(Last Updated on : 17/02/2011)
In the Vedas
Kubera is mentioned as the prince of demons and spirits which live in the shadows. However he was later considered as the lord of the Yakshas, the earthly spirits, who is the guardian of all earthly treasures. He was one of the Digpalas along with the gods Indra, Varuna and Yama. Kubera became the god of wealth and abundance only at a much later stage. He is also the lord of riches and thus known as Dhanpati. Kubera is the guardian of the north direction (Uttara- disha). Kubera is the son of Sage Vishrava (or Vishravana) and is the half brother of Ravana
and Vibhishan. He was born in the bank of river Narmada, where his father's hermitage was situated. The place was also the territory of Gandharvas.
There is a popular legend of Kubera. He had been a thief in a previous life. He had broken into one of Lord Shiva's temples. The light went out and brought back the light with great determination. This impresses Shiva so much that he granted him a boon of immortal status of a god in his next life. There is also another version of Kubera. He had spent thousands of years as a frugal ascetic. This impressed Lord Brahma
so much that he made him the god of wealth. Kubera is portrayed with a fat belly as that symbolises prosperity. Mongoose is his main attribute along with other attributes like a club, a pomegranate, a water jug and a money pouch.
Kubera was an ugly looking dwarf with white skin, three legs and only eight sets of teeth. He performed severe austerities for thousand years. Brahma gave him immortality as a reward and made him the lord of wealth and the guardian of all the treasures of the earth. Kubera had difficulties in moving. So Brahma granted him a beautiful palace, which was built by Lord Vishwakarma
in the city of Lanka. When Ravana captured Lanka, Kuvera moved to the city of Alaka in the Himalayas and set his Yaksha kingdom there. Brahma also presented him the vehicle Pushpaka, which was an immensely large chariot that moved according to owner's will at a great speed. Ravana stole this Pushpaka Ratha and used it for his villainous activities. Kuvera used to move in that magical aerial chariot and threw money and jewelries to the poor on earth.
Kubera's house was in Alakapuri. After Kubera lost his abode in Lanka, he requested Vishwakarma to create a residence for him. The builder god built a palace for him on Himalayas. The luxurious palace was an appropriate abode for Kubera as it was situated on the north, the direction of which he was the guardian. Kubera's house was the most splendid city in the Mount Mandara, a mythical mountain in the Himalayas. Within the city of Alakapuri, the most beautiful garden in the world is situated called 'Chaitraratha'. Also his house was believed to be the abode of Adi Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, who was pleased by Kubera's devotion and made him the keeper of the riches.
The legend says that Kubera also credited money to Venketashwara for his marriage to Padmavati. He is assisted in his work by his followers Yakshas, Kinnaras and their female counterpart Kinnoris.