Hexagram 4: Discover The Dos And Don’ts In A Student – Teacher Relationship

Hexagram 4: Discover The Dos And Don’ts In A Student – Teacher Relationship

In Chinese language, the number 4 when spoken, sounds like the Chinese word for ‘death’ and ‘destruction’ so it is considered as inauspicious

Kamakshi Francis FernandesUpdated: Saturday, September 16, 2023, 09:20 PM IST
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In Chinese language, the number 4 when spoken, sounds like the Chinese word for ‘death’ and ‘destruction’ so it is considered as inauspicious. In Indian astrology, Uranus or Rahu, the ‘shadow planet’ is associated with number 4. People fear Rahu for its dasha or dosha and remedies to pacify Rahu include most of the guidance mentioned in the Hexagram 4 interpretations. In I Ching, Hexagram 4 speaks of forsaking the clichéd idiosyncrasies associated with being young, rather, act one’s age, adopt a mature outlook and finally seek a guru, guide, master. The beauty of the alternatives is in their resonance to each other. ‘The Fool’ is a Major Arcana card in Tarot and numbered either 0 or 22. Zero would mean ‘nothing’, yet we all know its power; and when the two digits of 22 are added, they give us number 4 – resonating with Hexagram 4.

The Image - Student & Teacher

The image accompanying this hexagram is of a young Chinese boy and his teacher who is carrying a bundle of arrows in his backpack pointing at a tree with his left-hand index finger. They face a tree that is on the left of the image. The flowing stream on their right has two small three-plank wooden fences on either side. The river leads to a beautiful white and gold mountain, but does not touch it. There is another smaller, blue mountain right next to the white mountain. There are fields, small hillocks and plains betwixt.

Youthful Folly & the Not-so-Young: Faux pas in youth is natural; yet, indiscrete, impulsive action in the name of a youthful attitude is abhorrible excuse of the not-so-young. A youngster without practical experiences will approach everything as a novice – making foolish choices, unwise and unnecessary show of courage in dangerous situations. Asking same questions repeatedly, when sufficient information is available to him to make a decision, the youth need only study that information carefully. That’s the folly of youth; but the mindful choice of faux pas in the not-so-young.

People of knowledge and experience are advised to abstain from committing such folly. An inexperienced youth is advised to seek a trustworthy teacher, cultivate the right attitude of being receptive without resisting the teacher’s instruction. The instruction is not to believe everything that everyone tells him; but the young is expected to recognise his own lack of knowledge, actively seeking to understand what he is told and, explore it fully before turning away from it or arrogantly asserting his own conclusions.

A Wise Teacher & Wise Seeker: A wise teacher will wait for his instructions to be sought. Instead, if learning is forced upon an arrogant, doubtful and resistant enquirer, the teacher would only provide the arrogant seeker an opportunity to practice his ignorance and make it more firmly rooted. If the seeker is argumentative and only asserts his own limited knowledge instead of seeking to understand what the teacher has to offer – the wise teacher dishonours himself, if he even tries to respond!

If the enquirer diligently seeks to understand the teacher, not to assert his own opinions, and works towards his own enlightenment, then success is possible. A man’s mind has no room for the teachings of others, if it is filled with his own ideas. An individual who seeks to honestly seeks to improve his understanding, will do so, by thoroughly examining him, humbly becoming aware of his lack of knowledge rather than focussing on the knowledge he already has and carefully identifying and investigating every facet of the area of his enquiry. He should not hurry along, but should dwell on every aspect of his enquiry until he is sure of his grasp of the whole. Not until areas of uncertainty have been eliminated, should he move on.

Interpreting the lines

LINE 1 (Bottom broken)

Restraint, control, regulation, disciple, mastery are some of the key words here carefully avoiding humiliation, rather inspiring the seeker to make use of available experience and wisdom. No excess, no fluff, but deciding upon the role of either leading, learning, surrendering to the cause is needed. Opportunities flourish when force is avoided and obstacles convert into opportunities. If you are a leader this line asks you to inspire forward movement by trailing your teams.

LINE 2 (Unbroken)

Taoism says that there is more power in overcoming self rather than another. Witness, observe and grow in perception by bearing fools kindly. The key words here are non-threatening, light-hearted, playful, innocent and giving with trust. Just like children who simply follow the above, one may need to be just blank without any preconceived notions, answers, knowledge, to truly grasp the beauty of the possibility of the moment.

LINE 3 (Broken)

Hold on, keep your ground, be inward focussed, avoid copying another, use your wisdom, experience and do not mimic the strong. This line speaks of how we tend to focus on another’s ideas, decisions, opinions without considering our own. Leaders need to revive the self by reflection and as a seeker avoid copying, rather live by the word owning the knowledge. Your relationship should be such that your giving power to another never ensures validation of your weakness. A skewed vision propels one to see another as a perfect person, and not as they really are.

LINE 4 (Broken)

This line is about the awkwardness, rejection, failure, abandonment, entanglement and chaos that can show up just before completion. Do not let this ignorant fantasy of arrogance confine you. I Ching guides you back to yourself to discover your folly. Recall, there is one more step before completion – that of silencing your doubts, fears, misgivings. Rather than dwelling in the confines of negatives, open your mind to the possibility that ‘I am not open to receiving the message’, or that ‘my conclusions are inaccurate’.

LINE 5 (Broken)

Success comes when you are open to life, its teachings and guidelines. The youthful inexperience of good fortune is a great opportunity. Nature devises clever ways of sustaining life via the dispersing activities of different species. Bees pollinate flowers and seeds are carried about by animal fur. A childlike innocence and openness to innovation allows you to be led to new opportunity. You succeed.

LINE 6 (Top line Unbroken)

When the top line is unbroken, to me, it seems like the Guru, Master, Guide has kept a hand on the head blessing the seeker. However, opening up the last top line could also be interpreted as opening the doors to moksha. So where would the unbroken lines take place and what would they signify?

The last unbroke line mirrors the fact that “if you attack and humiliate; it is sure to create enemies”. Further the line suggests how to apply discipline similar to how boot camp breaks down weakness to develop strength.

Role of Discipline and Insult

Insult that is superficially given serves to make one stronger; too much of which along with criticism can break one’s spirit. To convert ignorance into wisdom, one needs to inspire greatness in others. Discipline works because the disciple and teacher’s relationship paves the way for others to follow respectfully. One is expected to respect another over and above these three criteria that the need to discipline others or rehabilitating them, or punishment.

(The writer is a Reiki & Naturopathy practitioner)

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