Asteya

Learning the philosophy of Yoga, in particular the teachings of Ashtanga, I was attracted to Asteya, above everything else. From the first limb of Ashtanga, Asteya is one of the five Yamas, virtuous self restraints. Asteya means non stealing of another’s possession or property. More than that, it means not taking credit for what you have not earned.

It struck a chord with me especially as I see a lot of this happening around me in my professional life. I feel disgusted at how some people managed to advance in their career through no effort of their own. Or how some people gain attention and advancement by taking praise for the work that they have not done. I sometimes wondered if I had to be that way in order that I too could succeed…

Learning more about Asteya, I realised that this lack of virtue comes from a deeper source. Self deprecation and doubt lead to envy and ill thoughts towards others. In order to feel good about oneself, some people do everything they can so that they can flourish above everyone else. Even if it means stealing.

Be guarded in your speech. Be aware of your thoughts. So that you may not be untruthful when questioned. Take credit when credit is due. But never look to be rewarded for an effort that is not yours. By doing this, you are honouring your parents and teachers who have taught you to do the right thing, even during adversity. I choose this over professional success. Even if this choice seems difficult sometimes. Because then, I can walk away proud that I have done the right thing. That I have earned the right to say that I have attained Asteya.

A.