Iconography of Kubera
Kubera is often portrayed as a dwarf, with complexion of lotus leaves and a big belly. He is described as having three legs, only eight teeth, one eye and being adorned with jewels. He is sometimes depicted riding a man. Kubera holds a mace, a pomegranate or a money bag in his hand. Kubera is usually depicted with a mongoose in Buddhist iconography.
Myths of Kubera
Kubera has also been assimilated into the Buddhist and Jain pantheons. In Buddhism, he is known as Vaisravana. It is said that Lanka, the golden city, in the middle of the southern sea was built by Kubera. It is believed that he used to travel in his ‘Pushpaka Vimana’. Kubera’s father, Vaishrava, had two wives. One wife had given birth to the Yakshas while the other gave birth to the Rakshasas. Ravana, the king of Rakshasas, was so jealous of Kubera’s wealth that he drove Kubera north and took the control of Lanka. The glorious days of Lanka came to an end when Kubera’s step-brother Ravana, with a boon from Brahma, ousted him. Kubera then left Lanka and settled in Alakapuri near Kailash.
The Vedic texts term Kubera as a demon. However, in other Hindu epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, he is the wealthiest Hindu God. Kubera is frequently worshipped with Lakshmi for wealth and success, particularly during Diwali. It is believed that Kubera grants gold and other precious metals from his treasury to his devotees. Kubera is not worshipped today as he once upon a time was in ancient India.
There are many stories of Kubera, once he became so proud that he felt his wealth could never be depleted. To teach him a lesson, Ganesha went to his house and ate all the food he had. Another time, he was boasting of his money. There is also another version of Kubera. He had spent thousands of years as a frugal ascetic which impressed Lord Brahma so much that he made him the God of wealth.
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. 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.