What is Asteya?
Asteya is translated as non-stealing. But Sanskrit is a vibrational language. And at the peak of the vibration, Asteya means abandoning the desire to possess anything that does not belong to you.
Stealing arises out of a sense of lack. We lack faith in ourselves to be able to create what we need. From this lack of faith arises the desire to possess what somebody else has. We begin to look for things to fill that ‘empty’ sensation. It feels as though everyone else has what we want. This further increases the feeling of not being or having enough.
Asteya & Greed
Feeling that we don’t have enough and desiring what others have leads to greed. To keep or take anything that one does not need is regarded as greed.
Often we are unaware of our real needs – the needs of our deepest self. And this causes us to unconsciously multiply our wants leading to even more greed.
Asteya, non stealing & contentment
Being grateful for what we have and also for what others have is the first step to being positive and content. When we can do this, there is a major shift in our mental state. We can truly experience joy. Instead of feeling envious, jealous, greedy, or desirous of things that others possess we are able to take joy from all of life. Individual ego starts to fall away. And the whole world is a joy to you. You experience a sense of unity and contentment and this is the basis of asteya.
Asteya and self-reliance
Everything that you need lies within you. The intelligence, power, strength, love, happiness and peace that you are seeking – all lies within you. As soon as you realise this – asteya naturally manifests. You develop a sense of self-reliance and cooperation – for you realise that everybody’s power lies within them. And honouring the power in other people only strengthens your own. This is when you truly start living asteya.
Masterpiece & Pastiche
Be your own masterpiece.
A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.
A Masterpiece on the other hand is unique to the artist. It is a creation of an artist who has been absorbed by the spirit of his/her times and finds a unique way to transform personal experience into a universal one. Masterpieces make us forget the artist and directs our attention to the artist’s works. Masterpieces have the ability to hold our minds so deeply that our consciousness is expanded.
And if we truly understand asteya then we are able to become our own masterpiece, else our lives are pastiche. For as long as you imitate others or desire what they have, then you do not express what is truly you.
A very personal experience
I began assisting my Yoga teachers in my teenage years. And during that period I kept a notebook, My Yoga Workbook. In this I recorded the gems from my teachers and also the critiques I received, plus my personal development plan. So I had this Workbook with me when I taught my first class – solo. And at the end of this class I received a critique from my teachers. As soon as this was over I began my entry in my Workbook. A Himalayan Yogi, who was one of my teachers observed this and came to take a look at the book. My youthful ego in full force showed said Workbook with pride. “Put it into the fire”, he said. ”You don’t need it. Only teach what you have embodied.”
I was surprised and disappointed on that day, but that was the biggest lesson in my Yogic development.
You can only give what is yours, teach what you experienced, share what belongs to all. All else is stealing.