The one investing lesson from the Bhagavad Gita

Happy ides of March! We are halfway through the month.

Like the word "ides", so many sentences we use daily contain a smidgen of Latin  we take it for granted.

Sanskrit is the Latin of India. Nearly dead, but still a headache for school children on the subcontinent. If you take exams in Hindi, knowing some Sanskrit helps you decipher the roots of some words and Sanskrit words often get sprinkled into daily life. Very few scholars are able to fluently read and write in Sanskrit, but kids are expected to know some basic “shlokas” (verses).

Indian teens can probably spout out a few shlokas taught to them by grandmothers or their schools. Decades later many of us still have have dim memories of memorizing endless lines.

One of the most popular shlokas is from the holy book the Bhagavad Gita (which translates to the “Song of God”). Composed around 500 BC, it distills the teachings of Hinduism and is an often read and quoted book for modern Indians. The Bhagavad Gita’s most important verse for investing is:

  SRC

The lesson I take from this is that you have to act in life, without attaching yourself to the result. Not acting or deciding is also not the right way.

Investing is exactly like this. You have to invest something without knowing what the yield might be in the future – it may go up or down. Not acting is just as deadly (with inflation and opportunity costs).

Our brains haven’t changed much in two and a half thousand years since this shloka was written and despite the rise of artificial intelligence and terabytes of investing information, we still have to interpret, act and decide on our own investments. Here are three suggestions to help you overcome “inaction”.

  • Scheduling – once a month, week, year – invest your money automatically using apps, direct debit.

  • Investing Coaching – find someone to help you with your investments who will schedule regular meetings

  • Accountability Buddy – find a friend to keep you on track

Thanks,

Mallika