Born in 1877 in Alexandropol, near the Iranian (Persian) frontier with Russia, spend twenty years wandering around in Central Asia, and then re-appeared in Russia in 1913, with a new psychology of Man, which he taught to groups in Moscow and St Petersburg.  This psychology contained many gnostic elements, such as the need for the individual to achieve self-knowledge, and the idea that the world as it is is something to be overcome.


He and his school escaped from revolutionary Russia and in 1922 he established his Institute for the Harmonious Devopment of Man near Paris.


He wrote a number of books, but most of the information about his work and ideas comes from books written by his pupil P.D.Ouspensky, such as In Search of the Miraculous.


He died in 1949.