Asteya (March 2014)

The topic for this month is Asteya (non-stealing). According to the Yoga Sutra, if you don’t steal, good things will come to you.  So, why aren’t the good things coming to us all the time; after all, we aren’t thieves – not in traditional sense, at least. By the way, do we steal – even unintentionally? Before jumping to any conclusion, let’s make sure we have a solid understanding of the term “stealing” as prescribed in Yoga Sutras. This month, kids will focus on the topic of non-stealing in real life.
The literal meaning of the word Asteya (non-stealing) is to not take anything that does not belong to you. In the traditional sense, a thieve is someone who steals something tangible – be it a small object like a pencil or big item like money/car. But, can someone steal anything that is not material? Yes, in fact, there is a long list of non-physical “things” that can be stolen, such as idea, time, peace, happiness, credit, unity, harmony etc.
Let’s understand it with few real life examples. Say, three students are asked to do a group project. In this project, only two students do most of the work. Knowing that same grade will be given to all, the third student neither takes any initiative nor offers any help. On top of all, whenever the group meets, the third student distracts the other students with idle talks. In this case, the third student steals credit and time. Let’s consider another scenario where a person stumbles upon someone’s novel idea. Later, he presents that idea as his own. Because the fame, credit, and monetary benefits of the idea are taken away from the rightful owner, it is another case of theft.
There are many more real-life scenarios/examples that one can relate to. Please work with the kids and use this opportunity to instill one of the core principles of the Hinduism.
Harsh Mendiratta