Goddess of Compassion and Mercy
The Divine Feminine
I was looking into the notion of the Divine Feminine. This is the idea that God is either a woman or is possessed of a matriarchal or feminine aspect. Early in my perusals I came across Quan Yin—the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy. Amongst various cultures of Asia this notion of a divine being that hears the suffering of the people takes many forms. In some forms the Goddess is actually a God which is to say a more masculine being. But I decided to stick with the notion of God as a Woman. In some depictions this Goddess of Mercy and Compassion has a thousand ears to hear all that suffering and a thousand hands to alleviate it.
One Who Looks Down on Sound
Quan Yin is a source of caring, unconditional love and kindness. The literal translation of her name is something like “One who looks down upon sound.” The notion is that of a Goddess who hears all the cries of pain and suffering in the world and responds.
It is not uncommon in the usual pantheon of Gods of many early religions to find angry, warring, vengeful Gods who seem to take the worst qualities of mankind and add to them cosmic power. Few modern day authors seem to have any notion of what it might be like to be up close and personal to such a God. The closest we might come to it in human terms could be the actions of the religious terrorists know as ISIS. They burn people alive, throw gays off roofs and destroy centuries old artifacts with neither guilt or remorse.
Quan Yin (also called Kwan Yin and Guanyin) has more Christ-like qualities. Though she was a Goddess she refused to return to heaven until all the suffering of mankind had been relieved and until the wheel of karmic suffering had been broken forever. Her first instinct was to forgive, no matter what the crime and it was said that even condemned criminals might call out to her to escape execution. As much as we might admire this notion in the abstract, many if not most of us have trouble grasping it in our own lives. There have been instances in the news for instance of children forgiving the people who murdered their parents. On the one hand that seems laudable and Christ-like. On the other hand it seems like suicidal behavior since any human being who went about forgiving everyone of everything might soon find himself first poor, then abused and then dead. Almost all believers want a merciful God but many show mercy in their own lives only to their friends, family and perhaps a stranger who has suffered much and shown much contrition.
The Christian Connection
Since Quan Yin lives to relieve suffering she is often thought to be a healing deity.
Some Christians see a correlation between Quan Yin and Mary the Mother of Jesus. Quan Yin is sometimes seen as the Sacred Mother and as such she is the Goddess of pregnancy and child birth.
Quan Yin has not always been a woman in all times and cultures. If you look far enough back into time you may find this Goddess began her existence in India as a man and was changed into a woman by the Chinese.
Quan Yin may be one of the most popular deities you’ve never heard of. It is said you can find depictions of her or him all over Asian. Almost all mortals whether they be sailors at sea or mothers in childbirth would like to think the universe smiles upon them and will help them in a time of need.