MUNDĀVAṆĪ (lit. a seal or riddle), the concluding hymn of the Gurū Granth Sāhib composed by Gurū Arjān 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 Gurū, 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 tanksgivings. The Gurū, 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...." Mundāvaṇī 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 Rahrāsi, the daily evening prayer of the Sikhs.
Exegetes have interpreted the word "mundāvaṇī "variously. Some take it to mean a riddle in which sense it is still used in the Poṭhohārī dialect of Punjabi. They quote in support of their view this line from Gurū Amar Dās, Nānak III : "eh mudāvaṇī satigurū pāī gursikhā ladhī bhāli, the Gurū has posed this mundāvaṇī, i.e. riddle, and the Sikhs have unravelled it"(GG, 645). By mentioning in the opening line of the hymn Mundāvaṇī the articles which comprise the divine fare, Gurū Arjān, they argue, was inviting the Sikhs to explore through the sacred text their true meaning. More commonly, the term Mundāvanī as used by Gurū Arjan is understood to be the equivalent of a seal or stamp. The Gurū wrote mundāvaṇī as a conclusion to the Gurū Granth Sāhib, 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.