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Benzaiten as Saraswati

Visit to Enoshima shrine: Benzaiten as saraswati



Recently, I paid homage to Benzaiten, or Benten, at Enoshima Shrine built in 552 C.E. in today’s Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. This is one of three major Benzaiten shrines in Japan. The Enoshima shrine is made up of three primary shrines named Hetsumiya, Nakatsumiya, and Okutsumiya, housing three Shinto goddess sisters of the sea, happiness, and fortune, named Tagitsuhimenomikoto, Ichikishimahimenomikoto, and Tagirihimenomikoto. “Mikoto” meaning lord, highness. Together, these three sisters are also regarded as the Japanese Buddhist deity Benzaiten, originating from Hindu goddess Saraswati. Benzaiten is the Japanese goddess of wisdom, water, fortune, and knowledge.


Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism


Together, these three sisters are also regarded as the Japanese Buddhist deity Benzaiten, originating from Hindu goddess Saraswati.

Similarly, Saraswati is associated with rivers and the water element as indicated by the water sound “va” in her name and mantras, deity of knowledge and arts, speech, wisdom, and abundance. On the premises of Enoshima shrine in a small shrine-like hut or “Hōanden,” two very distinct forms of Benzaiten stand. One form is an eight-armed Happi-Benzaiten, wielding bow, arrow, sword, precious stone, wheel, spear, pestle, and key.


My jyotish colleague Kentaro who guided me for this visit explained Happi-Benzaiten could possibly be compared to Hindu goddess Durga. Japanese soldiers prayed to this form for success in battle. The second form is Myoon-Benzaiten, who is fair skinned, unclothed, and holds a traditional Japanese “biwa” lute - similar to the veena. This form is prayed to for artistic and musical ability. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed of these two figures, so I did not take one myself…though I’ve included a photo someone else captured. Credit to: https://experiencetokyo.net/enoshima-benzaiten-a-mystical-shrine-on-a-beautiful-island/



This is a reminder that sometimes religion is a melting pot of several religious influences. Faiths of all kinds embody similar if not the same energies in their own pantheon of celestial beings and can all be utilized for astrological remedial measures.


Om Vada Vada Vāgvādinī Swaha


- Zelda Astrology

 

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