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Urs in Sehwan Sharif, anniversary of death of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Red Falcon, medieval saint revered by Sufis of Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gather, including many radical dervishes called qalandars, to participate in ceremonies that include both Islamic spirituality and older customs dating back to Shivaic and shamanic past of this region. The essence of practice here is trance, achieved by beat of drums and intoxication with hashish, which leads to abandonment of lower self and uniting with divine reality. Dance called dhammal is main vehicle towards ecstasy of the "drunken", (jelali) sufis, often cricticized for that by orthodox Muslims, who go as far as terrorist attacks towards their more open brothers. Qalandars are fakirs, ascetics who give up attachment to earthly desires and commit to seeking God who is believed to dwell in heart of each man. Sufis, contrary to common view of the world, is the main, traditional form of Islam practiced in Pakistan, Sufi missionaries predating by several centuries invasion of militant, scriptural Islam from Arab countries. <br />
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Urs in Sehwan Sharif, anniversary of death of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Red Falcon, medieval saint revered by Sufis of Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gather, including many radical dervishes called qalandars, to participate in ceremonies that include both Islamic spirituality and older customs dating back to Shivaic and shamanic past of this region. The essence of practice here is trance, achieved by beat of drums and intoxication with hashish, which leads to abandonment of lower...
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