Aastya is an ethical principle, which means not to embezzle someone else and not aspire to possess something that does not belong to us and honesty and decency. The word “Asteya” in Sanskrit consists of the prefix “a” (denial, opposition) and the root “steya” (theft, stealing), literally translated as “not stealing.
Asteya is the third principle of the “Yama.
“Yama” Yoga-sutra Patanjali is aimed at refusing to satisfy the selfish desires of a person. It consists of 5 basic ethical and moral principles, such as ahimsa (non-creation of evil, non-violence); satya (truthfulness); asteya (not to steal); brahmacharya (abstinence); aparigraha (non-acquisitiveness).
All of them impose certain moral restrictions on the actions that a person performs in their quest to possess the benefits. But he does not think that the things that he should have he will get because we always have in life exactly as much as we deserve.
The availability of benefits, both tangible and intangible, depends on the amount of energy we have accumulated. Wishing something outward, we take energy from ourselves. And most importantly, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to self-realize on the spiritual path. Any desire to possess objects outwardly leads to the waste of inner spiritual potential. As long as a person does not realize that the only source of true happiness is in his spirit, and not outwardly, he will not be able to abandon the external benefits that bring him only the illusion of happiness.
It is necessary to learn that in the external material world, we do not belong to anything. All the material things that we have only temporarily belong to us. Even the physical body will be “thrown away” at the appointed time. The only thing we have is the spirit. We have come to earthly incarnation to gain spiritual experience, and this is the only thing we should strive for in our lives.
To keep the soul in the body, there is no need to obtain money and material goods dishonestly. It is essential to eliminate the desire to possess unnecessary material things, knowing that these surpluses only burden the person.
Show some sanity. The main desire on the Path should be not to get excessive benefits from external objects, but to have as much as necessary to advance along the Path.
How to practice Asteya
- Asteya should be observed in thoughts and desires manifested in such qualities as greed, jealousy, envy, etc.
- Any violation of the principle of Asteya on the material plane is in one way or another punishable by law; for such acts, the law provides appropriate punishment. And a person only, even out of fear of being punished, may not dare to do such disgraceful deeds. However, only if one intends to do this, even without putting his thoughts into practice, he already violates the principle of Asteya. If we talk about the intangible aspect of fulfilling the commandment, the conscience should come to the fore.
- There should also be the practice of not being attached to existing things and intangible objects, such as fame, success, titles, and any achievements in this world. The one who is not attached to anything, is free from proprietary claims and does not want anything for himself, respectively, and does not consider himself the owner of anything. Any attachment to objects of perception of material feelings leads to suffering in this world, due to their temporal nature. Keep in mind that by getting rid of old unnecessary things, energy is released, which will open up new opportunities for spiritual growth in your life.
- If you have received any benefit from another person, you should thank him accordingly.
- Any dreams about what kind of benefits we could have also lead to a violation of this principle of “Yama.” Asteya assumes that there are no desires for anything beyond what is available. Dreams and dreams lead to a huge expenditure of energy. What does not belong to reality, which was not manifested in the world, we try to realize, at least in dreams. In this way, we form a false reality. And again, we steal our own time and energy, which we spend on fruitless dreams.
- Do not let others use you to gain. The same applies to cases where you deliberately do not interfere with what is happening before your eyes steal. In this case, since it is done in your presence, it means that you are already responsible for the choice you make in this situation: prevent the criminal or step aside, pretending that it does not concern you. For not interfering in violation of the commandment of the Asteya, you will also have to answer to karma in due time.