Lord Kubera – The lord of wealth

Lord Kubera – The lord of wealth

Kubera (Sanskrit: कुबेर, Pali/later Sanskrit: Kuvera, Tamil/Thai: Kuperan), also spelled Kuber, is the Lord of Wealth and the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas in Hindu mythology. He is regarded as the regent of the North (Dik-pala), and a protector of the world (Lokapala) His many epithets extol him as the overlord of numerous semi-divine species and the owner of the treasures of the world. Kubera is often depicted as a fat man, adorned with jewels and carrying a money-pot or money-bag, and a club.

Originally described as the chief of evil spirits in Vedic-era texts, Kubera acquired the status of a Deva (god) only in the Puranas and the Hindu epics. The scriptures describe that Kubera once ruled Lanka, but was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, later settling in the city of Alaka in the Himalayas. Descriptions of the “glory” and “splendors” of Kubera’s city are found in many scriptures.

Story in English

In the Vedic times in Indian Mythology, Kubera was a being associated with evil. He was envisaged to be the chief of all evil creatures living in darkness. It was only after Hinduism consolidated into what it is today that this hideous dwarf began to get acknowledged as a god and as one of the eight guardians of the world. He still remained the king of the Yakshas. Today, in the Hindu pantheon, Kubera is widely known as the god-appointed guardian of the treasures of the gods. He often rides in his airborne magic chariot Pushpak and showers jewels and other precious objects onto the lands he passes over to succor the poor.

There are two versions of how Kubera was elevated to the stature of a god. The first version postulates that Kubera performed stringent austerities for thousands of years and, as a reward, was promoted. Another rather more romantic version is that one day Kubera had gone to rob a temple of Shiva, who is the king of robbers. During the robbery, Kubera’s taper had somehow been blown out. No matter how hard the dwarf tried he could not relight the taper. Nevertheless, he persisted with his efforts no matter how nefarious they were, and, on the tenth attempt, he succeeded. Shiva is a benign god who is often pleased by the most illogical of efforts. This perseverance of Kubera’s in his attempt to rob the god’s temple won him much admiration from Shiva who subsequently granted the dwarf access to the Hindu pantheon of gods.

Kubera is physically envisioned as a dwarf with an ugly and deformed body. His skin is white and he has three legs. He has a set of only eight teeth. Why this is so is rather mysterious, as are so many physical features of the other Hindu gods. Since Kubera was so deformed, he had difficulty moving around. Brahma took pity and ordered Vishwakarma, the architect of the gods and a god in his own right, to build the disabled god a chariot. Vishwakarma conceived and built Pushpak, an aerial chariot that moves of its own accord and which is so large that it can contain a whole city. Kubera flies in this fantastic chariot and throws down jewels and other precious objects to people on the ground to aid them with averting poverty.

Kubera has three famous half-brothers, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Bivhishana. All three find mention in the great Indian epic story Ramayana and are relatively better-known than Kubera, especially to Indian children. This association has spawned many interesting tales and here are some of them.

It was Ravana, the eldest of Kubera’s half-brothers, who stole Pushpak from him and made use of it to further his nefarious activities. The accounts of his misdeeds with the aid of the magic chariot are amply narrated in the Ramayana. First, Ravana abducted Sita, Rama’s wife, from her cottage in a forest to his capital in Lanka where he held her captive. When Rama attacked Lanka to rescue his wife, Ravana used Pushpak to parry Rama’s forays until Rama, Vishnu’s seventh incarnation, at last, overcame the evil king’s forces and used Kubera’s magic chariot to transport himself with his wife back to his kingdom in Ayodhya. After that, the fantastic contraption was back in the hands of the dwarf god who again began going about his usual business of consolidating the wealth of the worlds.

The tale of how Ravana and his other two brothers were conceived is also an interesting story. The fabulous city of Lanka was built by Vishwakarma and the Rakshasas, the demons of Indian mythology, got hold of it. For some reason or another, the Rakshasas annoyed Vishnu who decided to attack the city. The evil ones fled because, although Lanka was the best fortified and richest city in the world at that time, they feared that it was still not safe enough against an attack by a god of Vishnu’s stature. At this time Kubera, always the opportunist, took over the ghost city and settled there with his own attendants. This was not for long for as soon as Vishnu was pacified, the Rakshasas became determined to get their city back from the deformed god. They sent a beautiful maiden to seduce Kubera’s father. She succeeded and from their union was born the three half-brothers of Kubera. Ravana, like quite a few notorious Rakshasas before and after him, performed stringent austerities which earned him the boon of invincibility from Shiva. With this boon, he ultimately defeated his own half-brother Kubera and got back to the city of Lanka for his people, the Rakshasas. After the loss of this luxurious asset, Kubera approached Vishwakarma with the request of creating a residence for him. The builder god conceived for him a palace on Mount Kailash, in the Himalayas. The opulent palace was an appropriate abode for Kubera as it was in the north, the portion of the globe of which he was the guardian. Of course, as guardian of the treasures of the gods and the nine Nidhis, special treasures of indefinite significance, Kubera had for himself the most splendid city in the world on Mount Mandara, a mythical mountain in the Himalayas. Within this city, Alakapuri, is the most beautiful garden in the world, Chaitraratha. Both are a part of the many sybaritic possessions of Kubera.

Story in Hindi

भगवान कुबेर को धन का देवता कहा जाता है। मनुष्य धन प्राप्ति के लिए भगवान कुबेर के व्रत और उपवास करता है, लेकिन भगवान कुबेर की उत्पत्ति और शरीर धारण करने की कथा बहुत ही कम लोग जानते है।

धर्म ग्रंथों के अनुसार रावण के दो सगे भाई कुंभकर्ण और विभीषण के अलावा उनके एक सौतेले भाई भी थे जो की कुबेर थे। रामायण के अनुसार महर्षि पुलस्त्य ब्रह्माजी के मानस पुत्र थे। उनका विवाह राजा तृणबिंदु की पुत्री से हुआ था। महर्षि पुलस्त्य के पुत्र का नाम विश्रवा था। वह भी अपने पिता के समान सत्यवादी व जितेंद्रीय था। विश्रवा के इन गुणों को देखते हुए महामुनि भरद्वाज ने अपनी कन्या इड़विड़ा का विवाह उनके साथ कर दिया।

महर्षि विश्रवा के पुत्र का नाम वैश्रवण रखा गया। वैश्रवण का ही एक नाम कुबेर है। महर्षि विश्रवा की एक अन्य पत्नी का नाम कैकसी था। वह राक्षसकुल की थी। कैकसी के गर्भ से ही रावण, कुंभकर्ण व विभीषण का जन्म हुआ था। इस प्रकार रावण कुबेर का सौतेला भाई हुआ।

रामायण के अनुसार कुबेर को उनके पिता मुनि विश्रवा ने रहने के लिए लंका प्रदान की। ब्रह्माजी कुबेरदेव की तपस्या से प्रसन्न होकर उन्हें उत्तर दिशा का स्वामी व धनाध्यक्ष बनाया था। साथ ही मन की गति से चलने वाला पुष्पक विमान भी दिया था। अपने पिता के कहने पर कुबेरदेव ने सोने की लंका अपने भाई रावण को दे दी और कैलाश पर्वत पर अलकापुरी बसाई।

रावण जब विश्व विजय पर निकला तो उसने अलकापुरी पर भी आक्रमण किया। रावण और कुबेरदेव के बीच भयंकर युद्ध हुआ, लेकिन ब्रह्माजी के वरदान के कारण कुबेरदेव रावण से पराजित हो गए। रावण ने बलपूर्वक कुबेर से ब्रह्माजी द्वारा दिया हुआ पुष्पक विमान भी छिन लिया।

स्कंद पुराण की कथा के अनुसार कुबेर सोमदत्त दीक्ष‌ित नामक ब्राह्मण के पुत्र थे ज‌िनका नाम गुणन‌िध‌ि था। अपने नाम के व‌िपरीत गुणन‌िध‌ि में सारे अवगुण भरे थे। बुरी संगत में पड़कर वह चोरी करने लगा। नाराज होकर प‌िता ने इन्हें घर से न‌िकाल द‌िया। इसके बाद गुणन‌िध‌ि और भी गलत काम करने लगा।

गुणन‌िध‌ि को राजा ने अपने देश से न‌िकाल द‌िया। भूख प्यास से व्याकुल गुणन‌िध‌ि क‌िसी अन्य नगर में जा रहा था तभी उसकी नजर एक मंद‌िर पर गई। गुणन‌िध‌ि ने भूख म‌िटाने के ल‌िए मंद‌िर से प्रसाद चुराने का व‌िचार क‌िया और मौका म‌िलते ही मंद‌िर में जा पहुंचा।

यमदूत और श‌िव के दूत दोनों ही गुणन‌िध‌ि को अपने साथ ले जाने आ पहुंचे। श‌िव के दूतों को देखकर यमदूत पीछे हट गए और गुणन‌िध‌ि भगवान श‌िव के पास लाए गए। भगवान श‌िव ने कहा क‌ि तुमने बहुत पाप क‌िए हैं लेक‌िन धन त्रयोदशी के द‌िन तुमने अपने अंगोछे के ओट से मेरे मंद‌िर में जल रहे दीपक को बुझने से बचाया है इस पुण्य के प्रभाव से तुम मेरे पार्षद हो गए हो और तुम जो धन के लालच में चोरी क‌िया करते थे इसल‌िए मैं तुम्हें पूरी दुन‌िया के धन का अध‌िपत‌ि बनाता हूं आज से तुम कुबेर कहलाओगे। इस तरह चोरी करके भी गुणन‌िध‌ि कुबेर भगवान बन गए।

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.