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Asteya: Surprising Ways You Could Be Stealing Without Knowing

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Asteya is the Sanskrit term for “non-stealing” and the third Yama of Patanjali’s 5 Yamas of the Yoga Sutras. Most people who practice yoga and follow a spiritual path are pretty sure they never steal. However, this yoga principle means so much more than not physically taking something from someone else. In this article, I want to share with you profound knowledge of what asteya really means and how we can be stealing without even knowing it. Also, I’ll give you some tips on how you can practice Asteya in your daily life.

What Is Asteya?

The word “asteya” is a compound derived from the Sanskrit language, where “a” refers to “non-” and “steya” refers to “practice of stealing” or “something that can be stolen”. Thus, asteya means “non-stealing”.

Asteya is an ethical principle that means not taking what is not ours and not striving to possess what is not ours, as well as honesty and decency.

Asteya is the third Yama of Patanjali’s Five Yamas.

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Patanjali’s Yamas include 5 ethical and moral principles:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
  5. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity, or sexual restraint.

All of them impose certain moral restrictions on the actions that we make in our desire to possess the goods that we believe we should have. Most of us, always desire more than what we already have. However, according to yogic philosophy, we always get exactly what we need and what we deserve. And if we think that we deserve or need more than what we already have it means that our ego is overactive and our mind is in disharmony with our spirit.

It is essential to understand that the availability of benefits, both material and non-material, depends on the amount of energy we have accumulated. When we are possessed by our desires, we lose our energy. And what is more important is that we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to self-actualize on the spiritual path, because any desire to gain material possessions leads to the waste of internal spiritual potential.

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As long as a person does not realize that the only source of true happiness is not outside but inside of him, in his spirit, he will not be able to give up external goods that bring him only the illusion of happiness, since it is material, and therefore temporary and transient.

The ego “steals” the spirit of a person, pushing him to such thoughts and actions that, according to egoistic needs, lead to wasting time and effort on something that the person does not really need. For all that he needs, he already has.

We all need to realize that ego can never be satisfied. It will be pushing you for desiring more and promising absolute happiness when you satisfy your desires. Your ego will demand more and more from you and eventually you will start feeling more and more unhappy because you are never satisfied no matter how many material possessions you receive.

It is essential to realize and accept the fact that nothing in the external material world really belongs to us. All the material things that we have are only temporarily our own. The only thing we really have is the spirit. We have come to this planetary incarnation to gain spiritual experience, and this is the only thing we should strive for in our life.

And therefore, we should always remind ourselves to be satisfied with the number of material goods that we have since their true purpose is to help our spiritual development. All the necessary goods that we need for the exact moment we already have. Even if you feel it’s too little, remind yourself that you need to experience this exact “little amount” for your spiritual development, that you need to learn to be satisfied with that “little” that God gives you.

To keep the soul in the body there is no need to get money and material goods dishonestly. We must resolutely get rid of the desire to possess unnecessary material things, realizing that these surpluses only burden the person.

The main focus on the Spiritual Path should not be to receive unnecessary benefits from external objects but to be able to have as much as necessary to advance along the Path.

The Four Types Of Stealing

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According to Shrii Shrii Anandamurti teaching, there are four types of stealing:

#1: Physical theft of any material object

Ordinarily, those persons who steal material objects are called thieves. But thieves are not only those persons who flee with stolen objects after committing armed robbery. Whatever is taken in possession by the use of brute physical force, of arms or of the strength of intellect, whether it is money or goods, amounts to theft, because behind such actions there is the intention of taking others’ property deceitfully. However, acceptance of anything like money, crops, gold, etc., in exchange for money in a proper way is not theft.

#2: Psychic theft

Here you did not take material possession of anything, but you planned it in your mind. This also called “theft”, because you have mentally stolen. Only the fear of law or of adverse criticism prevented you from doing the action physically.

#3: Depriving others of their due physically

Even if you do not take possession of what belongs to others, but you deprive others of what is their due, you become responsible for their loss. This is also stealing.

#4: Depriving others of their due mentally

If you do not actually deprive anybody of what is justifiably their due, but you plan in your mind to do so, that too amounts to theft.

Siddhi

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Siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which can be translated as “perfection”, “accomplishment”, “attainment”, or “success”.

The one who follows this virtue perfectly in his life gets everything he needs in the very near future. But these are not necessarily material things. It can also be health, knowledge, or, for example, favorable circumstances — everything that appears in an intangible form and, as a rule, what you really need at the moment.

To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Chapter II, Sutra 37)

When we don’t follow the Asteya principle, we will have to pay back whether we like it or not. If we take or desire something that does not belong to us, sooner or later we will have to pay a karmic debt. It’s not necessarily going to be something material taken away from us, it can be a loss of health, a loss love, a loss of a job, a loss of happiness, a loss of loved ones, etc.

Suprising Ways You Could Be Stealing Without Knowing

Now let me share with you some surprising ways you could be stealing without knowing that go far beyond material possessions.

#1: Desiring something that belongs to somebody else

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Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that “(Even) sitting and wishing ‘I wish I had those looks’; ‘I wish I had that voice’; ‘I wish I had that car’; ‘I wish I had that power’; ‘I wish I had that money’, you have stolen.”

These kinds of thoughts can be very destructive to you and to the person who owns whatever you desire to have. You are mentally vamping that person and “stealing” his energy. These thoughts lead to jealousy and anger.

Instead of wanting what other people have, switch your attention to what you already have. Focus on gratitude and notice every little gift God gives to you. If you start practicing gratitude instead of “wishing” and “wanting”, very soon you will notice that you have enough and moreover you will feel happy with whatever you have at the moment.

#2: Desiring abilities, talents, qualities, gifts, skills that other people have

It may seem like you get inspired by the way some people express themselves, their talents, creative abilities, etc. You may think: “I wish I was as charismatic as him”, or “as confident as her”, or “as professional and focused as him”, etc. It may seem like an admiration of somebody’s talent, however, it’s not what you think it is.

The feeling of lack of something sounds in your head like “I don’t have this, but I want it!”. First, you start following this person’s Instagram page for daily inspiration. Then you do more research on him/her, start watching his/her videos, reading his/her blog. And the more you do it, the worse you feel about yourself. Slowly and gradually your inspiration gets replaced with envy and jealousy for what they have and what you don’t.

Every time you think: “I wish I had her/his …”, you mentally steal.

Moreover, by thinking these thoughts you may also be causing self-harm by not allowing your own unique gifts to flourish. You see, you steal your own light when you cannot acknowledge and honor the unique gifts that you bring in the world.

Simply recognize all the virtues that you appreciate in others and realize that they are present in you in seed form. You only have to nurture them.

– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Instead of wishing somebody else’s gifts start noticing your own talents and unique qualities! If we are grateful and appreciate your own unique gifts, the expression in the same instance could be something like, “I truly admire blessings that the Divine has showered upon you, and I feel so blessed and happy that I have a friend with such wonderful gifts. Shine on!” In this case, you are looking at others’ blessings as your own blessings too. Thus, you become capable of an enthusiastic and heartfelt expression of appreciation!

#3: Worrying about the future or brooding over the past

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When we worry about the future or brood over the past we steal energy from the present moment and the opportunity of dwelling in the pure bliss of our being, of living in this very moment.

Think about how many times during the day you’re thinking about planning for the future or worrying about something that may happen? How many times during the day indulge in the memories of your past? All these thoughts distract you from the joy of the present moment. Even when you’re making plans or sharing memories, make sure you are mindful and present in the now.

Asteya principle teaches us not to steal the pure joy of the now of our lives.

#4: Staying in your comfort zone

When you remain in your comfort zone, you steal away your own possibilities to enjoy the best things in life. You restrict your own potential, progress, and growth into the world of limitless opportunities. 

Moreover, when you don’t open up your potential, you restrict the world from enjoying the benefits your inner Light can bring! You have your own unique mission that brought you to this planet. This mission is somehow connected to the collective evolution of human beings. And by staying in your comfort zone, you are suppressing your Light, thus you’re stealing the part of your contribution into collective evolution.

#5: Stealing time

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People have a tendency to steal time not only from themselves, but also from others.

Asteya teaches us to watch how we use our time. We can invest our time in searching for truth, reconnecting with our Higher Self, and fulfilling our mission on Earth. Or we can use our time to pursue illusory things that feed our ego.

There is nothing stable in the outside world. We live inside a huge game of God – “Maya”. Inside this game, everything changes, nothing is permanent. It’s like sandcastles: you can build a castle on the sand but you can’t expect that it will be permanent. One wave can destroy it. And if you are too attached to the castle, its destruction can cause you suffering.

On the contrary, your spirit does not change, it is something that will never leave you. And the better connection you have with your spirit, the more secure you will feel in life.

Therefore, Asteya teaches us that time is precious. And if we spend it on chasing temporary things, instead of investing it into spiritual development, then we violate Asteya.

If we “steal” time from another person, especially from a spiritual practitioner, guru, teacher, master, or yogi, then we also strongly violate Asteya. You see, if you steal time from people who are already wasting it, it is not a big deal. But if you steal time from a person who is focused on spiritual practice, then there is a very strong penalty for this. Hence, there are a lot of legends (for example, the Mahabharata is literally full of such legends), when yogis meditate, and someone disturbs them from this state, then a powerful flow of energy burns the offenders.

A person who practices Asteya does not steal either their own or someone else’s time. Such a person tries not to attract the attention of other people and respects their time. When a person begins to sink into Asteya, he mostly speaks to the point. His words and questions are very constructive.

People who violate the principle of Asteya always try to draw attention to themselves. Such people may ask lots of questions, send you lots of text messages/emails, but they are not really interested in your answers. All they care about is to get your emotional attention. These situations need to be monitored! Value your time by not letting people steal it from you.

How to Practice Asteya?

As you can see, Asteya practice includes not just taking away something material from other people but also removing such qualities as greed, jealousy, envy, desire for someone else’s property, etc.

Here are helpful tips on how you can make Asteya a part of your daily life.

#1: Practice non-attachment

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Start with removing all attachments to existing material things and non-material objects, whether they are fame, success, titles, or any achievements in this world. One who is not attached to anything, is free from possessive claims and does not want anything for himself personally, and accordingly does not consider himself the owner of anything.

#2: Be satisfied with what you have

Every time you start thinking: “I wish I had this or that”, switch your focus to gratitude. Start counting your blessings instead of daydreaming. Bring your attention to the present moment and find at least 10 things you are grateful for.

#3: Value your time

Don’t let others steal your time. If you see that a person asks for help but never follows your advice, asks questions but doesn’t care about your answers if you feel energetically exhausted every time you talk to this person, you’re dealing with energy vampires who are stealing your time and energy. In situations like this, you need to remember about Asteya. Do not let other people steal your time!

#4: Pay your debts

According to Asteya principle, it is not good to take credits. We should strive to live according to our financial possibilities. However, for most of us, credits became a common thing and we can’t imagine life without them. If you already have debts and credits but you still want to practice Asteya, try to pay your debts in time. Do not delay!

#5: Don’t buy lottery tickets

A lottery is a disregard of Asteya. The initial intention is based on the desire of having more than you already have. Greed makes people buy lottery tickets. And the lottery itself is receiving something that isn’t yours.

The Bottom Line

Do not seek to enrich yourself or improve your financial situation at the expense of others. Do not desire more than you have. And most importantly, always remember that all the things that we have been given to us only for temporary use. Focus on your spirit and your soul. Remember that true happiness is always internal. If your happiness and satisfaction depend on external things, you will eventually lose it and it will lead to suffering.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Spiritual Alchemy: Transmuting Into a Higher Version of Yourself

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Spiritual Alchemy is a mystical practice that seeks to free the soul from its attachment to matter. It is an ancient and traditional practice that aims to offer spiritual transformation and growth, yet it has no interest at all in material growth.

Spiritual Alchemy traces its roots in medieval times, where the goal was to obtain gold. At that time, Alchemy was practiced by people who wanted to transform base metals such as lead into gold. The idea behind this was to amass more wealth.

Today, the practice is used to achieve:

  • Personal contentment;
  • Self-awareness;
  • Harmony;
  • And liberation from the inauthentic parts of your life.  

Simply put, the goal is to achieve self-actualization and spiritual rebirth. Let’s have a more detailed look at the concept of Spiritual Alchemy below.

The Stages of Spiritual Alchemy 

There is a journey people go through to achieve their spiritual rebirth. It is essential to know that everyone’s spiritual journey is different. Therefore, the stages of spiritual Alchemy may vary slightly from one person to another. 

Stage 1: Calcination

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This first stage of spiritual Alchemy is also called the black stage. The black represents chaos in which we have buried ourselves. Calcination involves eliminating parts of our lives that prevent us from attaining our happiness. It also entails identifying the elements that no longer serve you and burning them into ashes. 

People focus on being perfect rather than truly happy in the modern world. These societal standards prevent people from exploring themselves authentically.

In the calcination stage, we begin to break free from:

  • Self-doubt;
  • Fear;
  • Self-sabotaging tendencies;
  • Pride;
  • Arrogance;
  • Ego.

Liberating yourself from these tendencies allows you to explore what you are underneath the cover – the authentic you.

Calcination also involves detaching ourselves from world attachments such as the desire for wealth, power, and identity. Note that these are not bad things. However, to achieve spiritual rebirth in occult sciences, you must know where to draw the line.

Stage 2: Dissolution

This second stage involves dissolving the ashes into the water in occult sciences. 

Dissolution involves not associating yourself with the inauthentic you. You have already freed yourself from elements of self-doubt and pride. It is now time to observe the negative and positive traits objectively. 

At this stage, we are more objective. You can therefore pinpoint how your actions affect you and others. In this stage, you can also notice how avoidant you have been. For instance, many people avoid being themselves and hide in alcoholism, codependency, workaholism, social media, gambling, sex, or TV binging.

This stage is also often triggered by severe life events such as divorce, job loss, death, or bankruptcy. We describe this stage as one that allows you to stop, smell the roses, and pay attention to what you are doing. 

Stage 3: Separation

Emotional Healing From Narcissistic Abuse Clear Boundaries Image

The separation stage is written in the air element. The first two stages are associated with fire and water.

In a mystical sense, this stage can involve separation from your thought processes or emotional trigger responses. This separation process allows you to distinguish authentic essence from acquired personality. This is a very liberating stage as it allows you to come free from resentment towards yourself.

Separation is a very satisfying stage where we free ourselves of resentment towards ourselves and others. Liberation from our negative emotions allows us to become more aware of our true feelings. However, the separation only occurs when we no longer identify with the character we have been playing and get in touch with our true selves. 

Stage 4: Conjunction

The first three stages let you get rid of the inauthentic self. What happens to the authentic parts of you that remain? 

You put them into great use in the conjunction stage. In this stage, we combine the tiny bits of our true self to form one harmonized self. This is coming together under the earth element as it is an embodiment process that supports the materialization of the spirit.

In this stage, you begin to feel harmonized in body and soul but still able to point out the different strands that make you a whole.

Stage 5: Fermentation

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This is the beginning of spiritual rebirth. Fermentation describes the decomposing of one’s old self and the renewal of your new true self. The first four stages involved discarding inauthenticity and harmonizing authenticity. However, this stage involves now basking in our authenticity. We can link this stage to a rebirth of the phoenix from its ashes.

This stage can be categorized into two:

  • Putrefaction – the decaying of our former selves
  • Spiritualization – relieves us from the old world and allows us to see life from a new perspective

It is a stage accompanied by inner peace and contentment. 

Stage 6: Distillation

So what next after going through the spiritualization phase? It is time to integrate the spiritual life and make it more permanent. Distillation is a level of purification that furthers the cleansing within ourselves. This purification process results in inner solid transformation and peace. It is a stage where you now understand your spiritual rebirth, self-realization, and enlightenment. 

Stage 7: Coagulation

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This is a stage where you have finally broken free from your mind. Here, you are connected to your soul and higher consciousness. This is like the meeting point of two complete opposites, such as hell and heaven or life and death. At this stage, the core of your existence is self-awareness; we are one body with our spirit. 

However, you must note that we are not separate from the physical universe at this stage. We are one with the spirit but still a reflection of the physical universe.

The Bottom Line

Everyone’s journey is different but will somehow shape itself through the seven stages. These spiritual alchemy steps are a great way to build a new self. The idea behind Alchemy is that you can transform something into something more valuable. Just like the foundation was to transform metals into gold, you too can transform into a higher version of yourself. In addition, letting go of the burdens that hold you back will help you achieve the highest level of spirituality. 

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Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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Human beings are spirits inside a physical body. However, most people live their lives like bodies inside the spirit. Spiritual transformation means transcending beyond the physical body to the level of the soul. As complicated as this sounds, we will explain how easy it is to achieve spiritual transformation. But first, let’s get a bit more practical. 

Common Experiences of Spiritual Transformation

Overcoming trauma

Have you ever shied away from attempting something just because that thing reminds you of your past trauma? Once you overcome such experiences, it’s a clear sign you have transformed spiritually. Like a rape victim finally getting married and enjoying motherhood. 

Letting go of a toxic behavior

Most people can possibly relate to this one. How many weight-loss diets have you tried before achieving your weight goal? Or, how many times did you try quitting smoking before you actually did? See, spiritual transformation is not a walk in the park. But once you get the hang of it, you become the unstoppable hero. 

Becoming Soul-centered

When you experience spiritual transformation, you start journeying back to the center of your being. You echo the advice “be yourself” and now find it easier to apply. Perhaps it’s because you now know who you really are. 

How Does Spiritual Transformation Differ from Spiritual Awakening?

In the past, we have explored Spiritual Awakening. So what is the difference? Now spiritual transformation occurs as a by-product of our spiritual awakening journey. And since spirituality is a never-ending journey, it means if we continue in this journey, we will experience multiple angles of spiritual transformation. 

Enough of the theories, how then do you know that you have achieved spiritual transformation?

6 Signs You Are Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

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Let me start by reminding you that we are all different. A change might go unnoticed for one person yet be painfully unbearable for another person. That means you might notice some of these signs but not all of them. 

#1: Things Start Falling Apart

That moment when you can’t seem to hold anything together. Your partner breaks up with you, you get fired at work, your family becomes a thorn in the flesh, and all you want to do is close yourself up and cry. Transformation can only happen when there’s a space in your life that leads you to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small change. At this point, you need to realize that whatever is lost isn’t necessarily good enough for you and instead open up to new opportunities. 

#2: Heightened Agitation

You start getting emotional at things that would not usually bother you. Like overreacting when you find yourself stuck in traffic. This is a sign of transformation if you wouldn’t normally react this way.

Agitation occurs when we allow fear to drive us. That moment when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea what to do or where you are going. 

#3: Your Desire for Change Is Greater Than Your Fear of Not Knowing

Do you have a strong desire to change, say your career or your body, but the fear of the unknown keeps you off? Well, during spiritual transformation, you realize that this desire grows bigger while your fears diminish. You can quickly draft that resignation letter without worrying about your next opportunity. Or, you can easily break up with your fiancée without worrying about your “biological clock”. 

#4: You Trust Easily and Your Faith Grows, or the Vice Versa

Trust is usually the last chapter of the transformation. After you’ve been through emotional rollercoasters and denial, you are now ready to surrender and accept the will of your creator. It’s also at this point that your world starts turning around for the better. Mainly because your spirit is now open to other avenues. 

A good example is when you can’t let go of a toxic relationship even when all the signs say otherwise just because you can’t see past the relationship. Then after you’ve finally let go, you start wondering why you took so long. Sounds relatable? 

Now, for some people, the lack of trust is what signifies spiritual transformation. You suddenly feel the need to research any information you gather, irrespective of the source. Even though this is a temporary phase, your life can be very lonely. Just hang in there, pal.

#5: New Opportunities Open Up for You

A story goes of a peasant who kept presenting his wishes for the new year, yet nothing changed every year. One day he came to the priest as usual, and instead of giving his wishes, he told the priest that for the first time in 10 years, he saw the miracle he had been praying for. So he asked the priest what had happened? 

The priest simply answered, “your miracle has always been around. Now you’ve experienced it because your old horse died.” 

The same relates to us. You can’t win if you keep betting on an old horse. It would be best if you looked beyond your current limitations.  

#6: You Open Up to New Relationships

At some point in your spiritual awakening journey, you will realize that you no longer fit in your current relationship circles. This is normal. Consider finding like-minded individuals that you can easily connect with and dream even bigger together. When you keep holding onto relationships whose levels you’re past, they will keep dragging you behind instead of pushing you to even greater levels.  

Moreover, note that we begin to experience Christ’s consciousness after the transformation. Instead of feeling resentful to people who have hurt us in the past, we now feel compassion for them. The hatred turns into love and understanding, and in extreme cases, we grieve for their pain.

The Bottom Line

As much as spiritual transformation can get uncomfortable, the most important thing is allowing yourself to grow until you finally feel that part in you that you turned off a long time ago because someone told you to. You also have to be willing to see and accept the things you don’t necessarily want to know about yourself. Be open, and allow yourself to evolve and participate in your transformation journey.

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Spirituality

Family Karmic Connections: What Are They Teaching Us?

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The scriptures say that the most serious impact on our lives is caused by the actions we commit against our parents and teachers. When we criticize, judge, or disrespect our parents or teachers (no matter what their characters are), we create very negative karma that is likely to manifest itself already in the current life and to the maximum extent. This is because it is our parents and teachers who are the souls with whom we have the greatest amount of karma. And therefore, the actions that we do in relation to these people will influence our movement along our spiritual path. In this article, I want to talk about family karmic connections, how they affect our lives, and how to pass these karmic lessons with our parents so that negative patterns don’t control our lives anymore.

But first, let’s take a look at a couple of famous examples of family karmic connections.

Family Karmic Connections in Buddha Shakyamuni’s Life

Let’s take a look at the example of how family karmic connections can manifest themselves. Let’s use Buddha Shakyamuni’s life as an example.

Prince Siddhartha (Buddha Shakyamuni) was a prince from the Shakya family, who lived in ancient India. He was born into the family of King Shuddhodana, who, being frightened by the prediction on his son’s birthday that he would become an ascetic, surrounded him with luxury and wealth so that he would not know suffering and would not embark on the path of spiritual self-discovery.

But not everyone in Prince Siddhartha’s family was supportive of him. For example, his cousin Devadatta envied him, realizing that Siddhartha was his direct competitor in the matter of succession to the throne, and constantly schemed against him. And so from an early age, the prince learned to show compassion not only to those who loved him, but also to those who hated him. And in this sense, Devadatta, without knowing it, was one of the first teachers of Siddhartha.

According to legend, the karmic connection of the Buddha with his cousin Devadatta originated long before their incarnation in the family of King Shuddhodana. Once these two souls incarnated in the body of a two-headed bird. And it was then that a confrontation arose between them. Devadatta (then, of course, he was not Devadatta but one part of the two-headed bird) hated the Siddhartha (that was another part of the two-headed bird) so much that he deliberately ate the poisoned fruit. He wanted revenge so much that he was even ready to destroy himself because, despite the fact that the bird had two heads, the body was one.

It is believed that this was the beginning of the long journey of Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta. Devadatta followed the lower path of development — he alternately incarnated in the world of people, then in the lower worlds. And the Buddha, on the contrary, incarnated in the world of gods, then in the world of people. The world of people was the only place they would meet again.

Once they both incarnated in the world of people, Devadatta was constantly creating obstacles to the Buddha. However, can we really say that Devadatta harmed the Buddha? On the contrary, difficulties allowed Buddha Shakyamuni to develop, because only by overcoming his limitations, could he become better and stronger. Therefore, paradoxical as it may sound, Buddha Shakyamuni needed Devadatta in the world of people, because he was in some sense Shakyamuni’s teacher. And this seemingly difficult karmic connection had an incredibly beneficial effect on the spiritual development of the Buddha himself.

Already in the last (or rather, the last known to us) incarnation of the Buddha, in which he became a Buddha, Devadatta also caused him a lot of difficulties. Once he set an elephant on Buddha, but Buddha was able to subdue him with the power of his compassion. Another time, Devadatta pushed a huge stone from a cliff onto Buddha. But due to good karma, the stone did not harm Buddha. However, a fragment broke off from the stone and injured the Buddha’s leg — it is believed that at this moment the last negative karma that he had was worked out. So, all the obstacles Devadatta was causing made the Buddha only stronger.

Buddha Shakyamuni and Devadatta Image

The most interesting thing is that from Sanskrit, the very name Devadatta means “given by God”.

Family Karmic Connections in Milarepa’s Life

Another example of an interesting family karmic connection is the karmic connection between Milarepa and his mother.

Milarepa’s life was quite difficult — he lost his father early, and he and his mother became completely dependent on unfriendly relatives. Despite the fact that Milarepa’s father was far from a poor man, his relatives actually appropriated all his father’s wealth and forced him and his mother to drag out a miserable existence. Unable to bear it, Milarepa’s mother demanded that he learn black magic and kill all the relatives who did wrong to them. At first Milarepa refused, but the mother was determined and began to threaten Milarepa with suicide if he did not fulfill her insistent request.

Milarepa was strongly attached to his mother, so he was forced to obey. He learned black magic and, when returned from training, he collapsed the roof of the building so that 35 of his relatives died.

But the story didn’t end there. Realizing what he had done, Milarepa began to look for a teacher who could give him a method to get rid of the negative karma that he had accumulated. There were many years of searching and various difficulties. Finally, Milarepa met Marpa, his karmic teacher, from whom he was destined to learn.

Marpa and Milarepa Image

So, what can we see from this story? The immoral (at first glance) act of the mother, in fact, pushed Milarepa on the path of spiritual development. Yes, the method was quite cruel, but, apparently, there was no other way.

Of course, it may look like a cruel act to sacrifice 35 people for the sake of somebody’s spiritual development. But, in this case, all those people already had such karma — to be killed by black magic. Apparently, in the past they also practiced back magic or did other evil so that they created the karma that was in resonance with the death from black magic.

Some teachers believe that Milarepa’s mother was a Bodhisattva who incarnated in the form of his mother to create the situation thanks to which Milarepa began to look for a teacher, found him, and achieved spiritual self-realization. And, perhaps, if not for his mother’s act, he would never have embarked on this path. Or his path to spiritual quest would have been much longer. This is another example of how family karmic connections helped speed up somebody’s spiritual evolution.

Your Family Members are the Best Spiritual Teachers You Can Find

As you can see, it is the karmic connections in the family that have the greatest impact on our spiritual development. And even if it seems like some of our family members cause us suffering and seem to “interfere” with our development, in fact, as a result, all this leads to our spiritual evolution.

Another thing we should remember is that a very highly developed being can incarnate in our family just to create difficulties for us so that we can learn to overcome our own limitations. Therefore, to condemn your loved ones for misunderstanding or allegedly opposing our spiritual development is a very short-sighted view.

You cannot know for sure whether your mother, father, siblings, or other family members is the Bodhisattva or not. However, you should remember that a Bodhisattva has a deeper vision of reality and karmic intricacies. And therefore his/her behavior may not always be understandable, and sometimes it may seem cruel and immoral. But a Bodhisattva’s soul always knows what he/she is doing and acts solely out of compassion.

Therefore, when one of our family members has a disturbing behavior, judges us, criticizes us, or even betrays us, perhaps, we need this lesson in order to learn how to be patient, loving, and compassionate no matter who is standing in front of us.

Family karmic relationships are the best opportunity to work out our limitations and weaknesses.

Are Our Loved Ones Our Enemies From Past Lives?

Some spiritual teachers say that in Kali Yuga, enemies from past lives incarnate in the same families. Moreover, for example, the killer and his victim can be incarnated in the same family.

Why is it necessary? As always, it’s not so that we just suffer. Again, this is necessary for our spiritual evolution. Because with such close interaction, we will simply have to learn how to build a harmonious relationship with a person with whom there were conflicts in past lives.

According to yoga teachings, if we hate someone, we concentrate on this person and thereby sow the seed in our subconscious and form a karmic connection. What’s interesting is that sometimes hatred can form an even stronger karmic connection than love. That is why in the future incarnation the strongest karmic connection will be with those whom we loved or hated in past lives. Often the people around us are divided into those with whom it is easy, simple, and pleasant for us to communicate, and those whom we cannot accept.

Conclusion

Our family members are the people with who we have the strongest karmic connection. This karmic bond can be negative or positive. Both, negative and positive karmic connections, are beneficial for our spiritual development. No connection is accidental and has its purpose. However, looking at the examples, we can conclude that often negative karmic connections has more positive impact on our spiritual development than any others. Moreover, some of our family members could be incarnated Bodhisattvas who came into our lives to teach us to overcome our egos and be more patient, accepting, loving and compassionate.

In any case, it is important to understand that it is impossible to escape from the manifestations of our karma. The only way out is through. Until we learn our karmic lessons, we’ll be repeating them again and again. You can stop talking to your parents or siblings, divorce your husband or wife, abandon your children, but this does not solve the problem. Whatever karmic lesson you need to learn, you will have to learn sooner or later. Yes, it is possible that we will not meet this or that person again in this life, but if we have not passed the karmic lesson, have not worked out some problem, have not untied the karmic knot, then the situation will manifest itself again and and again until the lesson is learned.

Therefore, be grateful for every soul you meet on your path. Pay close attention to those who project negativity towards you and think about what kind of lesson they’re trying to teach you.

Namaste!

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