Vinayaka, the first deity worshiped by all Hindus, is an incarnation of various forms and is therefore a symbol of universal integration. Visualized with the head of an elephant, the lower parts of an asura, one side of the face sporting a tusk and the other defenseless, He embodies both genders. Crafted from the simplest materials, clay, and worshiped with the most basic offerings, grass, Vinayaka personifies all living beings. He is a symbol of victory and shows devotees the way to achieve the same goal in all areas of life. The “fruit” referred to by Arunagiri Nadhar in his memorable dedication “Kaithala Nirai Kani” is the fruit of the knowledge he obtained from his parents through his wisdom and insight. When challenged to circumnavigate the globe, he bypassed his parents, signaling high philosophy. Everything about Vinayaka is full of deep philosophical meaning and significance. The Mothagam with the sweet core enclosed in the soft casing made of rice flour embodies the inner soul and outer body of living beings, Thiruppugazh Madhivannan said in a lecture.
Ours is a land of faith and spirituality and recognized as such throughout the world. Chinese philosopher Confucius told his followers, “You should do more good deeds in order to be reborn in India. It is the land of wisdom. For those unfamiliar with Hinduism, the pantheon of gods can seem confusing. However, diversity is the essence of life. During Deepavali, people dress in different fabrics, in different shades. Even on a given day, not everyone eats idli, everyone eats a different meal, but everyone aims to nourish their body. Similarly, Hinduism allows one to pray to a deity of one’s choice. However, everyone prays to Vinayaka as he is the big starter. We all pray to the gods with clasped hands and folded palms, but we worship Vinayaka by slapping our foreheads and squatting, which indicates the special meaning it has for all.