May's Jivamukti focus-of-the-month is on asteya, or non-stealing, the third of the five yamas (or restraints) that in aggregate comprise the first limb of the 8 limbs of yoga found in Master Patanjali's Yoga Sutra.
"Non-stealing, or not misappropriating what rightly belongs to others (asteya), is the third yama. As children, we learn not to take or steal others' toys, but non-stealing has many other implications. Do we not steal when we consume more than our share? Is it not stealing that a small portion of the world's population consumes the vast majority of its resources? And...there are even subtler ways of depriving others of what is rightfully theirs--honor and reputation for example." --BKS Iyengar
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 2.37 tells us what happens when one is firmly established in the practice of non-stealing:
Asteya-pratisthayam sarva-ratnopasthanam (PYS 2.37)
When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come.
Let's look at the different words that make up this sutra:
asteya: non-stealing, non-misappropriation, desirelessness, non-covetousness
ratna: gems, precious things
upasthanam: approaching, coming up
Iyengar interprets this sutra as, "Upon the man who does not take what does not belong to him, all riches are showered. Being without desire, he effortlessly attracts what is precious, materially and figuratively, including the gem of all jewels, virtue."
Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati translates it as, "When the yogi is firmly established in honesty, non-stealing (asteya), the gems of inner riches present themselves."
In his commentary on this Sutra, Swami Satchidananda says, "If we are completely free from stealing and greed, contented with what we have, and if we keep serene minds, all wealth comes to us. If we do not run after it, before long it runs after us. If nature knows we aren't greedy, she gains confidence in us, knowing we will never hold her for ourselves...If we know how to care and share, no poverty or hunger need exist anywhere."
This month let's work on becoming well-established in asteya by caring and sharing as much as we can for all beings everywhere.