Inside the Temple of Madurai Meenakshi is the sanctum of Lord Ganesha bearing the name Mukkuruni Pillaiyar. Mukkuruni Ganesha is also found in Nagapattinam and Chidambaram.
Three ‘kurunni’ (a measure) of grains are used to make ‘modaka’ (a dish made of rice flour) for offering to this Ganesha. Hence, he is known as ‘Mukkuruni Pillaiyar’.
In Madurai, this Ganesha is found on the path that lay between Meenakshi Sannidhi and Chokkanãthar Sannidhi. In Chidambaram, he is found at the head of ‘Therkku veedhi’ (South Street). In Nagapattinam, Kanchi Mahaswami Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamiji had a single, huge ‘modaka’ made out of the entire flour and offered it to Lord Ganesha. A sack full of rice was ground into flour and one huge ‘kozhukattai’ was prepared out of it!
Legends have it that everyone teased Ganesha for sitting idle with his pot belly. So, Ganesha decided to find some employment! Ganesha, taking the form of a young boy, approached a devotee of his who was working on the fields and offered to assist him. This man asked, “How much wage do you expect?”
Ganesha in the form of a young boy said, “Three (’moonru’) ‘kurunnai’ grains.” Thus, he earned the name ‘Mukkuruni Pillaiyar’!
At the end of the work he earned the grains and returned home happily. He went to his mother Parvati and offered the wage earned. Parvati said to her son, “Oh, my child! anything that the son might earn through arduous labour does not make the mother happy. It is only the father who feels pleased when the son earns. So, give the earnings to your Father!”
So, Ganesha went to his father Lord Siva and gave it to him. Lord Siva who behaves like a mad one (‘pithhan’) knows not what He does. He took the grains from Ganesha and emptied the whole sack on his own head!
Om Gham Ganapathaye Namaha
Om Gam Ganapathaye Namaha! Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara!