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Geeta in the markets

Nov 8, 2012 | Dr C K Narayan | Interesting Read | 8 Comments

GEETA IN THE MARKETS
Or, which path do I take to analyse, oh Lord?

Last week I was part of an essay competition on the Bhagavat Geeta and while reading up for it, I was struck by similarity in some of the observations in that great text to our markets. I draw a small comparison between the Geeta and the markets.

Arjuna asks Krishna, in Chapter 12, as to which form of worship will be more preferred- whether thru the form of the Lord or thru meditation on the formless nature of the Lord. While the Lord answers Arjuna in different ways to make him understand, I was struck of a different aspect with those answers. In the market we are analysing the prospects for a stock thru two different routes- the fundamental and the technical. It struck me that this is not too different from the worship prescribed in the Geeta.

Saguna upasana or the worship of the Form, requires one to identify with the persona of the Lord. This can be compared with fundamental analysis which focuses on the different forms of the stock- management, products, sales, profits, margins etc. etc. There is a detailing of every aspect, just as Bhakti yoga (thru saguna upasana) asks us to consider every aspect of the Lord. In contrast to this, technical analysis concentrates only on Price. Now it is to be appreciated that price does not really have a form. It is a sum total expression of the emotions generated by the players in the market and its moves seem completely random. It can be compared to the un-manifest form of the Lord that is mentioned as Nirguna upasana. In this form of worship, everything is indicated as there is nothing really to perceive and the practitioner has to infer the existence of the Lord thru these indicators.

For those who are bhaktas of the Lord and sing his bhajans and kirtans, the other form of worship seems something entirely alien, to be practiced by those who do not follow the ‘normal ‘path. Thus, it is believed that to be a nirguna upasak, you need to take sanyas, or abdicate your normal life. Most people in the market see FA and TA in this manner. The former is thought to be the ‘normal’ path while the latter is seen as the path of some ‘lost souls’!

But nobody is to be blamed for this. It is natural for people to believe what is visible and to question something that is based on inference. Hence, just like form worship, believing in fundamental analysis is quite easy. Even Lord Krishna, in Verse 5, Ch 12, says that pathway of meditating on the un-manifest is difficult and is not for the body embedded. Meaning, it requires a parting of ways with the natural way of thinking and take up a more difficult route of inference based thinking to succeed. Likewise, TA, though seemingly simpler (those who are meditating are apparently doing ’nothing’, right?) is actually a lot more complex than it appears.

Hence those who are steeped in the rational aspect of the market and its analysis will find it difficult to either practice or even accept technical analysis as something feasible. However, those who are of a more intuitive and intellectual mindset will take it to rather easily. This is not to mean that all those who are using TA are intellectuals! Far from it. Just like there are many kapat swamis, there are also many, many fly-by-night people posing as TAs. That will ever be so.

There are many who set out to read the Geeta, believing that is something to be done. But a few chapters in and they find it is not their cup of tea. Practice of TA is so much more difficult than following FA. Small surprise that most give up along the way! Just like in the spiritual pathway.

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