As a Vedic God, presence of Lord Ganapathi has been felt in all cosmic ages and has been eulogized by Vedic scripts. While several pouranic scripts like Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Brahma Vaivartha Purana etc. have made reference to Lord Ganesha, specific scripts viz. Sri Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana (both Upa Puranas) are exclusively dedicated to Lord Ganapathi. As a leader of Ganas (divine groups) Ganapathi is believed to be a personification of Omkaram and considered as an elderly God. Though basically a demi-God, Lord Ganesha has been conferred with a unique prominence as a potent God to be worshipped before worshiping any other God.
A great devotee of Lord Sri Hari (Vishnu), Ganesha was born (creation) to Goddess Parvathi Devi with the blessings of Lord Vishnu and is worshiped as Vishnu Parivara (followers) devatha. Lord Ganapathi the lord of space, Aakaasa (sky) Tattva assumed as a form of Viswambharamoorthy, Lord Vishnu’s Viswa Taijasa Roopa the one who controls the waking (jagrat) and dreaming (swapna) state of Jeevas is an adorable God.
Worship of Lord Ganapathi is prevailing in Hindu philosophy since time immemorial perhaps since Vedic times. There are several historical and pouranic references to the worship of Lord Ganesha and we find several divine personalities including Trinal Lords (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara) having worshiped Lord Ganapathi on different occasions for various reasons. Lord Vishnu in his incarnations as Sri Rama and Sri Krishna worshiped Lord Ganapathi for Loka Kalyana (welfare of the mankind) and to maintain the loka-reeti (local conventions).
Lord Ganesha has played a significant role behind the origin of famous Theertha Kshethras (pilgrimage) of Lord Shiva at Gokarna (Aatma Linga Kshetra) and that of Lord Sri Ranganatha Swamy at Sri Rangam (Anthya Ranga Kshethra) near Trichy. Lord Ganesha also helped Sage and Lord Sri Vedavyasa in scripting the epic Mahabharatha.
He is the one who has shown to the world the significance of parents by taking a circumambulation around his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi chanting Narayana manthra that has bestowed him the position of Ganaadhipathya, Lordship over the Ganas.
Lord Ganesha the lord of learning and patron of letters is one of the best known and most widely worshipped Deities of Hindu Religion. All walks of people worship him regardless of affiliations. As Lord of wisdom and knowledge (discriminative) Lord Ganesha helps in overcoming the negative passions. As Vighneshwara the Lord of Vignas (obstacles), Lord Ganesha is controller of obstacles and destroyer of miseries of his devotees. He is known as Kshipra Ganapathi the one who grants wishes of his devotees very quickly.
Generally, we find Lord Ganesha depicted as a dwarf and fatty figure with pot belly, elephant head, large ears, small eyes, long nose and mouse as his vahana (vehicle). From an artistic angle this figure is most enchanting and blissful. But behind this unique symbolism, hidden is a philosophy, a moral, a management principle and a lesson for everybody to learn in life. Symbolism of Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and a visible representation of the highest reality.