For those who watch Mahabharat on Television, there is a new Mahabharat that is playing out. AS there are a zillion versions of M the great story, I am not commenting about whether this is right or wrong.

However, let us take on simple episode. The ability of Yudhishtir to see risk. Immaterial of which version of Mahabharata you read, all detailed versions portray Y as a weak king completely dependent on Arjun and Bhim. Draupadi also thinks of him as a weakling who loves gambling. He choose to go to play a game of dice and nicely gets conned by Shakuni. He overestimates his smartness…and Gambling is just like speculation. Now read on…

Dhuryodhana wants to belittle Y and schemes up a plan. He gets his father to send Vidur to Indraprastha to invite Y for a game of dice.

1. Choice of Vidur to carry the invite is a brilliant Shakuni move. Vidur has the highest credibility in the Kuru clan.

2. When Vidur meets Y, he tells Y NOT TO accept the invite. Y ignores this.

3. When Draupadi asks ‘is there a ploy’, Y says ‘what can be a ploy – it is just to get all our wealth’ . Why would a FOOLISH man still go when he knows that the DOWNSIDE is bankruptcy?

4. The brothers tell Y that they should not go. Y ignores that too.

5. When Sahadev is walking into the darbar where the game is to be played, he WARNS them of dangerous things to come. Y ignores him.

6. Sahadev says ‘worst thing ever’ is about to happen….Arjun says ‘do not worry – Vidur, Bheeshma, Kripa, Drona, the king and queen will not allow ‘adharm’ to happen.

7. ‘Not knowing what you are doing’ – is risk says Warren Buffett. Here Bheeshma Pitamaha says ‘stop the game – it does not test your strength or brain’. Y ignores this too.

8. Shakuni announces the rules of the game. Sahadev asks for some meaning – Y ignores that too.

9. Draupadi comes to the Rajya Sabha to stop the game, Y asks her to go back.

10. Shakuni keeps instigating him to increase the stake. He falls for that bait too.

Let us look at how people behave in an Investing environment:

Subramoney, Sucheta Dalal, Debashsis Basu, Priyanka Sambhav…SCREAM that ULIP is not a good product.

What to do? IGNORE.

When a guy wants to SPECULATE his wife / mother have no clue – SO THEY ASK HIM – DO you know what you are doing? and the guy says “My RM tells me that I will make tons of money for you’ …hmmmm

Most speculators (masquerading as investors) have no clue about what he is doing. He has no knowledge of how the market works, he has no clue about what the market will do or the scrip will do. Stop loss, averaging, bias – what does he know about? Nothing. But yes he goes into buying a ULIP or starting a trading account to do ‘Investing’ …

So our speculator (calling himself an investor) goes into the broker’s den (a.k.a Boiler room) ….and comes out like Yudhishtar….well well..

Most important lesson: Y who has everything in life, HAS NOTHING to gain by gambling, and a man who is supposed to have COMPLETE control of all his senses, CAN ALSO BE LURED into gambling.

All that you get in life is a result of your inner secret and dark secrets. You get what you deserve.

Even the Gods cannot help you, if YOU DO WRONG DEEDS KNOWINGLY – or in a weak moment.

Remember they could have chosen ANYBODY to lose in the Gambling game – yet they chose Y. He was a man who had complete control over his senses, had a cool head, and was indifferent to pain or glory. YET HE SUCCUMBED to the lure of gambling (for more serious readers, Vyasa says Y WANTED to gamble, hence he chose to ignore all sane advice). This is true for gambling, drinking, – anything which becomes a vice.

In the modern version of this story replace the word gambling with speculation. Story and conclusion stand as it is.

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    I was also comparing Yudhisthira with people around me who “invest” while watching Mahabharata yesterday.
    I actually felt that something of this sort can be written and here I am finding exactly what I wanted to write but could not because of my inability of expression of my thoughts.

  2. In the end, he also gets it all back though! Furthermore, the Boiler room is purged of all the predators. Seems like he returned wiser, stronger, richer, and with better control over his own emotions. Aren’t we all in pursuit to build an army that enables us to do just that…with help from various blogs, books…

  3. Excellent piece Subra. May I post this on my FB page as I think it is an eye-opener and many will benefit by reading this.

  4. Thanks Ashish….would be more than happy if you can post the link…the world would be a better place if all the traders and speculators knew what they are doing..

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