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Mahabharata episode every entrepreneur should read

Mahabharata narrates the saga of Kurukshetra War between the Kaurava and the Pandava princes. It is a vast treasure of knowledge & wisdom. It provides an insightful strategic management learning for various business situations that an entrepreneur experiences. The story wherein the Arjuna choice made Pandavas win the war before it begin is an interesting lesson for current day entrepreneurs.

Both Kaurava & Pandava sides summoned vast armies to their help by forging alliances from nearby kingdoms. Arjuna the Pandava prince & Duryodhana the Kaurava prince before the war begin went to Krishna to seek his alliance help. Krishna was not king but a political reformer having won wars with his army of 10000 foot soldiers. Duryodhana was first to reach Krishna chambers found him asleep, Arjuna also came in next & waited for Krishna to awake. When Kirshna woke up his eyes fell on Arjuna sitting at his feet and subsequently when he turned he saw Duryodhana who was standing next to his head.

On seeing Krishna awake both of them requested his support in war. Krishna offered them two choices, first to offer his army resources & second to offer himself. He made it clear that while the army resources will fight but he will not. He will only support. He offered Arjuna to chose first as he saw him first. Arjuna without hesitation instantly chose Krishna support over the army of resources. Duryodhan was happy as he thought the decision of Arjun was naive & foolish. This decision by Arjuna was the turning point wherein Pandvas won the war due to the guidance, direction and insightful Krishna even when they were few in numbers. For entrepreneurs direction is more important than resources to reach the desired goal.

Entrepreneurs like Arjuna are die-hard warriors, full of enthusiasm & action. To be successful entrepreneurs like Arjuna should search Krishna type of mentor on their side. Like in Mahabharata war Arjuna had his weak moments & Krishna his mentor helped him get his confidence back. During the war there was timely mentoring by Krishna to Arjuna on helping him decide what path was right, what is good & constantly reminding him of his core purpose. Most entrepreneurs like Duryodhana get’s blinded by the resources (funding) while underestimating the power of Krishna (mentor).

Entrepreneurs mindless pursuit to raise funding is the path leading to sure shot failure instead they should go after finding the mentor who believes in their goals. Entrepreneurs need to understand that resources may exhaust, dwindle or dry up depending on the markets but Krishna support for entrepreneur is available anywhere, anytime & all the time.

Most of the time entrepreneurs confuse teaching with mentoring. Dronacharya was Arjuna teacher but never a mentor to him. A teachers helps acquire skills while mentor helps reach the goals. It is said that all mentors are teachers but not all teachers are mentors. In case entrepreneurs as protege are able to acquire both Krishna mentoring & also his resources it would be the best possible scenario for the startup success. Entrepreneurs first go & find your Krishna and then I am sure the needed resources will follow.

This article was first published on BWDisrupt.com.

By Sanjay Mehta – Angel & PE Investor, TiE Board of Trustees Mumbai, Technology Evangelist, Investment Advisor to Family Offices, Serial entrepreneur with 2 exits turned Angel Investor with 63 start-up portfolio companies, Member with CIO Angel Network, Let’sVenture, Indian Angel Network etc. Member of PE VC Committee at IMC, Listed in Forbes 2016 as the 8 most prominent angel investor in India. Listed in Entrepreneur Magazine as the Top 50 Twitter Voices in India, Currently working at CORE as Director CFO Program.

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