Born in Moscow in the family of engineer iron founder. The great Patriotic war held in the evacuation in Nizhny Tagil.

In 1951 he graduated from the faculty of philosophy of Moscow state University and went to work as a teacher of history of the Stalingrad secondary school, where his father received direction. Since 1956, he began working at the Institute of Oriental studies, where since 1957 his head became Y. N. Roerich. In 1960 the first book of Pyatigorsk (co-authored) was published. In 1962 he defended his PhD thesis on "the history of medieval Tamil literature"at the Institute of Oriental studies. In 1963, at the invitation of the Y. M. Lotman participated in research on semiotics, held at the University of Tartu.

In 1973 he emigrated from the USSR.

Since 1974, he lived in the UK. Professor at the University of London. The winner of the award of Andrey Bely (2000) for his novel "remembering that strange man". Creator of the first Tamil-Russian dictionary (co-authored by S. G. Rudin). Expert Sanskrit and Tibetan, translator of ancient Hindu and Buddhist sacred texts.

Starred as the Maharaja in the film Otar Davidovich Ioseliani "Hunting for butterflies", became the hero of the Latvian documentary film Uldis Tirons "The Philosopher Escaped"("Philosopher escaped") (2005) and the film by Valery Balayan "Clean air for your Freedom" (2004). He took part in the filming of a documentary film dedicated to George Gurdjieff - "Stalin, Lenin and Gurdjieff" (RTR. 2007).

In October 2009 participated in the filming of a movie by Otar Iosseliani "Shantrapa".

He died in London on October 25, 2009.