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Seven Lucky Gods

The world seems to be enamored by the number seven. The wonders of the world are seven and so are the seas that travelers crossed in ancient times. The seven seas.  In Christianity it is the seven deadly sins and today we have seven days of the week. When we are happy we always say that “I am in seventh heaven”. What does this mean? Is there a spiritual link to the number seven? According to Hindu astrology number seven belongs to “Ketu” who gives spirituality and makes a person philosophical. Even Japanese beliefs are not far away from the Indian beliefs. They have seven lucky Gods whom they worship on a daily basis.

These seven lucky gods bring good luck, health, wealth and prosperity to one and all. People even keep their photos under their pillow and go to sleep. Every household has the figurines of seven lucky gods. Legend has it that these Gods on New Year’s Eve enter the Japanese port together and bring loads of happiness along. Each God has a name and distinct specialty about themselves. Now lets take a look at these seven lucky Gods. 

Hongakuji -- Ebisu, is the deity of commerce and fishermen. Japanese origin. The Mercury or Hermes of Japan. The statue holds a big sea bream under his left arm and a fishing rod in his right hand. He helps people to do well in business and earn well. He also grants success to people in their chosen occupations.

Hase-dera Daikokuten is the god of wealth and prosperity. He also is associated with plenty as he is the giver of cereals, pulses and a friend of farmers. The God of Five Cereals. Also known as Mahakala in Sanskrit Daikokuten has his origin in India. He wears a hood and holds a big bag filled with treasures on his left shoulder. In his right hand, he holds a lucky mallet. Often Daikokuten and Ebisu are together and adorn the walls of shops and merchant establishments. Symbol of prosperity, wealth and abundance is welcomed by one and all and Japanese are no different from others.

Hokaiji -- Bishamonten, the god of treasure and warriors. Bravery and valour are associated with this God. He has his origin in India and is known as Vaisravana in Sanskrit.   He wears armor and carries a small pagoda with treasures. Pigeon the bird of peace is his messenger. This God gives strength and courage to people who worship him.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine -- Hataage Benzaiten or Benzaiten, is the goddess of eloquence, music and wisdom; education and knowledge is associated with her. This Goddess is one of the seven lucky gods worshipped by students to attain knowledge and education. Art and culture are also a part of creative pursuits that Japanese worship her for. In India she is known as Goddess Saraswati who holds a musical instrument, veena in her hand. Benzaiten plays the biwa or Japanese mandolin.   

Jochiji -- Hotei, is the god who gives contentment and happiness. He holds a big bag containing goodies and money and also a fan. He is said to be the only human being among the Shichifukujin (the seven lucky gods) and thought to be a Zen priest who was an incarnation of Bodhisattva Maitreya. He has his origin in China and is supposed to have attained enlightenment. 

Goryo Jinja -- Fukurokuju, is the god of happiness, longevity and wealth. He is also the giver of fertility and virility. To beget children people pray to Fukurokuju. He has an elongated face with a white beard and carries a scroll that contains the secret for longevity and also a bowl in his hand. He is basically from China.

Myoryuji -- Jurojin, is the aged god who is the giver of Longevity. He along with Fukurokuju also is the god of wisdom. He has originated from China.


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