1. Young-Mason, Jeanine EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

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Where The Mind Is Without Fear


Rabindranath Tagore


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;


Where knowledge is free;


Where the world has not been broken up into fragments


By narrow domestic walls;


Where words come out from the depth of truth;


Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;


Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way


Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;


Where the mind is led forward by thee


Into ever widening thought and action-


Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


"Poem 35, quoted here, from Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali was composed and published about 120 years ago. Gitanjali (meaning 'song offerings') gets a mention in Tagore's 1913 Nobel Peace Prize citation. Tagore himself translated some of his Bengali works, including this one, into English while considerably simplifying them. The words are thus so clear; there's really no need for annotation. Chitto jetha Bhayshunyo [Where the Mind Is Without Fear] has inspired generations of Indians and Bangladeshis-who consider it a hymn to inspire all mankind.


Almost a century before India attained independence, Tagore here yearns for the 'heaven of freedom.' The verse continues to exhort people-particularly in conflict zones across the world-to seek fearless truth, progressive thoughts and actions, and to stand up and see the world as one, undivided by borders or 'narrow domestic walls.' Tagore stood for living life to the full and not for any renunciation of the world.


President Barack Obama used the opening lines of this verse in his 2010 speech to the joint session of Parliament in New Delhi. In 2013, A.R. Rahman composed Jagoo Mere Desh Ko, an independence Day tribute, featuring the poem in its original Bengali as well as a Hindi translation. Rabindranath Tagore's birth anniversary falls on 7th May every year. Born in Calcutta, Tagore (1861-1941) is arguably India's greatest poet. Bangladesh and India have adopted poems penned by him as their national anthems." - Badrul Hasan


This is the prayer of all humanity longing to live without fear of repercussions for their thoughts and beliefs and fear of physical harm even within their own communities and homes. As clinicians, we know all too well the consequences of continuous fear and dread upon the body, mind, and spirit. This hymn is an antidote to fear and dismay-a hope for the salvation of all humanity. It is meant to be spoken, and I pray that the reader will do so as it will make an indelible imprint upon your heart. These words are meant for your soul, your life, your work. It is Tagore speaking to you from across time as in friendship with all humanity.


"If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another." - Mother Teresa


Reference Accessed March 11, 2021.