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Hexagram 42 - I / Increase - James Legge Translation

hexagram 42
  • Above Sun the Gentle, Wind
  • Below Chen the Arousing, Thunder


I indicates that in the state which it denotes there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken, that it will be advantageous even to cross the great stream.

Meaning Commentary

I has the opposite meaning to Sun, and is the symbol of addition or increasing. What king Wan had in his mind, in connection with the hexagram, was a ruler or a government operating so as to dispense benefits to, and increase the resources of all the people. Two indications are evident in the lines; the strong line in the ruler's seat, or the fifth line, and the weak line in the correlative place of 2. Whether there be other indications in the figure or its component trigrams will be considered in dealing with the Appendixes. The writer might well say, on general grounds, of the ruler whom he had in mind, that he would be successful in his enterprises and overcome the greatest difficulties.

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The Image

Wind and thunder: the image of Increase. Thus the superior man, if he sees good, he imitates it. If he has faults, he rids himself of them.

Image Commentary

While observing how thunder and wind increase and strengthen each other, a man can not the way to self-increase and self-improvement. When he discovers good in others, he should imitate it and thus make everything on earth his own. If he perceives something bad in himself, let him rid himself of it. In this way he becomes free of evil. This ethical change represents the most important increase of personality.

King Wans explanation

  1. In I we see the upper trigram diminished, and the lower added to. The satisfaction of the people in consequence of this is without limit. What descends from above reaches to all below, so great and brilliant is the course of its operation.
  2. That there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken appears from the central and correct positions of the second and fifth Lines, and the general blessing the dispensing of which they imply. That it will be advantageous even to cross the great stream appears from the action of wood shown in the figure.
  3. I is made up of the trigrams expressive of movement and docility, through which there is daily advancement to an unlimited extent. We have also in it heaven dispensing and earth producing, leading to an increase without restriction of place. Everything in the method of this increase proceeds according to the requirements of the time.

Legge Footnotes on King Wans explanation

The process of the formation of the trigrams here is the reverse of that in the preceding hexagram; and is open to the remarks I have made on that. Of course the people are full of complacency and pleasure in the labours of their ruler for their good.

The mention of 'the action of wood' has reference to the upper trigram Sun, which is the symbol both of wind and wood. From wood boats and ships are made, on which the great stream may be crossed. In three hexagrams, this, hexagram 59, and hexagram 61, of which Sun is a part, we find mention made of crossing the great stream. It is generally said that the lower trigram Kan also symbolizes wood; but that is obtained by a roundabout process. Kan occupies the place of the east in Wan's arrangement of the trigrams; but the east symbolizes spring, when the growth of vegetation begins; and therefore Kan may symbolize wood! It was stated on that the doctrine of 'the five elements' does not appear in the Yi. Khang-zze takes wood mu, as a misprint for increase I.

The words heaven dispensing and earth producing are based on the fancied genesis of the figure from Khien and K'un.

The Lines

The first NINE, undivided, shows that it will be advantageous for its subject in his position to make a great movement. If it be greatly fortunate, no blame will be imputed to him.

Line 1 is strong, but its low position might seem to debar its subject from any great enterprise. Favoured as he is, however, according to the general idea of the hexagram, and specially responding to the proper correlate in 4, it is natural that he should make a movement; and great success will make his rashness be forgotten.

The second SIX, divided, shows parties adding to the stores of its subject ten pairs of tortoise shells whose oracles cannot be opposed. Let him persevere in being firm and correct, and there will be good fortune. Let the king, having the virtues thus distinguished, employ them in presenting his offerings to God, and there will be good fortune.

With paragraph 2 compare paragraph 5 of the preceding hexagram. Line 2 is weak, but in the centre, and is the correlate of 5. Friends give its subject the valuable gifts mentioned, that is, says Kwo Yung Sung dynasty, men benefit him, the oracles of the divination are in his favour, spirits, that is, benefit him and finally, when the king sacrifices to God, He accepts. Heaven confers benefit from above.

The third SIX, divided, shows increase given to its subject by means of what is evil, so that he shall be led to good, and be without blame. Let him be sincere and pursue the path of the Mean, so shall he secure the recognition of the ruler, like an officer who announces himself to his prince by the symbol of his rank.

Line 3 is weak, neither central, nor in its correct position. It would seem therefore that its subject should have no increase given to him. But it is the time for giving increase, and the idea of his receiving it by means of evil things is put into the line. That such things serve for reproof and correction is well known to Chinese moralists. But the paragraph goes on also to caution and admonish.

The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject pursuing the due course. His advice to his prince is followed. He can with advantage be relied on in such a movement as that of removing the capital.

Line 4 is the place for a minister, near to that of the ruler. Its subject is weak, but his place is appropriate, and as he follows the due course, his ruler will listen to him, and he will be a support in the most critical movements. Changing the capital from place to place was frequent in the feudal times of China. That of Sheng, which preceded Kou, was changed five times.

The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject with sincere heart seeking to benefit all below. There need be no question about it; the result will be great good fortune. All below will with sincere heart acknowledge his goodness.

Line 5 is strong, in its fitting position, and central. It is the seat of the ruler, who has his proper correlate in 2. Everything good, according to the conditions of the hexagram, therefore, may be said of him; as is done.

In the sixth NINE, undivided, we see one to whose increase none will contribute, while many will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in the ordering of his heart. There will be evil.

Line 6 is also strong; but it should be weak. Occupying the topmost place of the figure, its subject will concentrate his powers in the increase of himself, and not think of benefiting those below him; and the consequence will be as described.