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The water goddess Benzaiten (or Benten) is one of the Shichi-fuku-jin (Seven Gods of Lucky), known commonly as the Goddess of Wealth and Good Fortune. In Japanese mythology, she is the Buddhist goddess of literature, wealth, femininity and everything that flows; water, time, eloquence, music and knowledge. Hence many of her shrines are found near the sea, rivers and lakes. She is often shown playing the biwa, a kind of lute, but, has many other forms, including a three-headed snake to a divine representation of the sun god.
Benten originiated from the Hindu river goddess Sarasvatī, also a patron of literature and was introduced to Japan (via China) in the mid-7th century as an eight-armed martial god holding weapons as the Defender of the Nation and Protector of Buddhist Law.