All ancient manuscripts, whether on palm leaves or any other material, began with salutation to Lord Ganapathi. Sri Ganaadhipathaye Namaha. From the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, Hindus worship Vinayaka at the beginning of every auspicious ceremony. All these show the great significance attached to this elephant faced deity in our religious thought.
In Tamilnadu, this deity has come to be known as Pillayar, because he is the pillai or son of the Parents of the Universe, Parvati-Parameswaran. When you begin to contemplate upon this particular manifestation of the Divine, tattavasa or religious principles fame to mind in an unending stream.
Though His Body is of gigantic proportions, He is yet a child. Every mother likes to feed her child so that he may grow up plumpy and healthy. That is why, Pillayar is contemplated a a voracious eater, fond of all nice things.
He is essentially an object of affection for children who take delight in playing, imitating the gait of the elephant.
It is paradoxical that with such a massive body, Ganapathi should have chosen the tiny mouse as His Vahana or vehicle. It is said that He sat on the mouse as light as cork. This conception of Vinayaka riding a mouse is illustrative of the Vedantic truth that God alone matters and that all other external paraphernalia are illusions. The pride of an elephant is its tusks and it takes care to keep them bright and sharp. But Vinayaka broke one of the tusks to write the Mahabharatha, demonstrating that no personal sacrifice is too much in the cause of spreading the knowledge of truth, dharma and jnana. The Tamil saint Avvaiyar wrote Vinayakar Ahaval, explaining how Vinayaka is the embodiment of Yog Sastras, with all its aim and implications.
This is a familiar prayer verse addressed to Vinayaka. Agajaa is the Divine mother, Parvati daughter of the mountain, Himavan. At the sight of her beloved child Vinayaka, Parvatiís face beams with joy, even as the lotus blossoms at the first rays of the sun. For the lotus face of Parvati, Vinayaka is the sun. For his devotees, Vinayaka showers benefits generously bhaktaanam anekadam. He has only one tusk -- ekadantam. The devotees say that they are worshipping that elephant faced Vinayaka who is the beloved son of Agajaa. We offer obeisance to Vinayaka by putting Thoppikaranam. In this method of salutation, we catch our left ear with the right hand and right ear with left hand and knee down. This we repeat a number of times. Thopikarnam is the corruption of Dorbih Karnam Griheetva. Vishnu is stated to have offered this form of salutation to make Vinayaka laugh and throw out the discus (chakram) which he was keeping concealed in his mouth. The manifestation of VINAYAKA embodies the high philosophic tattva of the functioning of the Universe as mere sport of God.