He was born at Nadiad, Gujarat in 1858. He completed primary and secondary education in Nadiad. He failed in Sanskrit in matriculation examination in 1875 but he was ranked second in examination in Bombay University the next year winning James Tylor prize. He joined Elphinstone College in 1877 and completed Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics in 1880. On insistence by his father to earn, he left studies but completed MA by studying himself. He returned to Nadiad and joined Government High School in July 1880 as an assistant teacher. In 1881, he was transffered to Bombay as a Deputy Education Inspector of girls schools. He joined Shamaldas College in Bhavnagar in 1885 but retired in 1889 following his ill health. He served as a head of Archeology department from 1893 to 1895 started by Baroda State. He died in 1898 in Nadiad.
He contributed in almost all popular forms of literature during his time. He was an exponent of advaita philosophy. He wrote Siddhantasara (1889) which traces evolution of religious thought and establishes superiority of advaita. Kanta, a play, (1882) was his first literary attempt. His stayed at Patan for nine months and prepared catalogue of more than two thousand manuscripts of Jain libraries which resulted in establishment of archeology department by Baroda state which he headed for years. His poetry Aatma-Nimmajan (1895) is based in his self experience. His other notable works include Gulabsinh. Narsinh-Avatar (1895) is a play depicting Hindu mythology. His essays in journals Priyamvada (1885-1890) and Sudarshan (1890-1898) discusses religion, philosophy and its application in life. Sudarshan Gadyavali (1919) is his collection of essays. He also wrote in English too. He compiled a book an Rāja yoga and also published papers on advaita, Hindu and Jain philosophies at Oriental Congress. He also presented paper on Hinduism at the first Parliament of World Religions held at Chicago in 1893. His autobiography Atmavrutant was published posthumously in 1979 which created a stir due to his outspoken truth without hiding his own morale lapses.
- Milestones in Gujarati Literature by K M Jhaveri.
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