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Kubera (Samskrit: कुबेरः) is revered as the devata for wealth and riches. He is the ruler of celestial beings such as Yakhsas, Gandharvas, Kinneras, Kimpurushas among others. His world is called Alakapuri, to the north near Kailasha the abode of Shiva and Parvati.
Family and Lineage
Brahma, the Creator, himself is the grandfather of Ravana. Brahmadeva had a manasaputra called Pulastya. To Pulastya was born Vaishravana through his wife Gau. Vaishravana however, leaving his father Pulastya, was always in service of his grandfather Brahma. Angered by this action, Pulastya created another form of his from half his body, called as Vishravas. Vishravas held a deep resentment for Vaishravana and was always looking for an opportunity to attack him. Brahma was highly pleased with the services of Vaishravana or Kubera (कुबेरः) and bestowed
- अमरत्वम् ॥ Amaratva or immortality
- धनेशत्वम् ॥ Rulership over wealth
- लोकपालत्वम् ॥ one of the rulers of the lokas
- लङ्काधिपत्यम् ॥ Ruler of Lanka, the capital of land of rakshasas
- यक्षाणामाधिपत्यम् ॥ Rulership over the Yaksha ganas (semi-celestial beings)
Brahma encouraged Vaishravana to seek support of Mahadeva and granted him a son, named Nalakubara. He also gave Vaishravana the title of "Rajaraja". He granted Pushpakavimana to travel anywhere as per his wish via the aerial route to Kubera.
कुबेरस्योत्पत्तिरैश्वर्यप्राप्तिश्च ॥ Origin of Kubera and his wealth
Vaishravana who was granted many boons by his grandfather, Brahma, was always viewed with resentment and anger by his father's form Vishravas (विश्रवस्). He made many attempts to please him. Vaishravana or Rajaraja Kubera always lived in Lanka, enjoying all the wealth, he engaged people to carry him on their shoulders in a vehicle (नरवाहनः). To please his father Vishravas, he engaged the services of three rakshasis (परिचारिकाः) named Pushpotkata (पुष्पोत्कटा) Malini (मालिनी) and Raaka (राका) well versed in song and dance and who served him competitively to gain his good graces. Pleased with their service, Vishravas granted them each of them sons according to their wish, who are as mighty with immense strength equal to that of lokapalakas.
पुष्पोत्कटायां जज्ञाते द्वौ पुत्रौ राक्षसेश्वरौ। कुम्भकर्णदशग्रीवौ बलेनाप्रतिमौ भुवि॥ 3-275-7
मालिनी जनयामास पुत्रमेकं विभीषणम्। राकायां मिथुनं जज्ञे खरः शूर्पणखा तथा॥ 3-275-8
Ravana and Kumbhakarna of Pushpotkata who were mighty rakshasas. Malini gave birth to one son named Vibhishana. Raaka gave birth to a male child named Khara and a female child named Surpanakha.
Ravana defeats Kubera
Once when Kubera, in his pomp and splendour was in the company of Vishravas. At that time Ravana and others were moved by jealousy over his wealth and grandeur. In their heart of hearts they all decided to do severe tapas (penance) to please Brahma. Ravana did penance for thousand years standing on one foot, living only on air and in deep meditation with Panchaagnis around him. Kumbhakarna similarly limited his food and slept only on the ground. Vibhishana sustained himself only on dry leaves during his penance. Clever and generous hearted Vibhishana also continued his penance for years along with his brothers. Khara and Surpanakha engaged themselves in protecting and serving their brothers who were doing penance. After a thousand years of penance, Ravana cut off one of his ten heads and offered it into Agni as ahuti. Brahmadeva highly pleased with with their tapas asked them to wish for any boons other than Amaratva (immortality). Brahma granted Ravana that he can take any form as per his wish and will be victorious in wars with his enemies. It is then that Ravana makes his extraordinary request that he should never be defeated by Gandharvas, devatas, asuras, yakshas, nagas, kinnaras, bhutas which is granted by Brahma. Kumbhakarna, whose mind was controlled by tamas, asked to be granted sleep for a long time. Vibhishana requested that inspite of big distress befalling on him, he should remain undisturbed or adharmic. Also he asked for the Brahmastra to be granted to him, with the knowledge of application (prahara) and retraction (upasamhara). Pleased Brahma along with these two boons grants him Amaratva (immortality) to Vibhishana.
राक्षसस्तु वरं लब्ध्वा दशग्रीवो विशाम्पते। लङ्कायाश्च्यावयामास युधि जित्वा धनेश्वरम्॥ 3-275-32
Courtesy: Samskrit Shlokas of Mahabharata from Rashtriya Vidyapeetha, Tirupati.
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