In Indian mythology, it is a misconception that Lakshmi is Goddess of wealth . Actually Kuber is God of wealth while Lakhsmi is Goddess of fortune . As fortune is usually associated with wealth the misconception has risen This section is about Kuber, Indian God of wealth.
Kubera's domains are all in the high Himalayas, partly because he is the guardian of the North, but also because mountains are the repositories of mineral wealth. Kubera watches over the earth's storehouse of gold, silver, jewels, pearls and nine NIDHIS (special treasures).
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. Since Kubera was so deformed, he had difficulty in 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 which 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.
The first version postulates that Kubera performed stringent austerities for thousands of years and, as a reward, was promoted by Go Brahma.
Another version is that one day Kubera had gone to rob a temple of Shiva. 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.
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 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.
Goddess Parvathi got angry that Kubera was winking at Her, and looking at Her with evil intention. She made his eye burst. Kubera lost sight in one eye and was also cursed that he would always look ugly. Lord Kubera pleaded with Lord Siva to forgive him and explained that he had not seen the Goddess with any evil intention. Lord Siva left the choice to His consort. Goddess Parvathi forgave Kubera and let the eye grow back, but it was smaller than the other one. Kubera was rewarded by Lord Siva with the post of being one of the guards of the eight directions - the North. The Goddess made him the lord of wealth and material.
We should never take undue pride in our material or spiritual accomplishments. The old saying "Pride always leads to a fall." is proved true in the following story.
Kubera invited Shiva and Parvati to dinner wishing to show off his riches. But, the couple denied Kubera's request and said that he could feed Ganesha instead. Kubera laughed and said 'I can feed thousands of children like this."
Ganesha went to his palace and sat down to eat. He started eating all the food placed in front of him. As was the custom, more and more food was served to him, as he did not say that he had enough. Soon there was no more food in the palace and so Kubera ordered his troops to get more food from the surrounding villages. But Ganesha continued eating and there was no more food to be found. Still very hungry, Ganesha started eating all the furniture.
Kubera became very frightened. Ganesha told him, "You promised my parents you will feed me. Now, I have to eat you up as I am still very hungry ". Kubera ran away and pleaded with Shiva to save him from Ganesha. Shiva asked Kubera to give up his pride and serve Ganesha a handful of rice.
Kubera went back to his palace. By this time, Ganesha's stomach had become very huge but the child was still hungry. When Kubera served a cup of rice with humility, Ganesha's hunger was satisfied
Kubera is also worshipped by the Buddhists, where he is looked upon as the guardian of the North. His characteristic symbol is the mongoose, often shown vomiting jewels. In the Buddhist pantheon he is also known as Jambhala, probably from the jambhara (lemon) he carries in his hand. He is always represented corpulent and covered with jewels. His right foot is generally pendant and supported by a lotus-flower on which is a conch shell.
Jambhala is the Buddhist form of the Hindu god of wealth, Kubera. He is fat and covered with jewels and holds a mongoose in one hand and a flaming jewel in the other
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