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Benzaiten: An Overview of Mythology

Benzaiten is a goddess of Japanese mythology with a rich and complex history. Her name is derived from the Sanskrit term “Sarasvati,” which means “the flowing one,” and she is associated with water, music, and knowledge. Benzaiten is considered to be a lucky goddess in both of Japan’s major religions, Buddhism and Shintoism.

According to myth, Benzaiten is the daughter of the dragon god, Ryujin, and is often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute. She is also associated with the white snake, which is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Benzaiten’s attributes include beauty, grace, and intelligence, and she is often depicted with eight arms, each holding a different object.

Benzaiten’s mythology is complex and multifaceted, drawing on elements from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. In some stories, she is portrayed as a goddess of love and fertility, while in others she is a fierce warrior who protects her followers from harm. Despite her many roles and attributes, Benzaiten remains a beloved figure in Japanese culture, a symbol of good fortune, creativity, and wisdom.


Benzaiten is a goddess in Japanese Buddhism who originated from the Indian goddess Saraswati. She is one of the Seven Lucky Gods and is revered in both Buddhism and Shinto. Her name is rendered in Kanji two ways: 弁才天, meaning “Dispenser of Heavenly Wisdom,” and 弁財天, meaning “Dispenser of Divine Wealth.” Often, her name is shortened to simply Benten.

Cultural Significance

Benzaiten is an example of religious syncretism in Japan. Both Buddhism and Shinto adopted her as a deity with the same symbolism and domain in each. She is known as the goddess of music and knowledge, and is often depicted playing a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute. She is also associated with water, and is sometimes depicted with a dragon, a symbol of water in Japanese mythology.

Worship Practices

Benzaiten has many shrines throughout Japan, with the most famous being the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. The shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its torii gate, which appears to float on the water during high tide. Worshipers often visit the shrine to pray for success in their studies, arts, and business endeavors.

In addition to the Itsukushima Shrine, there are many other shrines and temples dedicated to Benzaiten throughout Japan. Many of these shrines hold festivals and events throughout the year to honor the goddess.

Overall, Benzaiten is a beloved and important deity in Japanese culture, known for her association with music, knowledge, and water.


Benzaiten, also known as Benten, is a Japanese goddess of love and luck. Her name is derived from the Sanskrit word Sarasvati, which means “one who flows,” referring to the river goddess of the same name in Hindu mythology. Benzaiten is often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, which is said to represent her association with music and the arts.

The name Benzaiten is written in Japanese using two kanji characters: 弁才天. The first character, 弁, can mean “discerning” or “eloquent,” while the second character, 才, means “talent” or “ability.” The final character, 天, means “heaven” or “divine.” Together, the characters can be translated as “goddess of eloquence and talent from heaven.”

Benzaiten’s association with wealth and treasure is also reflected in her name. In some Japanese texts, her name is written with the character 財, which means “treasure.” This version of her name, 弁財天, emphasizes her role as a goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Overall, Benzaiten’s name and etymology reflect her multifaceted nature as a goddess of love, luck, music, art, and wealth.


Benzaiten is known for her many attributes, which include her beauty, wisdom, and artistic abilities. She is also associated with wealth, fertility, and good fortune. In this section, we will explore some of the most important attributes of this goddess.


Benzaiten is often depicted in various forms, and her iconography has evolved over time. In some depictions, she is shown as a beautiful woman with long flowing hair, carrying a biwa (a traditional Japanese lute). In others, she is shown as a serpent or dragon, with eight arms and multiple heads.

Symbols and Artifacts

Benzaiten is associated with a number of symbols and artifacts, including the biwa (a traditional Japanese lute), the sword, the bow and arrow, and the lotus flower. The biwa is particularly important, as it is often used in religious ceremonies and is believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits.

In addition to these symbols, Benzaiten is also associated with a number of animals, including the white snake, the dragon, and the peacock. These animals are often depicted in her iconography and are believed to have special significance in relation to her powers and attributes.

Overall, Benzaiten is a complex and multifaceted goddess, with a wide range of attributes and associations. Whether she is depicted as a beautiful woman with a lute or a powerful dragon with multiple heads, she remains a powerful symbol of wisdom, beauty, and good fortune in Japanese culture.

Family Tree

Divine Lineage

Benzaiten is a goddess of Japanese mythology and is believed to be the daughter of the god of creation, Izanami, and the god of the sea, Susanoo. According to some versions of the myth, she is also the sister of the god of fire, Kagutsuchi. Her divine lineage is a significant aspect of her character and is often referenced in her mythology.

Notable Relatives

Benzaiten has several notable relatives, including her husband, Bishamonten, who is the god of war and wealth. She is also commonly associated with other deities, such as the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan, who are believed to bring good luck and fortune to those who worship them. Additionally, she is often depicted alongside other gods and goddesses in Japanese art and literature.

Overall, Benzaiten’s family tree is an important aspect of her mythology and is often referenced in her depictions in art and literature. Her divine lineage and notable relatives help to shape her character and add depth to her mythology.


Legends and Tales

Benzaiten, the goddess of love and luck, is a figure of much popularity and meaning across Japan. She is a manifestation of the Indian goddess Sarasvati and has adapted across landscapes, locations, and time periods, becoming a chief symbol of the way Japanese culture has combined elements from various religious traditions.

According to legend, she was born from the forehead of the god Izanagi during his purification ritual after visiting the underworld. She is often depicted with a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, and is considered the patron goddess of music and the arts. She is also associated with water, and it is said that her image can be found near bodies of water.

In another tale, Benzaiten is portrayed as the protector of the Minamoto clan. She is said to have appeared to Minamoto no Yoshitsune in a dream and instructed him to build a shrine in her honor. The shrine was constructed, and the clan went on to achieve great military success.

Historical Texts

Benzaiten has been mentioned in various historical texts, including the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. In the Kojiki, she is referred to as Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto and is listed as one of the eight offspring of the gods Izanagi and Izanami. In the Nihon Shoki, she is referred to as Ugajin-hime-no-mikoto and is listed as one of the daughters of the god Ōkuninushi.

In Buddhist texts, she is often associated with the goddess Sarasvati and is considered one of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. She is also sometimes depicted as a fierce warrior, riding on a dragon and wielding a sword.

Overall, Benzaiten’s mythology is rich and complex, reflecting the many different cultural influences that have shaped her image over time.