Shri Vethathiri Maharishi was born in 1911 in the village of Guduvancheri, 30 km south of Chennai, India, into an indigent weaver's family. From his youth he was driven by the desire for knowledge and in particular strove to find answers to three questions:
Who is God?
What is life?
Why is poverty in the world?
The search to find these answers as well as to further his lot in life led him into various fields of endeavor, including becoming a qualified practitioner of two systems of Indian indigenous medicine, Ayurveda and Siddha, and certified practitioner Homeopathy as well.
After spending several years in various minor employments, he established a textile concern that grew to employ over 2000 workers on a profit sharing basis that would be thought progressive even today.
Although constantly busy with family and business matters, he always found time to pursue his deep desire to achieve self-realization and realization of Truth. Several years of intense meditation and introspection brought him full enlightenment at the age of thirty five.
At the age of fifty he closed his commercial ventures and devoted himself solely to spiritual service so as to guide sincere spiritual aspirants by transmitting and sharing with them his experiences and revelations of Truth.
Even though his life has long been dedicated spiritual and social service he has remained a "householder", i.e. he has not broken his family ties and taken vows of renunciation, but rather lived in the indigenous Siddha tradition, maintaining family ties and fulfilling his duties.
Vethathiri's lifetime works are called Vethathiriyam, which literally translates as a roadmap to the mountain of knowledge. He claimed that a deep understanding of nature is essential for living in harmony with the law of nature, while balancing material well-being with spiritual progress.
Vethathiri Maharishi's claimed to synthesize a complete science of living for the betterment of humanity through: Simplified Kundalini Yoga meditation, Physical Exercises, Kaya Kalpa Yoga and Introspections.
In 1958 Shri Vethathiri Maharishi founded the World Community Service Centre (WCSC), a non-profit registered society with a view to work towards World Peace Through Individual Peace. As of today, more than 200 trusts and about 1000 meditation centres have been registered and affiliated to WCSC in India. From 1972 to 1993, he travelled abroad annually, lecturing and teaching extensively in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and USA.
In 1984 he founded the "Vethathiri Maharishi Yoga and Kaya Kalpa Research Foundation" based in Aliyar, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu in the name of Arutperunjothi Nagar. This is located on Pollachi-Valparai Highway SH-78, next to Azhiyar Dam and State Transportation buses are available to Arutperunjothi Nagar from Pollachi. Facilities are provided for large groups to stay and undergo SKY courses of several days in duration. The Temple of Consciousness is the centerpiece of the campus.
In 1998 the Brain Trust was established to bring together intellectuals of various fields to discuss the issues facing mankind and work towards solutions for bringing about peace and harmony to the individual and to the world at large.
Vethathiri Maharishi died on 28 March 2006 in Coimbatore. His embalmed body is now located in Mani Mandapam inside the World Community Service Center, Arutperunjothi Nagar, Azhiyar, Pollachi.