Achourya Refers to the Principle of Non Stealing

Achourya (अचौर्य) or Asteya (अस्तेय) is the Sanskrit term for “non-stealing”. It is a virtue in Jainism. The practice of asteya demands that one must not steal, nor have the intent to steal, another’s property through action, speech, and thoughts. Asteya is one of five major vows of Hinduism and Jainism. It is also one of ten forms of temperance (virtuous self-restraint) in Indian philosophy. Achourya emphasizes respect for others’ property and rights, fostering a sense of trust and fairness within the community. Practicing Achourya is seen as essential for personal spiritual development and societal harmony, reflecting Jainism’s deep emphasis on non-violence, truth, and ethical living.

Achourya Meaning

In Hinduism, the term “Achourya” (अचौर्य) refers to the principle of non-stealing or the avoidance of theft. It is derived from the Sanskrit word “Chourya” (चौर्य), which means theft or stealing, with the prefix “A” (अ) indicating negation. Therefore, Achourya means “non-stealing.”

Hinduism And Buddhism, An Introduction (article) Khan, 52% OFF
In Hinduism, the term “Achourya” (अचौर्य) refers to the principle of non-stealing

Significance of Achourya.

The significance of Achourya (non-stealing) in Hinduism is multifaceted, touching on ethical, spiritual, and societal aspects. Here are some key points that highlight its importance:

Ethical Foundation

Achourya is one of the five yamas, which are ethical precepts forming the foundation of personal and social conduct in Hindu philosophy. These yamas guide individuals on how to live harmoniously with others and with oneself.

Promotion of Trust and Honesty

By adhering to Achourya, individuals cultivate honesty and integrity. This helps in building trust within communities and relationships. When people refrain from stealing or deceit, it fosters a sense of security and reliability among them.

Spiritual Purity

In the path of yoga and spiritual practice, Achourya is essential for maintaining purity of mind and actions. Non-stealing aligns with the principle of ahimsa (non-violence), as taking what does not belong to you is considered a form of harm.

Karma and Moral Law

Hinduism emphasizes the law of karma, where actions have consequences. Stealing or deceitful actions generate negative karma, which can lead to adverse effects in this life or future lives. Practicing Achourya helps in accumulating positive karma, which is beneficial for one’s spiritual progress.

Contentment and Simplicity

Achourya encourages contentment with what one has and discourages greed. This principle promotes a simple and contented lifestyle, reducing the desire for unnecessary possessions and material wealth, which can lead to inner peace and satisfaction.

Respect for Others

Non-stealing reflects respect for the rights and properties of others. It fosters a sense of respect and consideration for others’ hard work and possessions, which is crucial for harmonious living.

Personal Discipline and Self-Control

Practicing Achourya requires self-discipline and control over one’s desires and impulses. This discipline is crucial for personal development and is a step towards achieving higher spiritual goals.

Societal Harmony

On a societal level, widespread adherence to Achourya leads to a more harmonious and just community. When individuals respect others’ belongings and refrain from deceit, it creates a stable and peaceful society.

In essence, Achourya is not just about avoiding theft but encompasses a broader commitment to honesty, integrity, and respect for others. Its practice is fundamental for individual spiritual growth and for maintaining social harmony and ethical integrity.

Achourya in Jainism

In Jainism, Achourya (non-stealing) is a vital ethical principle with profound significance that permeates various aspects of spiritual practice and daily living. Here are the key points that highlight its importance:

Ethical and Moral Framework

  1. Core Principle: Achourya is one of the five main vows (Mahavratas) for ascetics and one of the five minor vows (Anuvratas) for laypersons in Jainism. It is foundational to the Jain ethical and moral framework.
  2. Honesty and Integrity: Practicing Achourya fosters honesty and integrity. Jains are expected to be truthful and fair in their dealings, which helps build a reputation of reliability and trustworthiness.

Spiritual Purity

  1. Karma and Spiritual Progress: Stealing generates negative karma, which binds the soul and impedes spiritual progress. By observing Achourya, individuals avoid such negative karma, aiding in the purification of the soul and moving closer to liberation (moksha).
  2. Inner Peace and Contentment: Non-stealing promotes contentment with what one has, reducing desires and attachment to material possessions. This detachment is crucial for inner peace and spiritual tranquility.

Promotion of Non-Violence (Ahimsa)

  1. Extended Non-Violence: Achourya is intrinsically linked to the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence). Stealing is considered a form of violence as it harms others by taking what rightfully belongs to them. By avoiding theft, Jains extend their practice of non-violence to their actions and interactions.
  2. Respect for All Beings: Non-stealing reflects a deep respect for the rights and property of all living beings. This respect is a manifestation of the broader principle of Ahimsa, which is the cornerstone of Jain ethics.

Social Harmony and Trust

  1. Fostering Trust: Adhering to Achourya helps build trust within the community. When individuals refrain from theft, it creates an atmosphere of mutual respect and reliability, which is essential for social harmony.
  2. Reduction of Conflict: By practicing non-stealing, conflicts over resources and possessions are minimized, leading to a more peaceful and cooperative society.

Personal Discipline and Self-Control

  1. Self-Discipline: Practicing Achourya requires self-discipline and control over one’s desires and impulses. This discipline is essential for personal development and is a step towards achieving higher spiritual goals.
  2. Ethical Living: Achourya encourages individuals to lead an ethical life, being mindful of their actions and their impact on others. This mindfulness extends to all aspects of life, from personal relationships to business dealings.

Broader Ethical Implications

  1. Avoidance of Exploitation: Non-stealing encompasses more than just refraining from taking physical objects. It includes avoiding any form of deceit, fraud, or exploitation. Jains are encouraged to be fair and just in all their interactions.
  2. Economic Justice: In a broader sense, Achourya promotes economic justice and fairness. By respecting others’ rights and properties, it contributes to a more equitable distribution of resources.

Application in Daily Life

  • Monks and Nuns: For Jain ascetics, Achourya is observed strictly. They must not take anything without explicit permission and live a life of renunciation and minimalism.
  • Laypersons: For lay Jains, the vow is practiced within practical limits. They are expected to be honest in their dealings, avoid theft, and respect others’ property.


Achourya in Jainism is significant for both spiritual and practical reasons. It is a fundamental principle that supports ethical living, spiritual purification, and the practice of non-violence. By adhering to this vow, Jains contribute to personal spiritual growth and foster a more just, peaceful, and harmonious society.

Achourya in Hinduism

In Hinduism, “Achourya” (often spelled “Achaurya” or “Asteya”) is a fundamental ethical principle that translates to “non-stealing” or “not taking what is not freely given.” It is one of the five Yamas, which are moral restraints or ethical guidelines outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The Yamas are considered the first step in the eight-fold path of yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) and serve as foundational principles for a moral and disciplined life.

The significance of Achourya in Hinduism can be understood in several key ways:

Moral and Ethical Conduct

Achourya promotes honesty and integrity. It encourages individuals to respect others’ property and rights, fostering trust and harmony in society. By practicing non-stealing, a person contributes to a just and equitable community.

Spiritual Development

In the context of spiritual growth, Achourya is essential for purifying the mind and reducing desires. It helps practitioners control greed and attachment to material possessions, which are seen as obstacles to spiritual progress. This principle supports the development of contentment (Santosha), another key aspect of the yogic path.

Karmic Impact

Hindu philosophy teaches that actions have consequences (karma). Stealing or coveting what belongs to others generates negative karma, which can lead to suffering in this life or future lives. Practicing Achourya helps mitigate negative karma and promotes positive outcomes.

Inner Peace and Contentment

Adhering to Achourya can lead to a sense of inner peace and contentment. When a person refrains from stealing, they cultivate a mindset of sufficiency and gratitude for what they have, reducing envy and discontent.

Social Harmony

Achourya contributes to social harmony by promoting fairness and respect for others’ possessions. It encourages individuals to earn their livelihood honestly and ethically, thereby reducing social conflicts and fostering a cooperative environment.

Overall, Achourya is integral to the ethical and spiritual framework of Hinduism. It not only guides personal conduct but also shapes social interactions and spiritual aspirations, reflecting the interconnectedness of individual behavior and collective well-being.

What are the five major vows of Hinduism and Jainism?

In both Hinduism and Jainism, there are sets of major vows that practitioners take to guide their ethical and spiritual lives. These vows, known as Yamas in Hinduism and Mahavratas in Jainism, emphasize non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness. Below are the details of these vows in each tradition:

Hinduism – The Five Yamas

  1. Ahimsa (Non-violence): This is the practice of non-harming and compassion towards all living beings. It encompasses physical, mental, and emotional non-violence.
  2. Satya (Truthfulness): This vow emphasizes the importance of being truthful in thoughts, words, and actions. It encourages honesty and integrity in all dealings.
  3. Asteya (Non-stealing): Also known as Achourya, this vow involves not taking anything that does not belong to oneself. It includes not only refraining from theft but also avoiding exploitation or fraud.
  4. Brahmacharya (Celibacy or Chastity): This vow is often interpreted as celibacy, especially for those pursuing spiritual paths, but it can also mean fidelity and responsible sexual behavior for those who are married.
  5. Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness): This principle encourages the practitioner to avoid excessive attachment to material possessions and to live simply. It promotes the idea of taking only what is necessary and not hoarding resources.

Jainism – The Five Mahavratas

  1. Ahimsa (Non-violence): Like in Hinduism, this is the foremost vow in Jainism, involving the practice of complete non-violence in thought, word, and deed. Jains take this vow very seriously, extending it to avoid harm to even the smallest creatures.
  2. Satya (Truthfulness): Jains commit to speaking the truth at all times. This includes being mindful of how truth is communicated to avoid causing harm.
  3. Asteya (Non-stealing): This vow forbids taking anything that is not freely given. It includes not just theft but also deceitful practices and unfair advantage.
  4. Brahmacharya (Celibacy): For Jain monks and nuns, this vow requires complete celibacy. For laypersons, it means chastity and monogamy, as well as control over sexual desires.
  5. Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness): In Jainism, this vow involves renouncing material possessions and limiting one’s desires and attachments. Monks and nuns practice complete non-possession, while laypersons practice limited possession.

Comparison and Context

  • Common Themes: Both traditions emphasize ethical living through non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy or chastity, and non-possessiveness.
  • Implementation: While the core principles are similar, the intensity and manner of practice can differ. For instance, Jain monks and nuns observe these vows in a more rigorous manner than Hindu householders or even Hindu ascetics.
  • Spiritual Goals: In both Hinduism and Jainism, these vows are not just ethical guidelines but are seen as essential steps towards spiritual liberation (moksha in Hinduism and kaivalya in Jainism).

These vows serve as foundational principles for guiding personal conduct, promoting social harmony, and advancing spiritual growth in both traditions.

How different is Achourya from Aparigraha?

Achourya (Asteya) and Aparigraha are both important ethical principles in Hinduism and Jainism, but they focus on different aspects of ethical and moral conduct.

Achourya (Asteya)

  1. Definition: Achourya (also known as Asteya) translates to “non-stealing.” It is the principle of not taking anything that does not belong to oneself.
  2. Focus: This vow specifically targets the act of stealing and encompasses a broad range of behaviors related to theft, including:
    • Not taking physical possessions or property that belong to others.
    • Avoiding deceitful practices that amount to taking what is not rightfully earned.
    • Not exploiting others for personal gain.
  3. Examples in Practice:
    • Not taking someone else’s belongings without permission.
    • Not committing fraud or engaging in dishonest business practices.
    • Being fair and honest in all transactions and interactions.


  1. Definition: Aparigraha translates to “non-possessiveness” or “non-greed.” It is the principle of limiting one’s possessions and not being attached to material goods.
  2. Focus: This vow addresses the mindset and attitude toward possessions, emphasizing:
    • Detachment from material wealth and possessions.
    • Avoiding the accumulation of unnecessary goods.
    • Cultivating contentment and simplicity in life.
  3. Examples in Practice:
    • Living a simple life without excess or hoarding.
    • Practicing minimalism and reducing material desires.
    • Sharing resources and being generous.

Key Differences

  1. Scope of Action vs. Attitude:
    • Achourya: Primarily about the external action of not taking what is not rightfully yours. It focuses on ethical behavior in interactions with others’ property and wealth.
    • Aparigraha: More about the internal attitude of not being attached to material possessions. It focuses on one’s relationship with wealth and the desire to acquire more.
  2. Ethical Implications:
    • Achourya: Addresses issues of fairness, justice, and respect for others’ rights. It is concerned with the ethical implications of one’s actions towards others’ property.
    • Aparigraha: Addresses personal contentment, simplicity, and the spiritual drawbacks of materialism. It is concerned with the ethical implications of one’s desires and attachments.
  3. Spiritual Goals:
    • Achourya: Aims to foster trust, fairness, and social harmony by preventing theft and exploitation.
    • Aparigraha: Aims to foster inner peace, reduce greed, and enhance spiritual growth by encouraging detachment from material possessions.

In summary, while both Achourya and Aparigraha are related to how individuals handle possessions and wealth, Achourya focuses on the ethical prohibition of stealing, and Aparigraha focuses on cultivating a mindset of non-attachment and simplicity. Both principles are integral to leading a moral and spiritually fulfilling life, but they address different dimensions of human behavior and attitudes toward material goods.

What are the disadvantages of Achourya?

While Achourya (Asteya or non-stealing) is generally considered a virtuous and ethically important principle in Hinduism and other spiritual traditions, emphasizing honesty, integrity, and respect for others’ property, some potential disadvantages or challenges can arise from its strict observance, particularly in complex, real-world scenarios. Here are some of the possible disadvantages or challenges:

Rigidity in Complex Situations

Strict adherence to non-stealing might lead to challenges in complex moral situations where the lines between right and wrong are blurred. For instance, in cases of extreme poverty or need, where taking something might be essential for survival, strict observance of Achourya could lead to moral dilemmas.

Potential for Misunderstanding or Misapplication

There might be instances where what constitutes “stealing” can be misinterpreted or misapplied. For example, using communal resources or public goods might be seen as stealing by some, leading to unnecessary guilt or conflict.

Economic and Social Consequences

In some competitive environments, adhering strictly to non-stealing might put individuals at a disadvantage if others do not follow the same ethical standards. This could result in economic or professional setbacks, especially in environments where unethical practices are prevalent.

Internal Conflict and Stress

The pressure to adhere strictly to Achourya can lead to internal conflict and stress, particularly in environments where unethical practices are common. Individuals might struggle with balancing their ethical beliefs and the practical demands of their surroundings.

Impact on Relationships

The principle of Achourya can sometimes lead to conflicts in personal and professional relationships, especially if others do not share the same values or if they interpret the principle differently. For instance, in a business context, different interpretations of what constitutes fair use of resources could lead to disputes.

Legal and Cultural Differences

What is considered stealing can vary across different legal systems and cultures. Adhering to a strict interpretation of Achourya might lead to misunderstandings or conflicts in multicultural or international contexts, where norms and laws differ.

Mitigating the Disadvantages

To mitigate these potential disadvantages, it is important to:

  • Contextual Understanding: Apply the principle of Achourya with a nuanced understanding of context and intent, recognizing that ethical decision-making often involves balancing different values and practical realities.
  • Flexibility and Compassion: Incorporate flexibility and compassion into the practice of Achourya, understanding that strict adherence might not always be feasible or ethical in every situation.
  • Education and Dialogue: Promote education and dialogue around ethical principles to foster a shared understanding and mutual respect in diverse environments.
  • Holistic Ethical Framework: Integrate Achourya with other ethical principles (such as Ahimsa and Satya) to create a balanced and holistic approach to ethical living.

Overall, while Achourya is a valuable principle, its application should be thoughtful and considerate of the complexities of real-life situations.

How to practice Achourya?

Practicing Achourya (Asteya or non-stealing) involves adopting a mindset and behavior that respects the property, rights, and trust of others. It extends beyond simply not taking what belongs to others to encompass honesty, fairness, and integrity in all aspects of life. Here are some practical ways to practice Achourya:

1. Respect Others’ Property and Rights

  • Avoid Theft: This is the most direct application of Achourya. Do not take anything that does not belong to you without permission.
  • Return Borrowed Items: Always return borrowed items promptly and in good condition. This shows respect for others’ belongings.
  • Be Mindful of Intellectual Property: Respect others’ intellectual property by not copying or using their work without proper attribution.

2. Practice Honesty and Integrity

  • Honest Transactions: Engage in fair and honest transactions in both personal and professional settings. Avoid deceitful practices.
  • Transparency: Be transparent in your dealings. Whether in business or personal life, ensure that your actions and intentions are clear and honest.
  • Avoid Exploitation: Do not exploit others for personal gain. This includes fair treatment of employees, fair wages, and ethical business practices.

3. Cultivate Contentment and Generosity

  • Contentment: Cultivate a sense of contentment with what you have. This reduces the temptation to take more than what is necessary.
  • Generosity: Practice generosity by sharing what you have with others. This helps in reducing attachment to material possessions and fosters a sense of community.

4. Mindful Consumption

  • Reduce Waste: Avoid wastage of resources. Be mindful of your consumption patterns and strive to live sustainably.
  • Ethical Choices: Make ethical choices when purchasing goods and services. Support fair trade and ethical businesses that do not exploit workers or resources.

5. Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

  • Self-Reflection: Regularly reflect on your actions and intentions. Assess whether they align with the principle of Achourya.
  • Seek Guidance: If you are unsure about a particular action, seek guidance from mentors, spiritual leaders, or ethical frameworks.

6. Respect for Communal Resources

  • Shared Spaces: Respect communal and public spaces by not taking or damaging communal resources.
  • Collaborative Spirit: Foster a spirit of collaboration and sharing in communal settings, such as workplaces, communities, and families.

7. Teaching and Promoting Ethical Behavior

  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the principles of Achourya in your behavior. This can influence others to follow similar practices.
  • Educate Others: Teach the importance of non-stealing and ethical behavior to others, especially children and young people.

Practical Scenarios

  • Workplace: Do not take office supplies for personal use without permission. Ensure all transactions and dealings are honest and transparent.
  • Marketplace: Pay a fair price for goods and services. Avoid bargaining excessively to the detriment of the seller.
  • Community: Participate in community activities with a spirit of sharing and respect for communal resources.

Integrating Achourya with Other Principles

  • Ahimsa (Non-violence): Combine Achourya with Ahimsa by ensuring that your actions do not harm others in the process of respecting their property.
  • Satya (Truthfulness): Practice honesty and truthfulness in all dealings, reinforcing the commitment to non-stealing.
  • Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness): Reduce attachment to material possessions, making it easier to respect others’ property and share resources.

By incorporating these practices into daily life, individuals can uphold the principle of Achourya, fostering trust, respect, and harmony in their interactions with others.


Achourya, or non-stealing, is a fundamental ethical principle in Hinduism and Jainism that extends beyond merely avoiding theft to encompass a broader commitment to honesty, integrity, and respect for others’ property and rights. Practicing Achourya involves mindful actions and attitudes, including fair transactions, transparency, contentment with one’s possessions, and respect for communal resources. By adhering to this principle, individuals contribute to a just and harmonious society, foster trust and respect in relationships, and support their own spiritual growth and ethical development.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Achourya?

Achourya, also known as Asteya, is a principle in Hinduism and Jainism that means “non-stealing.” It involves not taking anything that does not belong to oneself and encompasses broader values of honesty, integrity, and respect for others’ property.

2. How is Achourya different from Aparigraha?

Achourya focuses on the ethical behavior of not taking what belongs to others, while Aparigraha emphasizes non-possessiveness and the reduction of material attachments. Achourya is about respecting others’ property, whereas Aparigraha is about cultivating a mindset of contentment and simplicity.

3. Why is Achourya important?

Achourya is important because it fosters trust, fairness, and harmony in society. It encourages ethical behavior, reduces conflicts over property and resources, and supports personal and spiritual growth by promoting integrity and reducing greed.

4. How can I practice Achourya in daily life?

You can practice Achourya by:

  • Avoiding theft and returning borrowed items.
  • Being honest in all transactions and interactions.
  • Respecting intellectual property.
  • Cultivating contentment with what you have.
  • Making ethical choices in consumption and supporting fair trade.
  • Reflect on your actions to ensure they align with the principle of non-stealing.

5. What are the challenges of practicing Achourya?

Challenges of practicing Achourya include dealing with complex moral situations, potential economic and social disadvantages in competitive environments, internal conflict and stress from maintaining strict ethical standards, and differing legal and cultural interpretations of what constitutes stealing.

6. How does Achourya contribute to spiritual growth?

Achourya contributes to spiritual growth by promoting honesty, reducing attachment to material possessions, and fostering a mindset of contentment and fairness. This aligns with broader spiritual goals of reducing desire and cultivating inner peace.

7. Can practicing Achourya impact my professional life?

Yes, practicing Achourya can positively impact your professional life by building a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness. However, it may also present challenges if others in your field do not adhere to similar ethical standards, potentially putting you at a disadvantage in competitive situations.

8. How is Achourya taught in Hinduism and Jainism?

In Hinduism, Achourya is taught as one of the Yamas (ethical restraints) in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, forming the foundation of ethical living and spiritual practice. In Jainism, it is one of the Mahavratas (great vows) that monks, nuns, and laypersons follow to live a life of non-violence and ethical conduct.

9. What is the relationship between Achourya and other Yamas?

Achourya is closely related to other Yamas such as Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (chastity or responsible sexual behavior), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). Together, these principles create a comprehensive ethical framework that guides moral behavior and spiritual practice.

10. How can I teach Achourya to children?

You can teach Achourya to children by:

  • Setting a good example through your behavior.
  • Explaining the importance of honesty and respecting others’ property.
  • Encouraging them to return borrowed items and be fair in their interactions.
  • Discussing stories and parables that illustrate the value of non-stealing.
  • Praising and reinforcing honest and respectful behavior.


Related Posts


  1. Hello dear friend, I would like to offer placement of your link (or links) on different platforms of the internet such as: forums, blogs, comments and much more. . .

    Increase your Visibility Boost Your Seo Rank – Get Organic Traffic From Google. Ranking in Google isn’t hard. All you need is a healthy number of backlinks from referring domains that have authority and trust in Google’s eyes.

    This Backlinks Service Benefits:

    1. Easily get Google rankings

    2. Get a lot of traffic from Google

    3. You can earn from the website in different ways

    4. Increase Domain Authority (DA)

    Quality guaranteed !

    PRICE – 20$

    WebSite –

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoy the content and that it piqued your interest. Your support means a lot to me. I’m glad you’ve subscribed to the feed, and I look forward to sharing more interesting and useful articles with you. If you have any topics you’d like to see covered, feel free to let me know. Happy reading!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind visit and precious words! I’m glad you enjoyed the reflections. Your feedback means a lot and inspires me to continue sharing. Have a wonderful day!

Comments are closed.