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As I discuss in this answer, Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Vibhishana were sons of the sage Vishravas and the demoness Kaikeshi. But they weren't Vishravas' first children. Before he met Kaikeshi, Vishravas was married to a woman named Ilavida, and their son was Kubera god of wealth. But the Brahma Vaivarta Purana says this wasn't Kubera's first birth.

According to this excerpt from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Kubera was originally born from the body of Krishna. (The Brahma-Vaivarta Purana conceives of Krishna as the supreme god living in Goloka.) But then he was reborn as the son of Vishravas, after a curse by the sage Utathya:

Once Utathya demanded a crore of gold coins from Kubera to pay gurudakshina to his teacher. Kubera in turn behaved with him quite harshly as a result of which Kubera was to be reborn. Thus Kubera was born again of Vishvashrava and the brother Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Vibhishana who was quite a religious one.

For those who don't know, Uthathya, also known as Uchathya, is the son of the sage Angiras and the brother of Brihaspati guru of the gods. The story he's most known for is that once Brihaspati impregnated Uchathya's wife Mamata. But there was already a child in Mamata's womb, and this unborn child objected to the impregnation. Bribaspati was angered by this and cursed the child to be blind. As a result, Mamata gave birth to two sons, Brihaspati's son Bharadhwaja and Utathya's son Dirghatamas, who was indeed blind. Both grew up to be illustrious sages, as you can see in the Rig Veda Anukramani in my answer here.

In any case, my question is, what other scriptures describe this story of Kubera being burnt to ashes by Utathya and then being reborn? The Brahma Vaivarta Purana is considered to have a lot of interpolations, and the story presented here is centered around Krishna, so I'd like to see whether other scriptures confirm at least the broad outlines of this story.

The only other reference to a disciple of Utathya I know of is in this excerpt from the Skanda Purana, which says that Utathya was the guru of Vishnu's incarnation Mandhata (whom I discuss here). But are there any scriptures which describe Utathya as Kubera's guru?

  • Where did you get the translation of Brahmavaivarta Purana? Could you share the link? ANd why does this Purana say Vishvashrava when it was actually Vishrava? – Surya Oct 31 '15 at 18:13
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    It is interesting to note that in the Shiva Purana, Kubera was actually one of Shiva's devotees in his past birth called Gunanidhi. Since he had pleased Shiva greatly with his devotion, SHiva granted him the birth of Kubera, the friend of Shiva. – Surya Oct 31 '15 at 18:14
  • I think it should be Vishravas, because that fits into the chhandas, unlike Vishvashravas, which is two letters more than the chhandas. – Surya Oct 31 '15 at 18:18
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    Nope, the Gunanidhi story is similar to Ajamila's where even though he led a sinful life, in his last moments he performed service to the Shivalinga, so the Shivadutas argue with Yamadutas (!!) and then Lord Shiva blesses him. So the basic story is the illustration of Gunanidhi's life, and Parvati and SHiva blessing him to be Kubera in his next birth, even though there is a slight controversy between Parvati and Gunanidhi. 1/2 – Surya Nov 1 '15 at 5:23
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    @Surya OK thanks! So it seems like the two stories are completely at odds, suggesting that one or both of them may be an interpolation. Or these could have been different previous births of Kubera. :-) – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 1 '15 at 5:52

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