54 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 1 Introduction Mysticism is, essentially, “the expression of the innate tendency of human spirit towards complete harmony with the transcendent order” (Underhill 1911, 8) and hence, its reach is beyond the realm of language and logic. A sense of wonder and awe is at the very heart of any religious experience and as Rudolph Otto (1923, 14) notes, we can attribute the origin of religion to this universal human experience of mystery: “the feeling of ‘something uncanny’, ‘eerie’, or ‘weird’… the feeling which, emerging in the mind of the primeval man, forms the starting-point for the entire religious development in history.” A mystic embraces this uncanny feeling of mystery and dissolves the certainties of his/her limited individual identity, at the risk of being irrational for the general public. This is the reason why mystics across traditions and geographies tend to come across as illogical even as the theological discourse of the traditions they are part of sound logical enough. While theology deals with logic of metaphysics, mysticism is the discourse of one who is completely taken in by the otherworldly dimension of human experience. However, it is also significant that many mystics have used language and logic to reach out to people who are outside the ambit of their range of experience. Hence, mysticism can be discussed in an academic space with regard to the engagement of the saints in the public sphere, though such deliberations cannot bring out the metaphysical reality that they allude to. As Ralph Barton Perry (1904, 82) notes, “there is a place in religion for that which is not directly answerable to philosophical or scientific standards. But there is always, on the other hand, an element of hope which conceives the nature of the world, and means to be grounded in reality.” It seems the sheer intensity of mystic experience overflowed in a language that is logical enough to ridicule the way of life of the general public, but illogical to the core when pointing to the hinterlands of the saints’ inner world. This conflict between the mystics’ lived reality and the reality that they temporarily step in to engage with the public, opens up a nebulous space where seemingly clear conceptualisations are problematised. Hence, research on mysticism, in this context, becomes an attempt to closely look at some of the most common notions that human beings have taken for granted for ages and to expose the unreflective mentality that has gone into the making of them. It is in this context that this paper discusses the poetry of the sixteenth century Indian saint-poet Kabir. Kabir is one of the most important, arguably the most influential, among a group of poets in medieval India known as the Bhakti poets. His poetry has seeped into the literary sensibility of Indian subcontinent and has been a remarkable poetic validation for the power of words rooted in deep experience in the way it unsettled social stereotypes and platitudes and for its uncanny potency to conduit the illogical mystic dimension in language. More than anything else, his poetry offers a variety of experience that a mystic traverses in his spiritual seeking. Or rather, it accurately lays out the different flavours that the subjective notion of truth takes upon in the path to the realisation of one’s own Self. Kabir’s poetry has inspired people for its spiritual exuberance as well as its daring social critique. The image of Kabir as an iconoclastic rebel has resonated with socio-political movements outside the ambit of religion. On a closer look, these two aspects of vociferous protest against social evils and the outpouring of spiritual experiences are organically connected. The zeal of social reformation that is usually attributed to Kabir is nothing but the first step that he vouches for as the most significant quality that is required if one fancy any progress in spiritual path – that is, the need to be absolutely honest about the basic facts about one’s life. The spiritual exuberance, as we see in Kabir’s poetry, is the ultimate flowering of a life founded on an unflinching ability to be honest. However, the truth that Kabir extols in his poetry takes on many hues. We can conceive them as different stages of spiritual unfoldment in the life of a seeker. Through a close textual analysis of select poems of Kabir, this study seeks to bring out co-existence of “different truths” in Kabir’s poetry. For this purpose, the poems which present the notion of truth in varying contexts have been selected and they are studied with an emphasis on the implications and ambiguities with regard to truth that one can discern in them. This study discusses three different phases in Kabir’s elucidation of truth – 1. the stage of complete negation of everything that one finds to be a lie and seeing the phenomenal world exactly the way it is without any distortions from the mind; 2. the pain of not experiencing the ultimate truth and the longing for it; 3. experience of the transcendent mystic truth. While making the distinction of three different phases in Kabir’s conception of truth, this study also ventures to identify the common thread running through these different strands.