Karuppasamy- The Dark God

Karuppasamy, literally known as The Dark God, is a fierce-looking deity sporting a thick moustache, decked with many ornaments, riding a white horse and carrying a drawn-out sword.

He is said to have sprung from Vishnu’s hands and hence is also known as Kaiyannar (One created from the hand). Though, he has been around from time immemorial, he is hardly known in the Vedic Hindu Pantheon, and is popular as a village deity.

In fact, Karuppaswamy is a Universal God known to different ancient civilizations and called by various names.

Historical Tradition

In the ancient Tamil society, people venerated the Veerargal (or warriors) and had the formless stones (Veera Kal or Veerakkal) or Nadukkal erected in memory of them. These fallen warriors or any persons who sacrificed their life for a good cause such as protection of the welfare of the society or the community are revered by all. Just like other sub-deities, he is also a martyr.

Karuppanar is believed to protect the poor, and ensure justice and self-discipline among his believers. It is also believed that He is a fierce warrior who never forgives those who sinned or those who commit crimes. It is believed that He shoos away all evils and devils from entering the village. He masters all land and is a warrior who blocks all evil entering a boundary.

The Shrine

The Karuppanar Kovil (or a shrine) is always found in the outskirts of the village. The maintenance of the temple is taken care of by the whole of the village. His temple is usually in the open space and will not have traditional Gopurams like any other temples. There will also be statues of Animals, often signifying his pets – a dog (Vettai Naai or a hunting dog), a lion and his ride – the white Horse are also found.

The worship pattern is non-Vedic or non-Agamic through Folk tales, Folk songs and Folk arts (Villu pattu, Karagam, Koothhu, etc.). Various persons within the clan system are identified to play to the role of oracle on annual turn basis. They undertake vradham and maintain chastity and purity during the period of vradham. During the festivals, oracles get into trance state (Saami aadudhal) and deliver counselling messages to the group assembled there without bias.

Kalki Avatar and Karuppasamy

The Kalki archetype, or Avatar is said to be the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is said to come to end the present age of darkness and destruction, he is the god who leads us through this transition to the Golden age. The name ‘Kalki’ is metaphorically linked to eternity or time. The origins of the name bring in the meaning ‘Destroyer of Foulness,’ ‘Destroyer of Confusion’, ‘Destroyer of darkness’ or ‘Annihilator of ignorance’.

The representation of justice and righteousness is very similar to that of Karuppasamy. Destroying evil, bringing in justice, the Bhagavata Purana states, “Lord Kalki, the Lord of the Universe, will mount his swift white horse Devadatta and sword in hand travel the earth exhibiting his eight mystic opulence’s, destroying all evil,”- the roles of both the deities are similar and parallel to one another.

Both these archetypes represent the path towards destroying the old negative habitual patterns towards the path of a new era. They are the guiding lights of transition from this age to the new Golden Age.