Turtle Channels Sanskrit

February 22, 2009

Well, no. Fact is, we have only 26 letters to transcribe every word in any language ever written — Sanskrit, for example, has a much more sensible 53 — so the probability of finding a word to match a combination of English vowels and consonants is pret-ty high. Besides, I thought it was Hebrew.

Lemme explain. I awoke from a dream this morning, in which I was discussing Judaism with a Jewish woman about my age. We were in her rec room. I was sitting on the rust-coloured shag carpeting beside a coffee-table-sized memorial, on which sat a cylindrical, pewter urn with the letters CHAYAM inscribed around the top. I tried to remember such a word from my Biblical Hebrew course, but couldn’t come up with one.

On awaking, I decided the word was meant to be “chaim”, which means “life”. You may recall Tevye and his neighbour with their wine glasses, toasting each other with the words, “L’chaim! To life!” in Fiddler On the Roof.

But I decided to google the letters I’d seen anyway, since I so rarely manage to read anything in dreams. Is there a Hebrew word transcribed this way?

Nope; but there’s a Sanskrit one. According to Vedabase ,

chāyām means: shelter; darkness; shade.

ańghri-chāyām means: the shade of His feet.

In some ways, chaim and chāyām are in opposition: life, celebration, darkness, shade. But in both terms there is peace, gratitude, acknowledgment of the Most High. And Turtle, always one for wordplay, thinks that’s kinda nifty.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden hankering for Kosher butter chicken.