‘Mundige’ (munDige) (ಮುಂಡಿಗೆಗಳು) is a technical term that applies to the poems in the form of an extended riddle written by Kanakadasa the poet-saint of the sixteenth century. He has composed a number of epics and songs. Mundige is very much similar to the ‘Bedagina Vachanagalu’ wrtten by Allama Prabhu the celebrated saint of the twelfth century. They are meant for musical rendering. These poems offer a study in contrast to other writings of Kanakadasa which are known for their transparency. Probably these poems are meant for the disciples who are advanced in their pursuit of the ultimate. An insufficient understanding and implementation of these precepts could be dangerous. On the other hand Kanakadasa who belonged to a backward community and faced stiff resistance by the Brahminical hegemony might have preferred to be secretive about some of his teachings. One needs to be familiar with the symbolic range of the spiritual tradition to make sense of these songs. Some of them delve deep in to mythology. They are difficult to unravel even for scholars in ‘Haridasa Sahitya’.

An illustration of a Mundige is provided here:

ಎಂದೆಂದು ಇಂಥ ಚೋದ್ಯ ಕಂಡದ್ದಿಲ್ಲವೋ

ಅಂಗಡಿ ಬೀದಿಯಲೊಂದು ಆಕಳ ಕರು ನುಂಗಿತು

ಲಂಘಿಸುವ ಹುಲಿಯ ಕಂಡು ನರಿ ನುಂಗಿತು

ಹುತ್ತದೊಳಾಡುವ ಸರ್ಪವು ಮತ್ತಗಜವು ನುಂಗಿತು

ಉತ್ತರದಿಶೆಯೊಳು ಬೆಳುದಿಂಗಳಾಯಿತಮ್ಮಾ

ಯೋಗಮಾರ್ಗಿ ಕಾಗಿನೆಲೆಯಾದಿಕೇಶವರಾಯ

ಭಾಗವತರ ಬೆಡಗಿದು ಬೆಳುದಿಂಗಳಾಯಿತಮ್ಮಾ


‘I had never seen a miracle like this:

In the shop street, a calf swallowed a cow

A Jackal, behold, swallowed a pouncing tiger

And the serpent that dwells in the ant hill,

Swallowed a marauding elephant.

Moonlight shined forth in the north.

This perhaps is the miracle achieved by the devotees of

Adi Keshava, with his abode at Kaginele.

Look, ye look it is moon light all around’


Home / Literature