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A yogic strategy for sound investment practices

A review of ‘Yogi on Dalal Street by Arun Thukral, MD & CEO, Axis Securities.

There will be many books on wealth management and on how to create wealth. But ‘Yogi on Dalal Street’ basically talks about investment strategies in relation to ancient scriptures. Written by Arun Thukral, MD & CEO, Axis Securities, the book essentially correlates Yoga Sutra and investing and how mastering yoga can help investors or traders overcome challenges.

The book was released at a recent function in Mumbai by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, former judge of the Supreme Court. People dabble in trading or play in the stock exchanges blindly through advice from half-baked investment advisors, said Justice Srikrishna, and advised that the book would be clear guide for those interested in creating wealth.

The book covers 22 traits which have an impact on the individual behavior and ultimately affects the investor psychology.

“Yoga is beyond asanas (postures). It embodies yogic principles such as panchaklesa. My book makes people understand investing in a yogic way beyond realms of technical and fundamental jargons. We try to understand the analogy of panchaklesa and equity investing,” said Arun Thukral, explaining why he undertook this task.

The book elaborates on ‘panchaklesa’, or the 5 barriers or causes for sufferings. First is avidya, or ignorance which is about consuming the wrong knowledge, and which has a resemblance to lack of awareness on how to invest in the stock market. The idea is to shed the ignorance and invest in equity. Second is asmita or ego and investors should avoid getting into the zone of ‘knowing it all’. An investor with this trait would often ignore the prevalent market conditions and would not seek advice or learn from some experienced professional.

Says Thukral: “The message is – ample study and learning should be done before making the right investment choice. One must keep aside asmita to ensure high returns with the right stocks in the portfolio.”

The third is raga or attachment and Thukral says, investors should not get attached to a particular asset or stock. Instead, they should diversify the risks into different asset classes.

The fourth, dvesha or hate, where investors often go through bad experience due to not being in sync with the market or bad decisions or either they simply do not invest in equity just because there is a preconceived notion that stock market is gambling and associated with high risks.  “Investors should select the right stock and stay invested in equities for a long period to gain healthy returns,” advises Thukral.

The fifth barrier is abhinivesaḥ, or fear since retail investors are always worried when their stocks declining but do not feel happy when there is an equal ascent.

The takeaway that the book offers is that equity investment is non-linear and there may be upside and downside; but in the long-term equity has given good returns.

Arun Thukral uses yoga and ancient scriptures to support his thoughts.

-Ishan Shah is with FinBizness

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