Pathak was born at Hoshangabad in 1926. He completed his first PhD from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in the mid fifties. In 1957-58 he served as co-editor (with Prof RB Pandey) of the bulletin Bharati of the Department of Ancient Indian History Culture and Archaeology of BHU.
In the late fifties he moved to Sagar University in Madhya Pradesh as a member of faculty at the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. Pathak completed his second PhD in the early sixties under the Indologist A. L. Basham at SOAS at London University.
V.S. Pathak served as Head of the Department of History, Archaeology and Culture and also as Vice Chancellor of Gorakhpur University. He was invited to deliver the Professor Jagannath Agrawal memorial lecture  (started in 1994) at the Punjab University, Chandigarh.
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