सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म तज्जलानिति शान्त उपासीत । अथ खलु क्रतुमयः पुरुषो यथाक्रतुरस्मिँल्लोके पुरुषो भवति तथेतः प्रेत्य भवति स क्रतुं कुर्वीत ॥ ३.१४.१ ॥
sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma tajjalāniti śānta upāsīta | atha khalu kratumayaḥ puruṣo yathākraturasmim̐lloke puruṣo bhavati tathetaḥ pretya bhavati sa kratuṃ kurvīta || 3.14.1 ||
1. All this is Brahman. Everything comes from Brahman, everything goes back to Brahman, and everything is sustained by Brahman. One should therefore quietly meditate on Brahman. Each person has a mind of his own. What a person wills in his present life, he becomes when he leaves this world. One should bear this in mind and meditate accordingly.
Sarvam idam, all this; khalu; no doubt; brahma, is Brahman; tajjalān, from this everything comes, into this everything disappears, and on this everything is sustained; iti śāntaḥ upāsīta, meditate on this fact quietly; atha khalu kratumayaḥ puruṣaḥ, because each person has a mind of his own; asmin loke, [therefore] in his present life; yathā kratuḥ puruṣaḥ bhavati, just as a person wills; itaḥ pretya tathā bhavati, he becomes that when he leaves this world; saḥ kratum kurvīta, [therefore] he should be careful about what he wants.
The word brahman means ‘the oldest,’ ‘the biggest.’ Tejas (fire), jala (water), and pṛthivī (earth) emerged from Brahman in that order, so they are called tajja. Then they disappear in Brahman in the reverse order, so they are called talla. In the past, in the present, and in the future—they are sustained in Brahman. They are, therefore, one with Brahman. The Upaniṣad says here to think over this with kratu—that is, with great effort, and with deep concentration.
Kratu also means will, or will power. It is your will that decides your destiny. Śrī Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna (Bhagavad Gītā 8.6): ‘O son of Kunti, at the time of death when a person leaves the body, he attains whatever object he thinks of, as he has been [previously] constantly absorbed in its thought.’ This shows the importance of your kratu.