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