Subramania Bharati was born at Ettyapuram (District Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu) on December 11, 1882. His father Chinnaswami Ayyar was a priest in the court of the king of Ettyapuram. The salary received from the court was sufficient to meet the needs of his family, but he had established a small cloth mill to generate more income.
Chinnaswami?s wife was a lady of religious temperament. Subramania was their first child. His parents called him Subbaiya, when he was a child. His mother died, when Subbaiya was a very young child of five. About one year later, in 1988, his father remarried.