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True Freedom

by Vidya Sury August 15, 2012 46 comments

Today, August 15, Independence Day is being celebrated in India. Yes, we’re proud to be Indians.

So let me start this post with one of my most favorite verses about freedom by one of the greatest poets ever, Rabindranath Tagore.

Where The Mind is Without Fear

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

Though published in English in 1910, this poem by Tagore, is eternally relevant. My Mother was a great fan of his writings and I fondly remember a large photograph of Tagore which she cherished for decades, and then donated lovingly to the school she developed

A brief note about Rabindranath Tagore: 

Rabindranath Tagore Freedom
Let me share a brief background about Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate.

Born in Calcutta into a wealthy family, he wrote poetry as a child, publishing his first book at the age of 17. He was in England briefly, in 1878 to study law. Later he returned to India and was recognized as the most important and popular author of the colonial era. He wrote poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, besides composing hundreds of songs.

In 1901, Tagore established Shantiniketan, which followed the ancient “Gurukula” system of education, where students lived and studied at their Guru’s house.

In 1929, he began to paint.Though he basically wrote in Bengali, he later translated his own works into English. (Thank God!) He became a Nobel laureate in Literature in 1913 Nobel Prize and in 1915, was conferred a Knighthood by British king George V. In 1919, Tagore renounced his knighthood after the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by the British.

His most famous works are:  ‘Balaka’, ‘Sonar Tari’, ‘Chitali’, and ‘Gitanjali’. His selected poems ‘Sanchaita’, and selected short stories ‘Galpagucha’ were published in India 1966.

He gave us our beautiful National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana”  There are so many renditions of this by different artists and they are all just as breathtaking as the original.

What is true freedom?

True freedom, being free, to me, means practicing:

  • self control
  • mental discipline
  • tolerance of others
  • unconditional love
  • connecting with my inner teacher
  • appreciation of everything I have
  • letting go of negative beliefs and thoughts
  • exercising the right of choice
  • being open to abundance
  • non-violence
  • being progressive in thought and action
  • being fearless
  • self-expression and speaking up
  • consciously giving my best at all times
  • not holding grudges, ever
  • living in the present moment
  • giving back to my society in every way I can
  • being true to myself and others I connect with
  • trusting my intuition
  • never lose hope
  • making the right choices

I am proud to be an Indian on August 15 and every day of my life.   Even today, when I hear “The Pledge” recited at my son’s school, my eyes fill with tears.


India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

Jai Hind!

Today I wish for freedom from corruption and addiction. True independence will be when every child has the right to three nutritious meals a day and education. When the girl child is considered just as important as the male and given equal opportunity.

Okay! Now lets grab a box of tissues and watch this: The Silent National Anthem

Happy Independence Day!

In closing…

I would like to share a wonderful quote:  

“Catch yourself when your mind starts with limiting beliefs or any other negative thoughts that work against you. Let the negative thoughts rise to the surface and evaporate by reminding yourself that what you want is going to happen.”

Question for you:

What does freedom mean to you?

(Please share in the comments)


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Terri Sonoda August 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm

So beautiful and inspiring! I have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. Happy Independence Day Vidya! Freedom is such a precious word, and has many levels and perspectives. I don’t think anyone could put freedom into words as well as you have, my dear.
Much love! Thanks for sharing your day and your pride in your country. So uplifting!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Thank you, Terri, dearest. You expressed it perfectly! Hugs!

raouldify August 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

Happy Independence Day Vidya,
Lovely story and thank you for introducing me to your national treasure, Tagore.

Freedom is such a fickle child and it should be the birthright of all humanity yet it is not. We take it for granted mostly so the reminder that it means much more than the literal definition is an important message.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Thank you, Ralph! Tagore is a treasure 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the poetry. In a world full of power struggles, freedom is a perception and we each have our own 🙂 Great to see you here, today!

Keetha Broyles August 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

And I like to remind myself that our freedom is not free. Many have paid the supreme price to purchase it for us.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

You’re so right, Keetha. It is only fair we guard it with our lives! Hugs!

Irfanuddin August 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Thanks for those inspiration words my friend….indeed the true independence will be when every child has the right to three square of meals a day n education and when we Indians stop doing all nonsense that we do to have a male child…lets hope n pray that we Indian have some sense and stop doing those nonsense…AAMEEN…..

BTW thanks for the visit n for those kind words…i am genuinely happy to be here and read this wonderful post, looking forward to read more here….

Take Care,

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Hi Irfanuddin! Welcome! I agree with you about the right to basic survival. Thank you for sharing this day with me!

Hajra August 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I am happy to be an Indian; and though the country is going through a tough time in terms of certain issues, it is nice to see people coming out to make a change about it.

For me, freedom is a state of mind. The belief and strength to do things as you please and to make a choice.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

“Freedom is a state of mind” Well said, Hajra. Happy Independence Day!

Bill Dorman August 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Interesting indeed; happy Independence Day.

In the US, we certainly have many freedoms and many a man has died to uphold those freedoms. Sometimes we take those freedoms for granted, but we are a lucky nation indeed.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thank you, Bill. I think we are all lucky to live in a free state! 🙂 Hugs!

Betsy at Zen Mama August 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Happy Independence Day, Vidya!
I love reading about Rabindranath Tagore. I think I’ve read several of his quotes before. And I loved your freedom practices!! Thanks for including me!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

You’re a favorite, Betsy, you know. I knew you’d like the Tagore verse. Hugs!

Cathy | Treatment Talk August 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Congrats on your Independence Day!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thank you, dear Cathy!

carolynhughesthehurthealer August 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hope you had a wonderful day Vidya! Beautiful post and I did need several tissues at the end.
I realised how I take my freedom and that of my daughters so much for granted.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Thank you, Carolyn. Lovely day indeed! yes, we do all take it for granted, don’t we?

personalpower4me August 16, 2012 at 5:21 am

Happy Independence day for you Vidya
…be free
be good to yourself

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks, dear David!

Barbara August 16, 2012 at 6:01 am

What a beautiful post, Vidya, and Happy Independence Day all year round!

Living in the oldest democracy I took freedom for granted. Travelling opened my eyes and heart to all the injustice in the world. Nobody should go hungry physically or spiritually.

What a lovely video, thanks for sharing!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

So glad you’re here to share it with me, Barbara. Hugs to you!

Rahul Bhatia August 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

What a lovely way to remember the Independence Day! Creations of Rabindranath Tagore are timeless!!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Hi Rahul! thanks for being here today! It’s lovely, isn’t it?

Praveen Rajarao August 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Vidya – Very nice article, and am proud to be an Indian and to celebrate this day which was given to us by many sacrifices of those freedom fighters.

To me freedom is when I can “blog” what comes to my mind without actually giving a damn to what others think of my writing. I love doing that.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Glad you are here today, Praveen! yes, our blog is our voice on so many counts! 🙂 Thank you!

Theresa August 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I loved reading your ideas of freedom. Wow so true and how much control we have over it really stands out here!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Thank you, Theresa!

Galen Pearl August 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I love Tagore’s wisdom and the beauty of his poetry. He wrote your national anthem?! How beautiful. As is your pledge. How meaningful to pledge courtesy to others. In our US pledge, we pledge allegiance to the flag. Now I’m going to contemplate the difference between those two pledges and how they play out. Happy Independence Day!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thank you Galen. I believe Tagore wrote the national anthem for Bangla Desh also. I love how the feeling of patriotism just fills us up when we hear the pledge or our national songs. “Vande Mataram” is another beautiful poetry-song!

Adrienne Smith August 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I’m a day late but I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day Vidya!

I love what you shared here and what true freedom means to you. I know that many have died before us to grant us the freedom we have today which is why I believe it’s still so precious to us all.

Thank you for sharing this with us and hope you’ve been having a beautiful week.


Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Thank you, dear Adrienne! I am so happy to have you here today! I wish you a wonderful week too!

My Inner Chick August 17, 2012 at 1:20 am

Yes, Vidya,
eternally relevant now and always.

Happy FREEDOM Day !! Xxxx Love.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Thank you, darling Kim! Hugs!

Fran Sorin August 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

Vidya….I’m a few days late BUT Happy Independence Day.
Thank you for exposing us to Tagore. His teachings and poetry are magnificent. And thank you dear Vidya for your list of ‘Freedom’. It touched my heart. xxoo-Fran

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Thank you, Fran dearest! I love the poetry you post, and thought you would like this one 🙂

Serena Rajput August 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Happy Independence day Vidya!

Mera Bharat Mahan!!

Well said on what is true freedom.

Loved your article and the Silent National Anthem!

Jai Hind!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thank you, Serena! I remember crying so much when I saw it the first time!

Jai Hind!

Pamela August 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Beautiful post, Vidya!

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Thank you, Pamela!

Hiten August 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi Vidya,

I hope you had a Happy Independence Day! I got a tingle of inspiration down my spine as I read your post.

I could sense your loyalty and devotion so strongly. It was great. With a large Indian population in England, the Indian Independence Day is something we all hear about. It must be amazing to experience it in India.

With the background I come from, freedom definitely means the ability to live and navigate the world without fear. And slowly breaking down the barriers which create fear is my way of developing further freedom.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Hiten! Yes, I enjoy my feeling of patriotism. 😀

What you said about freedom would aptly apply to everyone, regardless of where they were in this world, Hiten. Beautifully expressed!

thoughtstomull.com August 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Just to always be in the Moment. That is where I can bring all things to be. In the Moment, if I am being the most excellent that I can be, there is no room for the past or the uncertainties of the future. This Moment will always take care of itself.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

That’s an excellent thought, Janet. “Present” = “Gift”

Unknown Mami August 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

That poem is fantastic. Here’s to freedom, independence, and tolerance.

Vidya Sury August 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Cheers! Claudya! “tolerance” – we need lots of that!

Love you!


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