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Monday, January 11, 2016

Hindu gods forgotten in India revered in Japan

Did you know that at least 20 Hindu deities are regularly worshipped in Japan? In fact, there are hundreds of shrines to Goddess Saraswati alone in that country, along with innumerable representations of Lakshmi, Indra, Brahma, Ganesha, Garuda and others. Even deities forgotten in India are worshipped in Japan. A unique exhibition at Indian Museum here is set to throw light on the country's long lost history that survives in a foreign land. The Japan Foundation and filmmaker and art-historian Benoy K Behl have collaborated to hold an exhibition of rare photographs that will be inaugurated on Monday and will continue until January 21. "The exhibition will be a rare treat for the eyes and the mind," said Indian Museum education officer Sayan Bhattacharya. The research that accompanies Behl's photographs reveals startling facts about the importance of Indian heritage in Japan. For instance, the 6th century Siddham script is preserved in Japan, though it has disappeared from India. 'Beejaksharas' (or etymology of alphabets) of Sanskrit in this script are regarded as holy and given great importance. Each deity has a 'Beejakshara' and these are venerated by the people, even though most of them cannot read it. Some Japanese tombs are adorned with the Sanskrit alphabet. At Koyasan, they still have a school where Sanskrit is taught in Siddham, Behl's research revealed. Source TOI

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