About stealing, exploitation and karma

A European might claim that he does not steal. But the Eastern Yogi does not look at it so simply. In the regions where these exercises were first promulgated by the great teachers of humanity, conditions were much simpler: stealing was easy to define. But a Yoga teacher would not agree that Europeans do not steal. For example, if I unjustifiably appropriate another man’s labour, or if I procure for myself a profit which may be legally permissible but which involves the exploitation of another person — all this the Yoga teacher would call stealing. With us, social relations have become so complex that many people violate this commandment without the slightest awareness of doing so. Suppose you have money and deposit it in a bank. You do nothing with it; you exploit no-one. But suppose now the banker starts speculating and exploits other people with your money. In the occult sense you will be responsible for it, and the events will burden your karma. You can see that this precept requires deep consideration if you are entering on a path of occult development.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIII: Oriental and Christian Training – Stuttgart, 3rd September 1906

Previously posted on June 10, 2014