Kantara has made waves in world cinema. The Rishab Shetty directorial has not only trumped contemporary releases but has become the highest-rated film on IMDB. Kantara’s climax where lord Guliga possesses Shiva and wreaks havoc on the attackers is simply magical. But who is Lord Guliga? What is his purpose? Let’s find out.
Story of Guliga
According to Tulu Nadu culture Guliga is one of the oldest and most legendary Daiva. Depending on the Place, condition, and occasions, Guliga Daiva is known by different names such as Kshetrapala. The Guliga Daiva is believed to be one among the Shivaganas.
According to people’s belief, one day in Kailasa, a stone was discovered in the ash which was brought by Parvati to Lord Shiva. Seeing the stone Shiva threw it away. Felling on the ground, from this stone, Guliga appeared and was eventually sent to lord Vishnu to serve him.
Because of his strange behavior, Vishnu cursed him to take birth in the stomach of Nelaulla-sanke. “When she was nine-month pregnant, the child in her belly asks her, ‘from Which Path should I come out of your stomach?’. She replied, ‘you can come in the path where all children come from’,” sourced Inward Of Tulunadu
However, the baby refused her proposal. Tearing her stomach, he came out of his mother’s belly. He felt uncontrollable hunger and gets attracted to everything and tries to eat it, he even drained the lake of Lord Vishnu and consumed all fish. To control his hunger, he was also given the blood of elephants and horses, but his hunger never seemed to decline. Then lord Vishnu appeared before him and gave him his little finger. And only then his belly was full.
Sent to earth
Later, it is said that he accompanied Lord Parvati to earth. Overwhelmed by the peaceful beauty and sacredness of Parashurama Kshetra, she decides to settle down in Tulu Nadu in the form of a ‘Linga’ and asks him to stay as her guard to protect her devotees.
But another story suggests, since he has a mysterious origin, with anger and animal hunger, he was sent to the earth to kill and eat the evil and demons, which may have been the beginning of his brutal behavior. Once, Seven ‘Jala Durge’, reincarnations of Adi Shakti, were sailing on the sea. They saw Guliga and gave shelter to him. He was later purified and appointed as the guardian of their temples. So, he was named Kshetrapala.
There was a time when a big battle was fought between ‘Panjurli’ and ‘Guliga’. The both claimed control of the land and the conflict was so dangerous that the place and the people suffered. The Jala Durgas then calmed both of them and urged them to live like siblings. Later, Guliga too respected Panjurli and worshiped wholeheartedly. Hence they are worshipped together in some places.
The purpose of Guliga daiva
Guliga’s shrine is well-known to impose discipline, killing evil, and protecting devotees. Usually, Guliga is worshipped on an unshaped stone in an open place, this stone is usually kept under a tree. Interestingly, people believe that his eye is always towards the sky. He is worshipped on the boundaries of the places as a guardian to protect their surroundings from evil spirits.
“Depending upon the place and merging with other spirits the Guliga was renamed or worshipped in different forms such as Rahu Guliga, Raja Guliga, Mantraguliga, Netter Guliga, Sankale Guliga, Kathale Guliga, Mantravadi Guliga, Raktheswari Guliga, Subbi Guliga, Sanyasi Guliga, Chawndi Guliga, Mookamba Guliga, etc,” sources added.
Also, Rahu and Guliga are two separate spirits or entities which are worshipped under the same name tag. Rahu has a mysterious origin similar to Guliga. Ancestors however believed that; this divine is not stable in one place and it has no proper form. People performed rituals like Kola to this Daiva only on special occasions. Later, this ritual started to change and people started to perform Kola once every year.
“As mentioned before, Rahu and Guliga are usually worshipped outside in an open place. The offering such as Puffed rice, Coconut water, etc are placed on a tender coconut leaf or a stone. Light is shown to the Daiva using dried palm leaves. After the final offering, for a few minutes; people turn in the opposite direction (people assume that Daiva comes to have its offering). It is said that women are not allowed to witness this ritual. The practice may differ according to the region or location or position of this Daiva (jageda daiva, kutumada daiva, seemeda daiva).”
Guliga Kola, performed in Tulunad, essentially consists of the representation of Guliga Daiva with his face decorated with black, red, white, and green. Tender palm leaves are tied on his waist, anklets for his leg called has gaggra. The daiva then dances enthusiastically with the burning firewood called sutte in his hand. Eating raw meats can also be seen in Guliga’s kola.