Study Guide

Lord Kubera and Ratri in Lord of Light

By Roger Zelazny

Lord Kubera and Ratri

Lord Kubera is a member of the Lokapalas, the fourth keeper of the world, and a fiercely intelligent god. Unfortunately for him, every new body he's given, no matter how well he cares for it, eventually becomes fat because of his unique Aspect.

His friend, Ratri, is almost the exact opposite in this regard. She's not the brightest bulb in the pantheon box, but her beauty is beyond measure. Every red-blooded male god from Tak to Krishna wants to be with her, while every female god wants to be her.

So why have we connected these two seemingly different gods together?

Decent Deities

Because both provide an excellent contrast to the other gods, especially the Trimurti. As we mention in their analysis, the Trimurti are inwardly focused gods, considering only how their actions affect them and their own happiness. As a result, these gods protect their own happiness but spread suffering to the rest of the world.

Kubera and Ratri, however, grow to think of others in their actions. When Kubera learns that Sam is the murderer of the gods, he confronts the Buddha to prevent him from killing Yama, "a brother Lokapala and [his] friend" (6.332). After joining Sam's forces, he teaches humans the crafts of "geology, mining, metallurgy, petroleum, chemistry…" (6.535) and more. Although Ratri joins a little less willingly, she, too, assists Sam and Accelerationism by helping at the Battle of Keenset, and later by offering her Temples as hideouts.

Unfortunately, both these gods must suffer due to their newly found compassion. Kubera goes into hiding after the Battle of Keenset, spreading his godly knowledge to the world, but confined within it. Ratri is captured and removed from her beautiful body, sentenced to always "be incarnated into middle-aged bodies of more than usually plain appearance" (6.774). But don't worry—they get their happy endings.

Mythological Origins

Kubera has an interesting history in Hindu mythology. During the Vedic tradition, he was seen simply as an evil, ugly, and deformed dwarf. Later, though, he was brought into godhood, where he became the guardian of the gods' treasures and a deity of wealth.

As for Ratri, well, Ratri is a goddess associated with darkness and night. Yep, pretty straightforward.