The Veda And Indian Culture

Appendix II
Important Landmarks of Indian History

(Relevant to Indian Spirituality, Religion and Philosophy)

The ancient dates of Indian history are quite uncertain. The earliest records of Indian history are the Vedas, but the period, when they were composed, has been a matter of controversy and speculation. The Vedas themselves speak of the 'forefathers' who had achieved great spiritual conquests. The Vedas thus refer to a pre-Vedic period, during which, it is certain, the ancient forefathers of the Indian peoples had explored the secrets of the universe and produced momentous results.

Some historians have felt that the forefathers of Vedic sages must have lived around 10,000 B.C or even earlier. Some historians have tried to fix the dates of the Vedas on some basis of certain astronomical indications recorded in the Vedas, and they have concluded that the Vedas must have been composed around 4,500 B.C. Some conservative historians have, however, believed that the Vedas were composed around 2,000 B.C

It is thus clear that the first period of the ancient history of India cannot be accurately dated, but it is supposed to have been extended from an uncertain date upto the birth of Buddha. It is true that even the date of the birth of Buddha is somewhat controversial, but still, it was not later than 550 or 560 B.C

Thus the first period of the ancient Indian History may be said to extend from about 10,000 B.C (?) to 560 B.C

This period is generally called the Vedic period. Modern scholars divide it into three sub-periods: (1) the age of the Mantras (inevitable expressions of spiritual knowledge and power); (2) the age of the Brahmanas (prose writings in justification of Vedic rituals and practices); and (3) the age of the Upanishads (prose and poetical writings containing intuitions of spiritual explorers).

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