Philosopher considered the greatest of all who ever lived on Vulcan, the father of all which Vulcan culture holds true. Nearly two millennia ago, the planet was in the grip of devastating wars and violent passions. In the 4th century A.D. (Earth calendar), Surak traversed a treacherous desert known as "The Forge" in his quest for enlightenment, and came to conclude that logic is at the heart of every Vulcan soul. His teachings brought this basic truth to his people, and ushered in the great period of reformation and peace known as the Time of Awakening. His writings have formed the basis of all Vulcan belief and philosophy since, and have been extensively translated and interpreted throughout history (which some believe have compromised his doctrine). His original, unadulterated words, however, were preserved in an artifact known as the Kir'Shara, which was hidden inside the desert stronghold known as the T'Karath Sanctuary. Surak also left something else behind in an ancient artifact. According to legend, Surak's body died on Mount Seleya, but his katra, the essence of his consciousness, was spirited away before "the last battle against those who marched beneath the Raptor's Wings" and stored in an ark. This "katric ark" was buried for centuries until found in 2137 by a disciple named Syrran. Syrran held the katra within himself, allowing fellow disciples to mind-meld with him in order to touch the spirit of Surak. A movement known as Syrrannites, claiming to follow the true teachings of Surak, came to be a significant force on the Vulcan world, threatening the status quo leadership with their philosophy. In 2154 when Syrran was about to meet an untimely death, he quickly passed the katra of Surak to the human Jonathan Archer, who then had visions of Surak instructing him to find the Kir'Shara and lead the Vulcan people back to their true path. He did so, and the result was political upheaval and the reformation of Vulcan society from the 22nd century on. The katra of Surak ultimately came to reside in a Vulcan Priest who was a confidant of certain Syrrannite leaders.

In 2269 a replica of Surak was created from the memory of Spock on planet Excalbia as part of a contest of "good" vs. "evil."