Dervish. A Mussulman—Turkish or Persian—ascetic. A nomadic and wandering monk. Dervishes, however, sometimes live in communities. They are often called the “whirling charmers”. Apart from his austerities of life, prayer and contemplation, the Turkish, Egyptian, or Arabic devotee presents but little similarity with the Hindu fakir, who is also a Mussulman. The latter may become a saint and holy mendicant the former will never reach beyond his second class of occult manifestations. The dervish may also be a strong mesmerizer, but he will never voluntarily submit to the abominable and almost incredible self-punishment which the fakir invents for himself with an ever-increasing avidity, until nature succumbs and he dies in slow and excruciating tortures. The most dreadful operations, such as flaying the limbs alive; cutting off the toes, feet, and legs ; tearing out the eyes and causing one’s self to be buried alive up to the chin in the earth, and passing whole months in this posture, seem child’s play to them. The Dervish must not be confused with the Hindu sanyâsi or yogi. (See “Fakir”).
Source: H.P.Blavatsky - The Theosophical Glossary