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The answer to this question will cement my values in life forever!

  1. I learned from Bhisma's life that simply being the most honorable, noble person on Earth doesn't guarantee any good at all! I think in Star Plus's Mahabharat (I know these TV adaptations are never accurate depictions), Krishna replies to Bhisma's rationalization of how honorable and noble; a man he was, with a simple retort: "If you were the perfect human being as you say you were, how come we're having this conversation in a battlefield? Why are we at war then, if you say you upheld Dharma so well?"

  2. When folks in the hall where actually rationalizing and trying to cite rules of paap and punya to somehow ensure the disrobing of Draupadi.

  3. Krishna on many occasions breaking his own vows at Kurukshetra for the greater good (I'm not saying we can do it just because God did it) and really manipulating the situation so the good prosper and the evil perish.

This brought to me a major awakening that Dharma is something that will never be understood, even if Vedas are eternal truths, you can't put instructions for every possible permutation of every combination of every life situation that was to occur in the Vedas, and that's why the only way of upholding Dharma, is if Vishnu himself steps down in his avatars and purges us!

That brings me to my original question! Is there a specific line in the Vedas that say, 'You can ignore the Vedas or scriptural obligations based on the practicality of the situation!'

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Such quotes are unlikely to be found. Not sure whether you will get anything dealing with the issue directly from the Vedas either. But Smritis state that only during emergencies one may not follow Dharma. This injunction is not applicable during normalcy.

Parashara Smriti's 7th chapter has the following verses:

  1. During a civil commotion, or in exile, or when ill, or in misfortune, the first consideration is to preserve one's life ; practice of religion should at the time be postponed.

  2. By any kind of conduct, soft or cruel, one should deliver himself from a distressed state ; the practice of religious rites ought to be left for a period when he is equal to the task.


And, when the difficult times are over then one has to again start following the principles of Dharma as laid down in the scriptures.

  1. After the misfortune is over, one should think of purification and religious rites. Thereafter purity may be recovered by him. He ought to practice religion when his troubles are past.

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