Once upon a time the little playful Shri Ganesha was charmed by the Sudarshan Chakra (the beautiful spinning disc-the most powerful and favorite weapon Shri Vishnu is armed with on His right Vishuddhi finger) of Shri Vishnu.
At one moment of time playfully Shri Ganesha grabbed the Sudarshan Chakra from Shri Vishnu’s finger and hid it in his mouth. In spite of repeated requests and appeals of Shri Vishnu to return the same to him Shri Ganesha never relented to his pleas. The more He requested to return the disc, Shri Ganesha would become more playful with His eternal childhood qualities and run away from Him. Embarrassed Shri Vishnu tried all tricks to please Shri Ganesha but all were in vain.
At last an idea struck Shri Vishnu and he went after Shri Ganesha following him up to Kailasha-lok (abode of Shri Shiva-Parvati). There as He faced Shri Ganesha He initiated a very funny gesture of seeking forgiveness by holding His ears with criss-cross twisting of His hands around his neck. This did the trick and Shri Ganesha giggled like a child and laughed aloud. This eventually released the seized sudarshan from His mouth. Shri Vishnu instantly recovered His favorite disc and departed for his Vishnulok with victory.
The word ‘Thoppukarnam’ is addressed in south Indian dialect to signify a ritual rite of holding ones ears in a fashion by criss-crossing one’s hands around his/her neck before God.
By Ranjana and Rabi, India