Siva-Nataraja, one leg zhanzhuang and quantum mechanics

Further to the above posts on the Tigerchess site on one-leg zhanzhuang, here’s an off-tangent to possibly the source of all zhanzhuang, be it one or two-legged; and perhaps even the fount of all martial artforms.

The Siva-Nataraja –amongst the most recognizable of Hindu iconography– is one of the depictions of Lord Shiva, who is one of the three aspects of the Hindu cosmic trimurti.



The symbolism of the Siva-Nataraja or Lord of Dance, are manifold. Suffice to say that Lord Shiva (known as the most powerful and most skilled warrior across the cosmos) holds in this depiction of him as Cosmic Dancer, the power to destroy and create again the world, through his dual dances of the Lasya and the Tandava.
Shiva’s personification as the Hindu warrior-god was the founding inspiration for many Indian martial artforms and which still continues today, with his veneration as being the ‘patron saint’ of their arts.

Shiva is shown in most nataraja statues as balancing on the demon of ignorance. Somehow one gathers that this may probably be a bit harder than finding your balance on solid ground or even shifting sand…

The Nataraj Statue at CERN, Geneva:



In 2004, a 2m statue of the dancing Shiva was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with the quote from Fritjof Capra:

“Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

More quotes from Fritjof Capra, in his The Tao of Physics, relating the Nataraj’s dance with modern physics:

“every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena.”


Moon hook 月如钩



剪不断 理还乱
别有一番滋味 在心头

Wordless, a lone ascend up the west tower,
The moon like a hook.
Lonesome willows,
Framed within the deep courtyard, locked within deep autumnal pinings.
Impossible to cut, every trim begets more entanglements,
Are the threads of sorrow and being away.
Is this not a unique flavour upon the heart’s way…

-李煜 Li Yu, last emperor of the Tang dynasty

The poet-king who lost his kingdom, the dynasty of his forebears, and his dignity.

A true man


Rich wine and meat, spice and sweet are not real tastes,
Real taste is but light.
Phenomenal feats and extraordinary skills make not the true man,
A true man is but common.

菜根譚, Vegetable Roots Discourse

The crux in the saying above is of course the subject, 至人 (zhì rén), translated here as a true (complete) man.

There are many ‘types’ of man.
In the 四书五经 (Four Books and Five Classics), one meets with the 贤人 (xián rén – a man of virtue), 闲人 (xián rén – an unoccupied man ie a bum), 圣人 (shèng rén – a sage), or maybe even 仙人 (xiān rén – an immortal !).
Learning the subtle distinctions between these manly-types aside, just getting right the pronunciation of the similar-sounding names can mean the difference between heaven and earth…

Be it 贤 or 闲, a nice long meandering and totally useless saunter can be a virtuous way to spend a totally useless afternoon.
And sometimes, one gets to see the most delightful sight. Like a cluster of small white paper kites fluttering in the sea breeze, straining against and dragging along a small stone they are forlornly tied to.

A 至人 (zhì rén – a true man) may be too high a mark to aspire to;
but one imagines with some pleasure, being a superficial and thin 纸人 (zhǐ rén – a paper man), fluttering unawares in the wind…

A Long Sentence

“It is a world of confined spaces or else bleak wastes, inhabited by asocial and indeed misanthropic monologuers helpless to terminate their monologue, tramps with failing bodies and never-sleeping minds condemned to a purgatorial treadmill on which they rehearse again and again the great themes of Western philosophy; a world that comes to us in the distinctive prose that Beckett, using French models in the main, though with Jonathan Swift whispering ghostly in his ear, was in the process of perfecting for himself, lyrical and mordant in equal measures.”

-J. M. Coetzee, reviewing Samuel Beckett’s mid-period fictional formalization.

1 sentence, 89 words, some balanced conjunctions, only 1 semicolon; and most remarkably, no — his favourite — paranthetic em dashes !

What a trip…