Nine Treasures of Kubera | Kubera Nidhi Kunda
Who is Kubera:
Kubera is the Lord of Wealth. Kubera is also principally revered as the God who bestows fortunes and prosperity. He is deputed as the king of Yakshas, who assist him in safeguarding the treasures lying in the lap of the earth and in the roots of the trees. He is always remembered with the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi. As the God of wealth and material, his responsibilities are to distribute them while creating wealth is the responsibility of Lakshmi.
He is also deputed as one of the Dikpala and Lokpalas (custodians of the directions). He has been accorded exclusive authority over the North direction (Uttara disha). Kubera is not an important deity and his images are very rarely seen, though he is frequently referred to in the epics.
Kubera is one god that all the three religions of India namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism all claim to be their own.
Lord Venkateswara and Kubera:
Crores of devotees throng the world-famous Tirupati temple in South India. Kubera figures as a prominent entity in the temple as the ritual of donation is connected to Him. It is believed that Kubera lent some money to the god Venkateshwara (a form of Lord Vishnu) for his marriage with Padmavati. In commemoration of this, devotees donate money in Venkateshwara’s Hundi (donation pot) in the temple on behalf of Lord Venkateshwara as an act of repaying the loan to Kubera.
Kubera and Ravana:
Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Vibhishana are Kubera’s half-brothers and all three figured prominently in the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’. Ravana is said to have stolen Kubera’s chariot Pushpak and misused it for his own selfish interests by abducting Sita and carrying her off to Lanka. Rama attacked Lanka to win back his wife and with great determination managed to thwart Ravana’s forces. He defeated the demon king and took possession of the chariot, using it as his vehicle to get back to his kingdom in Ayodhya. It was then handed back to Kubera, who went about fulfilling his usual duties as the guardian of wealth.
The city of Lanka was conceptualized and built by the divine architect Viswamitra, but unfortunately, it was taken over by the Rakshasas. They somehow displeased Lord Vishnu, who decided to attack the city. Fearing the worst, most of the Rakshasas fled and left behind a ghost city, which Kubera managed to occupy and settled there with his retinue. Soon, the Rakshasas appeased Lord Vishnu, and devised a plan to seize Lanka back from Kubera. Meanwhile, Kubera’s father sired three more sons Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Vibhishana. Ravana performed severe austerities to Lord Shiva and earned the boon of invincibility from the God. He wrested the city of Lanka back from Kubera and crowned himself the king.
Kubera was crestfallen and appealed to Viswamitra to build a residence for him, who duly constructed a palace for Kubera in the Himalyan Mountain range. The city of Alakapuri in the mythical mount Mandara was an opulent and magnificent city which Kubera presided over. His fantastic riches allowed him to create many grandiose landmarks in this place, which included gardens and other significant structures.
Kubera Nidhi Kunda | Nine Treasures of Kubera:
Kubera is often depicted holding a bag of gold, symbolizing the enormous wealth he owns. Interestingly, he also owns nine priceless treasures. According to Amarakosha, a thesaurus written in Sanskrit by the ancient Indian scholar Amarasimha, Nidhi or Nidhana is a set of nine treasures possessed by Kubera. While not much is known about the Nidhi, it is believed that each of these has a guardian spirit associated with it.
The Navanidhi names are:
- Padmaraga (ruby)
- Mahapadma (lotus)
- Shankha (conch)
- Makara (crocodile)
- Kacchapa (tortoise)
- Mukunda (jasmine)
- Nanda (delight)
- Nila (sapphire) and
- Kharva (innumerable)
- Padma: The Padma translates to the lotus flower. However, this treasure is interpreted as a lake in the Himalayas containing precious minerals and gemstones.
- Mahapadma: Just like the name signifies, Mahapadma is the great lotus flower, which symbolizes a lake double the size of Padma. Thus, it has double the number of minerals and gemstones than the Padma.
- Shankha: The Shankha or conch is considered to be a sacred object, according to the scriptures. It holds significance in a lot of Puranic texts, including the Mahabharata. The mineral composition of a shankha, calcium, iron and magnesium, makes it even more precious.
- Makara: While the literal translation of Makara is a crocodile, Amarakosha says it is also a synonym of Padmini, which means black antimony. The powdered form of antimony is a source of kohl.
- Kachchhapa : The tortoise shell is considered auspicious. Its mineral composition makes it extremely valuable. Various accessories and artefacts have been designed from turtle shells in old times. However, the illegal trade of tortoise shells has been banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species since 1973.
- Kumud: A tantalizing bright scarlet coloured mineral, cinnabar is one of the other treasures of Kubera. It is the brick-red form of mercury sulfide. This mineral is the source of vermillion which is used in several Indian rituals too.
- Kunda: Kunda means the jasmine flower. However, this treasure is interpreted as arsenic, since the jasmine plant absorbs arsenic from the soil.
- Kharva: The Kharva symbolizes cups and vessels baked in fire.
- Nila: The gemstone sapphire is Nila. It is made up of the mineral corundum, a crystalline form of aluminium oxide. The blue gemstone is one of the most expensive jewels, even in the real world.