Karuppu Sami (Tamil: கருப்புசாமி) (also called by many names) is one of the regional Tamil male deities who is popular among the rural social groups of South India, especially Tamil Nadu an small parts of Kerala. He is one of the 21 associate folk-deities of Ayyanar and is hence one of the so-called Kaval Deivams of the Tamils..
Karuppu (in Tamil) means Black and Sami means God. Hence he is associated with darkness, night, etc.
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.
One of the legends of Karuppaswamy
Following is the story heard by word-of-mouth from the pujaris or Sami aadis in Alagar Kovil, Madurai.
Lord Rama had sent Sita to the forest when she was pregnant and lived in Saint Valmiki's Ashram.
While in the Ashram, She brought a male heir of Rama to the world.
One day when she was going out for some chores of the Ashram, she asked the Saint to take care of her child in the cradle. The Saint was watching the child and meanwhile went into a deep meditation. When Sita returned, she found that the Saint was in meditation and didn't want to disturb him to tell him that she was taking her child.
When the Saint was out of the meditation, he found the child missing. So he put some holy grass (Dherbai) in the cradle and with his mantra he made that as a child.
Later when he found that Sita was having her real child, he was so confused and asked Sita to treat the new baby also as her own child.
When Sita was returning to Rama, he was expecting only one male heir. But to his astonishment, he found two boys (Lavan and Kushan) approaching him. Again to test the purity of the boys, he set a fire and asked the boys to cross the fire to reach him. He told that whoever was his real heir would cross the fire unscathed. Unknowingly the boy brought up by the Saint, stuck in the middle of the fire and burnt his body becoming very dark.
Finally, Rama got to know what had happened in the forest to have two boys instead of one. Then he blessed the burnt boy to become his escort god (kaval deivam) and called him “Karuppannan” which became Karuppa Sami.
That was the reason why Karuppa Sami put the sacred tri-strips (Thiru Namam) on his forehead. And also I heard that while calling the deity, the pujaris sing that “Dherbaiyil pirandhavane (born from the holy grass)
A typical deity
The main form of worship of Karuppanar in the shrine is a formless stone which has been decorated with a Turban and a Dhoti with flowers and garlands. He wields an "Aruval" which is a long form of machete resembling a scimitar, a sword, sometimes a lance, a trident and a smaller knife.
The Aruval is a very significant weapon in Tamil Nadu and is considered, in itself, as a symbol of Karuppanar himself. Some Aruvals may reach the height of even 5 feet, especially the ones in Thiruppaachhi.
The Most Important musical Instrument Which like by God karuppanan are Tappu,Tharai,kombu Tharai,Otha thamukku,Pambai,Udukkai and Urumee.
Karuppannaswamy and Siddhas
Karuppannaswamy is a favourite Deity of the Nath/Siddhas. His worship has been integrated into the mode of worship of the Siddhas. Chenthamangalam near Salem has a temple dedicated to Pathinettampadi Raja Karuppannaswamy. This has been erected by Swami Santhananda Saraswati Avadhuta Swamigal.