Guanshiyin the Mother Buddha in The Secret Doctrine
“The valley spirit, undying
Is called the Mystic Female
The gate of the Mystic Female
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth
It flows continuously, barely perceptible
Utilize it; it is never exhausted.”
(Tao te Ching, Chapter 6)
“The Secret Doctrine” notes that no exoteric religious system have indeed ever adopted a female Demiurge, or “Architect.” Theosophy rejects this idea, that the Absolute has a sex, but explains the reasons why aspects of that principle have been in ancient thought referred to as male and female.
“Its [Eastern Esotericism] highest Deity is sexless as it is formless, neither Father nor Mother; and its first manifested beings, celestial and terrestrial alike, become only gradually androgynous and finally separate into distinct sexes.” (fn. The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, 1888, pg., 136)
In East Asia, however, the goddess Guanshiyin is the most famous, and retains a special significance, especially in China. The ‘Book of Dzyan ’ uses the designations ‘Mother, Wife, Daughter.’ She is called the “triple,” which are the correlatives of Guanyin 观音 (in simplified Mandarin) Pusa or Avalokiteśvara. Guanshiyin (or Guanyin in its short form) means “Perceiver of the Sounds (or Cries) of the World” and is close as the footnote suggests to the Sanskrit Vāk (or Vach). In China, Guanyin and Guanshiyin are interchangeable names for the ‘Bodhisattva of Compassion,’ and is thus called the “Goddess of Mercy” and [hidden] Knowledge.
Whether Guanyin was treated as female or male is not the issue, as Avalokitaśvara can be treated as androgynous, or sexless. In China, Avalokitaśvara as Guanshiyin retains the respect of being known as the Great “MOTHER BUDDHA,” or Mulaprakriti (sk: the Root of Nature, Universal Substance). The Secret Doctrine elucidates, that Guan-yin, the Great Mother or the Logos as Guan-shi-yin is the “the triple” (‘Mother, Wife, Daughter’); and she bears four sons or progeny, i.e., the Four Cosmic Elements — Fire, Aether, Water, Air (SD, 1, 216). This progeny of Four Cosmic Elements is termed the androgynous energy — Fohat, Daiviprakriti, Holy Ghost or the “Light of the Logos.”androgynous energy resulting from the “Light of the Logos” (cf. The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1: The Mystery of the Female Logos, pg. 137). From her progeny emanate the Seven Rudimentary Elements, the Elements of Chemistry, the Seven Sounds of Guanyin in Guan-Yin-Tian (Voice of the Heavens), etc.
This Divine Voice, or Guan-Yin may be traced in connection with, or rather is the origin of the bat kol בּת קול, bath ḳōl or Voice of God literally “daughter of a voice.” The Light manifested through the Logos is called the ‘daughter of the Logos,’ or Speech.