India the cradle of world civilization has influenced people and nations from the far off lands ranging from south east Asia,China,central Asia.Her varied culture and philosophies have been praised and incorporated into various doctrines, particularly the Upanishads and Vedas.
“If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.”-Max mueller.
“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”-Hu Shih (Former Ambassador of China to USA.)
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!” -Mark twain
One might have heard of reach till china,SE Asia and central Asia but many few know of her impact on lifestyle and culture of japan.India has had a profound effect on the religion and traditions.Many Hindu gods are revered and prayed in Japan such as Ganesha,Kartik,Lakshmi,Saraswati,Yama and a dozen more .
Indra or Sakra or Śakro devānām indraḥ, a major Hindu god who serves as king of the gods on Mt. Sumeru (Jp. = Shumisen 須弥山), and as a protector of the Historical Buddha (Shaka 釈迦如来). Known as Taishakuten 帝釈天 in Japan, one of the Twelve Deva, and often shown together with Bonten (Skt. = Brahma).Myo-o 明王 (Myō-ō, or Mantra Kings). A class of Hindu deities incorporated into Buddhism. They appear in wrathful forms with furious faces, and multipe heads and arms to frighten non-believers into accepting the teachings of Dainichi Buddha 大日如来 (Skt. = Vairocana or Mahavairocana).
Ganesha was one of the first Indian deities to transit to Japan, and as in India, is one of the most popular in both esoteric and non-esoteric sects. Perhaps this is because his association with worldly prosperity has been retained, or perhaps amplified into a general association with pleasure. Thus, actors, geishas, gamblers, restaurant proprietors, etc offer him worship. Shoten has retained the association for removing obstacles, although his ancient association with creating obstacles which has long since been expunged from the Hindu tradition is still mildly active in Japan for reasons which will become clear later.
Shiva/Daijizaiten: This is the form of Shiva, which more resembles the Indian version. Daijizaiten is a protective deity, and takes on Shiva’s classical role as defender of the northeast. Some depictions retain the dark skin, while others do not but a fierce aspect is usually present. In Medieval times, Japan was considered the home of Shiva, and he was thought to be its cosmic ruler. He was also thought to be the creator of the Chinese writing system.
Lakshmi/Kichijoten: A goddess of fertility, luck, and beauty in both traditions, though she seems much more strongly associated with wealth in the Hindu tradition. Since the 16th century however, Saraswati/Benzaiten has largely supplanted her. In Hindu tradition she is the consort of Vishnu, but in Buddhist tradition her consort is Kubera/Bushamonten.
Photographer Benoy Behl has carried out extensive research on India’s civilizational impact on Japan says” “In many ways, this philosophic understanding is most well preserved in Japan. Japan has not had the breakdown of cultural norms which India suffered when a colonial education system was created. Therefore, most Indians learnt about our own culture from the Western point of view,”
“A majority of Japanese gods are actually Indian gods,” was a common line of the former Japanese Ambassador to India, Yasukuni Enoki. Hindu deities were imported wholesale from the 6th century onwards. Between “These Indian deities were introduced from China into Japan as Buddhist deities with Chinese names,” writes Sengaku Mayeda of Japan’s Eastern Institute Sanskrit also to some extent had influence over it In Japan, the generic term for “Sanskrit” is Bonji (梵字) or Bongo (梵語). The Japanese word for Seed Syllable is Shuji 種字 (Sanskrit = Bijaksara). In Japan, Sanskrit seed syllables are written in a script called Shittan 悉曇 (Sanskrit = Siddham).
In Japanese Buddhist statuary, Buddhist deities are typically assigned a special seed syllable, one that is often inscribed somewhere on the statue or halo. Deities are also assigned mantras (Jp. = Shingon 真言) that contain these seed syllables — the mantra is a magical incantation, a secret prayer, a special chant used to invoke the essence of the deity. Furthermore, Japan’s esoteric sects also employ a mandala called the Seed-Syllable Mandala (Shuji Mandara 種字曼荼羅), in which the deities are symbolized by their individual seed syllables. A special version of this mandala, known as the Shiki Mandara (Shiki Mandara 敷曼荼羅) is used in initiation rites among esoteric sects. The initiand casts a flower onto the spread-out mandala, and the seed syllable on which it falls then becomes the patron deity of the intiand.