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Kubera - The Asura-King Who Went on to Become the God of Wealth

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In our previous post, we had brought you a feature on deified Asuras (demons) and how these entities and certain other negative characters are actually worshipped in Hindu mythology. This month, we bring you the tale of Kubera, the God of Wealth; and also the half-brother of Lanka's demon-king, Ravana.

Before going ahead with the story of Kubera, though, let us discuss about the Devas and the Asuras; the major differences between them and how some Asuras actually go on to attain godhead.

Devas and Asuras

The uniqueness and true beauty of Hindu mythology lies in the fact that it teaches life's lessons in the most subtle way - by way of tales, stories and legends; each of which contains a hidden moral, which we can learn from.

The Pantheon often talks about the Devas and the Asuras and the unending battle between them. mythologically speaking, they came from the same father, Kashyapa. Rishi Kashyapa was the manasa-putra (mind-born son) of Lord Brahma. According to some other sources, he was the grandson of Brahma and the son of Marichi. He had several wives, most of them, the daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Out of these wives, Aditi was the mother of the Devas and Diti was the mother of the Asuras. Yet other wives gave birth to the Gandharvas, Nagas, Danavas and so on.


Brahma - Photo Print
Brahma
Photo Print


As per Hindu cosmology, Devas, Asuras and earthlings enjoy the same status. They all practice the same Dharma and worship the Trimurtis (Trinity) of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Brahma also provided everyone with the same soul, the same mind and the same knowledge. However, the beings varied vastly due to the difference in their attitude, understanding and thought patterns.

In a Spiritual Sense

Spiritually speaking, the concept of Devas and Asuras exists in this very world, within us all. We invoke either of these aspects, depending on the way we think, speak and function. The tales in Hindu mythology teach us that nothing in this world is either pure black or pure white. There are several shades of grey and these are present within us all, at all times.

The deva (divine) aspect within us operates on a level of mental and spiritual intelligence. This makes us function on a sattvic plane, thereby helping us discern between good and bad; eventually earning us good karma.

The asura (demonic) side to us, on the other hand, functions on a basal level, blocking our ability to glean true insight into the nature of reality. This gives rise to material attachment, delusion and ignorance, thus forcing us onto the negative path; thereby also earning us negative karma in this life and all the ensuing lives as well.

Yet another interesting point to be noted here is that Asuras are usually depicted as being black in colour, whereas Devas are usually portrayed as being white or effulgent. These colours are again a symbolism. Darkness means the lack of light - ignorance and the lack of wisdom. Light symbolizes knowledge and wisdom.

Asuras have no real purpose in their lives and merely go about generally causing havoc, disorder and grief to others. Devas are knowledgeable beings, who know exactly why they occupy their place in heaven and what they are meant to do throughout their tenure in their current position. Hence, the depiction of the black and white colours is symbolic of the entities' personalities and not particularly their character.

How Some Asuras Attain Godhead

It is not necessary that an Asura has to remain fearful and negative forever. Hindu mythology records several instances where Asuras have emerged as positive characters, working along with the Devas for the general good of the world; eventually even attaining Godhead.

Some such Asuras are actually Devas or other divine beings, who become demons because they were inflicted by a curse in their previous lifetime. These entities are forced to spend the tenure of the curse being Asuras and behaving as such.
Ravana and his brother, Kumbharkarna, for instance, were actually gatekeepers at Maha Vishnu's abode, Vaikuntha. Once, Jaya and Vijaya (as the brothers were named in their previous birth) stopped the Kumaras (the four great sages and manasa-putras of Brahma) from entering into the gates of Vaikuntha. The enraged Kumaras cursed them to become Asuras and that is how the tale of Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, unfolds.


Ravana - Perforated Leather Puppet
Ravana
Perforated Leather Puppet

The Story of Kubera

Kubera, also referred to as Kuber, Kuberan and Kuvera, is the Lord of Wealth according to Hindu mythology. He is a semi-divine being, called a Yaksha and is also a god-king. Considered to be a Dik-pala or the regent of the North, he is also a Lokapala or a protector of the world. In this form, he is shown as riding an elephant.

He is often revered as the overlord of several semi-divine beings and is the owner of all the treasures of the world, including minerals and jewels that can be found underground, plus all the riches that earthlings own as a whole.

The earliest Vedic texts described him as the chief of evil spirits. But the Puranas and the Hindu epics extolled Kubera as a Deva. He once ruled Lanka, but was overthrown by his half-brother Ravana. He later settled down in the city of Alaka in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Several scriptures extol his many virtues, also praising his glorious and splendorous city. Some other scriptures state that he currently resides in a beautiful mountain near Kailasa, Lord Shiva's abode.

According to the Puranas and the Mahabharata, Kubera married Bhadra, also known as Kauberi. She was a Yakshi and the daughter of demon Mura. They had three sons, Nalakubara, Manigriva (or Varna-Kavi) and Mayuraja; and a daughter named Meenakshi. The Mahabharata referred to his wife as Riddhi, or the embodiment of prosperity.

Kubera is not only popular in the Hindu pantheon, but also prominently features in Buddhism and Jainism as well. In the former, he is known as Vaisravana and Jambhala and is associated with Panchika. In Buddhist sculptures, he is often depicted as being accompanied by a mongoose. In Tibet, the mongoose is considered to be a symbol of Kubera's victory over the Nagas, the guardians of treasures.

In Jainism, he is known as Sarvanubhuti, the One who has experienced it all.

Iconography

Kubera is usually portrayed as a dwarf-like, plump man, with a large paunch. He has a complexion of lotus leaves and is adorned with various jewels and carrying a money-bag (which symbolizes his wealth) or pomegranate and a club in his hands. His left eye is yellow and he wears an armour and long necklace, which comes right down to his large belly. He is also sometimes depicted as riding on a man.

Kubera, God of Wealth - Resin Statue
Kubera, God of Wealth
Resin Statue


Sometimes, he is shown as having three legs, only eight teeth and one eye. Deformities such as broken teeth, three legs, three heads and four arms are mentioned only in the later Puranas. In some Jain depictions, Kubera is shown as a drunkard, holding a vessel of nectar in his hands.

Kubera with Vessel of Nectar - Brass Statue
Kubera with Vessel of Nectar - Brass Statue

Names

The exact origin of the name Kubera is not known. However, in Sanskrit, it means "deformed" or "monstrous", thus talking of his deformities. The name could also have been derived from the root "kumba", which means "to conceal". Additionally, Kuvera can also be split into "ku" (earth) and "vira" (hero or the brave one).

Kubera is referred to by several other names, which include the following:
  • As the son of Vishravas, Kubera is referred to as Vaisravana. The term Vishravas means "fame". So, sometimes, Kubera is also considered to be the "Son of Fame" and as Ailavila, son of Ilavila. In the Pali language, he is Vessavana.
  • The Sutta Nitapa commentary states that Vaisravana is derived from Visana, the name of Kubera's kingdom.
  • Once, Kubera got jealous of Shiva and Parvati and he cast an envious glance on them. That resulted in him losing one of his eyes. Further, Parvati turned this eye yellow. Thus, he gained the name, Ekaksipingala (the one with a yellow eye).
  • Since he is the God of Spirits, Kubera is sometimes referred to as Bhutesha, like Lord Shiva.
  • In his depiction of riding a man, he is also known as Nara-Vahana.
  • Additionally, Kubera is also referred to Rajaraja (the King of Kings), Dhanadhipati (Lord of Wealth), Dhanada (Giver of Wealth), Yaksharajan (King of the Yakshas), Rakshasadhipati (Lord of the Rakshasas), Guhyakadhipa (Lord of Guhyakas), Kinnararaja (King of the Kinnaras), Mayuraja (King of Animals) and Nararaja (King of Men). Interestingly, the Atharvaveda refers to him as Guhyadhipa, which means "Lord of the Hidden" or the "God of Hiding".

Kubera in the Vishnudharmottara Purana

In the Vishnudharmottara Purana, Kubera is said to be the embodiment of both Artha (material gains) and the Arthashastras (treatises related to Artha). The Purana also says that his face is inclined to the left. He also sports a mustache and beard, and has two small tusks protruding from the ends of his mouth (thus indicating his status as an Asura). It also represents his ability to punish or grant favours to his devotees.

Kubera's wife, Riddhi, who is seated on his left lap, represents the journey of life. Her left hand is placed on his back and her right hand holds a ratna-patra (jewel-pot). In Kubera's form, he holds a gada (mace - symbol of administration of justice), a shakti (power in his left pair), standards bearing a lion (symbolizing Artha) and a shibika (a club, which is his weapon). The nidhi (treasures) of Padma and Shankha stand beside him in human form, their heads emerging from a lotus and conch respectively.

Kubera with Wife Riddhi - Brass Statue
Kubera with Wife Riddhi
Brass Statue

The Agni Purana prescribes methods for installing Kubera in temples. It states that his idol should be shown as being seated on a goat, holding a club in his hands. It also says that his image should be made of gold and should be multi-coloured.

Earliest Depictions

Kubera first appeared in the Atharvaveda and later, in the Shatapatha Brahmana. He made his appearance as the chief of spirits or darkness; also as the son of Vaishravana. The Shatapatha Brahmana called him the Lord of Thieves and Criminals. The Manusmriti gave him the respectable position of Loka-Pala, the Protector of the World; also the Patron of Merchants.

The great epic Mahabharata described Kubera as the son of Prajapati Pulastya and his wife Idavida. He was also hailed as the brother of Sage Vishrava. Kubera is sometimes believed to have been born from a cow. However, from the Puranas, he was considered to be the grandson of Pulastya and the son of Vishravas and his wife, Ilavida (also called Ilavila or Devavarnini), the daughter of Sage Bharadwaja.

Throughout all this time, though, Kubera still continued to be considered as an Asura and was offered prayers at the end of all sacrificial rituals. Only the Grihyasutras of Shankhayana and Hiranyakesin called him a God. Yet, it was prescribed that he be made offerings of meat, sesame seeds and flowers after the successful completion of sacrificial rituals. The Gautama Dharmashastra and Apastamba described him as a man; a mere mortal and not a God.

Kubera Acquires Godhead

Kubera attained Godhead from the time of the Puranas and the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. This was also the time when he started being regarded as the Lord of Riches, a dik-pala and a lokapala. According to the Ramayana, this exalted status was granted to him by Brahma, the Creator of the World and the father of Pulastya, as a reward for his severe penance and austerities. Brahma also bestowed upon him all the riches of the world, the status of being equal with the Gods and additionally gifted him the Pushpaka Vimana (a flying chariot). After having acquired all these, Kubera returned to Lanka and ruled the Kingdom.

According to the Mahabharata, Brahma conferred upon him godhead, the lordship of wealth, permanent friendship with Shiva, the status of lokapala, the Pushpaka Vimana, the lordship of the Nairrata demons and a son called Nalakubera/Nalakubara as well. Though he is the Lord of the Rakshasas, some Rakshasas with more cannibalistic tendencies are associated more with Ravana and are believed to have joined him in his war against Rama.

Kubera is also considered the Guardian of Travelers and the Giver of Wealth to his devotees. Sometimes, he is described as Lord Kameshwara and is also invoked along with Shiva at weddings. In a sense, he is associated with fertility.

Both the Puranas and the Ramayana feature the half-brothers of Kubera. Vishravas had married a Rakshasi called Kaikesi, who gave birth to four Rakshasa offspring, namely, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana and Soorpanakha.

The Mahabharata considers Vishrava as the brother of Kubera and hence, he is regarded as the uncle of Ravana and his siblings in this epic.

Kubera's Abode

After moving out of Lanka, Kubera settled on the Gandhamadana Mountain near Kailasa. Sometimes, Kailasa is referred to as Kubera's abode as well. Kubera had a grove called Chaitrartha, where the leaves were made of jewels and the fruits were actually apsaras from the heavens. There was a beautiful lake in the grove, called Nalini.

The Mahabharata describes in detail the magnificence of Kubera's court. The Gandharvas and the Apsaras entertained him in this court. His close friend, Lord Shiva, often visited the place, along with his consort, Parvati. The court was also attended by other divine and semi-divine beings, including the Vidyadhara, Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Pishachas and the Padma and the Sankha as well, personified in human form. Like every lokapala, Kubera has seven seers of the North being present with him at all times.

Shiva and Parvati - Photo Print
Shiva and Parvati
Photo Print


The resplendent city, called Alaka, was supposed to have been plundered by Ravana once and was also attacked by the Pandava prince, Bhima, once. Kubera's Nairrata army vanquished King Muchukunda, who in turn defeated them later. Shukracharya, the Guru of the Asuras, is also believed to have attacked Kubera, defeated him and stolen his vast wealth.
Kubera was a fabulous host and regularly entertained a number of dignitaries in his place. In one such instance, he once invited the great Sage Ashtavakra to his palace, thus gaining his grace as well.

Lord Balaji's Outstanding Loan Repayment to Kubera

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Balaji (an aspect of Sri Maha Vishnu) has a permanent outstanding loan, which he keeps repaying to Kubera. This loan, which is now being repaid by devotees in the name of donations and dakshinas made to the Tirumala Tirupati temple, in fact forms the very basis of the great wealth of the temple. Lord Balaji is also popularly known as Lord Venkateswara.

Venkateswara - Wood Statue
Venkateswara
Wood Statue


It all started with Lord Vishnu staying in Vaikuntha, his divine abode. He was resting on Adisesha, the bed of snakes, in the Ocean of Milk, along with his consort, Goddess Lakshmi. At that time, Sage Brighu came to visit the couple, who were deeply engrossed in conversation with each other. They were so involved in their discussion that they did not see the sage approaching them.

Enraged and insulted, Brighu kicked the Lord on the chest, in order to distract him. Vishnu immediately repented his actions and apologized to the great sage. Lakshmi, however, was deeply offended by the latter's behaviour. She resided in Vishnu's chest and so, she considered that kicking the Lord's chest was an insult to her, as it would amount to kicking her. feeling humiliated, she left Vaikuntha and proceeded to go down to Earth.

Vishnu Settles in Venkata Giri

After Lakshmi left Vaikuntha, a forlorn Vishnu took his abode in an ant-hill on the Venkata Hill, under a tamarind tree, beside the Pushkarini. Taking pity on his condition, Brahma and Shiva took the forms of a cow and calf respectively and started serving him. In the meantime, Surya, the Sun God, informed Lakshmi of all that was happening and requested her to take the form of a female cowherd and sell the cow and calf to the King of Chola.

The Chola King sent the cow and calf to graze on the Venkata Hill, along with the rest of the cattle. Realizing that the Lord resided within the ant-hill, the cow would regularly empty her udder over the ant-hill in order to feed him. Over a period of time, the Queen noticed that the cow did not yield any milk and asked the cowherd to find out why. When the cowherd discovered the cause, he tried to kill the cow by striking its head with an axe.

At that very moment, the Lord rose from the ant-hill to protect the cow. Seeing Vishnu bleeding, the cowherd instantly fell to the ground and died. The cow returned to the king with bloodstains on its body. Following the animal to the scene, the King understood what happened.

The Lord cursed the King to become an Asura for having been a cause for all this crime and violence. When the King begged for forgiveness, Vishnu relented and blessed him saying that his curse would eventually end when He was presented with a Kireetam (crown) by Akasa Raja at the time of His marriage with Padmavati. Vishnu also blessed the cowherd's spirit that he and his descendants would be present to open the door to the Lord's temple, after it was built.

Vishnu Reincarnates as Srinivasa

In due course of time, the Chola King was reborn as Akasa Raja. He had no children and hence, he conducted a yagna to beget a child. As he was tilling the ground, he found a baby girl in a lotus flower. He named her Alamelumanga and adopted the child. Meanwhile, Vishnu reincarnated as Srinivasa, the son of an elderly woman-saint, Vakula Devi. She was actually Krishna's foster-mother, Yashoda, in her previous birth.

Srinivasa was on a hunting trip, when he spotted Princess Padmavati playing with her friends. Smitten by her charm, he returned home and told his mother that he had fallen in love with Padmavati. He also told her that he was actually Lord Vishnu and she, Yashoda. Vakula Devi then approached Akasa Raja with her proposal to get her son married to his daughter.

Around this time, a fortune-teller visited Padmavati and told her that she would eventually marry Lord Vishnu, who had at present taken birth as Srinivasa. Overjoyed at this news, the King immediately agreed to the proposal. Lord Vishnu then called for a conference with the Devas to gain their permission for him to marry Padmavati.

Srinivasa Takes a Loan from Kubera

In order to meet the wedding expenses and also as proof of his own wealth, Srinivasa took a massive loan from Kubera. It is believed that Vishnu took 1.4 million in Ramamudra Coins. The Lord promised him that he would be repaid fully and finally, by the end of time. He also said that all the donations made by his own devotees would be used to service the interest accrued on the loan.

The promissory note for the same was dictated by Brahma himself and Lord Venkateshwara penned it. Kubera had given the loan on the condition that Vishnu would not return to Vaikuntha unless the debt was fully paid off. Hence, Vishnu resides in Tirumala to this very day, as Tirupati Venkateshwara. Devotees offer huge donations to help him pay off Kubera's debt. In return, the Lord blesses them and fulfills all their wishes.

After receiving the amount, the Lord and all the other Devas got busy with his marriage preparations and the wedding was finally conducted with great pomp and show, with all the Devas, Munis and various other divine beings attending the ceremony and showering the avatara-couple with flowers, wishes and blessings.

To date, the income received by the Tirumala Tirupati temple is estimated to be around Rs.1,000 crore per annum. Devotees from all over the world and from all walks of life continue to shower money and jewelry on the Lord, in the hope that He would, in return, shower them with happiness, health, peace and prosperity.

In Other Cultures

Kubera is popular outside India and Hinduism as well. He features prominently in both Buddhism and Jainism.

In Buddhism

In Buddhism, Kubera is Jambhala or Vaisravana. In Japan, he is Bishamon. Vaisravana, much like Kubera, is also the regent of the North, a loka-pala and the Lord of the Yakshas. He is one of the Four Heavenly Kings, each of whom is associated with one cardinal direction.

Jambhala - Photo Print
Jambhala
Photo Print


According to Buddhist legends, Kubera is commonly equated with Panchika, whose wife Hariti is the symbol of abundance, much like Riddhi is, in Hinduism. The iconography of Kubera and Panchika is also more or less similar.

In Japanese culture, Bishamon, also known as Tamon-Ten is one of the Juni-Ten, a group of 12 Hindu deities, who are also considered to be guardian deities. The Juni-Ten group of deities were arrived at by adding four deities to the original group of Happou-Ten, the eight guardian deities of the eight main directions.

In Jainism

In Jainism, Kubera is the attendant Yaksha of the 19th Teerthankara, Mallinath. He is usually referred to as Sarvanubhuti or Sarvahna and is portrayed with four faces, rainbow colours and eight arms.

As per the Digambara sect, he has three heads and wields six weapons. The Svetambaras, on the other hand, portray him with six arms and holding numerous weapons; also carrying a money bag and a citron fruit. He may be shown either riding a man or an elephant. He is related to the Buddhist Jambhala rather than the Hindu Kubera.

Worship

As Kubera the Lord of Riches and also the Divine Treasurer, he is worshipped in many temples and shrines in India. Incidentally, he is sometimes associated with Ganesha, the Lord of Wisdom and Fortune and the Remover of Obstacles. There are certain prescribed pooja vidhis (rituals) to be undertaken in order to please the deity.

Generally speaking, one can find images of Kubera etched in any Mahalakshmi temple pillar, as he is commonly associated with the Goddess. Some Mahalakshmi temples have small vigrahas or idols of Kubera, placed below the main idol of the Goddess.

Temples

One can find several temples and shrines dedicated to the worship of the Asura-deity, Kubera. Here is a list of some of the most prominent ones:

Sri Lakshmi Kuberar Temple at Vandalur

The Sri Lakshmi Kuberar Temple at Vandalur, Tamil Nadu, is one of the most popular ones in South India. Located in Rathinamangalam, it is open from 5:30am to 12 noon and again, from 4pm to 8pm every day. There are some other interesting temples around the area, including a temple featuring 108 forms of Parvati, a Kali and also a Shirdi Sai Baba Temple.

The Rajalakshmi Kubera Trust constructed the temple on 4,000 square feet of land, which has an impressive five-tier gopuram. Lakshmi Kubera is the main deity in this temple; the total cost of which came up to near Rs.30 lakh.

Legend

Legend has it that once Kubera went to Kailasa to take the darshan of Shiva. There, he found him seated with Parvati. Seeing the Goddess' splendour, he felt sorry that he had missed worshipping her for so long. Without him being aware, one of his eyes shut automatically. At that very moment, Parvati caught him staring at her and felt offended that he winked at her. Angered, she made his eye burst, thus resulting in him losing one eye. She also cursed him that he would always look ugly.

Horrified, Kubera pleaded Shiva to forgive him and explained that he had no evil intention whatsoever. Taking pity on him, Parvati forgave him and let the eye grow back, though it was smaller than the other one. He was then blessed by Shiva with the post of being the guards of the North. Parvati also made him the Lord of wealth and material possessions.

Kubera was given the responsibility to distribute the wealth, while Lakshmi had to actually create it. Hence, he is mostly depicted as showering gold coins and navaratnas (the nine gems). Performing pooja to him is believed to enrich the devotee's life. It is even more auspicious to perform the Sri Lakshmi Kubera Pooja.

Kuber Bhandari Temple

The Kuber Bhandari Temple is situated in the village of Karnali, near Chanod in the Vadodara district of the state of Gujarat. There is an interesting legend about this temple.

Legend

Once, Lord Shiva was passing through the thick forest situated around the banks of the River Narmada, along with his consort, Parvati. After walking for long, Parvati felt intensely thirsty and hungry. She requested her husband for some food and water.

Not finding any place to procure either food or water, Shiva decided that it would be proper if he himself manifested in the form of food and water and stayed there permanently. That would also help pilgrims in the future. Thus, Shiva stayed there, adopting the name of Kuber Bhandari. Because of this, he is also considered to be the Lord of food and water.

The morning rituals of this temple are elaborate. For those who wish to explore further, there are several other temples too, in this area. The other famous temple here is the Shaktipeetha of Ma Gayathri, which is located quite close to this temple.

How to Get Here

One can get to Karnali either by road, directly from Vadodara or by boat service via River Narmada. The latter takes about an hour and the ride, which costs Rs.500, can accommodate about 12 people. The temple management provides free lunch to all pilgrims. Those wishing to stay overnight can book their stay in one of the several hotels in the area.

One important thing to be noted is that the temple remains closed in case of heavy flooding of the Narmada River during the monsoon season.

Harikesavanallur Kubera Temple

A lesser known, but ancient temple of Kubera nestles in the quaint village of Harikesavanallur, situated on the banks of the holy River, Tamaraparani in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Once known as Kuberapuri, this temple is believed to be about 1400 years old. The idol of Shiva here is known by the name of Ariyanathar and Parvati is hailed as Periyanayaki.

The temple was built by Nindraseer Nedumaran, a Pandiyan ruler. He was also referred to as Arikesavan or Koon Pandiyan. The structure was renovated and rebuilt by Sadayawarman Kulasekara Pandiyan the First during the 12th -13th century.

Unique Features

  • This temple features a separate shrine dedicated to Kubera. Devotees offer prayers here, hoping to get rid of their financial difficulties and gain more wealth.
  • It is said that Kubera worshipped Shiva in this very location. One can find two Shivalingas here - Ariyanathan and Kubera Linga.
  • This is regarded to be the only temple which has a shrine dedicated to Jyeshta Devi. She is seen along with the Maanthi, the son of Lord Shani. She is believed to help devotees get rid of the ill-effects of the planet Chevvai or Mangal (Mars in Western astrology).
  • Lord Dakshinamoorthy (an aspect of Shiva) manifests here as Medha Dakshinamoorthy; the One with Exceptional Knowledge. Very few temples in India have a shrine dedicated to this deity.
  • There is also a shrine dedicated to the worship of Lord Ruru Bhairava, one of the eight forms of Bhairava (a more potent, intense form of Shiva).
  • This temple features two shrines dedicated to Lord Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. This, again, is a rarity.
The other deities here include the following:
  • Lord Mukkurni Vinayaka
  • Jura Devar - this is a form of Shiva with three legs. He is believed to cure illnesses
  • Saptha Kanyas, including Bramhi, Mahaswari, Vaishnavi, Kaumari, Varahi, Narasimhi and Chamundi
  • Shani Bhagavan or the planet Saturn as per Western astrology

Sri Kuberapureeshwarar Temple

As per legend, Kubera once travelled to Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, in order to worship the Shiva here. The temple, small in size, was situated at the border of Thanjavur District, before the present-day Brihadeeshwara Temple (now known as Periya Koil or Big Temple) came into existence.

The Lord Thanjapureeshwarar, who reigns supreme here, is venerated as the One who offers asylum to all those who surrender to Him. Kubera had lost all his wealth, power and status to Ravana, who had also usurped his kingdom, Lanka. So he decided to visit all Shiva temples, so that he could retrieve all that he had lost at the hands of his evil half-brother.

Now, Thanjavur represents the name of Lord Thanjapureeshwarar. Since he restored Kubera to his former glory, the Lord here is also known by the name of Kuberapureeshwarar. Sri Mahalakshmi occupies her place near Kubera as Dhanalakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and Dhairya Lakshmi (Goddess of Courage).

The temple is open from 6:00am -11:00am and from 4:00pm-8:00pm.

Festivals

The most important festivals associated with this temple are Margazhi Tiruvadhirai (December-January), Maha Shivaratri (February-March), Panguni Uthiram (March-April), Deepavali (October-November) and Tirukarthigai (November-December).

Fridays are also associated with Kubera worship. Devotees pray to him on this day, asking for peace and prosperity. They propitiate the deity by performing abhishekas and offering vastras (clothes).

Chettikulam Sri Kuberar Temple

The Ekambareshwarar Temple in the village of Chettikulam in Perambalur District of Tamil Nadu is famous for more than just the image of Shiva. The presiding deities here are Sri Ekambareshwarar and Sri Kamatchi Ambal.

The unique feature of this temple is its Kubera sculpture, showing the deity on his Matsya vahana (fish vehicle). This is installed in 12 spots around the temple, thereby representing the 12 zodiac signs. Chettikulam Kubera is depicted seated, along with his wife Chitrakala, also on a fish. The Sanganidhi and Padmanidhi are shown with them as well.

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