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Kaka Kalelkar – Views On Religion And Truth

Kaka Kalelkar, a Gandhian thinker and writer, has enriched Gujarati literature with his numerous books. As the author of essays, a thinker and a prose writer par excellence, he has a permanent place in Gujarati literature. Here is a look at his views on religion and truth.

A streak of religious thought runs through Kalelkar’s creative as well as reflective writings.

The quintessence of Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and devotional poetry of the saint poets of Maharashtra seems to have shaped his religious viewpoint.

He accepts Gandhi’s path of action. He believes that the organization, wary of thinking, behavior and conduct which can lead to all round benefit of the people is religion.

Kalelkar’s view of religion is based on the pivotal point of truth. Hence he has also explained the various meanings of truth. By teaching Arjuna his own religion, Krishna had initiated him into universal religion. In the same way, Kalelkar sees equality in all end, thereby awakens the sense of oneness.

He says that love is the spontaneous power of truth. Since universal love emanates from truth, the person who is wedded to truth accepts non-violence as the grammar of truth.
Like Gandhi, Kalelkar also regards non-violence as the only means to attain truth, and sees the religion of love as the root of non-violence.

He describes forbearance as an element that nourishes non-violence. Thus, he cherishes the view of universal religion, which has been enriched by the religion of love.

All religions that aim at training and refining the heart of man are beneficial. There is a common element of truth underlying all religions. Hence they lead one towards God. However, they appear different because of differences in interpretation or different circumstances.

Kaka Kalelkar is an upholder of the harmony of different cultures, religions, dynasties and samskaras (sacraments).

He accepts the importance of prayer. Prayer enhances the quality of our life. The auspicious lofty desires, born in our hearts, imagination and ideals guide our life. Therefore the place of God is in our hearts. He does not regard image worship as an essential part of religion. There should be no insensitivity in the name of religion. Any special behavior and morals, instead of a genuine religious attitude, is not religion.

Appreciating the good features of Vedic, Jaina, and Buddhist religions and organizations like Arya Samaj and Prarthana Samaj, he draws out their best elements by interpreting them in broad terms, indicating their usefulness in the present day context.

On the other hand, he presents the quintessence of religion and draws our attention to the limited usefulness of religious rites and conventions.

Those rites are important only if they are able to nurture the basic elements of religion. He suggests that new ideas and codes of conduct should emerge from time to time. According to his confirmed view, religion should constantly flow like a river, grow like a tree.

Books of Kaka Kalelkar

  1. Himalayano Pravasa (Travels in the Himalayas)
  2. Jivanano Ananda (Joy of life)
  3. Jivanalila (Life Story)
  4. Otarati Divalo (The northern walls)
  5. Smaranayatra (Reminiscences of childhood days)
  6. Jivana Samskriti (Life’s culture)
  7. Jivanacintana (Reflections of life)
  8. Jivanvyavastha (Organization of life)
  9. Jivana Pradipa (The lamp of life)
  10. Jivanavikasa (Progress in life)
  11. Gitadharma (Religion of Bhagavad Gita)

 Kaka Kalelkar Short Biography

  • Kaka Kalelkar (1 December 1885 – 21 August 1981) – real name Dattatreya Balkrushna Kalelkar.
  • He was appointed as a member of Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 1964
  • He was president of Backward Classes Commission in 1953.
  • He presided Gujarati Sahitya Parishad in 1959.
  • He established Gandhi Vidyapith, Vedchhi in 1967 and served as its vice chancellor. 

Source – 
  • Kalelkar Granthavali (1984-88) Edited by Umashankar Joshi, et,al – Acharya Kalelkar Samiti Ahmedabad.
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume V page 378 - 379