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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday musings: dichotomy in an investor’s psyche?

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was an ‘avataar’ of Lord Vishnu – born in human form to rid the world of evil forces. (“Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam, dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge” – Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 4:8)

How Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva inside a prison, how he was smuggled out to live his early life in the cowherd family of Yasoda and Nanda, how he grew up to slay his evil maternal uncle, King Kansa (who had imprisoned his parents) are known to  many.

In his young days, Krishna was a playful and mischievous cowherd. He liked to play his flute and dance and play pranks on the ‘gopis’ (milk-maids), who loved him and revered him. In between, he did kill a demon or two – but those may be stories to establish Krishna’s divinity.

In later life, Krishna indirectly led the Pandavas to victory over their cousins, the Kauravas in the battle at Kurukshetra. But is it the same adorable prankster Krishna who later became the calculating and shrewd politician depicted in the epic Mahabharata?

Several experts and commentators on the Upanishads and Puranas have raised doubts. There is no mention of Krishna’s early life in the Mahabharata. So, it is possible that the stories of the cowherd Krishna was amalgamated with those of the shrewd politician Krishna (or vice versa) at a later date.

Considering the ‘colourful’ past of several of our politicians, it is quite likely that the cowherd Nandalal (son of Nanda) and the politician Parthasarathi (charioteer of Arjuna) are one and the same. (‘Colourful’ may be an over-statement, since the dominant colour is usually black.)

Most small investors start their investing life as mischievous cowherds – flirting with ‘gopis’ (i.e. small-cap stocks) and trying to steal ‘makhan’ (i.e. catch multibaggers) without a care in the world. Sooner than later, they get caught (i.e. lose their money).

The few who manage to become long-term wealth builders, learn to be shrewd and calculating. They ‘develop a system of investing that suits their psyche’ and ‘follow that system in a disciplined manner’.

There is no real dichotomy in being carefree and fun-loving (in real life) and being shrewd and systematic (in investments). But it requires patience and discipline – and the understanding that investing is not a game.

1 comment:

Jasi said...

Very nice analogy and a great post as always! Thanks sir