Can someone please give timelines of Ramayana, Mahabharta, Vedas, and Upanishads?
Klaus K. Klostermaier's A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism has the following traditional dates for Hindu scriptures starting with the Vedas.
The chronology of Ancient India up to the time of Buddha is at present the focus of fierce scholarly debates. The majority of Indian scholars assume a date of 4000 BCE for the Ṛgveda, rejecting also the so-called 'Aryan invasion theory', whereas the majority of Western scholars maintain the invasion theory and date the Ṛgveda to 1500–1200 BCE. The chronology offered here represents largely the traditional Indian position.
Indians who do not use the Western (Gregorian) calendar have several other systems of dating. The most common eras used in today's India are samvat (beginning 57 BCE) and śaka (beginning 78 CE).
On the basis of the more recent research, based on archaeology and astronomy, the following chronology can be tentatively established:
c. 4000 BCE Earliest Vedic hymns
c. 3500 BCE Early Harappan civilization
c. 3100 BCE Traditional dates for the 'Great Flood' and Manu Vaivasvata
c. 3000–2750 BCE Traditional date for Yayāti Period
c. 2750–2550 BCE Traditional date for Māndhātri Period
c. 2700–1500 BCE Mature Indus civilization
c. 2350–1950 BCE Traditional date for Rāmacandra period
c. 1900 BCE Age of Rāmāyaṇa
c. 1500–500 BCE Major Upaniṣads, development of early Sāṃkhya, early Pūrva Mīmāṁsā
c. 1400 BCE Great Bharata War – Age of Kṛṣṇa. Early version of Mahābhārata
c. 1200 BCE Early Sūtra literature. Consolidation of Vedic civilization: Manusmṛti
624–544 BCE Life of Gautama Buddha according to traditional reckoning
527 BCE End of Mahāvīra's earthly life according to Jain tradition
518 BCE Persian invasion under Skylax and conquest of the Indian satrapy for Darius I
c. 500 BCE–500 CE Composition of Śrauta Sūtras, Gṛhya Sūtras, Dharma Sūtras, Vedāṇgas; the basis of the orthodox systems; composition of the epics and the original Purāṇas
c. 500–200 BCE Composition of the Bhagavad-gītā
c. 500–200 BCE Bādarāyaṇa's Vedānta Sūtra
c. 490–458 BCE Reign of Ajātaśatru, king of Magadha
c. 400 BCE Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī (Grammar)
c. 400–200 BCE Jaimini's Pūrvamīmāṁsā Sūtra
327–325 BCE Alexander of Macedonia's invasion of India
c. 322–298 BCE Reign of Candragupta of Magadha
c. 300 BCE Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador to Magadha
c. 300 BCE Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra (according to some scholars: 100 CE) Gautama's Nyāya Sūtras and Kaṇāda's Vaiśeṣika Sūtra
c. 273–237 BCE Reign of Aśoka
c. 200 BCE–100 CE Invasions of Śuṅgas, Iranians, Śakas and Kuṣāṇas, who founded kingdoms in India
c. 200 BCE–200 CE Peak period of Buddhist and Jain influence
c. 150 BCE–100 CE Patañjali's Mahābhāṣya
c. 115 BCE Besnagar inscription of Heliodorus with a mention of Kṛṣṇa worship
c. 100 BCE–500 CE Patañjali's Yoga Sūtra
c. 100 BCE–100 CE Upavarṣa's commentary on Pūrvamīmāṁsā Sūtra and Vedanta Sūtra
c. 100 BCE–400 CE Śabara-bhāṣya on Jaimini Sūtras
c. 100 BCE–800 CE Composition of Tirukkural
c. 100 BCE Early Mathura sculpture; images of gods in temples
c. 25 BCE Indian embassy to Emperor Augustus of Rome
c. 50 CE First documentation of images of gods with several pairs of arms
c. 10 Indian embassy to Emperor Trajan of Rome
c. 100–500 Expansion of Hinduism in South-East Asia
c. 100–200 Yājñavalkyasmṛti
c. 100–300 Viṣṇudharma Sūtra
c. 100–400 Nāradasmṛti
c. 200–500 Composition of Viṣṇu Purāṇa
c. 250–325 Sāṃkhya Kārikā of Īśvarakṛṣṇa
c. 300–600 Composition of some of the older Purāṇas in their present form
c. 300–888 Pallava rulers in South India (Kāñcīpuram)
c. 319–415 Gupta empire of Mathurā
c. 400–500 Vātsyāyana's Kāma Sūtra
c. 400 Composition of Harivaṃśa Purāṇa, Ahirbudhnya Saṃhitā. Age of Kalidāsa, the greatest Indian dramatist. Spread of Vaiṣṇavism, especially Kṛṣṇa cult. Beginning of Tantricism
c. 400–500 Vyāsa's Yoga-bhāṣya
David R. Kinsley, in Hinduism: A Cultural Perspective, gave the following timeline that begins with the end of Indus Valley Civilization.
A similar chronology is also available in Encyclopedia of Hinduism by Constance A. Jones and James D. Ryan:
3600 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E.
- Indus Valley civilization, including sites at Mohenjodaro and Harappa, prospers. Archaeological finds include a seal that some scholars identify as a proto-Shiva.
- Indo-Iranian people settle in Iran (Persia) and Afghanistan.
- Drying up of Sarasvati River due to climate changes. End of Indus-Sarasvati culture; center of civilization in ancient India relocates from the Sarasvati River to the Ganges River.
- Compilation of Rig Veda Samhita (the earliest extant text in Hinduism).
- End of compilation of the three original Vedas: Rig, Yajur, and Sama.
- Decline of Sanskrit as a spoken language occurs over the next 300 years.
800 to 400 B.C.E.
- Orthodox Upanishads are compiled.
- Prakrits (vernacular or "natural" languages) develop among India's various cultures, as evidenced from later Buddhist and Jain works.
- Birth of Mahavira Vardhamana (c. 599–527), 24th Tirthankara, Jain master who stresses vegetarianism, asceticism, and nonviolence.
- Birth of Siddhartha Gautama (563–483), the Buddha.
c. 500 to 200 B.C.E.
- Over these 300 years numerous secondary Hindu scriptures (smriti) are composed: Shrauta Sutras, Grihya Sutras, Dharma Sutras, Mahabharata, Ramayana, puranas, and others.
- Panini composes his Sanskrit grammar, the Ashtadhyayi.
c. 400 B.C.E.
Dharmashastra of Manu develops. Its verses codify cosmogony, four ashramas, government, domestic affairs, caste, and morality.
The Ajivikas, an ascetic, atheistic sect of naked sadhus reaches the height of its popularity.
Adversaries of the Buddha and the Jain Mahavira, they have a philosophy that is deterministic, holding that everything is inevitable.
Rig veda II.15.6, dedicated to Indra, says
सोदञ्चं सिन्धुमरिणान महित्वा वज्रेणान उषसः सं पिपेष | अजवसो जविनीभिर्विव्र्श्चन सो... ||
sodañcaṃ sindhumariṇān mahitvā vajreṇāna uṣasaḥ saṃ pipeṣa | ajavaso javinībhirvivṛścan so... ||
With mighty power he made the Sindhu (stream) flow Northward/upward, crushed with his thunderbolt the car of Uṣas, Rending her slow steeds with his rapid coursers. These things did Indra in the Soma's rapture.
The rishis composed the mantras of Rig Veda in esoteric manner. So it is very difficult to say whether Indra's act describes diversion of flow of Sindhu in Northern direction or in SPIRITUAL sense.
If it is viewed in physical sense, then the time period at which the direction of Sindhu was turned in Northern direction, is the period at which Rig Veda was composed.
May be lakhs of years ago.
The composition of Upanishads was done in Classical Sanskrit. Hence, the time period for composition of Upanishads shall be around 600 BCE.
Ramayana occurred almost 16 lakh years ago. However, the composition of Ramayana was done in Classical Sanskrit, as was the case of Upanishads. Hence, the time period for composition of Ramayana shall be around 600 BCE.
Mahabharata occurred much later. It was around 3100 BC.