Zen & Now: The Dancing Parijata

The Parijata flower is a very pretty one, with its bright orange stalk and delicate white petals. There are many mythological stories around it but the one that I find appealing is more to do with its nature. As per tradition, these flowers are much loved by Lord Krishna and hence offered to him. But it is only those flowers that have fallen to the ground in the morning that are picked and offered. Why is that? Because by letting go of the tree voluntarily and falling to Mother Earth even when fresh is an enormous act of surrender.

Picking up these flowers every morning from my garden floor is a ritual in itself for me. But one day, I noticed this one Parijata flower dancing in the wind, not falling to the ground. Intrigued, I took a closer look only to realize that it was being held back by an almost invisible strand of a spider web. This almost invisible strand was standing in between the flower and its destiny. It was a quiet moment of reflection.

How easy, I thought, it is to get stuck with anything – be it ideas, concepts, relationships or material things. Even when the universe is showing you a different path, we insist on hugging our old perspectives ignorant of the fact that the universe knows better. Keep an open mind, listen to others and also make time to listen to your inner voice. Let it not always be my ideas, my perspectives, my possessions.

When planning for your future allow for uncertainty, be flexible and adaptable to change. Course corrections are fine, changes in lifestyle are fine as long as you accept it. Does this find relevance in investing? Yes. Most often we make a set of assumptions when designing a portfolio, like growth rates, inflation, economy, interest rates, currency and so on. These form the basis for the construct. A mistake would be to consider them as etched in stone. It is important to revisit these assumptions regularly to see if something needs change. Is the environment telling you something else? Be attentive to it and incorporate in your plans. If a change is required, so be it, however painful. Mistakes are to be considered a part of the process of evolution. The earlier you let go, it is better. This holds good for investors and advisors alike. Maybe more important for advisors! Learn to let go…

T. Srikanth Bhagavat

Managing Director & Principal Advisor