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Yogi Ram Surat Kumar – Short Biography

Yogi Ram Surat Kumar was a mystic from Varanasi who settled down at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. He is well known as Visiri samiyar – the ‘saint with a fan’. The Yogi’s association with the temple-tour of Thiruvannamalai was accidental but not without significance. This place also happens to be the seat of several other saints, the most notable being Maharshi Ramana, known all over the world as the Sage of Arunachal. Ram Surat Kumar was simplicity personified and led a life of austerity in the rigorous tradition of the ancient seers of the land. So long as he lived, the yogi went about his ways silently without fanfare and carrying with him as his worldly possessions a pair of palm leaf fans (joined together) and a coconut shell. He had a flowing white beard and wore a big green shawl.

Born at Varanasi on December 1, 1915, Surat Kumar had spiritual inclinations even in his teens. He raised questions about birth and death and wanted answers from the learned pundits of the holy city. He was advised to go to the South to get his doubts cleared. His first visit to the South at the age of 29 was not successful, as he failed to see Sri Aurobindo and Bhagavan Ramana, but in the late Fifties of the last century, after getting his initiation from Swami Ramdas of Kanhangad, he decided to settle down at Thiruvannamalai.

He acknowledges the contribution of three of the most well known saints of his time in his evolution to enlightenment. These individuals were Sri Aurobindo, the founder of Integral yoga, Ramana Maharshi, and Swami Ramdas, Yogi's eventual guru.

He was mistaken for a mendicant at first, but soon devotees were drawn to him by his spiritual stature. A smile or a gesture of his was enough for them to get mental peace and spiritual satisfaction. He advised his devotees to chant the name of God constantly and had no other message for them. The advice came in the tradition of nama siddhanta.

The yogi’s devotees built for him a small hut in 1978 and later the ashrama that is seen at Thiruvannamalai today.

Yogi Ram Surat Kumar entered Samadhi on February 20, 2001, at the age of 86. A temple for Shiva has been built over this resting place.