Shri Vethathiri Maharishi was born on 14 August 1911 in the village of Guduvancheri, south of Chennai, India, into an indigent weaver's Sengunthar Mudaliar family. After spending several years in various minor employment, he established a textile concern that grew to employ over 2,000 workers on a profit-sharing basis. Maharishi regularly participated in intense meditation and introspection, which he claims 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. However, he remained a "householder", i.e. he did not break his family ties or take vows of renunciation, but rather lived in the indigenous Siddha tradition, maintaining family ties.