Hexagram 20: An Indication Of Contemplation And Meditation

Hexagram 20: An Indication Of Contemplation And Meditation

No amount of time, money or efforts yield the fruit of success, unless it be nourished by spiritual work, ideally beginning with the development of objective witnessing

Kamakshi Francis FernandesUpdated: Friday, October 27, 2023, 09:49 PM IST

Hexagram 20 talks about contemplation evolving to meditation or achieving an objective perspective about life and its related situations. A superior leader’s thoughts, words and deeds serve as a model for those associated with him. Thus, after careful study of the laws of rightful action, the order of nature and the nature of man; taking his responsibility seriously, he ensures rightful conduct. Honesty, sincerity, integrity are his traits that impress all, even though all may not agree with the decisions that he makes; they recognise that his intentions are invariably the best.

Self-care of the Superior Leader

The presence of a deep desire to delve into the nature of things increases his power and influence because it is beneficial and life affirming for all. Applying full attention towards developing insight he penetrates deeper into the meaning of life which is expressed in his conduct. “The Superior Man mingles with people and does not hesitate to join the ordinary course of living,” says the Book of Changes. “His influence does not come from anything specific that he says or does, but from the totality of his presence, reveals the Book of Changes.

The foresight

The image associated with Hexagram 20 is of an almost bald Chinese monk-type man clad in a robe that extends out of the largish square mat on the wooden floor. There are seven agarbattis on a stand right in front of him. He has a shortish two-pronged beard with slits as eyes covered with well-defined arched and shapely eyebrows. There are two moles of varying sizes on the bridge of his nose, on the forehead, not at the centre but near the place where Indians usually apply a bindi. His left hand holds the gyan mudra under the tip of his right breast. His right hand is on his right thigh. Behind him are about 24-25 voluminous books or thick tiles in golden yellow colour. Above which is a pitch-black sky with a protruding branch of a tree, the leaves of which almost subtly reach his right ear and create an illusion of being part of some of his hair on the top of his scalp.

In the 1950 translation of The Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm (Circa 1000 BC), the shape of the Hexagram number 20 is beautifully discerned as ‘an ancient tower’. He says, “A tower of this kind commanded a wide view of the country; at the same time, when situated on a mountain, it became a landmark that could be seen for miles around.”

Interpreting each line

LINE 1 (YIN Last line)

Like first love, yet holding wisdom beyond the world with boy-like ponderings from a distance sans comprehension leading to humiliation for a superior man and no blame for an inferior man. Exercise caution as youthful idealism is a sign of experimentation or anticipation of change for the youth at the same time an unfortunate sign of impending mistakes for the older person. Novices are misled by surface appearances naturally, due to the lack of experience, judgement or wisdom, so look for a bird’s eye view.


Looking outwards, backwards while in deep thought, through matured, bold contemplation discover the limits and maybe love. With a limited, subjective and self centered nature of contemplation, one may end up relating everything to oneself, but unable to put oneself in another's place or even understand his motives. Blind to the larger picture, small events seem important. Let go of self absorption, try to break away from this view or small mindedness can cost you dearly.


At a point of transition, the guru/guide seems to guide and covert the thought process to meditation. Clarity in vision is achieved. The subject of the thought is the direction of movement – forward or backwards, advance or retreat. Outward vision yields confused and limited wisdom, but insight sans egotism achieves precious objectivity. Armed with self-knowledge one realises the effects of self over others and other’s lives leading to the decision of the direction of movement of our life as progressive or regressive.


The guides perceive the truth, its path and find the way to it. Any attempt to create limits around them will fail. There is the presence of a mystic bird, an ancient soul almost an ancestor and a revered guest of the king and the inadequacy to gather courage to contemplate and reflect about the light! Gather your influence as the guest of a king for you fathom secrets of success. One needs to be honoured, given an authoritative and influential position to act independently, and not be used as a channel or a tool for personal fulfilment.


It’s time for self-examination yet beware of brooding over shortcomings. Self pity is a sure trap for the weak but do not deny the apparent. Study the effects you yield on people and the practical results thereby. A positive fulfilling result can give immense joy otherwise lead you to be mistake-free. See truth from experience and focus on the steady flame of reality to decipher the world of shadows. Critical self examination helps to achieve goals and leads to successful fulfilment of ambitions revealing one’s role in the larger world.

LINE 6 (YANG Top line)

A superior man is without blame, says the Book of Changes. After deep thought about the laws of life, nature and influence without considering personal issues or the ego, he realises that being without blame is of the highest good. Here meditation is at the highest point. There is awareness about life, people, things and the option to step back and get a clear perception of the greater influence.

(The writer is a Reiki and Naturopathy practitioner, and also practices Astrology as a hobby)


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