A story from Jataka tales…of course…

There was a group of monkeys who had recently re-located and had a smart king. He had protected them from many dangers and was liked, feared and respected.

In the new location there was a big lake – and looked inviting. However the king was smart and had warned them against it. He had told them that there was a big black demon and his name was Riskasura.

The monkeys had to go a long distance to drink water, so one day one small monkey wished to drink water from the forbidden lake. A big black baboon remembered the king’s words and warned him against doing so. They went to the king and asked him. He said there is  Riskasura who lives there and he is dangerous. The king took all of them to the lake and loudly asked..’If I drink water from here…what will you do?”. Riskasura, the size of a mountain came there and said ‘I will eat whoever comes into the lake’. Only the smart baboons could see it, the other many monkeys could not see the asura.

The king said, Oh asura, we need the water, but cannot afford to lose our lives…but I have a solution’. He asked the monkeys to get many supple bamboo shoots. He connected them and put one end in the lake and sucked hard at the other end….suddenly there was a gush of water…and all the baboons and monkeys rejoiced..there was water for all!

Riskasura growled and screamed but could not do anything because the baboons kept far away from the lake but were enjoying the water. Some other animals which went directly to the lake..were killed by Riskasura.

Moral of the story the bamboo shoots, pulling the water instead of going into the lake are like investing in a mutual fund (like an index fund, SIP, etc.). These methods will provide for all your needs but not for your greed perhaps.

So if you do not have a smart king, if you do not have somebody who knows how to SIP (pun intended!) the water out you do not understand the powers of Riskasura. Some of us are good swimmers who got lucky. Some of us went into the water when riskasura was asleep (2003 to 2007). Now we may tell you that we knew how to handle Riskasura. Bull shit.

We got lucky. Some of us know it. Some of us admit it to ourselves. Some of us do not like to admit it, to ourselves and friends. Some of us are brave enough to admit it to the world.

Want to stay away from risk? Do a SIP in equities. Invest in the index – as a SIP….hopefully over a 10 year period you would have got a better return than PPF, and hopefully the funds you choose other than the index would have beaten the index too!

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  1. I liked this, but my all time fav is Mr. Risk and his cabin story, how he comes back and reclaims his rightful place 🙂

  2. The bamboo straw must be sufficiently long as well. (long running SIPs!!). If you break it in between, the water will leak out of the bamboo shoots and you won’t get sufficient amounts for yourself!

  3. Dear Mr.Subramanyam

    You have explained risk-free investing in such a simple and interesting story.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post.

    Thank you very much for the wonderful effort.

    With warm regards,


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