In a new series of articles, we will attempt to take business and stock market lessons from arguably the greatest epic of all time – The Mahabharat.
Let’s start with the Ekalavya story, which has lessons of determination, persistance, self-gained knowledge and eventually the greatest sacrifice.
If you already know the story of Ekalavya, you can skip the next section and scroll downwards to read the stock market lessons.
Close to the ashram of the great sage and teacher Dronacharya, lived a poor young boy. His name was Eklavya.
He had great desire to learn the art of archery from the sage, but his mother told him that Acharya Drona only accepts children from the royal family as his students.
Determined to learn, Ekalavya carved a clay idol of Dronacharya and began practising hard.
Three times a day, Ekalavya worshipped his guru and took self-lessons in the art of bow and arrow.
After years of hard work, through trial, error and sheer determination – Ekalavya became a highly skilled archer.
One day, Dronacharya and his favourite student Arjuna were passing near the hut of Ekalavya. It was a pleasant afternoon, the calmness of which was broken by the constant barking of a dog.
Eklavya did not like this. He shut the mouth of the dog with an arrow. The sage and his student Arjuna were amazed to see the dog with his mouth sealed with an arrow.
Understanding the skill of the archer, the two decided to find him. Soon, they reached the spot where Ekalavya was practising his archery.
Drona quickly realised the poor young man was superior to his skilled student Arjuna in some departments of archery.
Since Drona considered Arjuna to be the most skilled archer on the planet, he decided to take out a possible future threat in Ekalavya.
Noticing the clay idol of himself, Drona asked Ekalavya about his guru. To which the young man said he worshipped Drona as his guru.
Drona blessed him and as was customary in those days, asked him for Guru Dakshina (his fees).
Overwhelmed that Dronacharya had accepted him as his disciple, Ekalavya said he would try his best to give whatever he could as Guru Dakshina.
In arguably the most shocking moment in the Mahabharata, Drona said “O Ekalavya, I am pleased with your respect for your Guru. I want the thumb of your right hand as my Guru Dakshina”
The cruel demand shocked Arjuna. How could Dronacharya take everything away from the young man, who had put in years of hard work to learn his skills.
Without his right thumb, he would lose all the skills he had gained – in an instant.
Ekalavya, though, had no such thoughts. He cut his right thumb and placed it at the feet of Dronacharya.
Stock Market Lessons from Ekalavya
The stock market is like the clay idol of Dronacharya. Even though it doesn’t exist in person, keen learners can take self-lessons just by spending time in the market.
Whether you are a trader or an investor, the market gives new lessons everyday. It’s your passion and ability to learn that can be the difference between success and failure.
Like Ekalavya, who spent years learning by himself, you too can learn without requiring a teacher. The market itself is the biggest teacher.
Ekalavya did not acquire his skills in a day. Be aware that success in the stock market does not come overnight too. It can take several years of learning to gain the experience required to make serious money.
Remember, it should not be about making money in the market. It should be about spending enough time in the market.
If you come here to make lot of money, it’ll take just one bear phase for the market to take all your money and throw you out.
Take calculated risks, keep learning and protect your capital.
Now about Ekalavya’s ultimate sacrifice. He worked for several years to gain exceptional skill, but lost it all in one instant.
Similarly, you could spend decades in the market and earn a lot money. But it will only take a few wrong decisions to lose wealth accumulated over many years.
The journey from 1 lakh to 1 crore takes a lot of time. But the journey back from 1 crore to losing it all can happen very quickly. This is especially true for those who trade in the future and option segment.
Only risk the money you can afford to lose. Stay safe and keep learning.