Kubera

Kubera deva seated on a lotus with pots of riches

Kubera is the god of wealth and money. He is also the king of the Yakshas. He is the guardian (lokapala) of the north direction. His mantra is ‘Om Sham Kuberaya Namaha’. He lives in the city of Alaka. Shiva is his good friend. Kubera is sometimes called Vaishravana or Ailavila because of his parents.

Family


  • Father: Vishravas
  • Mother: Ilavida
  • Half-Brothers: Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana, Khara, Dushana, Ahiravan
  • Half-Sisters: Surpanakha, Kumbhini
  • Wives: Riddhi
  • Sons: Nalakubera, Manigreeva

Birth


Pulastya, a mind-born son of Brahma, married Havirbhu and their son was named Vishravas. Vishravas married Ilavida, daughter of Bharadwaja. For a long time, Vishravas remained childless. He decided to do penance. Brahma appeared in front of Vishravas and granted him the boon of children. Soon enough, Kubera was born to Ilavida. Kubera was really deformed. He had white skin, eight teeth, and three legs.

Penance


Kubera decided to perform penance to please Brahma to attain eminence. For ten thousand years, Kubera did severe penance in the water with his head completely submerged. But Brahma didn’t appear in front of him. After that, Kubera did penance standing on one foot in the middle of a Panchagni (five fires). Finally, Brahma appeared in front of him and told him to ask for a boon. Kubera asked that he became a lokapala (guardian of a direction) and Kubera was made the lokapala of the north direction. Upon Kubera’s request, Brahma also made Kubera the god of wealth and gave him the treasures known as Sarikhi nidhi and Padmanidhi.

While giving Kubera his boons, Brahma observed Kubera’s deformity of three legs. He realized it must be difficult and tedious for Kubera to travel. Hence, he gave Kubera the Pushpaka Vimana, a celestial flying chariot made by Vishwakarma (the architect of the gods). Brahma then also granted Kubera lordship over the Nairrata demons.

The devas then came to Kubera and granted him Deva-hood. Kubera happily told his father Vishravas about what had happened. Vishravas blessed Kubera.

Taking Residence in Lanka


There was a city called Lankapuri on Mount Trikuta. It had been built by Vishwakarma for the devas. But a group of Rakshasas led by the three brothers Malyavana, Sumali, and Mali and their sons had conquered it. These Rakhasas went around the three worlds harassing everybody. They committed many evil acts. The devas, tired of being harassed by these Rakshasas, went to Lord Shiva for help. Shiva told them to go to Lord Vishnu. When Lord Vishnu was told about the Rakshasas, he went and attacked the Rakshasas, who came out eagerly to attack Vishnu. First, Vishnu killed Mali. This made all the Rakshasas retreat. Vishnu directed his Sudarshan Chakra to go to Lanka every day and kill a few Rakshasas. When this continued, Malyavana, Sumali, and the other remaining Rakshasas left Lanka and retreated to Rasatala in Patala loka.

With nobody inhabiting Lanka, Kubera took his abode there. At Lanka, Kubera did penance to please Shiva for a hundred years. Kubera was granted lordship over the Yakshas by Shiva. Soon enough, the Yakshas who had been aimlessly wandering the world without a leader decided to settle down in Lanka under Kubera.

Attacked by Ravana


For many years, Kubera peacefully and prosperously ruled Lanka. Meanwhile, at Rasatala, Sumali, and Malyavana wanted to take back Lanka. They now hated Vishnu for killing their brother.

Sumali and Malyavana made a plan. Sumali and his wife Ketumati decided to marry their daughter Kaikesi to a powerful sage. Kaikesi immediately went searching for someone. When she came across Vishravas, she knew he was the right person. Kaikesi went up to Vishravas and pleaded with him to marry her. Vishravas knew that this was an inauspicious time so he forced her to leave. The next day, Sumali and Kaikesi came to Vishravas, who agreed to marry Kaikesi but warned that the children born from the marriage will be evil.

Three sons named Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Vibhishana and a daughter named Shurpankha were born to them. Later two other daughters of Sumali married Vishravas and more Rakshasa children were born. From a young age, Sumali poisoned Ravana’s mind against Kubera. After attaining boons from Brahma, Ravana went to Sumali and Malyavana. They put their entire army under Ravana’s command.

With their new army, Ravana, his brothers, and his half-brothers now set off to conquer Lanka. They invaded Lanka and mercilessly killed many. Ravana was about to kill Kubera when Vishravas appeared there.

“Kubera, just leave from Lanka. Ravana will kill you if you do not leave,” Vishravas said to Kubera. “I know you love Lankapuri, but you have to leave.”

Unwillingly, Kubera left with the Yakshas and Nairratas. While wandering around the city, Ravana found the Pushpaka Vimana.

Taking Residence in Alaka


Not knowing what to do next, Kubera went to Pulastya rishi. Pulastya told him to settle down on Gandhmadhana Mountain near Mount Meru in the Himalayas. Kubera requested Vishwakarma to build a city for him. Vishwakarma built Alaka, a majestic city. Kubera permanently settled down in Alaka with the Yakshas, Nairratas, and Guhyakas. Kubera’s court in Alaka has many great Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas, and rishis as its members.

Kubera becomes a Chameleon


Once, King Marutta was performing a Maheshvara yagna in the forest. Indra, Varuna, Kubera, and Yama were invited to the yagna. During the yagna, Ravana passed that spot. All four devas immediately ran and turned into different animals. Kubera assumed the form of a chameleon. When Ravana was out of sight, they all turned back into their normal forms and blessed the animal they had turned into. Kubera blessed chameleons that they’ll be able to change color and that their cheeks will appear golden.

Fight Between Kubera and Ravana


Ravana had become very powerful and dominant. He was constantly harassing everybody all over the three worlds. Kubera got secret information that the devas and brahmins were going to complain to Lord Vishnu. Kubera sent a messenger to Ravana warning him to lead a more righteous life. Ravana responded to this by cutting the messenger up and serving him as food to his Rakshasas.

Ravana also decided to attack Kubera. Ravana readied his army, led by great warriors Mahodara, Prahasta, Maricha, Suka, Sarana, Vajradamstra, Dhumraksha, Virupaksha, Yupaksha, Mahaparsva, Vikata, Suptaghna, Yajnantaka, Makaraksha, Kumbhakarna, Atikaya, Akshaykumara, and himself.

Ravana and his army marched to Alaka, where a huge battle ensued. Many Yakshas were killed by Ravana’s army. But on the other hand,  the Yaksha Manicara demolished many Rakshasas. Frustrated at seeing Manicara destroying his army, Ravana hit him in the head with a mace. Manicara’s head was turned to one side and from that day one, he became known as Parsvamauli.

In the end, Ravana and Kubera had fought. In the following fight, Ravana made Kubera unconscious. But fortunately for Kubera, two Yakshas came and took him away in a chariot to save him from death. Ravana then looted many riches and precious gems from Kubera’s palace.

When Kubera woke up from his comatose, he was sad when he realized that many of his riches had been taken.

Kubera’s Eye Turns Yellow


Alaka was situated really close to Kailash Moutain, the abode of Lord Shiva. Hence, Kubera would go and meet Shiva many times. One of these day times, Parvati was seated on the left thigh of Shiva. Kubera looked jealously at Parvati. Because of this, Kubera was instantly turned blind in one eye. When Parvati regained her cool, she made it so that instead of the eye being completely white, it was now yellow. She did this so that Kubera would always remember the incident. From that day on, Kubera was also called Ekapingala.

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