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Karuppu Sami is one of the regional Tamil male deities popular among the rural social groups of Tamil Nadu and 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.
In Ramayana, Rama sent Sita to the forest when she was pregnant where she lived in Valmiki's ashram. While in the Ashram, She gave birth to twin male boys, Luv and Kusha, who had golden and blue complexions respectively. One day, Sita left the children under the care of Valmiki. When Sita returned, she found Valmiki meditating and hence took the Kusha without his notice. When Valmiki was out of the meditation, he found one child missing. So, he made a similar looking child from holy Kusha Grass (Dherbai). Later when he found that Sita was having her real child, he asked Sita to treat the new baby also as her own child. Thus Sita brought up all three kids together.
When Sita returned to Rama, 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. All three completed the task but only Luv and Kusha could reach Ram unscathed while the boy brought up by Valmiki burnt his body becoming darker. Finally, Rama got to know what had happened in the forest and he blessed the burnt boy to become his escort god (Kaval deivam) and called him Karuppu Sami (meaning 'dark colored God').
Temples and shrines
Karuppu Sami temple is mostly found in the outskirts of the Village. Usually, the whole village contributes to the maintenance of the temple. These temples do not have traditional Gopurams and have large statues of Gods with large eyes, holding weapons like bow and arrow, swords, aruval and others protective weapons. There will also be statues of 7 Kannimaar goddesses (7 virgins) and animals, often a hunting dog, a lion and horse.
Karuppanar worship is a very ancient ancestral clan-based worship system. Most officiating priests are non-Brahmins and derive from local lineages that had initiated the cult generations ago. The worship pattern is non-Vedic or non-Agamic through folk tales, songs and arts (Villu pattu, Karakattam, Koothu etc.). The local priest might offer flowers or vibuthi (holy ash) to the worshippers and may play the role of an oracle for Shamanism. 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. During the festivals, oracles get into trance state (Saami aadudhal) and deliver counselling messages to the group assembled there without bias. The normal problems addressed are family problems, financial troubles and local community and social issues for resolving within the community group with the agreement of local ancestral god through oracle. Whenever the wishes of the people are granted, they give their offerings to Him based on what they vowed to offer.
Karuppu Sami is also worshipped in Trinidad under the name Dee Baba or Sangili Karuppar. Offerings of cigarettes and alcohol as well as a sacrifice of a black chicken or goat are made to him here.
The village committee would decide on when the annual festival be conducted. The time of the year when this would fall varies with villages and their local customs - each of which will be associated a folk-lore. Generally, the mass convention assembly of a large number of related family members is organized during the spring season for a period of 2 to 3 days. The commencement of the festival will be with that of a hoisting of the flag and tying the "Kaappu". After this time, villagers cannot go out of the village but can come in from a different village. During this annual gathering, a large number of goats and chicken are sacrificed for Karuppanar. He is also offered Beedis (country made cigarettes) or cigars and Naravam or some form of modern alcohol.