Last time on Yoga Blog: Satya broke down the lies we tell ourselves and truth flowed into our lives. Felling the hidden fortifications, we constructed around our true-self. Satya, truthfulness. Refresh yourself and reread the last post if you wish and then continue your journey towards Yoga. “Atha Yoganusasanam.” Third yama!
What does asteya mean?
Asteya! Don’t Steal. Non-stealing. Nothing too fancy with this one in the translating department. Steya can stand for theft, robbery, or anything that can be stolen. As with ahimsa, the “a” reminds to not do or non, non-stealing. Postpone your pilfering and pause your piracy. One engaged in non-stealing will receive wealth in return. “Asteyapratisthayam sarvaratnopasthanam.”
Examples of asteya
Theft, breaking into a home and stealing jewels and a TV but it is not limited to the action of taking tangible objects from another person. Stealing ideas, time, peace, and opportunity are all things that may get stolen. There are even laws in place to protect such things like copyrights and trademarks. But, beyond logos and characters, if a noisy person or someone who constantly asks questions disrupts a learning experience they steal from those around them. Stealing the opportunity to learn for themselves and others. Stealing the time for contemplation and reflection. Stealing the opportunity to think for themselves. And, still there is more to be stolen.
Asteya in the big picture
The appropriate intention intended for a device, object, person can be neglected and thus their use stricken from them. Looted by caging it a “safe” place. Money has a purpose. It is not to be hoarded and sat on in a dark cave. It wants to keep you well. It wants to help make life better for everyone. If its ability to do so is smothered under the weight of greed, thirteen dwarves and a burglar will liberate it in due time. That art you work on wants to be seen by the world. It wants to lighten someone’s day. It wants to speak with others. The vacant lot wants to be played on. It has no need for the no trespassing sign. It wants use. It wants to welcome. Each and every thing has a proper use and wants an opportunity to serve its purpose. Do not rob that opportunity. Let purpose prosper.
Asteya in review
Review: Opportunity appears everywhere, so give it a chance. Be true to your ideas or give credit where credit is due. Robbing and looting is bad. So, Robin Hood* and Aladdin** are bad people? Much like the burglar with the precious ring they play their part. Like the hero Arjuna they too are truthful to themselves, satya. The prince’s taxes stole from those who had nothing to give. That money kept for greed to help the kingdom. What other choice was there but to give it back to those in need. A stolen loaf of bread to fight back the mornings hunger. To offer to the starving so good will can continue to be passed from human to human. Oxygen must be swiped from the air to stay standing against hate. Fruit must be plucked from their mother to spread and grow anew. Establish yourself in non-stealing and live an anxiety free life. Worries flutter away like a dried leaf in the breeze. Using what you have and sharing when you can. Provide, not take. Establish not prevent. Grow, become, prosper.
*I’m pretty sure the real Prince John got a worse rap than he deserved. He took over a kingdom from a brother that campaigned in a war that cost a heavy sum. Therefor he had no real choice but to tax the people so that King Richard could play in his silly war and become a hero.
**Disney’s Aladdin, I have not read the proper One Thousand and One Nights and don’t know if there is a thief character.