw a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains, each of these three empires annexing the seat of power at Kannauj for short periods of time. At their peak the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta ruled a vast empire stretching from the Ganges River and Yamuna River doab in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, a fruitful time of political expansion, architectural achievements and famous literary contributions. The early kings of this dynasty were Hindu but the later kings were strongly influenced by Jainism.
    • During their rule, Jain mathematicians and scholars contributed important works in Kannada and Sanskrit. Amoghavarsha I was the most famous king of this dynasty and wrote Kavirajamarga, a landmark literary work in the Kannada language. Architecture reached a milestone in the Dravidian style, the finest example of which is seen in the Kailasanath Temple at Ellora. Other important contributions are the sculptures of Elephanta Caves in modern Maharashtra as well as the Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal in modern Karnataka, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ellora cave temple

Ellora cave temple

Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves

Ellora Cave Temples

Ellora Cave Temples

Ellora caves paintings

Ellora caves paintings

  • Early 8th century: Arab merchants settle on the coast of Sindh (now a part of Pakistan) and the Indian state of Gujarat
  • 8th – 12th century: Pala dynasty rules in Bihar, Bengal and large part of Eastern India
    • The Pala Empire was an Indian imperial power, during the Classical period of India, that existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala which means protector. The Palas were often described by opponents as the Lords of Gauda. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur by a democratic election. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mahā Janapadas. He reigned from 750–770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. The Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries (750–1120 CE) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara built by Dharmapala is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent.
Ruins of Ancient Nalanda University

Ruins of Ancient Nalanda University

  • The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala and Devapala. Dharmapala extended the empire into the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent. This triggered once again the power struggle for the control of the subcontinent. Devapala, successor of Dharmapala, expanded the empire to cover much of South Asia and beyond. His empire stretched from Assam and Utkala in the east, Kamboja (modern day Afghanistan) in the north-west and Deccan in the south. According to a Pala copperplate inscription Devapala exterminated the Utkalas, conquered the Pragjyotisha (Assam), shattered the pride of the Huna, and humbled the lords of Pratiharas, Gurjara and the Dravidas.
  • The death of Devapala ended the period of ascendancy of the Pala Empire and several independent dynasties and kingdoms emerged during this time. However, Mahipala I rejuvenated the reign of the Palas. He recovered control over all of Bengal and expanded the empire. He survived the invasions of Rajendra Chola and the Chalukyas. After Mahipala I the Pala dynasty again saw its decline until Ramapala, the last great ruler of the dynasty, managed to retrieve the position of the dynasty to some extent. He crushed the Varendra rebellion and extended his empire farther to Kamarupa, Odisha and Northern India.
  • Palas saw the rise of tantra and Vajrayana buddhism and were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar. The Palas had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. This can be seen in the sculptures and architectural style of the Sailendra Empire (present-day Malaya, Java, Sumatra). The empire gradually disintegrated by the 12th-century after the death of Ramapala, meeting its final end in the defeat of Govindapala, the last Pala king, by Ballal Sena of the Sena dynasty in 1174.
  • 1149–1192 AD: Life span of Prithviraj Chauhan,a king of the Hindu Chauhan (Chauhamana) dynasty, who ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.
  • 1191 AD: Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori’s invasion on India and first battle of Tarain.
    • Muslim invaders began to attach the Hindu-Buddhist populated lands in the 8th century CE and the Abrahamic religion of Islam began to spread across the Indian-subcontinent over several centuries. Most converts were from Hinduism or Buddhism, the two dominant local religions. While all traditions of popular Hinduism continued including the worship of popular reincarnations of the primordial Shakti (female form of God). Bhakti tradition attained new prominence; Bhakti poetry of lasting greatness was composed in northern India under the rule of Muslim emperors. The humble mystic saint Kabir, who established his own order, composed devotional verses in the Bhakti spirit, but in common-man’s Hindi dialect and transcendenting Hindu-Muslim theocratic divide. Tulsidas, Mira Bai and Surdas composed immortal Hindu devotional poetry in Hindi-dialects in the Mughal period.

Ghazni

Ghouri

The last stand of Prithviraj Chauhan against Muhammadans

The last stand of Prithviraj Chauhan against Muhammadans

  • 1500 CE to present : Modern period
    • 1526 AD: First battle of Panipat, Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi
      • Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur (14 February 1483 – December 1530) was a foreign invader in India from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian Subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father and a descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother.
      • Babur was also a poet and a writer. He wrote both in Persian and his mother-tongue Chaghatai Turkic. His memoirs Baburnama, which were originally written in Turkic, have been translated into many languages.
      • Babur is regarded as a great leader and is held in high esteem both in the Turkic- and Persian-speaking worlds. While some sources claim that Babur was mostly influenced by and spread the Persian culture, others hold that his empire was Turkic in nature and that he mainly contributed to the expansion of the Turkic culture.
Babri Masjid at Ayodhya - Ram's birth place

Babri Masjid at Ayodhya – Ram’s birth place

  • Babur, ruler of Kabul, always dreamed of reclaiming Samarkand, in 1513 he tried reclaiming it after death of Shaibani. Entering alliance with Shah of Persia, Babur was successful in capturing Bokhara and Samarkand, but his success was shortlived, as he was driven out a year later. After this defeat Babur gave full attention on conquest of India, launching a campaign he reached Chenab in 1519. At the time India was under the rule of Ibrahim Lodi of Lodi dynasty, but the empire was crumbling and there were many defectors, to note he received invitations from Daulat Khan Lodi, Governor of Punjab and Ala-ud-Din, uncle of Ibrahim. He sent an ambassador to Ibrahim, claiming himself the rightful heir to the throne of the country, however the ambassador was detained at Lahore and released months later.
  • Upon entering the Punjab plains, Babur’s chief allies, namely Langar Khan Niazi advised Babur to engage the powerful and famous Muslim, Janjua Rajputs to join his conquest. The tribe’s rebellious stance to the throne of Delhi was well known. Upon meeting their chiefs, Asad Malik Hast and Raja Sanghar Ali Khan, Babur made mention of the Janjua’s popularity as traditional rulers of their kingdom and their ancestral support for his patriarch Timur during his conquest of the Tughluq dynasty. Babur aided them in defeating their enemies, the Gakhars in 1521, thus gaining their alliance. Babur then won their support and service during the Battle of Panipat and later on during the Battle of Khanwa. By that time the Lodi empire was also significantly weakened in Punjab-Rajasthan areas because of strong resistance from Rajputs especially Rana Sanga.
  • The section of Babur’s memoirs covering the period between 1508 and 1519 is missing. During these years Shah Ismail I suffered a large defeat when his large cavalry-based army was obliterated at the Battle of Chaldiran by the Ottoman Empire’s new weapon, the matchlock musket. Both Shah Ismail and Babur, it appears, were swift in acquiring this new technology for themselves. Somewhere during these years Babur introduced matchlocks into his army, and allowed an Ottoman, Ustad Ali, to train his troops, who were then known as Matchlockmen, in their use. Babur’s memoirs give accounts of battles where the opposition forces mocked his troops, never having seen a gun before, because of the noise they made and the way no arrows, spears, etc. appeared to come from the weapon when fired.
  • These guns allowed small armies to make large gains on enemy territory. Small parties of skirmishers who had been dispatched simply to test enemy positions and tactics, were making inroads into India. Babur, however, had survived two revolts, one in Kandahar and another in Kabul, and was careful to pacify the local population after victories, following local traditions and aiding widows and orphans.
  • However, while the Timurids were united, the Lodi armies were far from unified. Ibrahim was widely detested, even amongst his nobles, and it was several of his Afghan nobles who were to invite Babur’s intervention. Babur assembled a 12,000-man army, and advanced into India. This number actually increased as Babur advanced, as members of the local population joined the invading army. The first major clash between the two sides was fought in late February 1526. Babur’s son, Humayun (then aged 17), led the Timurid army into battle against the first of Ibrahim’s advance parties. Humayun’s victory was harder fought than the previous skirmishes, but it was still a decisive victory. Over one hundred prisoners of war were captured along with around eight war elephants. However, unlike after previous battles, these prisoners were not bonded or freed; by decree from Humayun, they were shot. In his memoirs, Babur recorded that “Ustad Ali-quli and the matchlockmen were ordered to shoot all the prisoners, by way of example; this had been Humayun’s first affair, his first experience of battle; it was an excellent omen!” This is perhaps the earliest example of execution by firing squad.
  • Ibrahim Lodi advanced against him with 100,000 soldiers and 100 elephants; and though Babur’s army had grown, it was still less than half the size of his opponents, possibly as few as 25,000 men. This was to be their main engagement, the First battle of Panipat, and was fought on 21 April 1526. Ibrahim Lodi was slain and his army was routed; Babur quickly took possession of both Delhi and Agra. That very day Babur ordered Humayun to ride to Agra (Ibrahim’s former capital) and secure its national treasures and resources from looting. Humayun found the family of the Raja of Gwalior there — the Raja himself having died at Panipat – sheltering from the invaders, fearing the dreadful nature of the ‘Mongols’ from the stories that preceded their arrival. After their safety was guaranteed they gave Humayun their family’s most valuable jewel, a very large diamond, which some believe to be the diamond which came to be called the Koh-i-Noor or “Mountain of Light’. It is thought that they did this to retain their Kingdom. Whether it was because of the gift or not, the family remained the rulers of Gwalior, though now under their new rulers the Timurids.
  • Babur, meanwhile, marched onward to Delhi reaching it three days after the battle. He celebrated his arrival with a festival on the river Jumna, and remained there at least until Friday prayers (Jum’ah) at noon when he heard the Khutba (sermon), read in his name in the Jama Masjid, a sign of the recognition of his sovereignty. He then marched to Agra to join Humayun. Upon arrival Babur was presented with the fabulous diamond, and Babur reports that I just gave it back to him, adding, an expert in jewels said its value would provide two and a half days food for the whole world.
Ruins of ancient Buddhaa statues

Ruins of ancient Buddhaa statues

Gyanvapi Temple - Aurangzeb Mosque at Varanasi

Gyanvapi Temple – Aurangzeb Mosque at Varanasi

Gyanvapi Temple converted into Mosque, Varanasi

Gyanvapi Temple converted into Mosque, Varanasi

Hindu Temple, Manora Island - Karachi

Hindu Temple, Manora Island – Karachi

Hindu Temples Ruins

Hindu Temples Ruins

Hinglaj Matagee Temple Balochistan Pakistan

Hinglaj Matagee Temple Balochistan Pakistan

Large-Ruins of a Hindu temple near the Salt Range

Large-Ruins of a Hindu temple near the Salt Range

An ancient Hindu wood carving in Peshawar District

An ancient Hindu wood carving in Peshawar District

Ramna Kalibari temple, Dhaka

Ramna Kalibari temple, Dhaka

Ruins ancient hindu temple, Karnataka India

Ruins ancient hindu temple, Karnataka India

Ruins of Hindu temple at Hampi

Ruins of Hindu temple at Hampi

Ruins of Hindu Temple at Qutub Minar, Delhi, India

Ruins of Hindu Temple at Qutub Minar, Delhi, India

Ruins of Krishna Temple, Vijayanagara, India

Ruins of Krishna Temple, Vijayanagara, India

Ruins of Somanath Temple

Ruins of Somanath Temple

Ruins of Somnath temple

Ruins of Somnath temple

Sun temple, Martand, Kashmir, India

Sun temple, Martand, Kashmir, India

    • After the conquest of Persia by the Mongol Empire, a regional Turko-Persio-Mongol dynasty was formed. Just as eastern Mongol dynasties inter-married with locals and adopted the local religion of Buddhism and the Chinese culture, this group adopted the local religion of Islam and the Persian culture; their descendants ruled in India as Mughals.
Mughal Empire in India

Mughal Empire in India

  • The official state religion of the Mughal Empire was Islam, Hinduism remained under strain during the reign of Babur and Humanyun, the early rulers of Mughal Dynasty. Sher Shah Suri, the Afghan ruler of North India was comparatively less repressive. Hinduism came to fore during the 3 year rule of Hindu king ‘Hemu’ during 1553-56 when he had defeated Akbar at Agra and Delhi and had taken up the reign from Delhi as a Hindu ‘Vikramaditya’ king after his ‘Rajyabhishake’ or coronation at ‘Purana Quila’ in Delhi. Hinduism suffered badly during the Mughal era, the sheer number of Hindu population and their strong bonds with their religious tradition made it extremely difficult for the Mughal rulers to convert them all to Islam. There were lots of motivations in terms of socio-economic benefits offered to those who decided to convert, non-Muslim able-bodied adult males with income were obliged to pay the Jizya (special tax), which signified their vulnerable status in the society.
  • Akbar, Humayun’s son and heir from his Sindhi queen Hameeda Banu Begum, had a broad vision of Indian and Islamic traditions. One of Emperor Akbar’s most unusual ideas regarding religion was Din-i-Ilahi (Faith of God), which was an eclectic mix of Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism and Christianity. It was proclaimed the state religion until his death. These actions however met with stiff opposition from the Muslim clergy. Akbar’s abolition of poll-tax on non-Muslims, acceptance of ideas from other religious philosophies, toleration of public worship by all religions and his interest in other faiths showed an attitude of considerable religious tolerance, which, in the minds of his orthodox Muslim opponents, were tantamount to apostasy.
Mughal Emperor Akbar

Mughal Emperor Akbar

First Painting Made Of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

First Painting Made Of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

    • Akbar’s son and heir top the Mughal throne, Jahangir was half Hindu (his mother being Hindu) and a religious moderate. The influence of his two Hindu queens (the Maharani Maanbai and Maharani Jagat) kept religious moderation as a centrepiece of state policy which was extended under his son, Emperor Shah Jahan, who was by blood 75% Hindu and less than 25% Moghul.
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

    • As northern area had already fallen to the Muslim invaders, the fall of Vijayanagar Empire in South to Muslim rulers marked the end of Hindu imperial assertions across India/ Hindustan. But, taking advantage of an over-stretched Mughal Empire, Hinduism once again rose to political prestige, under the Maratha Empire, from 1707 to 1761.
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap

  • Muslim orthodoxy regained important role during the reign of Shah Jahan’s son and successor, Aurangzeb, a devout Sunni Muslim, who took the Mughal throne by force, putting his old, dying father in prison and killing elder brother Dara Shejoh. Aurangzeb was not tolerant of other faiths as his two predecessors were.
  • 1540 – 1961 Portuguese Colonial Rule on parts of India : The Goa Inquisition
    • The Portuguese colonised India in 1510, conquering many parts of the western coast and establishing several colonies in the east. By the end of the 19th century, Portuguese colonies in India were limited to Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Anjediva Island. Many Goans living under colonial rule resented the presence of the Portuguese colonialists for their brutal policies and mandates, and their relentless campaigns to convert the predominantly Hindu Goans to Christianity. Despite 14 revolts against Portuguese rule (the final attempt in 1912), none of these uprisings were successful in ending the colonial era. The failure of these uprisings to affect meaningful change was attributed to the lack of a broad, active support base and their localized nature. It took 14 years after India got Independence from the British Colonial rule, for Goa to get rid of the Portuguese colonial rule in 1961.
    • Christian missionaries from Portugal reached the Malabar Coast in the late 15th century and in collaboration with St Thomas Christians in Kerala sought to introduce the Latin Rite among them. One of the most brutal aspect of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa was what is known as ‘The Goa Inquisition‘. It was the office of the Christian Inquisition acting in Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. St. Francis Xavier, a highly revered christian priest, wrote a letter to Pope John III in a 1545 to requested for an Inquisition to be installed in Goa. It was installed eight years after the death of Francis Xavier in 1552. Established in 1560 and operating until 1774, this highly controversial institution was aimed primarily at Hindus and wayward new converts.
      • The Goa Inquisition : For more than 200 years; from 1540 to 1812, a period of darkness engulfed the local Hindu population of Goa and during this period all the Hindu idols in the state we now know as Goa in the western region of India, had been annihilated or had disappeared, all the temples had been destroyed and their sites and building material was in most cases utilized to erect new Christian Churches and chapels. Various viceregal and Church council decrees banished the Hindu priests from the Portuguese territories; the public practices of Hindu rites including marriage rites, were banned; the state took upon itself the task of bringing up Hindu orphan children; the Hindus were denied certain employments, while the Christians were preferred; it was ensured that the Hindus would not harass those who became Christians, and on the contrary, the Hindus were obliged to assemble periodically in Churches to listen to preaching or to the refutation of their religion.
      • A particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of ‘mass baptism’ and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was alter initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarter in pairs, accompanied by their Negro slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an ‘untouchable’ among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option.”
      • The Goan inquisition is regarded by all contemporary portrayals as the most violent inquisition ever executed by the Portuguese Catholic Church. It lasted from 1560 to 1812. The inquisition was set as a tribunal, headed by a judge, sent to Goa from Portugal and was assisted by two judicial henchmen. The judge was answerable to no one except to Lisbon and handed down punishments as he saw fit. The Inquisition Laws filled 230 pages and the palace where the Inquisition was conducted was known as the Big House and the Inquisition proceedings were always conducted behind closed shutters and closed doors. The screams of agony of the victims (men, women, and children) could be heard in the streets, in the stillness of the night, as they were brutally interrogated, flogged, and slowly dismembered in front of their relatives. Eyelids were sliced off and extremities were amputated carefully, a person could remain conscious even though the only thing that remained was his torso and head.
      • Diago de Boarda, a priest and his advisor Vicar General, Miguel Vazz had made a 41 point plan for torturing Hindus. Under this plan Viceroy Antano de Noronha issued in 1566, an order applicable to the entire area und! er Portuguese rule :
        • “I hereby order that in any area owned by my master, the king, nobody should construct a Hindu temple and such temples already constructed should not be repaired without my permission. If this order is transgressed, such temples shall be, destroyed and the goods in them shall be used to meet expenses of holy deeds, as punishment of such transgression.”
        • In 1567 the campaign of destroying temples in Bardez met with success. At the end of it 300 Hindu temples were destroyed. Enacting laws, prohibition was laid from December 4, 1567 on rituals of Hindu marriages, sacred thread wearing and cremation. All the persons above 15 years of age were compelled to listen to Christian preaching, failing which they were punished.
      • A religious fatva was issued on the basis of the findings of Goa Inquiry Commission. It stated, “…Hereby we declare the decision that the conventions mentioned in the preamble of the fatva as stated below are permanently declared as useless, and therefore prohibited.” Prohibitions Regarding Marriages
        • The instruments for Hindu songs shall not be played.
        • While giving dowry the relatives of the bride and groom must not be invited.
        • At the time of marriage, betel leaf packages (pan) must not be distributed either publicly or in private to the persons present.
        • Flowers, or fried puris, betel nuts and leaves must not be sent to the heads of the houses of the bride or groom.
        • Gotraj ceremony of family God must not be performed.
        • On the day prior to a wedding, rice must not be husked, spices must not be pounded, grains must not be ground and other recipes for marriage feast must not be cooked.
        • Pandals and festoons must not be used.
        • Pithi should not be applied.
        • The bride must not be accorded ceremonial welcome. The bride and groom must not be made to sit under pandal to convey blessings and best wishes to them.
        • The poor must not be fed or ceremonial meals must not be served for the peace of the souls of the dead.
        • There should be no fasting on ekadashi day; Fasting can be done according to the Christian principles.
        • No rituals should be performed on the twelfth day after death, on moonless and full moon dates.
        • Hindu men should not wear dhoti either in public or in their houses. Women should not wear cholis .
        • They should not plant Tulsi in their houses, compounds, gardens or any other place.
      • Following the law of 1567, orphans were kidnapped for converting them to Christianity.
      • On September 22, 1570 an order was issued that:
        • The Hindus embracing Christianity will be exempted from land taxes for a period of 15 years.
        • Nobody shall bear Hindu names or surnames.
      • In 1583 Hindu temples at Esolna and Kankolim were destroyed through army action
      • “The fathers of the Church forbade the Hindus under terrible penalties the use of their own sacred books, and prevented them from all exercise of their religion. They destroyed their temples, and so harassed and interfered with the people that they abandoned the city in large numbers, refusing to remain any longer in a place where they had no liberty, and were liable to imprisonment, torture and death if they worshiped after their own fashion the gods of their fathers.” wrote Sasetti, who was in India from 1578 to 1588.
      • order was issued in June 1684 eliminating Konkani language and making it compulsory to speak Portuguese language. The law provided for dealing toughly with anyone using the local language. Following that law all the symbols of non-Christian sects were destroyed and the books written in local languages were burnt.
      • The Archbishop living on the banks of the Ethora had said during one of his lecture series, “The post of Inquiry Commission in Goa is regarded as holy.” The women who opposed the assistants of the commission were put behind the bars and were used by them to satisfy their animal instincts. Then they were burnt alive as opponents of the established tenets of the Catholic church.
      • The victims of such inhuman laws of the Inquiry Commission included a French traveller named Delone. He was an eye witness to the atrocities, cruelty and reign of terror unleashed by priests. He published a book in 1687 describing the lot of helpless victims. While he was in jail he had heard the cries of tortured people beaten with instruments havi! ng sharp teeth. All these details are noted in Delone’s book.
      • So harsh and notorious was the inquisition in Goa, that word of its brutality and horrors reached Lisbon but nothing was done to stop this notoriety and escalating barbarity and it continued for two hundred more years. No body knows the exact number of Goans subjected to these diabolical tortures, but perhaps it runs into hundreds of thousands, may be even more. The abominations of inquisitions continued until a brief respite was given in 1774 but four years later, the inquisition was introduced again and it continued un-uninterruptedly until 1812. At that point in time, in the year of 1812, the British put pressure on the Portuguese to put an end to the terror of Inquisition and the presence of British troops in Goa enforced the British desire. Also the Portuguese power at this time was declining and they could not fight the British. The palace of the Grand Inquisitor, the Big House, was demolished and no trace of it remains today, which might remind someone of inquisitions and the horrors inside this Big House that their great saint Francis Xavier had commenced.
      • Dr. Trasta Breganka Kunha, a Catholic citizen of Goa writes, “Inspite of all the mutilations and concealment of history, it remains an undoubted fact that religious conversion of Goans is due to methods of force adopted by the Portuguese to establish their rule. As a result of this violence the character of our people was destroyed. The propagation of Christian sect in Goa came about not by religious preaching but through the methods of violence and pressure. If any evidence is needed for this fact, we can obtain it through law books, orders and reports of the local rulers of that time and also from the most dependable documents of the Christian sect.
  • Francis Xavier - Inquisition of Goa

    Francis Xavier – Inquisition of Goa

    Goa Inquisition

    Goa Inquisition

    Plan de Goa, in Histoire générale des voyages, 1750

    Plan de Goa, in Histoire générale des voyages, 1750

  • 1757 AD: Beginning of British Rule in India.
    • With the death of Aurangzeb the demise of Mughal Empire started and soon the whole of India spiraled out of Islamic Rule to British Colonial rule.
    • Slowly Indian subcontinent starts moving under the control of European colonial powers, through trade and conquest. The first European power to arrive in India was the army of Alexander the Great in 327–326 BC. The satraps he established in the north west of the subcontinent quickly crumbled after he left. Later, trade was carried between Indian states and the Roman Empire by Roman sailors who reached India via the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, but the Romans never sought trading settlements or territory in India. The spice trade between India and Europe was one of the main types of trade in the world economy and was the main catalyst for the period of European exploration. The search for the wealth and prosperity of India led to the accidental discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Only a few years later, near the end of the 15th century, Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama became the first European to re-establish direct trade links with India since Roman times by being the first to arrive by circumnavigating Africa (1497–1499). Having arrived in Calicut, which by then was one of the major trading ports of the eastern world, he obtained permission to trade in the city from Saamoothiri Rajah.
    • Trading rivalries brought other European powers to India. The Netherlands, England, France, and Denmark established trading posts in India in the early 17th century.
    • As the Mughal Empire disintegrated in the early 18th century and then the Maratha Empire became weakened after the third battle of Panipat, the relatively weak and unstable Indian states which emerged were increasingly open to manipulation by the Europeans through dependent “friendly” Indian rulers.
    • In the later 18th century Britain and France struggled for dominance through proxy Indian rulers and also by direct military intervention. The defeat of the redoubtable Indian ruler Tipu Sultan in 1799 marginalised French influence. This was followed by a rapid expansion of British power through the greater part of the subcontinent in the early 19th century. By the middle of the century, the British had already gained direct or indirect control over almost all of India. British India contained the most populous and valuable provinces of the British Empire and thus became known as the jewel in the British crown.
Bahadur Shah Zafar - Surrender to British Forces

Bahadur Shah Zafar – Surrender to British Forces

Bahadur Shah Zafar - The Last Mughal Emperor

Bahadur Shah Zafar – The Last Mughal Emperor

British Empire

British Empire

  • In 1757 Mir Jafar, the commander in chief of the army of the Nawab of Bengal, along with Jagat Seth, Maharaja Krishna Nath, Umi Chand and some others, secretly connived with the British, asking support to overthrow the Nawab in return for trade grants. The British forces, whose sole duty until then was guarding Company property, were numerically inferior to the Bengali armed forces. At the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757, fought between the British under the command of Robert Clive and the Nawab, Mir Jafar’s forces betrayed the Nawab and helped defeat him. Jafar was installed on the throne as a British subservient ruler.[6] The battle transformed British perspective as they realised their strength and potential to conquer smaller Indian kingdoms and marked the beginning of the imperial or colonial era.
  • An 1876 political cartoon of Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) making Queen Victoria Empress of India. The caption was New crowns for old ones!
  • British policy in Asia during the 19th century was chiefly concerned with expanding and protecting its hold on India, viewed as its most important colony and the key to the rest of Asia.The East India Company drove the expansion of the British Empire in Asia. The company’s army had first joined forces with the Royal Navy during the Seven Years’ War, and the two continued to cooperate in arenas outside India: the eviction of Napoleon from Egypt (1799), the capture of Java from the Netherlands (1811), the acquisition of Singapore (1819) and Malacca (1824), and the defeat of Burma (1826).
  • From its base in India, the company had also been engaged in an increasingly profitable opium export trade to China since the 1730s. This trade, unlawful in China since it was outlawed by the Qing dynasty in 1729, helped reverse the trade imbalances resulting from the British imports of tea, which saw large outflows of silver from Britain to China. In 1839, the confiscation by the Chinese authorities at Canton of 20,000 chests of opium led Britain to attack China in the First Opium War, and the seizure by Britain of the island of Hong Kong, at that time a minor settlement.
  • In the century from 1760 to 1860, India was once more divided into numerous petty and unstable kingdoms: the Sikh Ruled the Western borders; the weak Mughals in North; the Kingdom of Mysore in South; Hindu Maratha states and Rajput states in West and central India. There were other smaller Polygar states, North-Eatern states and Himalayan states. In the East there were also some territories held by the British East India Company. The entire subcontinent fell under British rule partly following the failed Indian Rebellion against the British East India Company of 1857.
  • The British had direct or indirect control over all of present-day India before the middle of the 19th century. In 1857, a local rebellion by an army of sepoys escalated into the Rebellion of 1857, which took six months to suppress with heavy loss of life on both sides. The trigger for the Rebellion has been a subject of controversy. The resistance, although short-lived, was triggered by British East India Company attempts to expand its control of India. According to Olson, several reasons may have triggered the Rebellion. For example, Olson concludes that the East India Company’s attempt to annexe and expand its direct control of India, by arbitrary laws such as Doctrine of Lapse, combined with employment discrimination against Indians, contributed to the 1857 Rebellion. The East India Company officers lived like princes, the company finances were in shambles, and the company’s effectiveness in India was examined by the British crown after 1858. As a result, the East India Company lost its powers of government and British India formally came under direct British rule, with an appointed Governor-General of India. The East India Company was dissolved the following year in 1858. A few years later, Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India.
  • India suffered a series of serious crop failures in the late 19th century, leading to widespread famines in which at least 10 million people died. The East India Company had failed to implement any coordinated policy to deal with the famines during its period of rule. This changed during the Raj, in which commissions were set up after each famine to investigate the causes and implement new policies, which took until the early 1900s to have an effect.
  • The slow but momentous reform movement developed gradually into the Indian Independence Movement. During the years of World War I, the hitherto bourgeois “home-rule” movement was transformed into a popular mass movement by Mahatma Gandhi, a pacifist. Apart from Gandhi, other revolutionaries such as Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad and Subhas Chandra Bose, were not against use of violence to oppose the British rule. The independence movement attained its objective with the independence of Pakistan and India on 14 and 15 August 1947 respectively.
  • Conservative elements in England consider the independence of India to be the moment that the British Empire ceased to be a world power, following Curzon’s dictum that, while we hold on to India, we are a first-rate power. If we lose India, we will decline to a third-rate power.
1857 Freedom Struggle

1857 Freedom Struggle

1857 Struggle for Freedom against East India Company

1857 Struggle for Freedom against East India Company

British Rule in India

British Rule in India

Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey

Rani Laxmi Bai

Rani Laxmi Bai

  • There were significant transfers of knowledge and philosophical thoughts between East (India) and West (British and Other Europeans) during the 19th century. Hinduism developed a large number of new religious movements, partly inspired by the European Romanticism, nationalism, scientific racism and esotericism/ theosophy popular at the time and at the same time India had a similar effect on European culture with Orientalism, ‘Hindu style’ architecture, reception of Buddhism in the West, etc. These reform movements in India can also referred to as Hindu revivalism after centuries of prosecution and interference Muslim invaders had brought a lot confusions and created mental blocks among the Hindus to survive during those tough centuries and it has continued till date. Brahmo Samaj was a social and religious movement founded in Kolkata in 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. He was one of the first Indians to visit Europe and was influenced by western thought. The Brahmo Samaj movement thereafter resulted in the Brahmo religion in 1850 founded by Debendranath Tagore (father of first Asian Noble prize winner Rabindranath Tagore). Sri Ramakrishna Paramhans and his pupil Swami Vivekananda led a reform in Hinduism in late 19th century. Their ideals and sayings have inspired numerous people across the globe and across religious divide. Arya Samaj was a Hindu reform movement in India that was founded by Swami Dayananda in 1875. He was a sannyasin who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, and emphasised the ideals of brahmacharya and sanyasa. Dayananda claimed to be rejecting all non-Vedic beliefs altogether. Hence the Arya Samaj unequivocally condemned idol worship, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, pilgrimages, priestcraft, offerings made in temples, the caste system, untouchability, child marriages, on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction and thus were never a part of Hindu Religion. Arya Samaj started Shuddhi movement in early 20th century to bring back to Hinduism people converted to Islam and Christianity, set up schools and social service organisations, and extended its activities outside India.
Raja Ram Mohan Roys Visit to England

Raja Ram Mohan Roys Visit to England

Ram Krishna Paramhans

Ram Krishna Paramhans

Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Swami Sraddhanand

Swami Sraddhanand

  • An important development during the British colonial period was the influence Hindu traditions began to form on Western thought and new religious movements. An early champion of Indian-inspired thought in the West was Arthur Schopenhauer who in the 1850s advocated ethnics based on an “Aryan-Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest”, as opposed to the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism of the superficially this-worldly spirit. Helena Blavatsky moved to India in 1879, and her Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, evolved into a peculiar mixture of Western occultism and Hindu mysticism over the last years of her life. The sojourn of Vivekananda to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 had a lasting effect on many Western/American thinkers and intellectuals. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, a Hindu social service organisation still active today. In the early 20th century, Western occultists influenced by Hinduism include Maximiani Portaz – an advocate of “Aryan Paganism” – who styled herself Savitri Devi and Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, founder of the German Faith Movement. It was in this period, and until the 1920s, that the swastika became a ubiquitous symbol of good luck in the West before its association with the Nazi Party became dominant in the 1930s. Hinduism-inspired elements in Theosophy were also inherited by the spin-off movements of Ariosophy and Anthroposophy and ultimately contributed to the renewed New Age boom of the 1960s to 1980s, the term New Age itself deriving from Blavatsky’s 1888 The Secret Doctrine.
Savitri Devi

Savitri Devi

Swami Vivekananda in America

Swami Vivekananda in America

  • 1947 – The Dominion of India becomes independent
  • 1950 – The modern Republic of India is established
    • India got independence from British Colonial rule in 1947, but geographically divided to give a separate homeland called Pakistan for the Muslim population – descendants of those who migrated from middle-east during the Islamic invasions and those who were converted under the Islamic rule. India, today has about 80% Hindu population it follows a secular democratic constitution where all its citizens have equal rights and freedom to follow any faith/ religion. In 2013, there are close to 1 billion followers of Hinduism across the world, mainly living in South Asia/India (98%). Of the remaining 2% – majority is living in Southeast Asia (mostly Indonesia/Bali) and rest scattered across Europe, North America and Southern Africa.
India viceroy

India viceroy

Leaders of Indian Freedom struggle

Leaders of Indian Freedom struggle

Gandhi & Jinnah 1944

Gandhi & Jinnah 1944

Quit India Movement

Quit India Movement

Swadeshi and Boycott Movement against British rule in India

Swadeshi and Boycott Movement against British rule in India

Partition of India 1947

Partition of India 1947

Partition of India

Partition of India

Hindu Nationalism :  Lal - Bal - Pal

Hindu Nationalism : Lal – Bal – Pal

Hinduism across the world

Hinduism across the world

Hindus across India

Hindus across India

 

8 thoughts on “Hindu Timelines..(Part 4b) : Some Interesting Questions about Hinduism…

  1. Pingback: Some Interesting Questions about Hinduism…(Part 1) | Whatever It's Worth...

  2. It is a nice drops and one can know the Indian history from Ten thousand B.C a use full depiction >I like to convey may thank to its author

  3. Very Good Nice Job
    Goa Inquisition and the barbarism under so called Christian Saint Xavier need more detail

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