This hexagram means the force of the small—the power of the shadowy—that restrains, tames, impedes. A weak line in the fourth place, that of the minister, holds the five strong lines in check. In the Image it is the wind blowing across the sky. The wind restrains the clouds, the rising breath of the Creative, and makes them grow dense, but as yet is not strong enough to turn them to rain. The hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in which a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element. It is only through gentleness that this can have a successful outcome.
THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL
Dense clouds, no rain from our western region.
This image refers to the state of affairs in China at the time when King Wên, who came originally from the west, was in the east at the court of the reigning tyrant Chou Hsin. The moment for action on a large scale had not yet arrived. King Wên could only keep the tyrant somewhat in check by friendly persuasion. Hence the image of many clouds, promising moisture and blessing to the land, although as yet no rain falls. The situation is not unfavorable; there is a prospect of ultimate success, but there are still obstacles in the way, and we can merely take preparatory measures. Only through the small means of friendly persuasion can we exert any influence. The time has not yet come for sweeping measures. However, we may be able, to a limited extent, to act as a restraining and subduing influence. To carry out our purpose we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability in external relations.
The wind drives across heaven:
The image of THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL.
Thus the superior man
Refines the outward aspect of his nature.
The wind can indeed drive the clouds together in the sky; yet, being nothing but air, without solid body, it does not produce great or lasting effects. So also an individual, in times when he can produce no great effect in the outer world, can do nothing except refine the expression of his nature in small ways.
Nine at the beginning means:
Return to the way.
How could there be blame in this?
It lies in the nature of a strong man to press forward. In so doing he encounters obstructions. Therefore he returns to the way suited to his situation, where he is free to advance or to retreat. In the nature of things this will bring good fortune, for it is wise and reasonable not to try to obtain anything by force.
Nine in the second place means:
He allows himself to be drawn into returning.
One would like to press forward, but before going farther one sees from the example of others like oneself that this way is blocked. In such a case, if the effort to push forward is not in harmony with the time, a reasonable and resolute man will not expose himself to a personal rebuff, but will retreat with others of like mind. This brings good fortune, because he does not needlessly jeopardize himself.
Nine in the third place means:
The spokes burst out of the wagon wheels.
Man and wife roll their eyes.
Here an attempt is made to press forward forcibly, in the consciousness that the obstructing power is slight. But since, under the circumstances, power actually lies with the weak, this sudden offensive is doomed to failure. External conditions hinder the advance, just as loss of the wheel spokes stops the progress of a wagon. We do not yet heed this hint from fate, hence there are annoying arguments like those of a married couple. Naturally this is not a favorable state of things, for though the situation may enable the weaker side to hold its ground, the difficulties are too numerous to permit of a happy result. In consequence even the strong man cannot so use his power as to exert the right influence on those around him. He experiences a rebuff where he expected an easy victory, and he thus compromises his dignity.
Six in the fourth place means:
If you are sincere, blood vanishes and fear gives way.
If one is in the difficult and responsible position of counselor to a powerful man, one should restrain him in such a way that right may prevail. Therein lies a danger so great that the threat of actual bloodshed may arise. Nonetheless, the power of disinterested truth is greater than all these obstacles. It carries such weight that the end is achieved, and all danger of bloodshed and all fear disappear.
Nine in the fifth place means:
If you are sincere and loyally attached,
You are rich in your neighbor.
Loyalty leads to firm ties because it means that each partner complements the other. In the weaker person loyalty consists in devotion, in the stronger it consists in trustworthiness. This relation of mutual reinforcement leads to a true wealth that is all the more apparent because it is not selfishly hoarded but is shared with friends. Pleasure shared is pleasure doubled.
Nine at the top means:
The rain comes, there is rest.
This is due to the lasting effect of character.
Perseverance brings the woman into danger.
The moon is nearly full.
If the superior man persists,
Success is at hand. The wind has driven up the rain. A fixed standpoint has been reach. This has come about through the cumulation of small effects produced by reverence for a superior character. But a success thus secured bit by bit calls for great caution. It would be a dangerous illusion for anyone to think he could presume upon it. The female principle, the weak element that has won the victory, should never persist in vaunting it—that would lead to danger. The dark power in the moon is strongest when the moon is almost full. When it is full and directly opposite the sun, its waning is inevitable. Under such circumstances one must be content with what has been achieved. To advance any further, before the appropriate time has come, would lead to misfortune.