A fakir or faqir, is a Sufi who performs feats of endurance or magic. The word comes from faqr (Arabic: فقر), meaning "poverty".[1]

Herbert Ponting's 1907 photograph of "a fakir in Benares" (Varanasi), India

In English, the word is often for Hindu ascetics (e.g., sadhus, gurus, swamis and yogis) as well as Sufi mystics. It can also be used to for a common street beggar who chants holy names, scriptures or verses. It has become a common Urdu and Hindi word for "beggar".

Many stereotypes of the great fakir exist, including a near-naked man easily walking barefoot on burning coals, sitting or sleeping on a bed of sharp nails, floating in the air while meditating, or "living on air" (refusing all food).

References Edit

  1. God Speaks, Meher Baba, Dodd Meade, 1955, 2nd Ed. p. 305