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Hindu Timeline #3
Category : December 1994

Hindu Timeline #3

1000ce to 1500



1000: World population is 265 million. India population is 79 million, 29.8% of world.

ca 1000: A few Hindu communities from Rajasthan, Sindh and other areas, the ancestors of present-day Romani, or Gypsies, gradually move to Persia and on to Europe.

ca 1000: Vikings reach North America, landing in Nova Scotia.

ca 1000: Polynesians arrive in New Zealand, last stage in the greatest migration and navigational feat in history, making them the most widely-spread race on Earth.

1001: Turkish Muslims sweep through the Northwest under Mahmud of Ghazni, defeating Jayapala of Hindu Shahi Dynasty of S. Afghanisthan and Punjab at Peshawar. This is the first major Muslim conquest in India.

ca 1010: Tirumurai, Tamil devotional hymns of Saiva saints, is collected as an anthology by Nambiandar Nambi.

1017: Mahmud of Ghazni sacks Mathura, birthplace of Lord Krishna, and establishes a mosque on the site during one of his 17 Indian invasions for holy war and plunder.

1017-1137: Life of Ramanuja of Kanchipuram, Tamil philosopher-saint of Shri Vaishnava sect that continues bhakti tradition of S. Indian Alvar saints. His strongly theistic nondual Vishishtadvaita Vedanta philosophy restates Pancharatra tradition. Foremost opponent of Shankara's system, he dies at age 120 while head of Shrirangam monastery.

1018-1060: Lifetime of Bhojadeva Paramara, Gujarati king, poet, artist and monistic Saiva Siddhanta theologian.

1024: Mahmud of Ghazni plunders Somanath Siva temple, destroying the Linga and killing 50,000 Hindu defenders. He later builds a mosque on the remaining walls.

1025: Chola ruler Maharaja Rajendra I sends victorious naval expeditions to Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia, initiating decline of Mahayana Buddhist empire of Shrivijaya.

ca 1040: Chinese invent the compass and moveable type and perfect the use of gunpowder, first invented and used in India as an explosive mixture of saltpetre, sulfur and charcoal to power guns, cannons and artillery.

ca 1050: Lifetime of Shrikantha, promulgator of Siva Advaita, a major philosophical school of Saivism.

ca 1130-1200: Lifetime of Nimbarka, Telegu founder of the Vaishnava Nimandi sect holding the philosophy of dvaitadvaita, dual-nondualism. He introduces the worship of Krishna together with consort Radha. (Present-day Nimavats revere Vishnu Himself, in the form of the Hamsa Avatara, as the originator of their sect.)

ca 1130: Lifetime of Sekkilar, Tamil chief minister under Chola Emperor Kulottunga II (reign 1133-1150) and author of Periyapuranam, 4,286-verse epic biography (hagiography) of the 63 Saiva saints and 12th book of Tirumurai.

ca 1150: Life of Basavanna, renaissance guru of the Vira Saiva sect, stressing free will, equality, service to humanity and worship of the Sivalinga worn around the neck.

ca 1150: Khmer ruler Suryavarman II completes Angkor Wat temple (in present-day Cambodia), where his body is later entombed and worshiped as an embodiment of Vishnu. This largest Hindu temple in Asia is 12 miles in circumference, with a 200-foot high central tower.

ca 1162: Mahadevi is born, female Saiva ascetic saint of Karnataka, writes 350 majestic and mystical poems.

1175: Toltec Empire of Mexico crumbles.

1185: Mohammed of Ghur conquers Punjab and Lahore.

1191: Eisai founds Rinzai Zen sect in Japan after study in China.

1193: Qutb ud-Din Aybak founds first Muslim Sultanate of Delhi, establishing the Mamluk Dynasty (1193-1290).

1197: Great Buddhist university of Nalanda is destroyed by Muslim Ikhtiyar ud-din.

1200: All of North India is under Muslim domination.

1200: India population reaches 80 million.

ca 1200: An unknown author writes Yoga Yajnavalkya.

1215: King John is forced to sign the Magna Carta, giving greater rights to citizens in England.

1227: Mongolian Emperor Genghis Khan, conqueror of a vast area from Beijing, China, to Iran and north of Tibet, the largest empire the world has yet seen, dies.

1230-60: Surya temple at Konarak, Orissa, India, is constructed.

1238-1317: Lifetime of Ananda Tirtha, Madhva, venerable Vaishnava dualist and opponent of Shankara's mayavadin advaita philosophy. He composes 37 works and founds Dvaita Vedanta school, the Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya and its eight monasteries, ashtamatha, in Udupi.

ca 1250: Lifetime of Meykandar, Saiva saint who founds the Meykandar school of pluralistic Saiva Siddhanta, of which his 12-sutra Sivajnanabodham becomes its core scripture.

1260: Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, is born.

1268-1369: Lifetime of Vedanta Deshikar, gifted Tamil scholar and poet who founds sect of Vaishnavism called Vadakalai, headquartered at Kanchipuram.

1270-1350: Lifetime of Namadeva, foremost poet saint of Maharashtra's Varkari ("pilgrim") Vaishnava school, disciple of Jnanadeva. He and his family compose a million verses in praise of Lord Vithoba (Vishnu).

1272: Marco Polo visits India en route to China.

1274: Council of Lyons II declares that souls go immediately to heaven, purgatory or hell; interpreted by Catholic fathers as condemning the doctrine of reincarnation.

1275-96: Lifetime of Jnanadeva, Natha-trained Vaishnava saint, founder of the Varkari school, who writes Jnaneshvari, a Marathi verse commentary on Bhagavad Gita, which becomes Maharashtra's most popular book.

1279: Muktabai is born, Maharashtrian Varkari saint and Natha yogini, writes 100 sacred verses.

1280: Mongol (Yuen) dynasty (1280-1368) begins in China, under which occurs the last of much translation work into Chinese from Sanskrit.

1296: Ala-ud-din, second king of Khalji dynasty, rules most of India after his General Kafur conquers the South, extending Muslim dominion to Rameshwaram.

ca 1300: Lifetime of Janabai, Maharashtrian Varkari Vaishnava woman saint who writes a portion of Namadeva's million verses to Vithoba (Vishnu).

ca 1300: The Ananda Samucchaya is written, 277 stanzas on hatha yoga, with discussion of the chakras and the nadis.

1300: Muslim conquerors reach Cape Comorin at the southernmost tip of India and build a mosque there.

1317-72: Life of Lalla of Kashmir. Saiva renunciate, mystic poetess contributes significantly to the Kashmiri language.

1336: Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565-1646) of South India is founded. European visitors are overwhelmed by the wealth and advancement of its 17-square-mile capital.

1345: Aztecs establish great civilization in Mexico.

1346-90: Life of Krittivasa, translator of Ramayana into Bengali.

1347: Plague called the Black Death spreads rapidly, killing 75 million worldwide before it recedes in 1351.

ca 1350: Svatmarama writes Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

ca 1350: Lifetime of Appaya Dikshita, South Indian philosoper saint whose writings reconcile Vaishnavism and Saivism. He advances Siva Advaita and other Saiva schools and compiles a temple priests' manual still used today.

1398: Tamerlane (Timur) invades India with 90,000 cavalry and sacks Delhi because its Muslim Sultanate is too tolerant of Hindu idolatry. A Mongolian follower of Sufism, he is one of the most ruthless of all conquerors.

1399: Hardwar, Ganga pilgrimage town, is sacked by Timur.

ca 1400: Goraksha Upanishad is written.

1414: Hindu prince Parameshvara of Malaysia converts to Islam.

1414-80: Life of Gujarati Vaishnava poet-saint Narasinha Mehta.

1415: Bengali poet-singer Baru Chandidas writes Shrikrishnakirtana, a collection of exquisite songs praising Krishna.

1429: Joan of Arc, age 17, leads the French to victory over the English.

ca 1433: China cloisters itself from outside world by banning further voyages to the West. (First bamboo curtain.)

1440-1518: Lifetime of Kabir, Vaishnava reformer with who has both Muslim and Hindu followers. (His Hindi songs remain immensely popular to the present day.)

ca 1440: Johannes Gutenberg (ca 1400-1468) invents the West's first moveable-type printing press in Germany.

1450?-1547: Lifetime of Mirabai, Vaishnava Rajput princess saint who, married at an early age to the Rana of Udaipur, devotes herself to Krishna and later renounces worldly life to wander India singing to Him beautiful mystic compositions that are sung to the present day.

1469-1538: Lifetime of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, originally a reformist Hindu sect stressing devotion, faith in the guru, repetition of God's name and rejection of renunciation and caste. (Most Sikhs in the present day consider themselves members of a separate religion.)

1478: Spanish Inquisition begins. Over the next 20 years, Christians burn several thousand persons at the stake.

1479-1531: Lifetime of Vallabhacharya, a married Telegu brahmin saint who teaches pushtimarga, "path of love," and a lofty nondual philosophy, Shuddhadvaita Vedanta, in which souls are eternally one with Brahman. Vallabhacharya's Vaishnavism worships Krishna in the form of Shri Nathji.

1483-1563: Lifetime of Surdas, sightless Hindi bard of Agra, whose hymns to Krishna are compiled in the Sursagar.

1486-1543: Life of Chaitanya, Bengali founder of popular Vaishnava sect which proclaims Krishna Supreme God and emphasizes sankirtan, group chanting and dancing.

1492: Looking for India, Christopher Columbus lands on San Salvador island in the Caribbean, thus "discovering" the Americas and proving that the earth is round, not flat.

1498: Portugal's Vasco da Gama sails around Cape of Good Hope to Calicut, Kerala, first European to find sea route to India.

ca 1500: Life of Arunagirinathar, Tamil saint, author of Tiruppugal hymns; emphasizes feeding the hungry during a time of Muslim oppression and disrupted family life.

ca 1500: Buddhist and Saiva Hindu princes are forced off Java by invading Muslims. They resettle on neighboring Bali, with their overlapping priesthoods and vast royal courts: poets, dancers, musicians and artisans. Within 100 years they construct what many call a fairytale kingdom.