Srimad Bhagavatam 11.12.22-23 - Advanced JOSD-Practical Spirituality (download mp3)
by Revati Vallabha Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
dve asya bije sata-mulas tri-nalah
tri-valkalo dvi-phalo ’rkam pravistah
adanti caikam phalam asya grdhra
grame-cara ekam aranya-vasah
hamsa ya ekam bahu-rupam ijyair
maya-mayam veda sa veda vedam
This tree of material existence has two seeds, hundreds of roots, three lower trunks and five upper trunks. It produces five flavors and has eleven branches and a nest made by two birds. The tree is covered by three types of bark, gives two fruits and extends up to the sun. Those lusty after material enjoyment and dedicated to family life enjoy one of the tree’s fruits, and swanlike men in the renounced order of life enjoy the other fruit. One who with the help of the bona fide spiritual masters can understand this tree to be a manifestation of the potency of the one Supreme Truth appearing in many forms actually knows the meaning of the Vedic literature.
The two seeds of this tree are sinful and pious activities, and the hundreds of roots are the living entities’ innumerable material desires, which chain them to material existence. The three lower trunks represent the three modes of material nature, and the five upper trunks represent the five gross material elements. The tree produces five flavors — sound, form, touch, taste and aroma — and has eleven branches — the five working senses, the five knowledge-acquiring senses and the mind. Two birds, namely the individual soul and the Supersoul, have made their nest in this tree, and the three types of bark are air, bile and mucus, the constituent elements of the body. The two fruits of this tree are happiness and distress.
Those who are busy trying to enjoy the company of beautiful women, money and other luxurious aspects of illusion enjoy the fruit of unhappiness. One should remember that even in the heavenly planets there is anxiety and death. Those who have renounced material goals and taken to the path of spiritual enlightenment enjoy the fruit of happiness. One who takes the assistance of bona fide spiritual masters can understand that this elaborate tree is simply the manifestation of the external potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is ultimately one without a second. If one can see the Supreme Lord as the ultimate cause of everything, then his knowledge is perfect. Otherwise, if one is entangled in Vedic rituals or Vedic speculation without knowledge of the Supreme Lord, he has not achieved the perfection of life.