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According to Mahabarata, Samba got curse because of doing prank. Actually the prank done by Samba doesn't harm any one. But he got curse.

Does it signifies that pranking is a bad act? Does any text is saying against doing pranks?

  • If one will do prank with sages then what else he will get. We can do pranks with our known only. Krishna himself used to do pranks with many. Some times he break matkis of gopies and stole their clothes also. But doing pranks with unknown or with elders(depends person to person) and specially with sages is surely an offensive act. – Vishvam Jan 5 '18 at 11:06
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Samba pretended to be a pregnant woman to get the curse:

Samba dresses up as a woman and his friends meet Rishi Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, Narada and other rishis, who were visiting Dwaraka for an audience with Krishna. The young man playfully pretending to be a woman claims he is pregnant, and asks the rishis to predict the gender of the baby.

So, here the question is not just about a prank. But, it's about presenting oneself as someone else to the virtuous ones or the sages. And, that's why he was cursed IMO.

Yo anyathA santam AtmAnam anyathA satsu bhAshate |
Sa pApa krittamo loke stena Atma apahArakah ||


He who describes himself to virtuous (men), in a manner contrary to truth, is the most sinful (wretch) in this world; he is a thief who makes away with his own self.


Manu Smriti 4.255


So, going by the above verse, the offence seems to be a grave one.

And, under some similar situation, Karna (from Mahabharata) got the curse from his Guru. There too, Karna presented himself as someone he was not (he pretended himself to be a Brahmin), to a virtuous person (his Guru Parashurama).

Moreover, it's dishonesty of speech or lying, and that too, in front of the sages.

Manu Smriti 4.256. All things (have their nature) determined by speech; speech is their root, and from speech they proceed; but he who is dishonest with respect to speech, is dishonest in everything

And, lastly why would one even play a prank with the sages, who are always ready with a Kamandalu full of water, to curse? :D Specially, where DurvAsa Muni was present who was well-known for his short temper.

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  • But then Bhima also did acts aganist 4.255 "Vaisampayana continued, 'Repairing first to the place of assignation at night, Bhima sat down, disguising himself. And he waited there in expectation of Kichaka, like a lion lying in wait for a deer. sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04022.htm And similarly all Pandavas did aganist it by acting as Brahmins deing Draupadi swayamwara – hanugm May 30 '18 at 16:15
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    Even Rishis and Gods act against Dharma many times. So, Bhima can very well also do so. Not a big deal @hanugm – Rickross May 31 '18 at 5:30

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