Srimad Bhagavatam 11.12.21 - Reinforcing Our Practice of Bhakti (download mp3)
by Keshav Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yasminn idam protam asesam otam
pato yatha tantu-vitana-samsthah
ya esa samsara-taruh puranah
karmatmakah puspa-phale prasute
Just as woven cloth rests on the expansion of lengthwise and crosswise threads, similarly the entire universe is expanded on the lengthwise and crosswise potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is situated within Him. The conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies since time immemorial, and these bodies are like great trees sustaining one’s material existence. Just as a tree first blossoms and then produces fruit, similarly the tree of material existence, one’s material body, produces the various results of material existence.
Before a tree produces fruit, blossoms appear. Similarly, the word puspa-phale, according to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, indicates the happiness and distress of material existence. One’s material life may appear to be blossoming, but ultimately there will appear the bitter fruits of old age, death and other catastrophes. Attachment to the material body, which is always inclined toward sense gratification, is the root cause of material existence, and it is therefore called samsara-taru. The tendency to exploit the external energy of the Supreme Lord has existed since time immemorial, as expressed by the words puranah karmatmakah. The material universe is an expansion of the illusory potency of the Supreme Lord and is always dependent on Him and nondifferent from Him. This simple understanding can relieve the conditioned souls from endless wandering in the unhappy kingdom of maya.
The word puspa-phale may also be understood as meaning sense gratification and liberation. The tree of material existence will be further explained in the following verses.