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
Everyone who has been educated in India is familiar with this poem. It was written by one of India’s greatest sons, Rabindranath Tagore, who also penned the Indian national anthem. The depth and economy of words in this poem is striking. In school I had to study this poem many times over the years, and every time it gripped me with its profoundness and motivated me to be fearless with the fearlessness that comes from knowing that you have truth on your side. It motivated me to be honest and clear in my thinking.
Tagore lived at the peak of India’s struggle for independence and wrote to encourage his fellow countrymen in their struggle. His poem almost reads like the writing of a Christian. His vision for his country may just as well apply to Christians who are locked behind denominational doors, unable to recognise and understand one another, because of tradition, ignorance of the historical backgrounds of other groups, inadequacy in the right handling of the scriptures, and a lack of love. May we endeavour by reasoning from the scriptures to come together in fearlessness and truth?
I like to think that I have no axe to grind, that my allegiance is only to the Lord and to no one else, and that when I speak or write, my words come out from the depth of truth.
The heart is deceitful above all things . . . (Jer 17:9). When I am not watchful, I fail to recognise dishonesty in the way I respond to the Lord’s word. I am sometimes unconsciously intimidated by weighty tomes and sermons and by the words of loved ones and preachers, into maintaining a position that is not really convincing to me. Oh that I may tremble at His word and His word alone, on the basis of which all men will be judged. ‘. . . that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. (John 12:48)’
Search me, O God, And know my heart . . . (Psalm 139:23)
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. (Psalm 51:6)
Then shall my mind indeed be without fear.