KAUḌĀ was, according to Janam Sākhī accounts, the head of a clan of cannibals somewhere in Central India. The cannibals belonged to a sect of the yogīs called Kāpālikas who went about naked, smeared their bodies with the ashes of a corpse and ate and drank from human skulls. Once as Gurū Nānak was passing through that country, his faithful companion Mardānā separating from him fell into the hands of Kauḍā the cannibal. He would have met the fate of many of his luckless victims in his ever-boiling oil-cauldron, but for Gurū Nānak's timely appearance. The cauldron, says the Bālā Janam Sākhī, cooled as Gurū Nānak arrived and the fire underneath it died out. Kauḍā fell at the Gurū's feet and begged to be shriven for his sinful ways.
The legend of Kauḍā appears in all the four major Janam Sākhīs, though the accounts differ in detail as well as in locale. The name Kauḍā occurs only in the Bālā version. In the folklore of the Goṇḍ tribe of Central India, Koḍā or Koḍī is the name of a demon who made the ancestor of the Goṇḍs, Liṅgo, his prisoner. Liṅgo escaped with the help of the demon's daughters whom he later married. The Goṇḍs are his descendants by them.