Studying the I Ching with Anandamayi - Part 4: Interpreting the I Ching

Published: Saturday, 26 November 2016

Interpreting the I Ching is very difficult.  Different people employ different techniques and obtain results. For example, when we consult with coins, the common usage is that head=3 and tail=2, but there are example of people who have consulted thinking that head=2 and tail=3 for years, and they have received meaningful answers.

Starting with 2 changing lines, then above, there is no definitive interpretation method. If you have read my previous posts, the comments on multiple lines cannot be explained by reading the line comments. One of the safest ways to interpret a comment with multiple lines, is to ask follow-up questions about the two hexagrams, and then for each changing line. Some success can also be obtained with the transformation sequences. But, nobody can tell by reading these sequences what will be the comment for these lines.

So, if we are that clueless, how come that we can get results with multiple lines? Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi has something to teach us about this.


In Deharadun, Ma discussed about diksha with Amulya Babu. He asked, "Ma can we not make do with just the Name without taking diksha ?" Ma answered, "Yes the Name can achieve everything. Do you not observe when a tiny infant, who does not know to say 'Ma' cries out, the mother knows she is being called by the child and goes to it ? But when the child grows up the mother does not know she is being called when the boy just cries. Therefore, in a state of ignorance, by whichever name we call out to God, He understand fully."


While interesting, this does not explain exactly how to interpret the I Ching, because it is about calling to God and not interpreting an answer. But the story continues...

On another occasion she spoke in this context, "Just call out by the Name you like best. Whenever necessary, He will come and tell you His true Name. Look, it is like when you do not know the proper name of a boy and you call him by his pet name from childhood or simply address him as 'boy'. Perhaps he does not respond at first but if you pointedly call him repeatedly he will surely come and then say, 'This is my proper name.' Similarly by whichever name you call God, your purpose will be achieved."

Sri Sri Ma Anandamayi by Sri Gurupriya Devi, tr. Tara Kini, pages 82-83

From these quotes we can determine that the I Ching operates in a similar way. If we are ignorant, the I Ching will answer anyway, even if our understanding of the hexagrams is incorrect. As we progress, the oracle will correct our mistakes.

Therefore my opinion is that there is an organization in the I Ching, a proper way to interpret the hexagrams, but that unfortunately nobody really understands, specially when it comes to multiple lines. However this should not stop us from consulting, because the I Ching will adapt to our level of ignorance.

Some hexagrams, and some line comments are particularly well understood, and there is a general agreement on some of them. For others it's more complicated, and the differences of interpretation are often caused by different facets of the same situation.


The Last Tycoon (Elia Kazan, 1976) is the story of a film producer confronted to the raising power of the writer's union. The I Ching commented 62.3.4 about it and it is a very remarkable reading because it makes sense with different interpretation techniques.


[62 > 2]

62 - Exit2 - Obedience

The formation

62 - Exit

One checks before going out.

62.3 - One asks the most able to assess the repairs.

62.4 - One gives way.

In the making

2 - Obedience

Being able to provide assistance, without taking decisions

The "normal" interpretation shows that the union organizer is represented by the 3rd line, and the producer by the fourth line. The producer gives way at the end of the movie.

Raising Transitional Sequence


62.3 - One asks the most able to assess the repairs.

16.4 - One allows others to approach.

The raising transitional sequence shows the rise of the writer's union.

Descending Transitional Sequence


62.4 - One gives way.

15.3 - One remains modest despite their success so they can continue.

The descending transitional sequence shows the power loss of the producer.

This can be considered to be a happenstance, since it is difficult to find a meaning for a given reading with these different techniques. The real technique to interpret correctly multiple lines has not been found yet, but in the meantime, we can do as Sri Sri Ma Ananadamayi taught us, by sticking to what we understand until the oracle comes to us one day and points at the right way to interpret hexagrams.






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