Banana Nirvana – The Plantain Path to Salvation

 

Author: Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala

 

License CC BY: You are free to use it as you please as long as you attribute the work to the author.

 

100 Million Years Ago

 

When Only Plants Lived on Earth

 

Enjoying the cool breeze, he walked into the forest. He did not realize that he entered the forbidden zone, and   strolled mindlessly, looking around open mouthed.

 

He was studying a five thousand year old tree when he heard a sound. He quickly scanned his surroundings, but found nothing. Pushing the sound out of his mind as a figment of his imagination, he continued his exploration.

 

Few seconds later, he heard a loud trumpeting noise.

 

“Hands up,” a hoarse voice said as he looked around in shock.

 

“I said hands up. On count of three, or we shoot. One, two …,”

 

He raised his hands, and was instantly surrounded. They quickly hand cuffed him and dragged him away.

 

A Week Later

 

“All Rise.

 

Justice Berry in Session,” a booming voice announced.

 

Justice Berry walked into the Court room seriously, adjusted his thick spectacles and sat. . He gestured for every one to sit down, and asked the Court clerk to proceed.

 

“Case 1 – State of Great Fruitland v. Banana.

 

State of Great Fruitland v. Banana,” the clerk announced.

 

There was a loud buzz in the Court when the prisoner entered, and every one started talking at the same time.

 

“He is not wearing any clothes.”

 

“No clothes …

 

He is naked…

 

Disgusting…

 

Terrible …”

 

The buzz in the Court rose, and the judge had to use his gavel to restore silence.

 

“Let me go. Let me go please,” Banana pleaded, struggling to wriggle free.

 

“Silence. Silence,” Justice Berry thundered, restoring some order.

 

“Sir Apple, what is this person’s offence?” he asked the public prosecutor.

 

“Your Lordship, as an officer of justice, I have over the years safeguarded the sanctity of law in Great Fruitland.

 

I …”

 

“Prosecutor, Stop your whimsical trumpeting and get on with it.

 

Just Get on.

 

“Much Obliged, Your Honour,” Sir Apple said, bowing dramatically.

 

“This abominable creature, who calls himself banana, was found roaming around the sacred Kingdom of Great Fruitland without clothes.

 

He was caught   naked by our security police.

 

Naked Your Honour. Absolutely Naked.

 

No clothes at all,” Sir Apple stated emphatically.

 

“Got your point Sir Apple.

 

We can all see that,” Justice Berry said, gesturing to continue.

 

“My Lord, his illegal acts make him liable for a series of offences under the Fruitland Penal Code. Those include indecency, nuisance, breach of peace, breach of social order, breach of morality, outraging modesty …”

 

“Whose modesty did he outrage?” Justice Berry asked, interrupting Sir Apple.

 

For the first time that day, Sir Apple looked uncertain. This was against his script, and he did not expect the question.

 

“My Lord …

 

Your Honour …

 

His modesty. His own modesty.

 

This man outraged his own modesty,” Sir Apple said, his uncertainty quickly transforming into confidence.

 

“What? He outraged his own modesty? How can one outrage his own modesty?”

 

 

“Your Honour, this man is a hardened criminal that he can do anything,” Sir Apple said seriously.

 

Shocked by Sir Apple’s explanation, Justice Berry  went speechless. He stared  at Sir Apple  silently for a while. His expression turned from disbelief to anger, and from anger to frustration and helplessness in short succession.

 

“Alright. Go on Sir Apple,” he finally said curtly.

 

“Much Obliged Your Lordship. This man also breached privacy, trespassed into property and person …”

 

Justice Berry  just let Sir Apple continue, looking at him blankly.

 

“This man must be punished severely. The state prays for capital punishment.

 

Death by hanging,” Sir Apple concluded his arguments.

 

 

“Who is representing Mr. Banana?” Justice Berry asked.

 

“No one,” the Court Clerk responded.

 

 

“OK. Mr. Banana, would you like to defend yourself?”

 

 

“I don’t know anything, please let me go,” Banana pleaded.

 

“Why are you not wearing any clothes Mr. Banana?”

 

“What clothes? I don’t know what that means.”

 

“What do you mean?

 

 

Don’t you cover yourself.”

 

“No we don’t.

 

No one covers his body in our country. We roam like this,” Banana said.

 

That got every one in the Court talking, and Justice Berry had to use his gavel to calm them down.

 

“Silence. Silence.”

 

“Which country do you come from?”

 

“Banana Republic.

 

The free country, Banana Republic. We live free and die free.

 

We can do anything we want, go any where we want, and live however we want.

 

Let me go. Please let me go.”

 

“Freedom doesn’t mean you roam around without clothes.

 

Isn’t that against basic decency?”

 

“What do you mean by decency? I don’t know what that means.

Let me go please.”

 

“Don’t you have any laws?”

 

“Laws? What does that mean?”

 

“OK. Do you follow any rules?”

 

“Rules???”

 

“Don’t you have any problems or disputes in Banana Republic?” Justice Berry tried a different question.

 

“We do have problems.

 

We fight about who gets to work first. We fight about who  must eat last.

 

 

We also fight about who gets to die first.”

 

“You fight about who must die first? Strange!”

 

“Yes, we believe that death is salvation. The ultimate freedom.”

 

“Interesting, very interesting.”

 

Justice Berry found himself empathizing with Banana.

 

Noting Justice Berry’s disposition, Sir Apple was on his feet.

 

Clearing his throat, he said loudly, “Whatever this criminal may follow in his country, he has committed grievous offences in the State of Great Fruitland.

 

He must be punished severely under our great country’s Penal Code.”

 

“Yes. Yes,” every one in the Court chorused.

 

“Hang him. Crucify him …,” people said.

 

Justice Berry thought for a moment before pronouncing his judgment.

 

“The accused, Banana, is liable for violating Sections 320, 412, and 268 of the Fruitland Penal Code.

 

His punishment shall be as follows:

 

Banana shall be clothed in a thick yellow coat, and hung to a pole.

 

If he pleads mercy, he will be set free and escorted out of Great Fruitland.”

 

He then spoke to Banana.

 

“Mr. Banana, do you understand.

 

All you need to do is plead mercy, and you will be set free.”

 

…

 

In line with Justice Berry’s orders, Banana was covered in a yellow coat and tied to a pole. Every morning, the jailor asked if he wishes to plead for mercy.

 

“Mr. Banana, Mercy?

 

Will you plead for mercy?”

 

“No. Freedom.

 

I want freedom.”

 

“Mercy?”

 

“Freedom.”

 

“Plead Mercy.”

 

“No, I want freedom.”

 

 

After a few days, Banana’s family and friends came looking for him. They were put through the same justice system and tied along with the Banana. Over time, several Bananas were tied in bunches, and to keep the pole stable, they were tied to a tree.

 

Bananas sit there in bunches, waiting to be liberated. Death for them is salvation, and eating them is liberation.

 

The path to salvation is not three fold, or eight fold. It is Banana fold.

 

Go get a Banana and start your journey to Nirvana.

 

Note: Presented at Kathalaya’s storytelling course.

 

 

 

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