Definition - What does Asteya mean?

Asteya is a Sanskrit word that refers to the virtue of “non-stealing.” It is important in both Hinduism and Jainism.

Non-stealing is one of the five yamas (ethical rules) of the Yoga Sutras. It is also one of the 10 types of self-restraint presented in Hindu philosophy and ethical studies.

The basic idea of asteya is that a person should neither steal, nor have the intention or desire to steal, anything belonging to another person. This applies to speech and thoughts as well as actions. Another way of thinking about asteya is to avoid taking anything that is not freely given.

Yogapedia explains Asteya

The principle of asteya has been widely discussed in many historical documents covering philosophy, Hinduism and yoga.

In more recent times, Mahatma Gandhi defined asteya as the basic human right to own property without fear. He also referred to asteya is an extension of ahimsa (non-violence), as theft is a type of violence.

When incorporated into everyday life and into daily yoga practice, asteya can be deeply enriching. Yogis looking for a more spiritual approach to their practice may choose to follow the ethical advice of this and other yamas.

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