Driving the Chola Trail in South India one may come across a special character on the back of nearly every commercial vehicle. This character is usually red and occasionally green, has horns on his head, two deadly fangs and his tongue out on display.
And what does your driver do…he keeps his distance, and so a spacing is created between vehicles. Well, not always…you tempt yourself and get as close as you can without managing to hit the demon truck. But as close as you are, a subtle force within you prevents you from that extra inch that would create a collision.
You know this character, you have seen him before. Actually you are very familiar with him. You are looking at a part of yourself. Traditionally it is a symbol of magic. Maybe all magic is is a deeper understanding of psychology.
Occasionally along the roadside of the Chola Trail you may see a larger full bodied version of this creature. It takes on many forms and many names: “Kaval Deivam,” “Karuppu Sami,” “Ayannar,” “Kaateri Amman,” …as you look further into the distance you will see farmlands and small villages. These are the guardian spirits.
Mostly they are brandishing swords or sickles, many times Trishuls (sacred tridents). Sometimes they are riding horses and other times elephants. They may be accompanied by a pet such as a dog or cat. Their wives with sacred shakti power and witchcraft may accompany them. You are free to get down from your vehicle and have a closer look. There is no concept of ‘personal’ property here so you are free to roam the community farmlands. But you don’t have the desire to desecrate it with beer cans or coffee cups. Well, we of the modern world probably do, since respect is the villain of consumer society. But what do we really feel inside?
The people of the villages and farms don’t fear the creature, anymore than they fear nature, they respect it. When you can see the darkness as clearly as the light, that is when you can see the bigger picture.