Now this babe...this babe you've got to respect. Benten is the Japanese goddess of music, the arts, knowledge, water, good fortune, love, eloquence and wisdom. Wow! These are all good things - that is rare when you're a god. She is the patron of dancers, musicians and the geisha.

Her humble beginnings as a sea goddess (water goddess) spawned a number of local deities near lakeside communities. She later became a goddess of the rich and made the Shichi Fukujin team. It is said the island of Enoshima rose up especially to receive her footsteps.

Usually portrayed as a beautiful woman riding a dragon while playing a stringed instrument. Luckily, she has eight arms so this is easily accomplished. In her hands she holds a sword, a bow, a wheel, a key, a jewel and an arrow. Her remaining two hands are joined in prayer.

(Also Benzaiten; Myo-Onten by devout Buddhists; Sarasvati in India)

According to some sources, she originally came from India, known as the angel Sarasvati, goddess of fortune. Early Europeans who came to Japan "arbitrarily assigned" Benten the role of goddess of love.

She is the only Goddess amongst the Seven Lucky Gods (Shichifukujin). The stringed-instrument she plays is called the biwa. Benten represents amiability, though it is said that she has a jealous streak.

Among the seven Japanese divinities of good luck, only one was a goddess: Benten, who brough inspiration and talent, wealth and romance to those who honored her. Benten (sometimes called Benzaiten) was also queen of the sea, a dragon woman who swam through her domain with a retinue of white snakes. In her dragon body she protected her devotees from earthquakes by mating with the monstrous snakes who thrashed under the Japanese islands. But she could also wear the form of a lovely human woman, and in this form she was usually portrayed, mounted on a dragon who was both her steed and her paramour.

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