- For other uses, see Surak.
- The Way of Kolinahr states that Surak's father was Solek, a General of ShiKahr's army
Surak helped end the destructive wars on Vulcan and taught his followers to learn to embrace logic and control their emotions. This era became known as the Time of Awakening and saw Vulcans transform from violent savages and transcend into logical, ordered beings. Surak became the revered father of Vulcan logic and his teachings were still worshiped in the 24th century. (TOS episode: "The Savage Curtain"; TOS novel: Spock's World; and TNG episode: "Gambit, Part II").
- "I don't seek the fulfillment of desires.
- I have chosen to end the desires themselves." - Surak at Ishaya after relinquishing the Ko N'ya to Garamond. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
One record states that Surak was born in 279 A.D. (Earth relative date) during a time of war and suffering on his world. (Decipher RPG module: Player's Guide) Surak was born on the night of Da'Nikhirch, where he was noted for being overdue and overly large, as well as forcing his mother T'Leia to give birth via a technique similar to Caesarean section. (TOS novel: Spock's World) He was born to an upper class family in the city of ShiKahr. Even when he was born, he was known to resist the more bellicose behaviors demonstrated by others of his kind, which was a source of disappointment to his father. Surak's gentleness caused many arguments between between father and son, which would eventually lead to them not speaking to each other. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) He was the youngest of several brothers with one of his kindred being Surrel, and at one time they resided in the settlement of Isk'Kahr. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
As a child, Surak witnessed the aftermath of a battle on the Ishayas near his family's home. Several Vulcan clans had fought to their mutual destruction. Surak found his father moments away from death. In Stef's last moments, he revealed to Surak the Ko N'ya where he urged his son to use it to bring dominance to their clan. However, witnessing the destruction in his father's desire, the young Surak simply relinquished the stone to Garamond, the leader of the rival clan that had killed his father. Despite Garamonds claims on the stones power, Surak stated that it was desire that had led to senseless death and that he would seek to end desire before he departed which led to his first steps in seeking the philosophy of logic and peace. (TNG novel: The Devil's Heart)
- The Way of Kolinahr book states that Surak's father was killed along with numerous other generals by assassins sent by the warlord of Sudoc. The book states that Surak's father, Solek was killed along with his wife and children with Surak being the only survivor as he was away discussing philosophy with his circle of friends.
During his rise to adulthood, it was known that there was nothing overtly unusual about young Surak who ate, spoke, and read at a normal rate as well as enjoyed toy replica weapons. His schooling was also uneventful and he did well in his subjects, though records indicated that he was not as skilled in mathematics, which was a disappointment to his mother, one of the planet's prominent chemists and mathematicians. He was popular and made friends easily, with those friendships lasting for the rest of his life. (TOS novel: Spock's World) Another tragedy that would strike the young Surak would be when his closest friend, Senet, joined the army to avenge the death of his father who was a general of ShiKahr. The death of his friend would have a profound impact on Surak who would begin to evaluate his life and the senseless carnage that engulfed his homeworld. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) When he completed his schooling, his father invited him to join his business as a consultant in one of the large corporations in de'Khriv. Surak gladly did so and worked for years until he was forty six where they made their business a success on their world. A particular change that occurred to Surak was when he was working on a cost cutting exercise for one of the psi-tech companies that fought a way to create mindchange adepts by way of an assembly line that involved cloning brain as well as neural tissue whereupon by-products of these samples were introduced into others thus giving them the ability to perform the feat. At the time, he learnt of the detonation of an antimatter bomb on T'Khut which made him realize the true depth of how close his species was to destruction. It was known that he later departed the work place and seemingly disappeared in an air car. (TOS novel: Spock's World) However, other reports indicated that he was a noted computer scientist with his life changing when he later learnt that his breakthroughs were used with weapons of war that killed thousands of lives. Feeling distraught, Surak decided to leave the sciences and he departed for parts unknown. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus)
It was in the desert where he gazed upon Mount Seleya that was an enlightening experience to Surak and received an epiphany when he encountered an Underlier. From this event, he returned back to civilization and did not initially speak of his experience in the desert on that night. (TOS novel: Spock's World) Some reports indicated that he met with the Adepts of Gol and the Adepts of Seleya in order to find a way to cope with the guilt he felt in helping bring about the deaths of so many people. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) Whilst tradition stated that around two thousand years ago, Surak journeyed pass the Gateway into Vulcan's Forge that sparked his philosophy of logic. (TOS novel: Captain's Glory) After returning home, he quit his job much to the dismay of his parents whereupon he asked for as well as received his share of the family properties where he safely conducting his banking affairs. Following that, he once again departed into the desert and was not heard from again for several years except through the most remote of communication nets. (TOS novel: Spock's World) At the time, he was noted at being the head of his House before he disappeared. He also did have a nephew at the time. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) Taking with him only a small portable terminal and an aircar, Surak spent much of his time alone where he spent time with the various religious as well as holy sects that populated his homeworld in a time known as the Withdrawal. There were little records of what transpired during this time though one tape managed to survive across the centuries that involved a conversation with a hermit who lived near a lake by the Lesser Sea that talked about the art of fishing with a rod. (TOS novel: Spock's World)
Surak spent five years out in the wilderness during this time whereupon he once more returned to civilization and occupied a small apartment in the capital city that was located near his parents house. Once there, he began writing on the information networks with his words first sparking some interest as many were intrigued by the strange writings of Surak due to the fact that he had vanished. It was a noted fad for people to read Surak's work at the time though the interest eventually died down. This did not stop Surak who continued with his writings that spoke of how Vulcan needed to change its way of life in order to save itself from destruction. These writings and words eventually were codified and became the basis of his Guidelines. Surak was known to have continued his writing for several years with his work being submitted to the information nets where more people began to read it. Some of these individuals often met with Surak and angrily sought him out in order to demand an explanation as to why he dictated how the rest of Vulcan should live their lives. Surak responded by only welcoming these people into his home and providing them not only food but shelter whilst allowing them to watch him write. Some of these people eventually went away and began writing themselves where they spoke of the philosopher on a third floor apartment who was an enlightened man with an inner peace in him. In contrast, Surak did not react to these words and simply continued his writing as he knew that there would be an equal number of those that scoffed at his words whilst others stayed to learn. (TOS novel: Spock's World)
At some point in his early life, Surak was fleeing from the armies of General Solon when his ship capsized. (TOS novel: Preserver) Another uncharted event in his life was when he became a student of T'Plana-Hath and became one of her prized students alongside Jarok. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
Way of Logic
By the 312 A.D., he adopted his philosophy of pure logic and helped lead the Vulcan people into a peaceful new age and out of the time known as the "Years of Chaos". (Decipher RPG module: Player's Guide; FASA RPG module: The Romulan War) He had written many of his teachings down and was surprised at the clarity he had achieved when he began his belief in logic. However, when he spoke about his new beliefs to his circle of friends, they decided to abandon him as they believed that he had become a deranged after the death of his family. His teachings would alienate more and more of his friends until a core group remained. These people would become future philosophers and included; Jarok, Nirak, T'Mor, and Vethek. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans). Another noted individual to had met Surak during the time of his writings was S'task who desired to learn more about this new philosophy being preached. Initially, Surak turned him away but S'task answered the philosophers questions to the point that he was accepted and became a student of logic. As his message began to spread, the teachings of Surak became more noticed which faced opposition initially but was gradually accepted by the Vulcan people. This prompted the chief councilors of Lhai calling upon Surak in a desperate act to serve as an emissary to Irik in order to prevent a full scale war from erupting between the two nation states. Surak gladly joined the emissaries and shut himself with them for a day and a night whereupon he sent them on their way. After two days, they returned and the Lhai councilors were shocked to see that they brought with them the High Council of Irik who had signed a peace treaty following a week long negotiation. In fact, each nation made major concessions to the other with many dazed at this remarkable change except for Surak. This peace sponsored by him ultimately held and remained till the unification of the entire planet despite the maneuvering of various power blocs in both nations that wanted to restart hostilities. (TOS novel: Spock's World)
It was known that five thousand years ago he came with a small band of followers to an oasis in ShiKahr in order to practice a new philosophy of nonviolence. Legend stated that a band of warriors approached and were seeking to seize control of the precious source of water. However, Surak simply welcomed them and bid them to drink as well as fill while he spoke to them of logic along with the peace that was found through emotional control. Despite his message, his small community was frequently attacked though he refused to fight back which was an attitude that warriors could not comprehend. As their code of honor did not permit killing unarmed people, they instead sought to enslave Surak and his followers. But Surak offered no resistance and instead spoke eloquently of his teachings at every opportunity. At some point, he simply disappeared out of the warriors camp despite being in chains and other restraints in order to rejoin his compatriots at the oasis in ShiKahr which became the location where the future Vulcan Science Academy was based. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders)
Though preaching this new found belief, he had many opponents that attempted to silence him for his thoughts. One such individual was the Kolinahr master Zakal. (TOS novels: The Lost Years, The Romulan Way). He even faced opposition from his own family firstly from his own nephew as Surak was the head of his House by this point. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) Another was from his own cousin T'Pel who was not satisfied with this message of peace and instead desired the ruthless bloodthirsty ways of her people. She was known to have twisted Surak's own teachings to create Analogic and formed a guild of assassins called the Adepts of T'Pel who were one of the deadliest factions to exist on Vulcan at the time. Where Surak showed what peace could accomplish, T'Pel showed what their violent behavior could do and ironically aided in many Vulcans converting to Surak's message of Total Logic. (TOS novel: Memory Prime) His message of peace would spread from his home town and face many violent attacks from numerous people which was a test of his pacifistic belief. However, his message of peace would never gain root among the people, many of whom lost loved ones during the wars against the 'barbarians' under the command of the warlord Sudoc. Sensing that the people would not listen through words alone, Surak and his followers began to preach to the members of other armies and enemies which formed the teachings of Tu-Surak. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
Some of his noted accomplishments were traveling to the Plains of Blood where he soothed the hot tempers of his fellow Vulcan's by preaching his belief in logic. (ENT episode: "The Forge"). Another one of his accomplishments was the conversion of ten thousand warriors who stood down in the face of his logic which was one of the defining moments in the Time of Awakening. (TOS novel: The Covenant of the Crown). The mindlords of the Kolinahru were known to have converted to the teachings of Cthia after hearing the words from Surak himself and left the war that night. Other legends speak of the Four Hundred and Four, which tell of Surak's followers that would mysteriously appear in the camps of Sudocs armies and each time they would be executed. These tales had such an impact that Vulcan Masters for many years would remember the death speeches of these brave soldiers of peace. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
The spread of Surak's teachings would be so profound as they were willing to die for the spread of logic which demoralized their enemies. Many warlords would rebel against Sudoc's rule. After Sudoc's death, many more would convert to Surak's teachings with such intensity that members would be converted without ever meeting Surak himself. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Over a period of centuries, Surak's philosophy of nonviolence and emotional control gained respect all across Vulcan until eventually it became the prevailing way of life for the Vulcan race. The Vulcan Science Academy itself grew up around the philosophers who followed Surak and disciples came here to learn from them leading to the first building being built out of desert stone. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders)
During his travels, he was considered a terrorist for his radical views though he still journeyed and spread his views to those who listened. However, he realized that the wars that engulfed his homeworld may very well destroy the Mother World and made attempts to ensure the survival of his species. To do this, he journeyed to ShiKahr to the Vulcan Space Institute where he swayed the mind of the young engineer Karatek and brought the idea to the scientists of the Vulcan Space Initiative to allow thousands of Vulcans to leave the world in sleeper ships in order to preserve their species should the wars finally extinguish life on Vulcan (planet).
During his trip, he faced many attacks on his life by members of the Vulcan High Command, the Te-Vikram Brotherhood and even members of his family, who had disowned him. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) As Vulcan science advanced to the point where their technology meant that self annihilation was becoming more likely, Surak began to lead a number of Reforms. One of these involved adapting the old rite of opposing nations in taking a valued member of their opponents and in case of war, kill them if the other side initiated hostilities. Whilst considered barbaric in other societies, Surak sought to adapt this tradition and used the gifts of the High masters to create a procedure where an indestructible capsule containing nuclear launch codes was implanted within a persons chest. Through this, he created the Warrantors of Peace which sought to prevent a possible global conflict as the leader of the nation had to with their own hand cut out the heart of their child or closest friend in order to launch their weapons . This served as a deterrent for the war mongers and led to the first millennium of peace being ensued. (TOS novel: Dwellers in the Crucible)
Though his teachings would spread across the globe, many Vulcans would still attempt to cling to old martial beliefs. One such group would consist of a cadre of Sudoc's followers who were led by Tellus and formed the Children of Ket-Cheleb. This group would attempt to leave Vulcan on generation ships and despite all of Surak's attempts at convincing them otherwise, this group of Vulcan's left the homeworld. Surak's failure in this task would haunt him for the rest of his life and would be a source of animosity between him and Jarok. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans)
- Vulcan's Soul and The Way of Kolinahr take different approaches to the exodus of the Proto-Romulans. Vulcan's Soul states that they left with numerous other groups on generation ships with Surak's blessings while the Way of Kolinahr states that they left in defiance of the spread of logic over Vulcan. However, its possible that certain factions on the ships left with a variety of reasons.
One of the most prized works of Surak was the development and encoding of his teachings into a codex known as the Kir'Shara. He was also noted in the creation of the Surak's Analects. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus) Another was a scroll that was written by him that was part of his speeches and talks on logic to his followers. This parchment would last for five thousand years and retained carefully by the 23rd century. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders)
Death and Return
Despite his message of peace, it is said that Surak passed away at Mount Seleya from radiation poisoning from the weapons of mass destruction used in that era. (ENT episodes: "Awakening", "Kir'Shara"). One source states that this was in the year 481. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Since that time, many groups claimed to follow the true path of Surak. (ENT episode: "Kir'Shara")
- One source states that Surak was killed by Yhri terrorists. (TOS novel: Spock's World - Vulcan Six). While TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus states that he died in ShiKahr after an attack on the Vulcan Space Initiative by factions that wished to prevent the launch of the Great Ships. It should be noted, however, that it he may have survived the attack but was believed to have been killed in the skirmish.
Though his physical form died, Surak's Katra was preserved through the ages. It was later discovered in 2137 by a Vulcan known as Syrran who stored it within his body. Seeing how his teachings had become distorted, the two minds formed the Syrrannites movement which attempted to recover the Kir'Shara and bring the true way of Cthia to the people. During this time, the Vulcan High Command attempted to frame and destroy the Syrranite movement. On this journey, Syrran himself was gravely wounded but passed the katra of Surak to a Human known as Jonathan Archer who managed to bring a new age on the Vulcan homeworld by toppling the corrupt rule of the High Command. (ENT episodes: "The Forge", "Kir'Shara")
In 2156, Surak's katra resided within the body of Administrator T'Pau with the two attempting to steer the Vulcan race to complete logic as embodied by the Kolinahr discipline by way of mind melds. Though present within a body, the Kolinahr masters were choosing a more long term body for Surak's katra to inhabit. It was expected that within a single generation the practice would be complete. However, there was concern over the Romulan War that had broken out between the Romulan Star Empire and the Coalition of Planets. Administrator T'Pau believed that overt participation in the fight against the Romulans would ruin all the hope of the Vulcan people fully adopting Surak's principles. (ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing)
Surak's katra would be embedded within the Hall of Ancient Thought and deny the chance of being released from the burdens of the world as he decided to continue to serve his people by the 24th century. In the 23rd, residue of his katra still causes the volcanic rock statues to glow from inside on the Kolinahr plains of Vulcan. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Epiphany; TOS movie: The Motion Picture)
- According to (ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing), Surak's katra was destroyed in 2156.
In terms of personality, it was stated that Surak was as committed to the path of peace as he was to logic. Furthermore, he believed concepts such as slavery were not only illogical but an abominable act. He was also noted for his intolerance of emotion as he believed it to be the root cause of his species destructive acts. (Last Unicorn RPG module: The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans) Surak believed that the greatest strength came not from war but from peace. (ENT - The Romulan War novel: Beneath the Raptor's Wing) The engineer Karatek described Surak as being ruthless in his use of logic but was never cruel. And even though he was a believer of Cthia, there were rare moments when he did display a sudden 'flash' of emotion which he immediately suppressed. This was noted only once, when his student Skamandros was killed in a sudden attack by Surak's enemies. (TOS novel: Vulcan's Soul)
As a teacher, Surak was noted as being quite fond of teaching his students through the use of questions which later became known as the Suraktic Method on Vulcan. (TOS novel: Preserver) Detailed within his writings in the Kir'Shara, he stated that one must wage peace with the same amount of effort that one would use to wage war. (STO mission: "Friend of My Enemy") Amongst his ancient teachings was the sanctity of the individual which was one of the reasons why mind melds were not made without the consent of the other party. (TOS novel: Crisis on Vulcan)
Students of Surak
Many credit Surak for starting the movement that would alter the Vulcan species for all of time and start their path down the ways of logic as well as peace. This would result in the Vulcan race being given the opportunity to step away from the violent conflicts that threatened to destroy the Vulcan homeworld.
Most modern Vulcans adhered to Surak's original philosophy of emotional control. Some time after this way of logic became widespread, certain philosophers felt that it was necessary to further refine these teachings to include the complete rejection of emotion rather than emotional control. Followers of these stricter philosophies remained even to modern years where they practiced the Kolinahr discipline. These individuals removed themselves from ShiKahr and instead resided in the harsh volcanic areas of the planet which were forbidden to offworlders and even to Vulcans curiosity seekers. There, the Masters of Gol continued their practice of rejection of emotion. (TOS novel: The Vulcan Academy Murders)
During his life, Surak created a great many pieces of work that the Vulcan people would adhere to in their belief of Cthia. This would include his original writings which were present on the Kir'Shara that would be lost initially (ENT episode: "Kir'Shara"). Another accomplishment was his Analects which were a collection of writings made by him which sparked much controversy when first written (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus). His Tenets of Discipline were also an important piece of work known to many Vulcans (TOS novel: Killing Time). In addition to this, his Irreducible Foundations of Logic would spark the basic framework for Vulcan forensic work which preached a "degrees of harm" test which essentially meant that the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one." (TOS novel: Captain's Peril)
Other races, such as humans were also exposed to Surak's teachings when his writings were translated into other languages. The Vulcan Skon was the first to translate some of these teachings into English. Skon's grandson in 2273; ironically a Vulcan/human hybrid was shuttled in a courier with Surak's namesake to his eventual first contact with not only V'Ger, but arguably to some degree, the Borg. (ENT episode: "Two Days and Two Nights", TOS novel: The Return , TOS novelization: Star Trek: The Motion Picture) Whilst it was claimed that it was never intended for Surak's teachings to be followed by other races, there was a significant following of people that embraced the logic derived philosophies amongst the people of Earth by the late 23rd century. (TOS novel: Spock's World)
Another legacy that affected the Vulcan people was the adoption of names beginning with the letter 'S'. These disciples did such a task in honor of Surak. At the time of his preaching, approximately 28.6 percent of the population did so. In addition to this, the logic seeking Vulcans abandoned the need for the consumption of meat and became strict vegetarians. (TOS - Vulcan's Soul novel: Exodus)