|There were "old" features in your gua (hexagram). It means that you have two hexagrams. The first one — is something that the Book tells you at the moment, the second is something it warns you about.
21. Gnawing Bite (shì kè). Biting Through
Nothing in life is unique. Be able to see the essence of events and do not try to fight the forced inactivity. When idle the external, internal is active. The more active and indiscriminate actions are, the more firmly teeth are tightened; you will be bogged down in a situation and incur losses.
Inital text of I Ching
Biting Through has success. It is favorable to let justice be administered.
Thunder and lightning:
The image of Biting Through. Thus the kings of former times made firm the laws through clearly defined penalties.
- His feet are fastened in the stocks, so that his toes disappear. No blame.
- Bites through tender meat, so that his nose disappears. No blame.
- Bites on old dried meat and strikes on something poisonous. Slight humiliation. No blame.
- Bites on dried gristly meat. Receives metal arrows. It furthers one to be mindful of difficulties and to be persevering. Good fortune.
- Bites on dried lean meat. Receives yellow gold. Perseveringly aware of danger. No blame.
- His neck is fastened in the wooden cangue, so that his ears disappear. Misfortune.
Something tends to destroy the harmony. Clenched teeth have a dual character: on the one hand - the restoration of unity (with force), on the other - the destruction of 'grinding'. Do not fear. It is good time to take advantage of strife. Prejudices are destroyed, thoughts converge. But there is no freedom of action. Cases are suspended. If you make a mistake at work - you will fall into a millstone: finally lose your freedom, or will suffer significant damage, experience pain.
This hexagram represents an open mouth (cf. hexagram 27) with an
obstruction (in the fourth place) between the teeth. As a result the lips cannot
meet. To bring them together one must bite energetically through the
obstacle. Since the hexagram is made up of the trigrams for thunder and for
lightning, it indicates how obstacles are forcibly removed in nature.
Energetic biting through overcomes the obstacle that prevents joining of the
lips; the storm with its thunder and lightning overcomes the disturbing
tension in nature. Recourse to law and penalties overcomes the disturbances
of harmonious social life caused by criminals and slanderers. The theme of
this hexagram is a criminal lawsuit, in contradistinction to that of Sung,
CONFLICT, which refers to civil suits.
When an obstacle to union arises, energetic biting through brings success.
This is true in all situations. Whenever unity cannot be established, the
obstruction is due to a talebearer and traitor who is interfering and blocking
the way. To prevent permanent injury, vigorous measures must be taken at
once. Deliberate obstruction of this sort does not vanish of its own accord.
Judgment and punishment are required to deter or obviate it.
However, it is important to proceed in the right way. The hexagram
combines Li, clarity, and Chên, excitement. Li is yielding, Chên is hard.
Unqualified hardness and excitement would be too violent in meting out
punishment; unqualified clarity and gentleness would be too weak. The two
together create the just measure. It is of moment that the man who makes
the decisions (represented by the fifth line) is gentle by nature, while he
commands respect by his conduct in his position.
Penalties are the individual applications of the law. The laws
specify the penalties. Clarity prevails when mild and severe
penalties are differentiated, according to the nature of the crimes.
This is symbolized by the clarity of lighting. The law is strengthened
by a just application of penalties. This is symbolized by the terror
of thunder. This clarity and severity have the effect of instilling
respect; it is not that the penalties are ends in themselves.
The obstructions in the social life of man increase when there is a
lack of clarity in the penal codes and slackness in executing them.
The only to strengthen the law is to make it clear and make penalties
certain and swift.
If a sentence is imposed the first time a man attempts to do wrong, the
penalty is a mild one. Only the toes are put in the stocks. This prevents him
from sinning further and thus he becomes free of blame. It is a warning to
halt in time on the path of evil.
It is easy to discriminate between right and wrong in this case;
it is like biting through tender meat. But one encounters a
hardened sinner, and, aroused by anger, one goes a little too
far. The disappearance of the nose in the course of the bite
signifies that indignation blots out finer sensibility. However,
there is no great harm in this, because the penalty as such is
Punishment is to be carried out by someone who lacks the power and
authority to do so. Therefore the culprits do not submit. The matter at issue
is an old one-as symbolized by salted game-and in dealing with it difficulties
arise. This old meat is spoiled: by taking up the problem the punisher arouses
poisonous hatred against himself, and n this way is put in a somewhat
humiliating position. But since punishment was required by the time, he
remains free of blame.
There are great obstacles to be overcome, powerful opponents are to be
punished. Though this is arduous, the effort succeeds. But it is necessary to
be hard as metal and straight as an arrow to surmount the difficulties. If one
knows these difficulties and remains persevering, he attains good fortune.
The difficult task is achieved in the end.
The case to be decided is indeed not easy but perfectly clear. Since we
naturally incline to leniency, we must make every effort to be like yellow
gold-that is, as true as gold and as impartial as yellow, the color of the middle
[the mean]. It is only by remaining conscious of the dangers growing out of
the responsibility we have assumed that we can avoid making mistakes.
In contrast to the first line, this line refers to a man who is incorrigible. His
punishment is the wooden cangue, and his ears disappear under it-that is to
say, he is deaf to warnings. This obstinacy leads to misfortune.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Something torments you, you feel unfortunate. Try to undertake any new business, and your business will go better, and gradually diligent work will lead you to the big success. You are inclined to consider yourselves as a victim of injustice. But if you will constantly think of how such could happen,-it will not help business. All we make weight of mistakes; obviously, in what you were mistaken also. But try to not lose courage and learn the necessary lesson of that has happened. It is not necessary to despair, as just now circumstances favour to performance of your desire. Gather; remain are quiet and judicious.
29. Gorge (kǎn). The Abysmal Water
Once in the trap of looking out, do not leave attempts to escape, but act wisely, but then rise above the circumstances.
Inital text of I Ching
The Abysmal repeated. If you are sincere, you have success in your heart, and whatever you do succeeds.
Water flows on uninterruptedly and reaches its goal:
The image of the Abysmal repeated. Thus the superior man walks in lasting virtue and carries on the business of teaching.
- Repetition of the Abysmal. In the abyss one falls into a pit. Misfortune.
- The abyss is dangerous. One should strive to attain small things only.
- Forward and backward, abyss on abyss. In danger like this, pause at first and wait, otherwise you will fall into a pit in the abyss. Do not act in this way.
- A jug of wine, a bowl of rice with it; Earthen vessels simply handed in through the window. There is certainly no blame in this.
- The abyss is not filled to overflowing, it is filled only to the rim. No blame.
- Bound with cords and ropes, shut in between thorn-hedged prison walls: For three years one does not find the way. Misfortune.
Time of rest is over, time of truth search begins. Self-discipline, persistence, dedication and presence of mind are necessary. They will help to overcome the inertia, the inertia of views, and pressure of external circumstances. With the inner truth, you will overcome obstacles. Active action is inside; outside - only accept the circumstances.
This hexagram consists of a doubling of the trigram K'an. It is one of the
eight hexagrams in which doubling occurs. The trigram K'an means a
plunging in. A yang line has plunged in between two yin lines and is closed
in by them like water in a ravine. The trigram K'an is also the middle son.
The Receptive has obtained the middle line of the Creative, and thus K'an
develops. As an image it represents water, the water that comes from above
and is in motion on earth in streams and rivers, giving rise to all life on
In man's world K'an represents the heart, the soul locked up within the
body, the principle of light inclosed in the dark--that is, reason. The name of
the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has the additional meaning,
"repetition of danger." Thus the hexagram is intended to designate an
objective situation to which one must become accustomed, not a subjective
attitude. For danger due to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness
or guile. Hence too a ravine is used to symbolize danger; it is a situation in
which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water,
he can escape if he behaves correctly.
Through repetition of danger we grow accustomed to it. Water sets the
example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on,
and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink
from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose
its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. Thus
likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can
penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner
mastery of a problem, it will come about naturally that the action we take will
succeed. In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done-
-thoroughness--and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in
Properly used, danger can have an important meaning as a protective
measure. Thus heaven has its perilous height protecting it against every
attempt at invasion, and earth has its mountains and bodies of water,
separating countries by their dangers. Thus also rulers make use of danger to
protect themselves against attacks from without and against turmoil within.
Water reaches its goal by flowing continually. It fills up every depression
before it flows on. The superior man follows its example; he is concerned
that goodness should be an established attribute of character rather than an
accidental and isolated occurrence. So likewise in teaching others everything
depends on consistency, for it is only through repetition that the pupil makes
the material his own.
By growing used to what is dangerous, a man can easily allow it to become
part of him. He is familiar with it and grows used to evil. With this he has
lost the right way, and misfortune is the natural result.
When we are in danger we ought not to attempt to get out of it immediately,
regardless of circumstances; at first we must content ourselves with not being
overcome by it. We must calmly weigh the conditions of the time and by
satisfied with small gains, because for the time being a great success cannot be
attained. A spring flows only sparingly at first, and tarries for some time
before it makes its way in to the open.
Here every step, forward or backward, leads into danger. Escape is out of the
question. Therefore we must not be misled into action, as a result of which
we should only bog down deeper in the danger; disagreeable as it may be to
remain in such a situation, we must wait until a way out shows itself.
In times of danger ceremonious forms are dropped. What matters most is
sincerity. Although as a rule it is customary for an official to present certain
introductory gifts and recommendations before he is appointed, here
everything is simplified to the utmost. The gifts are insignificant, there is no
one to sponsor him, he introduces himself; yet all this need not be
humiliating if only there is the honest intention of mutual help in danger.
Still another idea is suggested. The window is the place through which light
enters the room. If in difficult times we want to enlighten someone, we must
begin with that which is in itself lucid and proceed quite simply from that
Danger comes because one is too ambitious. In order to flow out of a ravine,
water does not rise higher than the lowest point of the rim. So likewise a
man when in danger has only to proceed along the line of least resistance;
thus he reaches the goal. Great labors cannot be accomplished in such times; it
is enough to get out of the danger.
A man who in the extremity of danger has lost the right way and is
irremediably entangled in his sins has no prospect of escape. He is like a
criminal who sits shackled behind thorn hedged prison walls.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Do not lose courage, but it is one of four worst combinations. In your life there has come time of losses and defeats. The only thing that it is possible to make,-it to reduce up to a probable minimum number of strokes of bad luck. Have patience and wait, while the goddess of happiness again will award you of the sight. Through two, the greatest - in five months position will start to change for the better. For now you have enough time to occupy in scientific researches, reading, simply homework, which usually enough. Be not nervous, and keep calmness. It is the period when introspection and a sober estimation of position is much more important, than desperate struggle against destiny.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary