पटो यथा तन्तुवितानसंस्थ: ।
य एष संसारतरु: पुराण:
कर्मात्मक: पुष्पफले प्रसूते ॥ २१ ॥
paṭo yathā tantu-vitāna-saṁsthaḥ
ya eṣa saṁsāra-taruḥ purāṇaḥ
karmātmakaḥ puṣpa-phale prasūte
yasmin — in whom; idam — this universe; protam — woven crosswise; aśeṣam — the whole; otam — and lengthwise; paṭaḥ — a cloth; yathā — just like; tantu — of the threads; vitāna — in the expansion; saṁsthaḥ — situated; yaḥ — that which; eṣaḥ — this; saṁsāra — of material existence; taruḥ — the tree; purāṇaḥ — existing since time immemorial; karma — toward fruitive activities; ātmakaḥ — naturally inclined; puṣpa — the first result, blossoming; phale — and the fruit; prasūte — being produced.
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 puṣpa-phale, according to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, 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 saṁsāra-taru. The tendency to exploit the external energy of the Supreme Lord has existed since time immemorial, as expressed by the words purāṇaḥ karmātmakaḥ. 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 māyā.
The word puṣpa-phale may also be understood as meaning sense gratification and liberation. The tree of material existence will be further explained in the following verses.