On his way to Canaan, Abram paused at a modest strip mall (7x7 stores) just outside Babylon. He met an Indian there, over lunch at the food court. They shared a table. Abram settled on the spicy Thai salad with pork dumplings, and the Indian, a little frail from excessive fasting, invoked a platter of fries and a burger. Abram sat tall, grand, bearded, wrapped in thick woollen robes, and with a will so huge and powerful that centuries & oceans disappeared inside its pores. His will, he knew, would one day be the will of everyone. No other will would ever stand against it, except it be his own will by some other name. The frail Indian was bald, clean-shaven and dressed only in a dhoti, though the desert wind chafed his bare skin. He gave off the air of a distant relation. The Indian’s will was also great but had slipped inside the pores of the world, or floated somewhere beyond. For the Indian, there was always another beyond. He never despaired. He sat up very straight at table. The Indian was a world-class siddhi who through long fasts and many other austerities had earned powers of precognition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the ability to walk on water and to pass through the earth as if it were water, to become many beings from one, from one many, and the capacity to remember past lives through countless eons and innumerable expansions and contractions of the cosmos. Or so it was said.
Abram inclined his head in respect. He told the Indian how he had been called to journey to Canaan, on a small matter of land, bringing with him his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, along with all his other relations, she-asses, camels & tents. Abram was always happy to announce his plans & history to anyone who would listen. He never wrote these things down, and he hoped that someone else would, if only on a napkin. But the Indian, like Abram, was no writer. Sound & speech were everything for both, although issuing in different ways and from different places.
For the Indian, sound arose universally from the throat of the rose-apple Earth and was articulated through world organs. He charted it phonetically from vibrating chords, through glottal stops, from back to front vowels, from the dome of the sounding cave to the shaping rituals of the lips. For Abram, sound boomed behind his eyes like a steel drum, and could not be broken down or analyzed as sound but only as mighty sign, and would only echo yet more loudly when once written down. In this sound Abram heard the only God speak. Among other things, the only God said: Go on to Canaan.