Chapter 11: What’s in a Name?
Just a few years before, scientists had come up with a lie-detector mechanism, to be used in the courts. It is a small mechanism; it is hidden under the chair. The criminal sits on the chair, the magistrate asks him questions and the lie detector which is hidden in the chair goes on making a graph, just like a cardiogram. As long as the person is speaking truthfully, the cardiogram makes a very simple, even and harmonious graph. The moment he lies, the graph goes off the track.
The psychoanalyst thought that it would be good to try that graph on this fellow; he had the machine in his office. First, things are asked about which you cannot lie, so that the graph can become adjusted. For example, “What time is it on the clock on the wall?” Naturally, how can you lie? Everybody can see what time it is.
The psychoanalyst asked, “How many fingers do you see on my hand?” Naturally you cannot lie. Simple questions in which it is impossible to lie, so the graph can become harmonious, and then suddenly he asked, “What do you think, is it true that you are Abraham Lincoln?”
And he said, “Of course.” And the graph went on without any change. Even the psychoanalyst could not believe his eyes that this man has not only become mentally identified with Abraham Lincoln, it has even reached to his heartbeats. He was dragged from this analyst to that analyst. Finally he became tired. He said, “This is stupid, why should I be unnecessarily harassed?”
But the whole village became interested. Everybody was saying to him, “You are not Abraham Lincoln. Forget all about it. That was just acting.”
Somebody reported to the court that this man was deceiving. He was brought into the court. Seeing the situation.he was getting tired. He was put on that lie-detector mechanism again, and when it was asked, “Who are you?” he said, “I am not Abraham Lincoln, I am tired of it.” But the graph said, “No, he is.” The graph did not accept his denial of being Abraham Lincoln because he was only denying intellectually. Deep down he knew who he was. The graph picks up the very heartbeat, your innermost feeling, not what you say but what you feel.
We have all become names, but we were born nameless and we will die nameless. But such is the deceptive way of the world that you will live with a name and even when you die, people will put the name on your grave. There was no such name ever as a reality; it was a fiction. A nameless reality existed, a nameless reality changed its form, but the grave will carry for years, as long as it remains, a name which represents nobody.
Kyozan asking Sansho, “What is your name?” is provoking him. If he says, “Sansho,” then he has not realized the nameless reality. If he says, “I am not Sansho,” then the question arises, “Who are you? - You must be somebody.”
Even in denying he is accepting somebodiness; there must be some other name: “Just tell it exactly - what is your name?”
But Sansho was not to be caught by Kyozan’s game. He was of the same perceptivity and clarity; he reversed the whole process. He said, “My name? My name is Ejaku.”