Surak

From Academic Kids

Surak is a fictional character of the Star Trek universe. He is the most important philosopher in the history of the planet Vulcan. Living in the age when the Vulcans were a race of violent warriors, Surak founded a movement which reformed the Vulcan way of thinking and lifestyle and led to the world of logically thinking and emotion-surpressing Vulcans known from the series.

It is widely believed that the figure of Surak is based loosely on the Buddha.

Surak died in the 4th century C.E. (based upon Earth's calendar, approximately 1,800 years before the events of the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Awakening"), apparently of radiation poisoning caused by a nuclear-like battle that devastated Vulcan. His spirit, or katra, was placed in a form of urn where it lay undisturbed until discovered by a Vulcan called Syrran in the 22nd century. Surak's katra somehow ended up in Syrran's mind, and led Syrran to create a group called Syrranites dedicated to returning Vulcan civilization to the teachings of Surak. A decade or so later, in 2154 prior to the outbreak of a near-civil war on Vulcan, Syrran was killed while escorting Captain Jonathan Archer and T'Pol to his group's headquarters in the Vulcan forge. Before dying of wounds suffered from a lightning strike, Syrran placed Surak's katra into Archer's mind without consent.

Experiencing a hallucination (or vision), Archer found himself conversing with Surak within his own mind. Together, they witness a nuclear explosion that occurred on Vulcan 1,800 years earlier (possibly the same explosion which caused Surak's radiation poisoning). Surak actually displays emotion when talking to Archer, as well as the use of Earth-based idioms, but this is clearly due to the influence of Archer's mind.

A subsequent attempt to transfer Surak's katra to Syrran's second-in-command, T'Pau, failed. Conversing with Archer inside his own mind once again, Surak instructed Archer to recover an artifact called the kir'shara which Surak claimed could unite the warring factions on Vulcan. The mystical kir'shara contained a holographic representation of the philosopher's original writings. Archer and T'Pau were successful in taking the artifact to the Vulcan High Command which resulted in its overthrow (see the Enterprise episode entitled "Kir'Shara" for details). Surak's katra was subsequently transferred into the mind of an elderly Vulcan priest; it is not yet known what became of the katra after this point.

An interesting tidbit is that for a long time many Vulcan males had names beginning with S and ending in k, possibly to honor Surak, though it has been established that Vulcan names don't always fit this formula.

Surak appeared in the original Star Trek series episode "The Savage Curtain", in which Barry Atwater played a recreation of Surak devised by aliens. The character's second appearance was in the 2004 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise entitled "Awakening" in which he was played by Bruce Gray.

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