NAMES: Kubera is called Vaisravana as he is born to Vishrava. As the son of Ilavila, he is also called Ailavila. Kubera once looked at Shiva and Parvati with jealously and lost one of his eyes. Parvati deemed that this eye become yellow. Hence, Kubera gained the name Ekaakshipingala. He is also called Bhutesha or the Lord of the Spirits. Other names of Kubera include Rajaraja, Dhanadhipati, Dhanada, Yaksharajan, Rakshasadhipati, Guhyakadhipa, Kinnararaja, Mayuraja and Nararaja. In Buddhism, he is known as Vaisravana, the patronymic of the Hindu Kubera and is also equated with Pancika, whose wife, Hariti, is an embodiment of wealth and prosperity.
DEPICTIONS: According to the Mahabaratha, Kubera is born to Prajapati Pulatsya and his wife Idavida. The Puranas portray him as a dwarf and also a cow. He is fair complexioned and his big belly is showing. The Lord of Wealth evidences himself with his conspicuous money-bags (which curiosly is a Marxist term for capitalists!). He is also sometimes shown carrying a sheaf of jewels.
Kubera holds a club as a weapon called shibika in his right hand. The gada or mace is symbolic of dandaniti or administration of justice. Power called Shakti in his left pair represents artha or wealth. Padma and Shankha, stand beside him their human forms to represent the ‘nidhi’ or treasures. Nidhi in Tamil mean funds.
The later Puranic versions depict the Lord of Cash as somewhat deformed and that is one for Lord Danvantari, the celestial doctor. Kubera has an extra leg but a single eye. His dentistry is wanting as he is said to have only eight teeth.
Kubera is also called Nara-vahana as he is said to ride on a human being - shades of capitalism? But generally his vahana is an elephant or white horse. Kubera’s depictions get richer regionally. His right hand blesses bhaktas. His left takes control of a mongoose hangs around him. This is said to be symbolic of Kubera's victory over Nagas, guardians of treasures. A fish is shown to be symbolic of swallowing wealth. The lotus symbolizes wisdom. He is always shown with bags of silver and gold coins arranged in front of him. Kubera’s Buddhist and Jain depictions have their own versions of Kubera with couple of objects thrown in. We would not be concerned with them here.
DEPICTION IN THE PURANAS: The Puranas give a different version. In the Vishnudharmottara Purana, Kubera is the embodiment of both Artha and Arthashastras. This means he represents both, wealth, prosperity and treatises related to arta.
Deformities are not highlighted but his face is inclined to the left. A generous armour and necklace hang tight down to the belly.Two little but noticeable tusks protrude from the mouth ends to represent his powers to punish and bestow favours. He sports a moustache and beard. Rather than a missing eye, the left eye according to this Purana is yellowish. In Tamil one calls it ‘nolle kannu’ which literally means blind and foamy eye! His complexion is similar to that of lotus leaves.
Now this gets romantic a little. His rosy wife, Riddhi, is seated on his left lap. She is said to represent the journey of life. She also holds a Ratna-patra or rathina paathiram in Tamil meaning Pot of Jewels. It is also said that Kubera has two other wives on the side by the name of Yakshi and Bhadra.
RAMAYANA: This great epic exalts Kubera to the status of a God, It is said that it was Lord Brahma who gave the wealth portfolio and the Nidhis to Kubera. This elevated him to the status of Lord of Wealth and earned a friendship with Lord Shiva. Brahma also makes him a world protector, vis-à-vis economically. He takes over the Lordship of the Nairrata demons. Brahma also blesses him with a son, Nalakubera.
Uttara Kanda has a slightly different version stating that Kubera is the grandson of Pulatsys. He sings and dances with damsels. One day he proclaims that any damsel caught near his hermitage is to father his child. This threat was not heard the daughter of the sage Trinavindu. She is deflowered and a baby ensues. Her father is only left with the option of giving her away in marriage. Visravas is born and later becomes a sage. He marries the daughter of Muni Bharadvaja. Lord Brahma names their child Vaisravana @ Kubera. His tapas earn him Brahma’s blessings to be the God of Wealth.
Apparently, it was Kubera who is given the first space-craft called Pushpaka Vimana by Brahma. The Puranas call this a flying chariot. The Puranic descriptions of the Vimana several thousand years ago pertaining to aerodynamics, take-off/landing, speed and even fuel is an historic pride. But the NASA guys may prefer to give credit to Leonardo de Vinci’s fly-craft drawn closer to home. There you have the generosity of Bharatha Matha. She never believes in copyright! After-all the scriptures and the Puranas were written for all mankind and any form of copyright would be a farce.
Now, with the usual twists in the Puranas, Ravana also gets a boon from Lord Brahma. He overpowers his step-brother Kubera and takes over Lanka. Ravana claimed ownership of the much acclaimed Pushpaka Vimana. Kubera flees to Alaka in the Himalayas. Later when Ravana was slain, the Vimana is reverted to Kubera for him to fly freely and speedily to sort out celestial finance.
MAHABARATHA: This epic describes Kubera’s residence in Alaka in the Himalayas. The same description is also found in the The Meghaduta. Apparently Alaka is was magnificent. It is said that there Kubera had a grove called Chaitraratha, where leaves were jewels and the fruits were apsaras from heaven. He has a social life there with the Gandharvas and Apsaras entertaining him. However Alaka was not without encumbrance. It was plundered once by Ravana and attacked once by Bhima.
LORD VENKATESSWARA: According to the later Puranas, there is a unique connection between Lord Venkateswara, Lord Kubera and Goddess Mahalakshmi. Earlier in puranic history, Lord Vishnu, in all his wisdom, borrows money. Kubera is the lender. Now apparently Vishnu needed extra cash for his marriage with Padmavathi. This liability seems to have been passed on conveniently to Vishnu’s devotees. Till today, devotees going to Thirupathi donate abundantly in Venkateshwara’s Hundial to off-set the loan.
Mathematically, this will go on until the end of the present Kali Yuga. According to the Purana’s this money is passed on to Lord Kubera. Now, here is the catch. Kubera is also the keeper of the wealth for Goddess Mahalakshmi. To say that the Goddess would repay in one lump-sum at the end of the Kali Yuga is conjecture! We should leave that to the Gods' discretions. But one has the benefit of the Thrupathi Temple ladhu and many other wonderful religious and humanitarian services. For the moment one perhaps is not to be too concerned with celestial auditing of the loan account but enjoy Lord Venkateshvara’s abundant blessings and the sweetness of His ladhu prasadhas.
WORSHIP: Lord Kubera is usually worshipped with a financial counterpart in Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Generally this is aimed at unlimited wealth and prosperity. Those being blessed by Lord Kubera are said to be materially successful. Sudden wealth is said to 'pour' through the roof. Money flowing in is more than the flowing out. Sometimes Kubera is said to block depletion of savings. So you have surplus always. But note: Lord Kubera gives this blessing for constructive purposes.
CHANTING: Lord Kubera is propitiated by chanting the Kubera Mantra. One such mantra is ‘Hreem Yakshaya Kuberaya Vaishravanaya Dhana Akarshanaya Sarvaloka Vasigaraya Dhana Dhanya Adhipataya Dhana Dhanya Samrudhime Dehi Tapaya Swaha.’
YANTRAS: Yantras are said to be cosmic energy devices. They are complex engines of energy containing geometric figures and designs with spiritual writings. These are called energetic signatures pre-programmed on a Yantra sheet. These may be activated or rather energised to realise the intentions of the yantra in the hands of a spiritual master or recipient. It is also a tool for contemplation, concentration and meditation to raise one to higher levels of consciousness. Thus it is a microsmic picture of the macrocosm. One shall accede to this extent about Yantras.
However there are several silver and gold sheet Kubera Yantra and Rudraksha packages for XYZ USD floating around promising instant richness and financial miracles. This is a choice for the individual really. After-all the butterflies in the Puranas could sing lullaby. And bees made love to flowers! The sea of ignorance does not invite anyone to take a plunge. Standing on such beach, perhaps one could turn his or her attention to knowledge, hard work, perseverance and faith in God.
(draft Gods and Goddesses)
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi...
Hari Om indeed Swamiji..