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Kuber - Siva Purana 3

Kuber is Artha, and his vehicle
is a human being
Kuber was at one time manifested in the City of Kampilya, where there was a Priest named Yajnadatta: he was a scholar of Vedanta, famous and respected. He invested in his son, Gunanidhi, all his knowledge. But the boy was, in secret, addicted to gambling. Despite all the help of his father, he could not overcome this problem. His mother would frequently bail her son out of debt, but hide the fact from her husband - she was afraid that their son's problem would break his heart. She kept telling her son to reform, but this was not helpful. She kept warning her son of the dangers should his problem be discovered: but he was addicted, and could not stop gambling, even though he knew the dangers of it. When her husband would come home looking for his son, she would lie and say that their son had been studying all day, and so went for a walk - when in fact he was gambling.

When the boy, Gunanidhi, was married, he still did not reform. His mother tried to cut him off, but Gunanidhi then turned to theft. One day, his mother caught him stealing from her - and hid the fact from her husband. To stop him from stealing, his mother began to provide for his debts again: she did not want her son to be a thief. One day, his father saw on a stranger a ring that had been given to him as a gift - he accused the man of theft. But the man explained he had won it in a game, and after a short discussion the boy's father Yajnadatta knew everything. He returned home, and asked his wife: "where is the ring you took from my finger when you massaged my hands yesterday?" His wife said she did not know. "Is it where you put the golden vase we once had? The ivory box? The metal jar? The silver statue?" Yajnadatta explained to his wife that he knew everything now, and how she had been lying to him, and even helping his son steal. He said she was not acting like his wife anymore, she had hurt him, and their son, and told he was divorcing her and left her immediately.

When the boy, Gunanidhi, learned of this, he fled the city for fear of being charged with theft, and arrested. He wandered far. He grew hungrier and hungrier, eventually he could go no further. He sat at the base of a tree and waited for death. He had no idea that it was Shivaratri that day, or that he was very near a temple: but when, at dusk, numerous Yogis came to the spot, carrying sweet foods to offer a stone linga, Gundanidhi followed them to the temple. He would not bring himself to beg, so he merely followed stealthily, plotting how to steal the food. Through the night, the Yogis sang and danced.  When at last, the Yogis were exhausted and lay down asleep, Gunanidhi snuck into the Temple, carefully stepping over the sleeping bodies.

The lamp was barely lit, and in the dimness, he couldn't even see the food he desired.  So, tearing a bit of his clothing, he added it to the flame as a wick.  The fire eagerly consumed the fabric, and a bright light illuminated the entire temple - the Yogis stirred, but were not awakened.  However, Gunanidhi was startled, and loudly exclaiming the name of Shiva, he grabbed the food quickly, ran to the door, stumbling over the sleeping Yogis, waking them.  He tripped down the stairs, and died.

Gunanidhi was bound hand and foot and taken before Yama's Yamadutas.  But at the moment of his trial, Shiva's Ganas appeared.  They tried to obstruct the Yamadutas from bringing Gunanidhi to trial, and pleaded on behalf of Gunanidhi.  "Let him go, he does not deserve your punishment.  He is to be taken to Shivaloka."  The Yamadutas naturally respected the Ganas, but were incredulous.  "What?  Apart from all that he has done against his parents, his society and against Dharma itself, surely you are aware of what he did this night against Shiva?  He hasn't done one right thing his entire life.  He hasn't gone one day without theft.  If this thief has a shred of virtue, let us hear of it.  We bet he doesn't.  If he does, we will let him go with you."

The Ganas said, "Shiva will vouch for this man.  He fasted all Shivaratri day, eating nothing.  Though he usually was a thief, he stole nothing that day.  He heard the Kortirudra sung by Yogis.  On Shivaratri night, he hit the lamp brightly, and said the name of Shiva.  It was so bright, not a single shadow could be seen on the Linga!  He then woke the sleeping Yogis, who were supposed to have been awake, as he had remained.  Can you fault him for any of this?"  The Yamadutas had to admit, the man was not entirely without virtue, and had lost the bet.  Keeping the terms, they surrendered their prisoner to the Ganas, who took him to Shivaloka. 

Shiva had Gunanidhi manifest again as Dama, the son of Arindama, king of Kalinga.  Eventually, he ascended to the throne after his father died.  He was a devouted Shivabhakti.  For whatever reason, he particularly practiced the lighting of lamps.  And always kept the temples lit.  One day, he went to Kashi, to illuminate his mind.  Sitting before a linga, after extraordinary Tapasya, Shiva appeared before him, and said, "ask any gift."

Shiva was so bright that Dama couldn't see him.  He said, "let me see you without blinking, no gift is greater."  When Shiva corrected his vision, Dama looked up and - saw Parvati.  He squinted at her, and jealous, muttered to himself - who is this beautiful woman, what tapasya did she perform more perfect than mine? She is lucky to be so near to Shiva.  She makes my Tapasya shine." He circled and snarled, and annoyed Parvati.  She asked Shiva, who is this Yogi that squints enviously at me and mutters 'you make my tapasya shine?'"

Shiva laughed, "Parvati, it is your son.  That's just his way - he isn't malicious, just praising you the only way he knows how."  Shiva blessed Dama, saying "you shall be the master of the mountain city of Alaka, you shall be the lord of Yakshas and Guhyakas, king of the Ashvamukha Kinnaras, you shall be the King of all humans, you shall be the guardian of treasures.  Gunanidhi, this is your mother Uma - now, take her blessing too."

Gunanidhi laid himself at Parvati's feet.  Parvati looked deep within him, and saw Shiva was correct - his jealousy was not malicious, it was simply the limit of his ability to admire.  She approached him to embrace him, but though Dama's eyes had been corrected to see Shiva, Parvati was brighter - and when she came close, he was blinded in his left eye, his body was broken and twisted by the light.  Parvati withdrew when she saw her nearness harmed him - and understood the reason for his jealousy, his limitation, he was not strong enough to be nearer to her.  "Because you are blind in one eye, we will call you Ekapinga (one-eyed), and Kubera because your body was twisted.  It is clear, you will be devoted to Shiva forever: since I cannot, let him come to stay near you, let him be your friend."