Investing lessons from Mahabharata
People swear by Mahabharata, not just for 'Purana' tales but also as an ethical discourse to differentiate between good and evil.
The Mahabharata, needless to say, is one of the greatest epics in Hindu mythology written by Sage Vyas. Though essentially a narrative of a war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, it is known to offer valuable lessons on life, relationship and success – the good and the bad; the virtuous and the vile, according to Aashish P Somaiyaa, MD & CEO, Motilal Oswal’s column on The Economic Times Markets.
Plus, this epic offers valuable lessons to differentiate the good from the bad. Somaiyaa tried to pick a few investing lessons from the epic.
Knowledge is your 'Divyastra'
Arjuna, Bheema and Yudhisthra undertook a long, hard journey to obtain Divyastras – strength and strategic wisdom – much before the actual battle of Mahabharata, which held them in good stead in the most important juncture of their lives. Arjuna kept learning all his life. He learnt military science from Drona, use of divine weapons from Indra, Pashupatasthra from Mahadev and treated Yudhishtra and Krishna as his guides all his life.
To learn more is to grow more and achieve more. In investing, knowledge can help you grow investment. Unfortunately, not many are aware of the various investment options one can use to secure earnings or grow them. Similarly, inadequacy of knowledge of mutual funds among investors and potential investors often acts as a barrier in achieving their goals or creating wealth.
A certain number of investors have achieved their financial goals and created wealth by keeping themselves updated by reading and researching on mutual funds or by consulting a financial adviser. Taking a cue from the epic Mahabharata, it can be said that ‘knowledge’ is no less than a ‘Divyastra’ which may help you achieve your financial goals, securing the future of your loved ones and create wealth.
During one of their training sessions, Dronacharya took the young princess to an open area. There a wooden bird hung from a tree. The task was to shoot at its eye from a distance. The guru asked all his disciples on what they could see while aiming at the bird. Everyone said they saw the bird, trees, its feathers, ground and what now! Arjun said he could only see the bird’s eye, which had to be shot, and nothing else. He then successfully hit the eye of the bird.
Come what may, to achieve your financial goals and not lose their sight, one needs to identify the goals and stick to them. One needs to ignore market theatrics, regardless of how much the noise is and how they try to coerce you into giving up. It is also advisable to identify mutual fund schemes according to the time horizon of your goals. Investors should monitor their portfolios as deemed fit to stay updated and not panic during short-term volatilities.
Over-diversification led to doom
In the key battle of the Mahabharata, the Pandavas consisting of just five brothers eventually managed to defeat the Kaurava clan of 100 brothers. It’s easy for a leader to communicate and be able to head five people than a team of 100!
It is evident that disharmony in a huge team led to the defeat of the Kauravas in the war. In investment too, it gets difficult to keep track of too many assets in a portfolio. And hence, one should to stick to schemes or products with a focused portfolio, consisting of say 20-25 stocks. Overdiversification does not create value.
Do not follow things blindly
Abhimanyu, the son of Arjun and Subhadra, entered the Chakravyuh (man-made maze on the battlefield) alone with partial knowledge of breaking it. When he was in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu heard Arjun narrating to Subhadra how to break into a Chakravyuh, but halfway through the story, Subhadra fell asleep and Abhimanyu, thus, did not learn the full technique. Yet, he entered the Chakravyuh and got killed, as he did not know how to exit.
In investing too, investors may tend to act without thinking or in panic during market volatility. Lack of knowledge about a subject may lead them to make wrong investment decisions. This can further lead one away from financial goals. Before investing in any scheme, an investor should read the scheme details thoroughly or consult a financial adviser. A financial adviser can help an investor during market turbulence by counselling him with his conviction and not letting the investor fall prey to market volatility.
Keep it simple; do not complicate
Shakuni was an expert at the game of dice. He conspired to call on Pandavas to Hastinapur and then helped Duryodhana win the game of gambling against Yudhistira. The eldest of the Pandavas not only lost his kingdom and other assets, but also his brothers and wife. On being restored their wealth by Dhritrashtra, they again lost everything in the second round and were sent to exile for 13 years.
In the world of investment too, the same theory can be applied. Being an investor, if you are unable to identify the risk and returns or alternative investment options, just keep it simple. Do not get enticed by the lure of quick returns or fancy products and focus instead on good investment options. It’s still okay to earn less, but it’s not okay to lose everything.
What are your views on the inter-relation between Mahabharata and investment? Please put in your comments.
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