Asteya – Non-Stealing

Asteya – Non-Stealing

Asteya is the 3rd Yama, or moral observation in the Yogic philosophy.  Asteya is abstinence from stealing, which has been defined as: “the improper appropriation to oneself of others’ things: refusal to do it, in freedom from desire, is non-stealing.”

We all know the general definition of stealing, but, consider a few ‘gray areas’ that have become more prevalent in society:

*Taking credit that really belongs to another is a form of stealing, i.e. taking someone else’s idea and making it our own, plagiarism.

*Oh, it’s just a library book.  I can hold on to it for a few more days.  (someone may be waiting in the queue to read it!)

*Taking what is not legitimately coming to us, even if freely given, is
stealing; for example welfare benefits, insurance claims, etc.

*Listening in on another’s conversation; eavesdropping

*Shorting the waitress of her tip

*Not returning a borrowed item in a timely manner to its rightful owner

*Overeating or food waste

*Taking food without thanking God, or mother nature for our nutrients.  say your blessings!

*Another more subtle act of stealing, and is very common, are people who continuously expect others to give them things or services of which they are perfectly capable of paying for, or they want continuously ask for big discounts without thinking about what the product or service is really worth.

And if someone steals from you?  Forgive.

When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come. -Yoga Sutras

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45

We begin to see the intricate weave of the yamas… non-harming, truthfulness, asteya.  Stealing stems from greed.  When we are free from desire, asteya is easier to obtain… and then on to the last two yamas – moderation & non-greed.

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