original, natural mineral pigments, gouache, and gold on cotton. $3,500. 2013
Kubera is a god of wealth, popular in India, also called Jambhala, or Bishamon in Japan. He helps people shift from a poverty mentality to a wealth mentality – not only of material things, for example, but of time, helping people take the time to stop and appreciate what is around us. Daily meditation on his yantra, or mandala, helps the mind transform thought forms, gently guiding one into habits of prosperity. He rejoices in the merits of others and is the patron of aesthetic appreciation and artistic creation, knowing that dwelling on works of great beauty refines us. Kubera is a duel-energy deity, with an unusually powerful blend of male and female energies. He is also connected to ecology and environmental concerns of the earth, and fertility as the abundance of life. He is an antidote to pride. In India he is sometimes shown with Lakshmi, goddess of fortune. There he is associated with what is called a “magic square”, and puja worship is often done to a drawing of the magic square rather than an image of him. Magic squares are numerical arrangements constructed in a square grid where the numbers in each line in the grid add up to the same sum. They have been known about in all cultures for thousands of years, for instance Albrecht Durer drew one in the corner of his etching “Melancholia”. In this painting Kubera’s magic square is placed in the breastplate of his horse.
He is a semi-wrathful, dark-colored warrior in the retinue of Ratnasambhava, the Jewel family of the 5 Buddha families, and so he is associated with superabundance of wealth and riches. In the tiered hierarchy of Buddha family structure, he is also said to be one of the 8 generals that accompany Vaishravana, one of the four guardian kings, and guards the north face of Mt. Meru. The eight generals are all emanations of Vaishravana. He is dressed in Chinese warrior clothes, as the Chinese were a people from the north. He holds a mongoose in his left hand that has jewels spilling out of its mouth. The 4 guardian kings were the first Indian gods to be incorporated into the Buddhist narrative.