Vinayaka worship has been an integral part of worship by means of homa / yajna.
The seeds of Vinayaka worship is traced to customary recital in all rituals of the Rig vedic mantras “gananam ganapathim havamahe..” (2.23.1) and ‘vi su sida ganapathe..’ (10.112.9) In the beginning of any ritual, Vinayaka is consecrated by sankalpa and prayed for removing obstacle.
One of the earliest mention about Vinayaka worship can be traced to Valmiki Ramayana, wherein it has been mentioned by Valmiki in Pattabhisheka sarga in Yuddha khanda, (131- 114) that ‘devathas like Vinayaka stand fixed (reside) in the house of one where Ramayana is recited or heard.’ (“Vinayakaa cha saamyanthi gruhE thishtanthi”)
This means where Ramayana is recited or where Rama nama is sung, Lord Vinayaka takes care to see that the person does not get any obstacles in his endeavors.
Though he is known as Vishvaksena in the parivara - devatha group of Vishnu, he has been mentioned as Vinayaka by Valmiki, making us conclude that he was worshiped in Rama’s times for this special trait in removing vignas / obstacles.
Based on this it is not right to say that Vinayaka worship was there in northern lands and not in Tamilnadu.
Vinayaka in Tamilnadu:-
Tamilnadu’s connection with Rama started as early as at the time of Ramavathara itself when Vibheeshana left the image of Lord Ranganatha, the ‘kula dhanam’ of Rama, at Srirangam, in the island of kaveri.
Skeptics might say that this period saw no human habitation as Ramavathra happened in Thretha yuga, some 17 lakh years ago. This must be understood properly.
The information on Yuga calculation is a much misunderstood one. We have to look into Siddhanthic literature of Jyothisha to know about time measurement. As per Jyothisha Sidhanthas, there are 10 types of kala-mana (measurement of time) of which the yuga classification of the above mentioned order is about the time scale of the Sun (souramana). The Human scale of yuga classification begins with the ‘Panchavarshathmaka yuga of 5 year duration (refer http://www.vedicastronomy.net/vedanga_yuga.htm in the side bar ‘must-be-read’) of 12 rounds measuring up to 60 years of human life named from Prabhava, Vibhava onwards in present times (adopted from ‘Vijaya’ onwards as in Brihaspathya mana). More on this in the earlier post
According to this time scale which is based on 28,800 year duration of Saptha rishi mandala measurement, Ramavathara took place 9000 years ago and Krishnavathara 5000 years ago.
Human habitation had exited then in Tamilnadu which was stretched far into the
With Lord Ranganathar getting himself stationed at Srirangam, a community of devotees must have started thriving around this place. The Ramavathara recital must have started in Tamilnadu at that time itself and Rama-nama recital ensures the presence of Vinayaka around.
There is another proof for Vinayaka’s presence in Tamilnadu even before Ramavathara.
That was at the time of formation of river Kaveri.
If Tamilnadu takes pride in Kaveri as its river – the river that enriched the Chola lands, it is because of Vinayaka only.
But for him in the form of a crow, the river could not have flowed from the kamandal of sage Agasthya.
The first appearance of Kaveri flowing down the Tamil lands has been mentioned in the copper plates of Thiruvalangadu.
It happened before Ramavathara but after Bhageeratha brought the
When and where Kaveri flowed, Agasthya must have been glorified there, so also Vinayaka who tricked him.
Another strong reason to say that Vinayaka was a God worshiped in Tamilnadu is his relationship with Lord Shiva and the so-called Tamil God Muruga.
If Shiva worship had been there in Tamilnadu from the antiquated Pandyan reign in the now sub-merged Kumari ever since Meenakshi- Sundaresar marriage took place and their son becoming the first king to rule as Gowriar ( son of Gowri ) (refer Thiruvilaiyadal puranam), and as ‘Panchavar’ as daughter of Gowri or PanchapaNi, surely Vinayaka worship also must have been there.
If Tamil nadu is known for worship of Tamil deivam, Murugan, then Vinayaka worship must have been there from then onwards or even prior to that.
Vinayaka worship must have been there as part yajnas, for, it was very much a practice for the kings to arrange for yajnas and Brahmins to conduct yajnas. (Thol kappiyan PuratthiNai sutra 20 – an example of it is ‘naLiyiru’ verse of Puranaanuru 26 as quoted by Nacchinaarkkiniyar).
A separate ‘kottam’ or temple might not have existed for Vinayaka.
But he was prayed in the beginning of all endeavors.
He can be consecrated at any place in any form just be thought force.
A detailed account of this was once written by Sri AM. Rajagopalan in Kumaudam Jyothidam.
There had been reference to Vinayaka in sangam texts.
The term “piNi mukam” in verse 56 of Puranaanuru ( yetruval) refers to Vinayaka as per the undated commentary taken up from palm leaf writings and published by Dr U.Ve.Sa (Puranaanuru moolamum, uraiyum, 1950 edition).
Originally, ‘piNimukam’ means ‘peacock.
ChoodamaNi NigaNdu (3-50) has recorded piNimukam as the synonym of peacock.
Peacock was the in the flag of Vinayaka.
This peacock flag of Vinayaka was carried by Murugan in war fronts to remove all obstacles in his efforts.
This is mentioned in puranaanuru verse 56.
The lines 7 and 8 of this verse, “maNi mayil vuyariya maara vendri-p-piNimuka oordhi voN seiyyOn”
is explained by the urai asiriyar of undated past and unknown origin of a time in the past,
“mayil kodiyai eduttha maaraadha vettriyai vudaiya, am-mayilaagiya oordhiyai vudaiya”
(translation- the peacock in the flag of that one who always wins, that peacock as the vehicle of Murugan).
The PiNimukam is not mentioned as elephant, but only as peacock.
Nowhere in ChoodamaNi nigaNdu, piNimukam is given as another name for elephant.
It is another name for peacock only.
PiNimuka oordhi is peacock- vehicle.
(also from Dhakka-yaaga-barani (114 urai) “pillaiyarudaiya dwja vaahanamaana thOgai mayilgaL”
(translation- The peacock is in his (pillaiyaar’s) flag and it is also his vehicle.)
But it can be noted that Pinimukam has been used as an inter-change between Vinayaka and peacock, since it is He who ensures victory through his peacock flag.
Dr U.Ve.Sa further gives corroboratory information from Kalladam in his foot note.
From the verse in Kalladam, we come to know that PiNimukam refers to Pillaiyar.
Kalladam mentions this peacock flag of Pillaiyar being taken in the front of army of Muruga.
“piNimuka magjjai seru mukatthu yEndiya, mooviru thirumukatthoru vElavarku” (kalladam -7)
(translation- Velan of six (3x2) faces, holding piNimukam magjjai in the war-front)
Here Pini mukam and magjjai both mean peacock.
A repeat of it for two times can not make sense unless it is interpreted as ‘peacock’ of Vinayaka (PiNimukam) which was taken in front of the army.
It is inferred that since piNilukam or peacock is his flag, he also came to be known as PiNimukam. The flag with PiNimukam (peacock) is as though Vinayaka is leading the people in the form of the flag to remove all obstacles.
A corroboration of this is given by the urai asiriyar himself in the tips he has given.
“piNi mukam – pillaiyar yErum yaanai endrum sollubha” (page 137, “Puranaanuru moolamum, uraiyum, 1950 edition).
(translation - it used to be said that PiNimukam is the elephant mounted by pillaiyar)
Elephant and Pillaiyar carry a similarity in that both can cause obstacles if they want and also remove the obstacles if they want (Swami Harshananda in “Hindu Gods and Goddesses”).
The urai asiriyar considers that PiNimkukam as the elephant mounted by Pillaiyar.
But then elephant is again an inter-change for Vinayaka and one popular proof is that of Him in the form of an elephant helping in the marriage of Murugan with Valli.
(The places where the elephant is indicated as PiNimukam are Paripaadal 5 and Thirumurugaattru-p-padai 247.)
In addition to these, Ouvaiyar's Vinayagar agaval lend a Sangam antiquity to Vinayaka worship in Tamilnadu.
Vinayaka in Navagraha worship:-
Another information that readers must know is that Vinayaka is associated with Navagraha worship.
Since he is regarded as the Lord of Ganas, (Vedic hymn of “ganaanaam ..” ), all grahas come under his control.
Generally the term GaNa is associated with ‘marut ganas’ which were not formed fully when ‘arka’, the sun was born.
Cosmologically when the sun was formed from a supernova explosion, other parts of the supernova were scattered and could not become stars. These parts are very part of our neighborhood and are at time ramming into our solar system.
Some of them were captured as planets and have started going round the sun.
These gaNas are controlled by GaNapathi or Vinayaka.
Worship of him will help one in getting relief from the obstacles created by these gaNas popularly known as Gruhas.
Another dimension to His role as Navagraha pathi is the story related to moon waxing and waning.
Circumambulation or worship of navagrahas must be preceded by the worship of Lord Ganapathi
One must first worship ganapathi, make a sankalpa in mind for the worship / circumambulation of navagrahas for the many worries in one’s mind and seek permission from Ganapathi to do the worship of Navagrahas.
Then do the worship / circumambulation of navagrahas.
Then come back to the sannidhi of Lord Ganapathi and express in mind that the worship was done and then place one’s pleadings at the feet of Ganapathi to take care of the graha-chaara and their troubles to oneself. That is how the navagraha worship must be done.
32 Forms of Vinayaka from Mudgala purana in