The Third Yama: Asteya (Non Stealing)

To refresh from last month, the five yamas (codes of conduct) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are:

  1. Ahimsa (non-aggression or non-violence)
  2. Satyam (truthfulness)
  3. Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (continence)
  5. Aparigraha (non-coveting).

Last month, we looked at the second yama – Satyam (truthfulness).  This month, let’s explore the third yama – asteya in more detail.

 This month’s focus: ASTEYA

Asteya means non-stealing and it is not simply about abstaining from theft; but in addition it is about not coveting more than your minimum needs.  One must remember that nothing in this world is a personal possession; we merely borrow what we need.  Taking more than what we need and wasting it, is seen as a form of stealing from humankind.

If you are always dwelling on your desire to want and what you would like to possess, these thoughts become more familiar to the mind and in turn can lead to selfish actions.  Consider for example the idea of ‘hoarding’; although it is not stealing as such, but it is a form of non-sharing or an inability to give away possessions to others.  Our desire can be our root cause for asteya.  The regular practice of yoga can settle one’s desire for hoarding where the mind and actions are better unified.

 For an interesting take on asteya, read this short article: click here.

“Desire or want is the root cause for stealing.”
 Swami Sivananda

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