56 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 Internalized sense of truth that he upholds is contemptuous of the external parading of religiosity and as Satchidanandan (1999, 194) says it has not lost its mordant effect on the world: “Religion to Kabir was a wholly inward experience; the imprecations he bestowed upon those who followed the externals have still lost nothing of their mordant effect.” Kabir’s scathing attack on falsehood and unreflective ways of life is, in fact, the most articulate and logical sections in his oeuvre. A life of material pleasures and social platitudes is spurned for its complete neglect of the fundamental facticity of human condition – death and transience. The constant change that the physical world which include human body undergoes and the certitude of death, for him, should deeply disturb a human being. A philosophy that does not factor in, these fundamental realities, is seen as just vacuous verbiage. The constant reminder of death and precarity of life abounds in his poetry (Kabir 1991, 55): Ten are the doors to the cage There the life-bird stays That it stays so long is strange Its flight should not amaze. Death, in Kabir’s poetic world, is an event that nullifies all human attempts to camouflage the hollow nature of all social facades. The Universal energy that the poet exhorts each human being to get to experience, is the ultimate dictator when it comes to life and death (Kabir 2003, 117): Hari has sent His summons – COME INSTANTLY Your time to act is up. Death, unlike other events, is non-negotiable and is, ultimately, a test of the authenticity of life. The mystic experience that the poet considers to be the only sensible state of existence is available to those who go in earnest seeking of it, realizing the fragility of all that constitute one’s world. An experience beyond the physical is, for the mystic, the only eternal experience and hence, the only goal worthy of seeking. Kabir is elusive and illogical when he talks about the mysteries of the mystic realm, but he is absolutely rational and logical when he explicates the facticity of life that leads a seeker to search for them. Even if his poetic outpourings of mystic visions be dismissed on the basis of a rational analysis, his arguments for leading such a life are on firm logical foundation. In fact, as a spiritual teacher, Kabir, as reflected in his poetry, does not ask for a blind belief in the certainty of the beyond. His appeal is solely based on the unreasonable stance that the general public takes in living as nothing more than biological and social machines. In some of the poems, the mystic expresses his amazement at the ridiculous nature of such a life (Kabir 2003, 61): I see the world is crazy. When I tell the truth, People run to beat me up – When I tell lies, they believe me. Even religion, as it is practiced in the world, becomes one more attempt at making life more predictable and safer. To look into the profound questions that religion raises, takes at most honesty and courage which, usually, gives way to meek dogmatization. Gertrude C. Bussey (1932, 92), makes an insightful observation in this regard: “From the philosophical point of view one can only reiterate the uncertainty of religious positions and scrupulously avoid the temptation to dogmatize. Yet this does not really meet the situation fully. Even though people crave truth, many are not yet ready to prefer truth to apparent certainty.” It is quite interesting that Kabir, a saint, has the same critical approach to a religion based on faith (Kabir 1983, 93): Everyone says words, words, That word is bodyless. It won’t come On the tongue. See it, test it, take it. Kabir, like other Bhakti saints, has been very categorical about what constitutes a real spiritual experience. The rigid dogmatic charades of institutionalised religion and its egoistic practice at the individual level were ridiculed by him. The hollow verbiage that is philosophised and spiritualised cannot make one available to the grace of “that word”. Kabir says that it is bodyless and it will not come on the tongue. But it can be seen and once seen it should be tested and then, it becomes one with the seeker. This is, in fact, a clear statement of the saint-poet’s basic approach to religion. He locates the first spiritual stirrings in “seeing” that there is a dimension beyond physicality. This sight or rather, glimpse, is followed by an intense and rigorous scrutiny of this otherworldly feel. It is only after the seeker goes through the pain of doubt and insecurity that the “bodyless word” becomes part of the seeker’s conscious being. This is a spiritual path completely founded on true experience, contrary to the dogmatic and scriptural spirituality of religion as institution.