I Ching Hexagram 42 - I / Increase

hexagram 42
  • Above Sun the Gentle, Wind
  • Below Chen the Arousing, Thunder


The idea of increase is expressed in the fact that the strong lowest line of the upper trigram has sunk down and taken its place under the lower trigram. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which the Book of Changes is based. To rule truly is to serve. A sacrifice of the higher element that produces an increase of the lower is called an out-and-out increase: it indicates the spirit that alone has power to help the world.

See the James Legge translation of this hexagram.

<-Prev Next->


Increase. It furthers one to undertake something. It furthers one to cross the great water.

Judgement Commentary

Sacrifice on the part of those above for the increase of those below fills the people with a sense of joy and gratitude that is extremely valuable for the flowering of the commonwealth. When people are thus devoted to their leaders, undertakings are possible, and even difficult and dangerous enterprises will succeed. Therefore in such times of progress and successful development it is necessary to work and make the best use of time. This time resembles that of the marriage of heaven and earth, when the earth partakes of the creative power of heaven, forming and bringing forth living beings. The time of Increase does not endure, therefore it must be utilized while it lasts.

The Image

Wind and thunder: the image of Increase. Thus the superior man, if he sees good, he imitates it. If he has faults, he rids himself of them.

Image Commentary

While observing how thunder and wind increase and strengthen each other, a man can not the way to self-increase and self-improvement. When he discovers good in others, he should imitate it and thus make everything on earth his own. If he perceives something bad in himself, let him rid himself of it. In this way he becomes free of evil. This ethical change represents the most important increase of personality.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means: It furthers one to accomplish great deeds. Supreme good fortune. No blame.

If great help comes to a man from on high, this increased strength must be used to achieve something great for which he might otherwise never have found energy, or readiness to take responsibility. Great good fortune is produced by selflessness, and in bringing about great good fortune, he remains free of reproach.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 20 - Kuan / Contemplation (View). This line is able and even obliged to use his resources to achieve great things for the benefit of others. Legge believes that although of lowly status, the subject of this line will be very successful increasing others and that "...great success will make his rashness be forgotten" so any criticism based on his supposed presumptuousness will soon vanish. The resultant hexagram 20, Contemplation (View), indicates that you have not yet decided to proceed with your intention, fear not! Go ahead with your plans.

Six in the second place means: Someone does indeed increase him, ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it. Constant perseverance brings good fortune. The king presents him before God. Good fortune.

A man brings about real increase by producing in himself the conditions for it, that is, through receptivity to and love of the good. Thus the thing for which he strives comes of itself, with the inevitability of natural law. Where increase is thus in harmony with the highest laws of the universe, it cannot be prevented by any constellation of accidents. But everything depends on his not letting unexpected good fortune make him heedless; he must make it his own through inner strength an steadfastness. Then he acquires meaning before God and man, and can accomplish something for the good of the world.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 61 Chung Fu / Inner Truth. Increase from another is indicated here. This increase is not merely a product of luck but is brought about as a response to ones own inner development. There is a slight warning to make sure that we remain rooted in the good and not get a 'swelled head' at our good fortune. Legge also has this warning "Let him persevere in being firm and correct, and there will be good fortune." The Resultant hexagram 61, Inner Truth shows that whoever draws this line will be able to exercise great influence if they can but maintain the correct attitude and behaviour.

Six in the third place means: One is enriched through unfortunate events. No blame if you are sincere and walk in the middle, and report with a seal to the prince.

A time of blessing and enrichment has such powerful effects that even events ordinarily unfortunate must turn out to the advantage of those affected by them. These persons become free of error, and by acting in harmony with truth they gain such inner authority that they exert influence as if sanctioned by the letter and seal.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 37 - Chia Jen / The Family (The Clan). Someone's loss is another's gain and this line is an example of such a time. In this case you benefit from circumstances that are not proper. If you have not actively sought to disadvantage someone else but have benefited inadvertently then you are still in the right. If you act with proper decorum and honesty you can preserve your good name and contribute to the common weal. Legge's interpretation is very similar "...increase given to its subject by means of what is evil...Let him be sincere and pursue the path of the Mean." The outcome for this line is hexagram 37, The Family, means that you will need to very carefully attend to how you act in this situation so as to maintain your moral center. There is no augury of success or good fortune so this lines subject may well be seduced by unearned increase and pay the price.

Six in the fourth place means: If you walk in the middle and report to the prince he will follow. It furthers one to be used in the removal of the capital.

It is important that there should be men who mediate between leaders and followers. These should be disinterested people, especially in times of increase, since the benefit is to spread from the leader to the people. Nothing of this benefit should be held back in a selfish way, it should really reach those for whom it is intended. This sort of intermediary, who also exercises a good influence on the leader, is especially important in times when it is a matter of great undertakings, decisive for the future and requiring the inner assent of all concerned.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 25 - Wu Wang / Innocence (The Unexpected). This lines purpose is to assist powerful people to perform their duties in increasing the good fortune of others. If you draw this line, do your duty and perform that duty correctly. Legge puts it "His advice to his prince is followed. He can with advantage be relied on." The resultant hexagram 25, Innocence (The Unexpected), indicates that supreme success will come to those who deserve it and unexpected failure likewise. Make sure you deserve rewards not punishment!

Nine in the fifth place means: If in truth you have a kind heart, ask not. Supreme good fortune. Truly, kindness will be recognized as your virtue.

True kindness does not count upon nor ask about merit and gratitude but acts from inner necessity. And such a truly kind heart finds itself rewarded in being recognized, and thus the beneficent influence will spread unhindered.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 27 - I / Corners of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment). Your personality and values brings you the rewards they deserve. In this case it is all good. Proceed without fear to success and good fortune. Legge is equally certain "...its subject with sincere heart seeking to benefit all below... the result will be great good fortune." The resultant hexagram 27, Corners of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment), show that this lines success will come from knowing how to nourish the needs of oneself and others.

Nine at the top means: He brings increase to no one, indeed, someone even strikes him. He does not keep his heart constantly steady. Misfortune.

The meaning here is that through renunciation those in high place should bring increase to those below. By neglecting this duty and helping no one, they in turn lose the furthering influence of others and soon find themselves alone. In this way they invite attacks. An attitude not permanently in harmony with the demands of the time will necessarily bring misfortune with it. Confucius says about this line: The superior man sets his person at rest before he moves; he composes his mind before he speaks, he makes his relations firm before he asks for something. By attending to these three matters, the superior man gains complete security. But if a man is brusque in his movements, others will not cooperate. If he is agitated in his word, they awaken no echo in others. If he asks for something without having fist established relations, it will not be given to him. If no one is with him, those who would harm him draw near.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 3 - Chun / Difficulty at the Beginning. Selfishness brings increase to none not even he who is selfish. Instead it you isolated and vulnerable to the ill will of others. How can this be good? legge is equally condemnatory "...we see one to whose increase none will contribute, while many will seek to assail him." Its not just selfish thats the problem either, we see arrogance and flippancy as the primary mode of interacting with others. This is a mistake. The resultant hexagram 3, Difficulty at the Beginning, teaches us that anything this line attempts to do will be difficult to achieve, mostly for the aforementioned reasons. One can only get success by changing ones approach and with much hard work.

See the James Legge - I Ching Hexagram 42 - I / Increase translation of this hexagram.