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Seven lessons for an adviser from the Bhagavad Geeta

We know that Lord Krishna recited the Bhagavad Geeta as a message to his friend and disciple, the warrior prince Arjuna. However, Lord Krishna does not utter a single word in the first chapter. He speaks for the first time only in the 2nd shloka of Chapter 2. That too was just a casual question as a friend. The real advice starts only from the 11th Shloka of the 2nd Chapter. Till then, he listens to Arjuna. You see, even the God does not jump to answer without allowing the disciple to speak his mind and without understanding Arjuna's point of view. Understand the importance of listening before you offer any advice or solution.In the first two shlokas of the 3rd Chapter, Arjuna asks the Lord, “Please tell me what is right for me.” It was equivalent to a client asking you, which is the best fund. The God could have told him – do this; instead, he explained the theory of karma. Bhagavan Krishna does not recommend anything, but only shows Arjuna the consequences of various actions and choices. He left it for Arjuna to decide what was the right course of action. Think about it, in many cases; you may be tempted to close a sale by recommending a particular scheme. Is it right? Who has to live with the consequences of the investment? Explain to the client what are the possible consequences of various decisions taken – whether it is jumping in the bull market or bailing out in a bear market, whether it is investing in a hurry or delaying the decision out of “paralysis by analysis” or due to fear. Explain the consequences and leave it for the better judgment of the client. Make sure you explain the implications of the action well. He is a friend to Arjuna, and in the initial phase when Arjuna wants to run away from the battlefield, Lord Krishna plays around with him like a friend, but then takes the discussion to a higher level slowly and gradually. The pinnacle is reached only in Chapter 11 when he reveals his Vishwaroop. The adviser need not disclose everything to the client at the first go. Do it slowly and gradually, and only if and when required. Krishna uses many metaphors, some of which have become folklore, e.g. the tortoise drawing the limbs in the shell. Metaphors are incredibly powerful to convey the message, especially when the message is conceptual, complex and challenging to understand. Metaphors help make a complicated subject simple. Use metaphors in your communication with clients. Lord Krishna repeats the messages multiple times. Repetition is key to memory. However, the  epetition is in various ways. An adviser must keep repeating the key messages for the client to understand and digest the same better. In Chapter 3 on Karmayoga, Bhagwan Krishna explains that the universe is always in action, it can never be inactive. However, every action of the universe is in the form of contribution. Such work is performed to please the gods and in return, the gods please you and that results in the well‐being of all. The financial adviser's role, it means our job is to work for the welfare of our clients and in the form of contributing to their lives. In return, they would please us with more business. That would result into well‐being for all. However, if the work is not performed in the form of contribution, such a person is a thief. The one who tries to work against this rule is a fraud. The God's advice for the advisers: the best work is one that you offer in the form of a yajna, which is not sacrifice, but  contribution and you always contribute to the best of your abilities to the yajna. Anything else, is fraud, mis‐selling, etc. And the consequences of such actions must be born by the adviser. Disclaimer: The idea behind this article is not to trivialize the Bhagavad Geeta, and this article must be read and understood in that spirit. Please read the article in the context in which it is intended. Your interpretation of the holy text could be different from that of the author. The whole article is based on only some of the shlokas from the 2nd and 3rd Chapters of the Bhagavad Geeta. The lessons for the advisers are in italics. Amit Trivedi The author runs Karmayog Knowledge Academy. The views expressed are his personal views. He can bereached at amit@karmayog‐ He is the author of a book “Riding The Roller Coaster – Lessons from financial market cycles we repeatedly forget”.

Amit Trivedi


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