A great country is like the lowland toward which all
streams flow. It is the Reservoir of all under heaven,
the Feminine of the world. The Feminine always conquers the Masculine by her
quietness, by lowering herself through her quietness. Hence, if a great country can lower itself before a
small country, it will win over the small country; and if a
small country can lower itself before a great country, it
will win over the great country. The one wins by
stooping; the other, by remaining low. What a great country wants is simply to embrace
more people; and what a small country wants is simply
to come to serve its patron. Thus, each gets what it
wants. But it behooves a great country to lower itself.
I really like this passage, particularly because Lao Tzu establishes a correlation between a powerful country and the divine Feminine. In Western thought, power is often associated with the masculine, but this is clearly not the case in Lao Tzu’s philosophy. It is within the subtle, the yielding, and the fluid where true strength resides, and these are characteristics of the divine Feminine.
Another metaphor that resonates with me is that of the Feminine being a lowland, or Reservoir, to which all streams flow. Lowlands are associated with fertility, since valleys are fertile areas. Hence, the divine Feminine is both the source of being, and the place where all life must return. There is a sense of cycles here.
The symbolism of the great and small countries establishing a symbiotic relationship likewise represents the symbiotic relationship between the Masculine and the Feminine. Each needs the other to maintain balance, and each provides the other with the aspect that is required to create wholeness and unity.
I trust you enjoyed this passage and that you found my interpretation interesting. I hope you have a blessed day, and keep reading things that uplift your soul.
4 responses to ““Tao Teh Ching: Chapter 61” by Lao Tzu”
I always like your interpretations, Jeff. I’d be lost in reading these passages without your explanations 🙂
Hi Barb. Glad to hear you enjoy the posts. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the effort – LOL. But comments like this are what keep me going. Hope you and your family are all well. Have a great weekend!
I love your interpretation regarding the Feminine too. Also the sense of humility in a great country in order to be great and to draw other smaller countries to it. Something we used to have here in the US, or at least strived for, although not so much lately.
Hi Deborah. Thanks for the comment. Yes, it does seem that leadership in this country could benefit from reading the Tao. Hope you and your family are safe and well. Many blessings.