MUNDAVANI (lit. a seal or riddle), the concluding hymn of the Guru Granth Sahib composed by Guru Arjan as an epilogue to the Scripture which he had himself compiled and the first copy of which was transcribed under his guidance. The hymn comprises two parts; in the first part, the Scripture is metaphorically referred to as a salver containing three articles, truth, contentment and contemplation. Then the fourth of the viands is mentioned the nectar Name which sustains all. He who, says the Guru, partakes of this fare is saved. This is something not to be renounced; one must forever bear this in mind.
Thus will one swim across the worldly ocean. One then beholds the entire universe as the manifestation of the Supreme Being. The second part, comprising two couplets, is by way of thanksgivings. The Guru, rendering gratitude, recites the paen: Thou made me worthy of this task. Lord. I know not the limit of Thy favour. Meritless am I without merit.
That was thy own mercy….” Mundavani is an integral part of the scriptural text and is always recited at the end of any full reading of the Holy Book. It is also recited as part of the Rahrasi, the daily evening prayer of the Sikhs. Exegetes have interpreted the word “mundavani” variously. Some take it to mean a riddle in which sense it is still used in the Pothohari dialect of Punjabi.
They quote in support of their view this line from Guru Amar Das, Nanak III: “eh mudavani satiguru pai gursikha ladhi bhali, the Guru has posed this mundavani, i.e. riddle, and the Sikhs have unravelled it”(GG, 645). By mentioning in the opening line of the hymn Mundavani the articles which comprise the divine fare, Guru Arjan, they argue, was inviting the Sikhs to explore through the sacred text their true meaning. More commonly, the term mundavani as used by Guru Arjan is understood to be the equivalent of a seal or stamp. The Guru wrote Mundavani as a conclusion to the Guru Granth Sahib, thus affixing his seal to the holy writ. The seal was in token of the authentication of the text; it was also perhaps meant to preclude any apocryphal additions.
1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
2. Sahib Singh, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan Jalandhar, n.d.