What is the meaning of the Kodagana Koli Nungitha Nodavva Tangi song?
This song, composed by Saint Shishunala Sharif had amazed me for a long time in the past and still keeps surprising me with different philosophical parallels.
Here is what I think this means (with lyrics):
ಕೋಡಗನ ಕೋಳಿ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ
ಕೋಡಗನ ಕೋಳಿ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ ||ಪ||
ಆಡು ಆನೆಯ ನುಂಗಿ
ಗೋಡೆ ಸುಣ್ಣವ ನುಂಗಿ
ಆಡಲು ಬಂದ ಪಾತರದವಳ ಮದ್ದಲಿ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ, ತಂಗಿ ||೧ ||
ಒಳ್ಳು ಒನಕೆಯ ನುಂಗಿ
ಕಲ್ಲು ಗೂಟವ ನುಂಗಿ
ಮೆಲ್ಲಲು ಬಂದ ಮುದುಕಿಯನ್ನೇ ಮೆಲ್ಲು ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ, ತಂಗಿ ||೨ ||
ಹಗ್ಗ ಮಗ್ಗವ ನುಂಗಿ
ಮಗ್ಗವ ಲಾಳಿ ನುಂಗಿ
ಮಗ್ಗದಲಿರುವ ಅಣ್ಣನನ್ನೇ ಮಣಿಯು ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ, ತಂಗಿ ||೩ ||
ಗುಡ್ಡ ಗವಿಯನ್ನು ನುಂಗಿ
ಗವಿಯು ಇರುವೆಯ ನುಂಗಿ
ಗೋವಿಂದ ಗುರುವಿನ ಪಾದ ನನ್ನನೆ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ, ತಂಗಿ ||೪ ||
ಕಠಿಣ ಪದಗಳು (kaThiNa padagaLu- Difficult Words)
ಕೋಡಗ – kODaga – ಕೋಡಂಗಿ, ಕೋತಿ, ಕಪಿ, ಮಂಗ (Monkey)
ಪಾತರ – pAtara – ಪಾತ್ರ / ಅಭಿನಯ (Performance)
ಮದ್ದಲಿ – maddali – ಮದ್ದಳೆ/ಮೃದಂಗ/like ತಮಟೆ (a type of drum)
ಒಳ್ಳು – oLLu – ಒರಳು (stone mortar used to crush spices and cereals)
ಗೂಟ – gUTa – handle
ಮಗ್ಗ – magga – loom
ಲಾಳಿ – lALi – a part of the loom
ಗವಿ – gavi – ಗುಹೆ(cave)
ಪ . ‘ಕೋಡಗನ ಕೋಳಿ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ’
The monkey refers to the wavering mind (ಚಂಚಲ ಮನಸ್ಸು) and the cock refers to stillness (Have you ever seen a cock fight ?). ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನುಂಗುವುದು ಅಂದರೆ ಆವರಿಸುವುದು ಎಂದು.
-ಮನಸ್ಸು ಪಕ್ವವಾಯಿತು ಎಂದರ್ಥ.
1. ‘ಆಡು ಆನೆಯ ನುಂಗಿ’
Similarly, the Elephant is a symbol of pride and the goat a symbol of humbleness. So, humbleness devoured pride.
-ಅಹಂಕಾರ ತೊಲಗಿತು ಎಂದು.
‘ಗೋಡೆ ಸುಣ್ಣವ ನುಂಗಿ’ – ಆಂತರ್ಯ ಬಾಹ್ಯ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಮುಚ್ಚಿತು.
Meaning, inner beauty devoured the external appearance.
‘ಆಡಲು ಬಂದ ಪಾತರದವಳ ಮದ್ದಲಿ ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ’ – means the performer was immersed in the drum
2. The working entities ‘ಒಳ್ಳು’ and ‘ಕಲ್ಲು ‘ devoured the ‘ನಿಮಿತ್ತಗಳು’ ಒನಕೆ ಮತ್ತು ಗೂಟ. The taste/ essence swallowed the eater (old lady).
3. The meaning of the first two lines are similar to the last paragraph. The meaning of the 3rd line ‘ಮಗ್ಗದಲಿರುವ ಅಣ್ಣನನ್ನೇ ಮಣಿಯು ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ’ is not clear. People suggest that ಮಣಿ is actually ಮಣೆ(wooden plank) on which ಅಣ್ಣ (one who is using the ಮಗ್ಗ) is sitting
4. The hill has devoured the cave and the cave has devoured an ant inside it, literally and figuratively (ಓಳಾರ್ಥ- ಆಶ್ರಯ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿವೆ ಎನ್ನುವ ಭಾವ)
The last line ‘ಗೋವಿಂದ ಗುರುವಿನ ಪಾದ ನನ್ನನು ನುಂಗಿತ್ತಾ’ is mind-blowing and can be thought of in many ways. In a sense, it explains the whole poem. If you actually start with this, you understand the entire poem.
Govinda was Shishunala Shareef’s Guru.
Meaning 1: ಗುರುಗಳ ಆಶ್ರಯ ಎಂದರ್ಥ (ಪಾದದಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಶ್ರಯ)
Meaning 2: ನನ್ನನೆ:- ನಾನು ಅಂದರೆ ಅಹಂಕಾರವನ್ನು ಸೂಚಿಸುತ್ತೆ.
ಗುರುವಿನ ಪಾದ :- ದಾರಿ ತೋರಿಸುವ ದೀಪ
– Guru’s tutelage made him come out of his pride.
Meaning 3: ನಾನು/ ನನ್ನದು – ಬಾಹ್ಯ
ಗುರುವಿನ ಪಾದ – ಅಂತರಂಗ
ಗುರುಗಳ ಕೃಪೆಯಿಂದ ಅಂತರಂಗ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಕೋಣ ಬೆಳೆಯಿತು ಎಂದು.
– Developed an inner eye, thanks to the Guru
Meaning 4: ನನ್ನಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲಾ ನನ್ನ ಗುರುಗಳೇ ತುಂಬಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎಂದು (ಭಗವಂತ ಹೇಗೆ ಆವರಿಸುತ್ತಾನೋ ಭಕ್ತರ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಾಗೆ)
Thanks a ton for the A2A anon, I just loved writing this.
One of the comments had this below description…!
” I have taken the liberty of pasting this from the page on Sri C S Aswath. Hope you find this information useful: Shishunala Shariefa lived in North Karnataka and so has used language/objects which are commonly seen in that part of the region. The poem starts with Kodagana Koli nungitta, noddava thangi Kodagana Koli nungitta… He says Oh sister, Hen has swallowed the Monkey. The poet starts of with a line that shows respect and dignity our motherland(India) has given to Women. He could have said Oh Brother! but instead has used the word sister to signify the role of women in imparting the right knowledge to the soceity. The hen being a bird literally cannot swallow the monkey but through this Shishunala says there are numerous things which we come across in our daily life which may look very small when looked at it physically but they have the ability to change an object which is bigger than them. As we get along the poem the real meaning behind such puzzled phrases becomes more clear. Then he says Aadu Aaneya nungi, Gode sunnava nungi, Aadalu bandha patadadavala maddale nungita thangi.. Kodagana Koli nungitta.. The goat swallowed the elephant, the wall swallowed the paint, the drum swallowed the actor who came to enact a play. Paint being the protector of the wall, was swallowed by the wall. Without the drum the actor cannot enact his play, drum becomes a very important asset for an actor without which his profession becomes less attractive. Ollu onakeya nungi, Kallu gutava nungi, Mellalu bandha mudhukiyannu nellu nungitta thangi.. Kodgana Koli nungitta… Usually in north Karnataka in order to prepare chilli, turmeric etc powder there is a container made of stone called as Ollu. The material to be powdered is put into the container and then smashed by using a iron pole called as Onake. The iron pole is dropped again and again vertically on the material placed inside the stone container to powder it. So the iron pole swalloed the stone container means without the stone container the purpose of the iron pole is nothing. Similarly to grind rice, wheat flour there is a tool used. A stone slab circular in shape is placed on the floor. Above that another stone slab circular in shape and with the same diameter as the earlier one is placed. The slab on the top has a circular hole at the center where rice/wheat can be poured. There is a slot on the upper surface of the above slab where a wood stick is inserted. It is called as guta. The poet says the stone slabs swalloed the wooden stick. It means without the stone slab the wooden stick has no purpose there. Then he says the wheat swallowed the aged lady who had come to chew the food. This means an aged lady usually can’t chew hard food because of the delicacy of the tooth. So wheat being a hard food becomes difficult to be chewed by the aged lady. We can see here the power of the language shishunala disha has used. It is very simple yet very powerful. Hagga maggava nungi, Maggava lali nungi, Maggadoliruva annanannu maniyu nungitta thangi.. Kodagana koli nungitta… Magga is a tool used to knit clothes/sarees. Lali is another tool used inside the Magga for knitting purpose. The poet says the rope swalloed the Magga, the magga swallowed the lali and the precious stone used inside the magga swallowed the person who does the knitting using the Magga. The poet depicts the inter dependency that exists between the objects. Without one of the them the person knitting the cloth will not be able to do anything. He is basically trying to say the importance of smaller things to our life even though they may seem to be of less importance because of their smaller size. Gudda gaviyannu nungi, Gavi iruveya nungi, Govinda guruvina pada nannanu nungitta thangi.. Kodagana koli nungitta… The poet with humility says his guru’s (teacher’s) feet swallowed him. Through this, he offers his respects and also signifies that his life is inspired by the teachings of his teacher. It was his teacher who taught him what life is all about. The poet is offering his gratitude towards his teacher. He compares his teacher’s feet swallowing him to a hill swallowing the cave in it. The cave swallowing the ant. He compares his teacher’s feet to a hill and himself to an ant.”