The Book of Changes

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Pi / Holding Together [Union] Closeness

The waters on the surface of the earth flow together wherever they can, as for example in the
ocean, where all the rivers come together. Symbolically this connotes holding together and
the laws that regulate it. The same idea is suggested by the fact that all the lines of the
hexagram except the fifth, the place of the ruler, are yielding.

The yielding lines hold together
because they are influenced by a man of strong will in the leading position, a man who is their
center of union. Moreover, this strong and guiding personality in turn holds together with the
others, finding in them the complement of his own nature.


HOLDING TOGETHER brings good fortune.
Inquire of the oracle once again
Whether you possess sublimity, constancy, and perseverance;
Then there is no blame.
Those who are uncertain gradually join.
Whoever come too late
Meets with misfortune.


What is required is that we unite with others, in order that all may complement and aid one another
through holding together. But such holding together calls for a central figure around whom other persons
may unite. To become a center of influence holding people together is a grave matter and fraught with
great responsibility. It requires greatness of spirit, consistency, and strength. Therefore let him who
wishes to gather others about him ask himself whether he is equal to the undertaking, for anyone
attempting the task without a real calling for it only makes confusion worse than if no union at all had
taken place.

But when there is a real rallying point, those who at first are hesitant or uncertain gradually come in of
their own accord. Late- comers must suffer the consequences, for in holding together the question of the
right time is also important. Relationships are formed and firmly established according to definite inner
laws. Common experiences strengthen these ties, and he who comes too late to share in these basic
experiences must suffer for it if, as a straggler, he finds the door locked.


If a man has recognized the necessity for union and does not feel strong enough to function as the center,
it is his duty to become a member of some other organic fellowship.

In order to achieve the union is necessary to be really convinced of such a project, that is why it is
essential to be reexamined and to feel that what is sought is really authentic, because being this way,
one will have the enough perseverance to be able to take the endeavor ahead.


On the earth is water:
Thus the kings of antiquity
Bestowed the different states as fiefs
And cultivated friendly relations
With the feudal lords.

Water fills up all the empty places on the earth and clings fast to it. The social organization of ancient
China was based on this principle of the holding together of dependents and rulers. Water flows to unite
with water, because all parts of it are subject to the same laws. So too should human society hold together
through a community of interests that allows each individual to feel himself a member of a whole. The
central power of a social organization must see to it that every member finds that his true interest lies in
holding together with it, as was the case in the paternal relationship between king and vassals in ancient

The earth supports the water and this one humidifies earth, fertilizes it; in this case how union make
prosperity is represented.


Six at the beginning means:

Hold to him in truth and loyalty;
This is without blame.
Truth, like a full earthen bowl
Thus in the end
Good fortune comes from without.

Fundamental sincerity is the only proper basis for forming relationships. This attitude, symbolized by a
full earthen bowl, in which the content is everything and the empty form nothing, shows itself not in
clever words but through the strength of what lies within the speaker. This strength is so great that it has
power to attract good fortune to itself from without.

One approaches in a giving attitude, offering the others everything of one; this is symbolized by food.
The full earthen bowl means that the approach is real, true, and not a mere appearance. The full earthen
bowl also gives the idea that what one has to offer serves, since food means nutrition. With not special
relations or a partiality attitude, one can treats everyone with cordiality. For that reason, good fortune is

Six in the second place means:

Hold to him inwardly.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

If a person responds perseveringly and in the right way to the behests from above that summon him to
action, his relations with others are intrinsic and he does not lose himself. But if a man seeks association
with others as if he were an obsequious office hunter, he throws himself away. He does not follow the
path of the superior man, who never loses his dignity.

Affinity with a certain person (fifth yang)it is firstly manifested inwardly with an identification feeling. Such
sincere relationship brings good fortune.

Six in the third place means:

You hold together with the wrong people.

We are often among people who do not belong to our own sphere. In that case we must beware of being
drawn into false intimacy through force of habit. Needless to say, this would have evil consequences.
Maintaining sociability without intimacy is the only right attitude toward people, because otherwise we
should not be free to enter into relationship with people of our own kind later on.

Here reference is made to the incoherent attitude of begin relationships with people with which one is not

Six in the fourth place means:

Hold to him outwardly also.
Perseverance brings good fortune.

Here the relations with a man who is the center of union are well established. Then we may, and indeed we
should, show our attachment openly. But we must remain constant and not allow ourselves to be led astray.

This line refers to the attitude of manifesting openly an internal feeling towards other person. This also
represents the instant in which the decision of adhering to somebody or to a cause is taken. This way,
the suitable person can symbolize a new ideal that one supports or the arising vocation.

Nine in the fifth place means:

Manifestation of holding together.
In the hunt the king uses beaters on three sides only
And forgoes game that runs off in front.
The citizens need no warning.
Good fortune.

In the royal hunts of ancient China it was customary to drive up the game from three sides, but on the
fourth the animals had a chance to run off. If they failed to do this they had to pass through a gate behind
which the king stood ready to shoot. Only animals that entered here were shot; those that ran off in front
were permitted to escape. This custom accorded with a kingly attitude; the royal hunter did not wish to
turn the chase into a slaughter, but held that the kill should consist only of those animals which had so to
speak voluntarily exposed themselves. There is depicted here a ruler, or influential man, to whom people
are attracted. Those who come to him he accepts, those who do not come are allowed to go their own
way. He invited none, flatters none --all come of their own free will. In this way there develops a
voluntary dependence among those who hold him. They do not have to be constantly on their guard but
may express their opinions openly. Police measures are not necessary, and they cleave to their ruler of
their own volition. The same principle of freedom is valid for life in general. We should not woo favor
from people. If a man cultivates within himself the purity and the strength that are necessary for one who
is the center of a fellowship, those who are meant for him come of their own accord.

Here reference is made to a clear convoking will. This implies the part carrying it out has a concrete
project. It is an important person, a leader who goes to look for adherents.

The hunt means a propagandistic campaign; the beaters means persuasion; the prey is the potential
follower. The message will be listened by everyone and they will be attracted towards the king, that is to
say towards the leader, but when facing him, they will not be able to accept it or believe him, for that
reason it is enunciated that if the prey strays, the king desists of taking it. Desisting means that a leader
cannot pursue each prey, that is to say he cannot elaborate a particular speech to summon each
individual, there must be only one message, comprehensive enough to try to capture most of the people.

But the method of persuasion is not violent nor compulsive, with the result that residents are not exhorted,
because those who leave do not matter but do those who support, they will make the movement be

Six at the top means:

He finds no head for holding together.

The head is the beginning. If the beginning is not right, there is no hope of a right ending. If we have
missed the right moment for union and go on hesitating to give complete and full devotion, we shall
regret the error when it is too late.

The union was not achieved. The consequences are the loss of the ownership and the social reference.