Historical Framework

With select developments and texts.

From Kinsley, David Hinduism: A Cultural Perspective

 

The Formative Period (2500-800 B.C.E.)

 

Developments:

2500-1500 B.C.E.: Indus Valley Civilization

1500- :  Indo-Aryan Migrations

Texts:

Vedas (earliest is Rig Veda,1200 BCE)

Four Samhitas (“collections”): Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Artharvaveda

Brahmanas

 

The Speculative Period (800 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.)

 

Developments:

New philosophical, mystical dimension emerging

Texts:

Later Vedas: Aranyakas, 14 principal Upanishads (Vedanta)

 

The Epic and Classical Period (400 B.C.E. to 600 C.E.)

 

Developments:

Indo-Aryan settlement into towns and cities on Gangetic plains

Texts:

Mahabharata (and Bhagavad-Gita) (between 400 B.C.E. and 400 C.E.)

Ramayana (Between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E.)

Dharmashastras (treatises on dharma) – concerning order, stability, refinement of society

Laws of Manu (manavadharmashastra)

 

The Medieval Period (600 C.E. – 1800 C.E.)

 

Developments:

Rise of devotional movements – bhakti

Rise of temples as religious centers

Systematization of Hindu philosophy into six schools (darsanas)

Rise of Tantrism

Texts:

Puranas

 

The Modern Period (1800 – Present)

 

Developments:

Hindu revivals of 19th century

Independence Movement

Introduction of Hinduism to the West