Antecedents: Vishnu – Brahma- Pulastya – Vishravas – Kuber.
The prajapati Pulastya married Manini, also known as Havirbhu, the daughter of Trinabindu. To them was born Vishravas. He married the daughter of Bharadwaja, Ilabila, also known as Vaivarnini, and their son was Kuber. The sons born to Vishravas from other wives were Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana. Vihravas was childless for a long time, and became a father after blessings from Brahma.
In the Kritayuga, the devas approached Varuna and made a yajna in honour of Kuber. They requested Kuber to be the lord of all the rivers and stay in the ocean. He would also wax and wane effects , just like the moon. Kuber took over the responsibility and given a lot of wealth by the devas. Shiva became his special friend as per Mahabharata Shalyaparva Chapter 47.
Kuber then meditated beneath the sea, standing on his head, and prayed to Brahma for ten thousand years. When Brahma didn’t appear, Kuber meditated on one leg, surrounded by fire for ten thousand years, and when Brahma appeared asked to be one of the digpalakas. Brahma gifted Kuber his vehicle Shankhanidhi, Padmanidhi and the Pushpak. He then made him a digpalaka along with Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Shiva. Kuber was then given a city named Mahodaya. He informed his father of all this, and Vishravas blessed him. Kuber wanted his faher to build him his own city. Vishravas asked him to occupy Lanka, built by Vishwakarma in the southern ocean, on the top of the Trikuta mountain as per Uttararamayana.
Once, when Brahma was reciting the vedas, he felt hungry. He became angry at not being able to control it, and from his angry face arose an evil rakshasa named Heti, and from his hunger a noble yaksha named Praheti. Heti married Kala’s sister Bhaya and they had a son named Vidyukesha. He married Sandhya’s daughter Salakadanka and they left the child born to them at the foot of the Mandhara mountains. Shiva and Parvati reached there then and blessed the child. It immediately gained maturity. Shiva named him Sukesha, and he married Devavati, the daughter of the gandharva Manimaya. Their children were Mali, Sumali and Malyavan. With Shiva’s blessings, all of them gained maturity soon after birth. They began praying to Brahma and asked for a boon – to become the rulers of all three worlds. They received it and informed their father, who asked them to live peacefully. They ignored that and roamed the worlds harassing people. They asked Vishwakarma to build them a city and he agreed to build them one in the southern ocean.
Once Vayu and Vasuki had an argument on who was better. Vasuki surrounded Meru keeping out Vayu. Vayu tried to move the mountains and the world was filled with dust. The devas approached Vishnu, who calmed Vasuki. Vasuki released his hold a bit and Vayu used that moment to blow one peak to the south. That fell in the ocean and was named Trikuta.
Vishwakarma built a city there and named it Lanka. Vishwakarma had actually built it for Indra, but Indra never visited because of his fear of the asuras, Vishwakarma gave it to Mali, Sumali and Malyavan. They started living there. During that time, the apsara Narmada had three daughters – Sundari, Ketumati, Vasuta. The three rulers of Lanka married them. Malyavan and Sundari had seven sons – Vajramushti, Virupaksha, Durmukha, Suptakhna, Yajnakosha, Matta, Unmatta and a daughter named Nala. Sumali and Ketumati had ten sons – Prahasta, Akambana, Vikata, Kalakamukha, Dhumraksha, Danda, Suparshwa, Samhrada, Prakwata, Bhasakarna, and four daughters – Veka, Pushpolkata, Kaikasi, Kambhinadi. Mali and Vasuti had four sons – Anala, Anila, Aha, Sampati. When the asura attacks became relentless, the devas approached Shiva, and told him about the cruelties of Mali, Sumali and Malyavan. Shiva sent them to Vishnu, who rode on Garuda to confront them. Mali struck Garuda but was killed by Vishnu’s sudarshana chakra. The rest fled Lanka, and since asuras living in Lanka was a menace to the devas, Vishnu designated the sudarshana chakra to make a daily visit to Lanka and kill whichever rakshasa it found there. the chakra did accordingly, and the remaining rakshasas finally moved to patala. Lanka thus remained uninhabited until Kuber started living there. The yakshas born of Brahma’s hunger lived there as his attendants and soldiers. as per Uttararamayana.
The other sons of Vishravas, including Ravana earned a boon from Brahma and set about conquering the world. Ravana’s first act was to evict Kuber from Lanka and also steal his pushpak. Kuber cursed Ravana that when he died, the pushpak would become his slayer’s vehicle. Kuber then began living in the Gandhamadana mountains with his followers as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 275.
Kuber’s court was said to be a 100 yojanas long and 70 yojanas wide. Its walls rose high into the sky and the court was set in the middle of endless meadows. The wind served him with fragrant breeze from the Kalpavriksha. His city was named Alaka and it had several lotus ponds. Gandharva women sing there and the apsaras Mishrakeshi, Rambha, Chitrasena, Shuchismita, Ghritachi, Punjikasthala, Menaka, Vishwachi, Sahajanya, Pramlocha, Urvashi, Varga, Saurabheyi, Samichi, Bulbuda, Latha were also residents. The prominent yakshas in Kuber’s court were Manibhadra, Dhanada, Aashweta, Bhadra, Guhyaka, Kasheraka, Gandakandu, Pradyota, Mahabala, Kan, Thumburu, Pishacha, Gajakarna, Vishala, Varahakarna, Tamroshta, Halakaksha, Halodaka, Hamsachooda, Shankhavarta, Hemanetra, Vibhishana, Pushpanana, Pingalaka, Shonitoda, Pravalaka, Vrikshabashpniketa, Chiravasas, Nalakubera among others. Shiva regularly visited Kuber with his ganas. Gandharvas and sages such as Vihwavasu, Haaha, Huhu, Parvata, Thumburu, Shailusha were also residents. Narada conveys all this to Yudhishtira in Mahabharata Sabhaparva Chapter 10.
When the devas and brahmins approached Vishnu for help against the asuras, Kuber sent a messenger to Ravana asking him to live a more righteous life. But Ravana became angry on hearing this and killed the messenger. He fed the body to the other rakshasas. he decided to launch an attack against the devas and Kuber. He first decided to go after Kuber and set off to Alaka with Mahodara, Prahasta, Maricha, Shukasarana, Vajradamshtra, Dhumraksha, Virupaksha, Yupaksha, Mahaparshwa, Matta, Unmatta, Vikata, Suptakhna, Yajnantaka, Makaraksha, Kumbhakarna, Atikaya, Akshakumara and an army of lakhs of rakshasas. A massive war took place in Alaka. The yaksha Manichara killed hundreds of rakshasas. In retaliation, Mahodara killed thousands of yakshas. Ravana threw three spears at Manichara but it had no effect. He then swung his mace at Manichara’s head, which caused the yaksha’s hair to bend towards one side. Since then he became known as Parshwamauli. Suryabhanu rushed to help Manichara but was cut down by Dashagriva. Kuber then fought Ravana and after a fierce battle, fell unconscious. The Yakshas brought the two flying vehicles Shankhanidhi and Padmanidhi and carried Kuber away. Ravana ransacked the place and returned to Lanka with several valuable items as per Uttararamayana.
The king Marutta was once conducting a Maheshwarasatra in the forest. Indra and the other devas came to the hermitage to receive the offerings. This was the time that Ravana had begun his campaign. On hearing that the devas were present at the hermitage, Ravana reached there with his forces. Indra and the other devas immediately took the form of animals and birds in order to escape. Indra became a peacock, Yama became a crow, Kuber became a chameleon and Varuna became a swan. Ravana and his forces left when they couldn’t find the devas. The devas blessed all the animals whose forms they had taken. Indra gave the peacock’s feathers multiple colours, and made its eyes beautiful. He also blessed that they would be free of illnesses and when it rained, they’d be able to do a beautiful dance. Yama blessed that the crows would now receive the offerings that humans made for their forefathers. Varuna blessed that the swans, who had a black and white plumage, would now be purely white. Kuber blessed that chameleons would be able to change their colours whenever they desired and that their cheeks would appear golden. The devas then left the hermitage as per Uttararamayana.
Virupaksha was an attendant of Kuber. He was in charge of Kuber’s treasures. To take care of the treasure outside the capital, he appointed a yaksha who was as huge as a mountain. Once a brahmin named Pashupata came to Alaka. He knew a way to find treasures – by using a lamp with ghee made from humans. He found the treasure and along with his friends, tried to dig it up. Virupaksha learned of this and had him killed by a yaksha. This resulted in that yaksha being cursed by a brahmahatya sin. Kuber was angry and cursed Virupaksha into becoming a human. Virupaksha’s wife appealed to Kuber who said that she would be born to the maid of the brahmin household in which Virupaksha would be born. he also said that they would be married, and thanks to her good deeds, they would be free of the curse. Thus Virupaksha’s wife was born to the brahmins’ maid. The maid found the magnificence of the child surprising, and took it to the brahmin. The brahmin adopted her and grew in the company of Viprakumara, the incarnation of Virupaksha. When they were older, the brahmin had them married and years later, Viprakumara meditated until he and his wife were able to get back to his old form in Alaka, as per Kathasaritasagara Madanamanjukalambaka Taranga 8.
The king Pridhu was always concerned about the welfare of his subjects. Devas, asuras, trees, plants, sages, gandharvas, apsaras, pitrs, all came to pay their respects and as per his request, Bhumi took the form of a cow and allowed the visitors to milk her. When the rakshasas came to milk her, Kuber took the form of a calf as per Mahabharata Dronaparva Chapter 69 verse 24. The devas crowned Pridhu emperor, and he was gifted the throne by Kuber, a royal umbrella by Varuna, a fan by Vayu, crown by Indra, Staff by Yama, as per Bhagavata Chaturthaskanda Chapter 15 verses 14-15.
Once Kuber was displeased with the yaksha Thumburu. Kuber cursed him into becoming a rakshasa, but blessed that he would free of the curse when Rama killed him. Thumburu immediately became a rakshasa named Viradha in Dandakaranya. During their exile, Rama and Lakshmana were attacked by Viradha, and they killed him. As he was dying, Viradha told them his story, and they cremated him, following which he regained his old form as per Ramayana Aranyakanda Sarga 4.
Once Kuber looked enviously at Parvati, who sat to Shiva’s right. He lost sight in one of his eyes as a result. When Parvati regained her composure, she made the eye a golden color as a reminder.
Once the devas had a mantrocharana at Kushavati and Kuber was invited. He left with Maniman on his divine flying chariot. On the way, they saw Agastya doing suryanamaskar on the banks of the Kalindi. Maniman spat on Agastya’s head from the sky. An enraged Agastya cursed me that since Maniman had spat on Agastya in front of Kuber, so Maniman and his armies would die at the hands of a human, and Kuber would watch with grief. Kuber would be free of this curse only after he saw the person who killed them. It was due to this curse that Bhima was able to kill Maniman and his army when he went in search for the saugandhika flowers in Gandhamadana. As per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 161, the curse was lifted when Kuber saw Bhima.
Kuber once consoled the Pandavas during their exile as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 161 verse 41. During the war with Ravana, Rama lost consciousness. Kuber sent the yaksha Guhykaka to him with holy water, which revived Rama as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 289 verse 9. Once Kuber cursed a yaksha named Sthunakarna who started living in the forest in a hermitage. Amba became a man using this yaksha’s organ. Shukra once gave Kuber a lot of wealth as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 9 verse 23. A king named Muchukunda once fought Kuber as per Mahabharata Shantiparva Chapter 74 verse 4.
Once Shukra stole Kuber’s wealth. Kuber complained to Shiva who took up his trident to strike Shukra (Ushanas). Shukra stood on the trident and tried to push it down, and Shiva flung him away. He fell back on Shiva’s hand and Shiva threw him up again and swallowed him. Shukra roamed around, losing his way, as Shiva waited for him to come out, to kill him. When Shukra came out, Parvati argued that he was now Shiva’s son and it was not right to kill him. Shukra thus escaped and Kuber lost his wealth as per Mahabharata Shantiparva Chapter 289. Kuber once welcomed and hosted a sage named Ashtavakra as per Mahabharata Anushasanaparva Chapter 19 verse 37.
As per the Agnipurana Chapter 51, Kuber should always be depicted with his mace. Kuber’s wife’s name was Bhadra as per Mahabharata Adiparva Chapter 198 verse 6. Kuber is known as Naravahana since he travels in palanquins carried by humans and Rajaraja since he was the king of kings as per Mahabharata Adiparva Chapter 275 verses 1-3. Kuber’s father Vishravas was once angry at him. Since then Kuber appointed 3 rakshasa maidens to serve him as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 275 verse 1-3.
Kuber is also known as Alakadhipa, Dhanada, Dhanadeshwara, Dhanadigopta, Dhanadhipa, Dhanadhipati, Dhanadhyaksha, Dhaneshwara, Dravinapati, Gadadhara, Guhyakadhipa, Guhyakadhipati, Kailasanilaya, Naravahana, Nidhipa, Paulastya, Rajaraja, Rajarat, Rakshasadhipati, Rakshaseshwara, Vaishravana, Vittagopta, Vittapati,Vittesha, Yakshadhipa, Yakshodhipati, Yakshapati, Yakshapravara, Yaksharat, Yaksharaja, Yakarakshasabharta, Yaksharadhipa, Trayamabkasakha, Manushyadharma, Kinnaresha, Ekalinga, Ailabila, Shrida, Punyajaneshwara.
Vaishravana’s son was Nalakuber and his garden was known as Chaitraratha. He was seated in Kailash and his capital was Alaka.
Kuber once meditated on the banks of the Kaveri for a hundred years. Shiva appeared and asked him what boon he desired. Kuber wanted to be the lord of the yakshas, and Shiva agreed as per Padmapurana Adikhanda Chapter 16.