Kubera is the Indian god of wealth. He is known to be the richest god and is the possessor of all the money, gold, minerals of the world. In India, we consider Lakshmi to the goddess of wealth however Lakshmi is the goddess of overall fortune and prosperity in one's life. There are different stories on how Kubera achieved the status of God. Some scripts say he was a thief in his previous life and with the grace of Shiva he became the god of wealth while other scripts suggest he was the brother of Ravan. Let us hear of both the stories in detail.
Long ago, during the period of Satyug there lived a priestly man by the name of Yajnadata. He lived with his wife and son. His son's name was Gunidhi. Gunidhi was opposite to his father. Right from childhood days, he kept a bad company. He started gambling at a young age. He also started stealing money and other precious stuff from his house for the sake of gambling. Despite knowing about all this, his mother kept silent as she was too scared to let her husband Yajnadata know. She knew that her husband would abandon both of them if he came to know of all this. She would always cover up for her son and hide everything from the father.
Gunidhi grew up and got married as well, but as the saying goes old habits die hard, He continued his evil activities. Once he stole a diamond ring from his house. He lost the ring to another gambler. Yajnadata happened to meet that gambler somehow and saw the ring in his finger. When he questioned the gambler, he opened up and said that his son Gunidhi was one of the biggest gamblers in town. Yajnadata was completely taken aback. He came home and asked the mother about all this and as usual, she tried to cover it for him. Yajnadata got furious and abandoned both of them.
Gunidhi fled away from the town as he was too scared to meet his father. He roamed like a homeless beggar stealing food from here and there. On the day of Shivaratri, he failed to steal anything and kept roaming. He found a Shiva temple and saw a huge crowd of devotees offering different food items to the Linga. Gunidhi stopped and waited for the devotees to leave so that he could steal all the offerings and satisfy his hunger. He also heard the different Shiva mantras being chanted inside the temple. Night set in and soon the devotees were off to sleep. Slowly Gunidhi entered the temple and stole the sweets and fruits offered to Shiva. However, on his way back outside he happened to fall on one of the devotees who was sleeping inside the temple. This woke everyone up and they saw what was happening. The crowd was furious as stealing from God was an incorrigible offence. They started hitting him and finally beat him to death.
As soon as Gunidhi died the tribe of lord Yama got hold of him and took him to Yamlok. There he was about to be sent to hell for all the wrong things he did in his life. However, just before his sentence, the tribe of Shiva came to his rescue. Yamaraj was confused as he knew that Gunidhi was a corrupt man.The Shiva Ganas said that his sins were burnt down into ashes by the grace of Lord Shiva. Gunidhi had unknowingly kept a fast on Shivaratri. This act itself was big enough to remove all the sins from his account.
In his next life, he was born into a royal family as Dama, son of the king Arindam of the Kalinga dynasty. Soon after he grew up he took over the kingdom. He was the biggest Shiva devotee known to mankind. He decided to meditate upon Shiva. After a few years of hard penance, Shiva along with Parvati appeared before him. The light around them was so bright that Dama could not even open his eyes. His eyes kept flickering. When Shiva asked what does he want, Dama simply said that he needs a clear vision to see Shiva properly. Shiva blessed him with divine vision. Dama saw both Shiva and Parvati together. He was amazed to see Parvati and was curious to know how did she manage to become so close to Shiva. He kept staring at her which made Parvati uncomfortable and angry. She got annoyed and burst one of his eyes. Shiva pacified her and told her that he had no bad intention for the Goddess. Parvati then blessed him to become the Lord of wealth on this planet. This is how Kubera with a distorted face and one eye became the God of Wealth.
in another version, Kubera is known to be Ravan's half brother. He is the son of sage Vishrawa and Ilavida. He is the one who ruled the city of Lanka before Ravan snatched Lanka forcibly from him. He was also the possessor of Pushpak Viman and Ravan snatched that also from him. After this he was forced to leave Lanka. He decided to meditate upon Shiva. With Shiva's grace, he became the lord of wealth and then decided to reside in the city of Alaka near to Shiva's abode Kailasa.
Kubera is shown as a plump god with distorted features. He is married to Bhadra and rides a wild boar as his mount.
Art Credit: Unknown
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