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Mukundamala – Devotional Poem King Kulasekhara

Mukundamala is a short devotional lyric in Sanskrit by King Kulasekhara (8th – 96th centuries CE). A verse from Mukundamala cited in a 13th century CE inscription at Pagan in Myanmar, states that one who does not care for dharma or riches or enjoyment of pleasures should be prepared to accept whatever comes as the result of previous actions. The one constant prayer in Mukundamala is ‘may my mind be engaged in steady devotion to your lotus feet.’

King Kulasekhara is identified with the Vaishnava Saint Kulashekhara Alwar, author of Perumal – Thirumozhi in the Tamil Divya Prabandham, the cannon of southern Vaishnavism.

Three verses from the work are quoted in Saduktikarnamrita (composed in 1205 CE) by Sridharadasa of Bengal, referring to Kulashekhara as author. Two other verses are also quoted without being ascribed to Kulashekhara.

Yasastilakacampu composed in 950 CE contains a phrase which echoes a verse in Mukundamala. This suggests a date earlier than the 10th century CE for the poem.

The lyric expresses a devotion that is unalloyed by an expectations. There is no place here for prema bhakti (passionate devotion) of the gopis for Krishna, which is found in Krishnamrita of Lilasuka.

The language of Mukundamala is simple and natural. Owing to the great popularity of the poem, there are various recensions of the text, each different from others in the number and arrangement of verses. The Kerala recension contains 31 verses. Tatparyadipika, a commentary on the poem by Raghavananda, gives it an Advaitic interpretation.