Monday, 25 April 2016

Blavatsky on the I-Ching or Book of Changes

"The Yi-King, “the very essence of ancient thought and the combined work of the most venerated sages, fails to show a distinct cosmogony.” Nevertheless, there is one, and a very distinct one. Only as Confucius did not admit of a future life† and the Chinese Buddhists reject the idea of One Creator, accepting one cause and its numberless effects, they are misunderstood by the believers in a personal God.
The “great Extreme” as the commencement “of changes” (transmigrations) is the shortest and perhaps the most suggestive of all Cosmogonies, for those who, like the Confucianists, love virtue for its own sake, and try to do good unselfishly without perpetually looking to reward and profit.
The “great Extreme” of Confucius produces “two figures.” These “two” produce in their turn “the four images”; these again “the eight symbols.” It is complained that though the Confucianists see in them “Heaven, Earth and man in miniature,” . . . we can see in them anything we like. No doubt, and so it is with regard to many symbols, especially in those of the latest religions. But they who know something of Occult numerals, see in these “figures” the symbol, however rude, of a harmonious progressive Evolution of Kosmos and its beings, both the Heavenly and the Terrestrial. And any one who has studied the numerical evolution in the primeval cosmogony of Pythagoras (a contemporary of Confucius) can never fail to find in his Triad, Tetractis and Decade emerging from the one and solitary Monad, the same idea. Confucius is laughed at by his Christian biographer for “talking of divination” before and after this passage, and is represented as saying: “The eight symbols determine good and ill fortune, and these lead to great deeds. There are no imitable images greater than heaven and earth. There are no changes greater than the four seasons (meaning North, South, East and West, et seq.). There are no suspended images brighter than the sun and moon. In preparing things for use, there is none greater than the sage. In determining good and ill-luck there is nothing greater than the divining straws and the tortoise.”*

Therefore, the “divining straws” and the “tortoise,” the “symbolic sets of lines,” and the great sage who looks at them as they become one and two, and two become four, and four become eight, and the other sets “three and six,” are laughed to scorn, only because his wise symbols are misunderstood.

† If he rejected it, it was on the ground of what he calls the changes — in other words, rebirths — of man, and constant transformations. He denied immortality to the personality of man — as we do — not to man." (The Secret Doctrine I, p. 440-41)