June 4, 2019

And Yudhisthir lost the game of dice…

Amit Trivedi
Owner, Karmayog Knowledge Academy

And Yudhisthir lost the game of dice …

During the conflict between the Pandavs and the Kauravs; Duryodhan, the oldest Kaurav, invites DharmarajYudhisthir, the oldest among the Pandav brothers, for a game of dice. Yudhisthir accepts the invitation and goes for the game, and then, as the story goes, loses all his wealth, his little kingdom of Indraprastha, his brothers, his wife and himself. We have heard a lot about this story, especially the part where Draupadi is humiliated in the court and how Lord Krishna comes to her help.

However, we can also look at this differently. As we all know, Krishna immediately rushed to help Draupadi, at the time of her need. Krishna was the friend, philosopher, and guide for the Pandavs. He was there to help, whenever anyone from the family needed any help or guidance. And yet, he was not present when DharmarajYudhisthir went to play the game of dice and he was deceived by Shakuni.

Why was the Lord absent from the scene, which turned out to be a defining moment in history. The game of dice was played between Yudhisthir and Shakuni, though the invitation went from Duryodhan. So, it was an acceptable practice for a king to nominate someone else to play the game on his behalf.

Why did Yudhisthir not go to Krishna for help? Was it overconfidence in his prowess in the game of dice? Or did he want to hide this fact from Krishna? Would it not be safe to assume that he would have rushed to help had the Pandavs asked for help?

What would Krishna have done, had Yudhisthir approached him for help before the game? Krishna would not have asked him to reject the offer since the norms of those days meant that such a refusal was equivalent to accepting one’s defeat. The chances are that Krishna would have played the game on behalf of Pandavs and then the outcome of the game could have been totally different. It would be safe to assume that he could have caught the deception of Shakuni – something Yudhisthir could not.

The lesson is very simple: While Yudhisthir had access to a great advisor, he chose not to seek advice. It does not matter why he chose to do that – whether it was his overconfidence or fear of reprimand, it just does not matter. The fact is that he chose to ignore the greatest advisor he had easy access to.

How does it matter to an IFA?

Well, many investors behave very much like Yudhisthir. They often ignore the advisor, even when they have one. As in Yudhisthir’s case, it is either out of (misplaced) overconfidence in one’s abilities, or a fear of reprimand.

Many of you have experienced at some point in your relationship with some clients that one fine day, out of nowhere, the client sheepishly pulls out a paper and shows you. He then asks, “Please tell me what should I do with this investment/insurance policy.” When you probe, you realize that in order to “oblige” someone, the client purchased that particular investment product or an insurance policy, without checking whether the same offered any benefit to him. Once the product was bought, there was a nagging concern, but since you were not involved, the client is not sure how you would take it. After the substantial time has elapsed, and the pain becomes unbearable, the paper is pulled out of the file, seeking your opinion, by which time it is too late to take any corrective action. The damage is done. Yudhisthir has lost the game of dice to a Shakuni.

On some other occasions, the reason could be different from “obliging” someone, and it might have looked like a no-brainer at the time of purchasing the product. Sometimes, it is the familiarity with the subject or product or ignorance of the risks, that one tends to get overconfident. In such cases, advice does not seem to be necessary. It is only later that one realizes that a mistake was made. However, the initial periods of loss are spent first in hope and in denial.

Ask your clients to at least speak to you before taking a decision pertaining to personal finances, even when they feel confident, and even when they do not transact through you.

Won’t the clients feel uncomfortable?

Often, the IFA has a question: “Can I ask my client to check with me before buying something (especially investment or insurance products that I also sell) from someone else? Will the client be comfortable? Or will the client feel that since the product is not bought from me, I will anyway be against it?”

Well, this is a valid concern, but you got to put your client at ease. Tell him that you understand that they might have to oblige someone in order to maintain relations, be it a personal relationship or professional. However, this does not mean that there cannot be a win-win situation. In fact, maintaining a good relationship requires that the seller and the buyer both benefit. As the client’s advisor, you would only help him select the most appropriate product, even if it is bought from someone else. Remember you are on the client’s side and not the opposite one. Give the client this confidence and see the magic.

So, go ahead and change the course the Mahabharat of the client’s life. Ensure that your client, the Yudhisthir does not lose the game of dice at the hands of a Shakuni.

4 Thoughts to “And Yudhisthir lost the game of dice…”

  1. Very thoughtful and excellent comparison

  2. Lazarus Dias says:

    Amazing article
    Very thoughtful and thought provoking

  3. Vikas Gupta says:

    Excellent write up.

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