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Let's take gambling. As seen in these answers here and here, gambling is a vice. No two ways about it. But there is an entire sukta in Atharva Veda dedicated to success in gambling as seen here

I have also understood from Somaka's story in Mahabharata that human sacrifice , though it gives intended benefits, is still considered a sinful act.

My question is why mantras and rituals exist for activities that are not as per dharma . If doing the right karma is the dharma then why even have such mantras and rituals in first place ?

Note : Not looking for answers that try to justify it on the basis that it was not sinful initially but became sinful over a period of time because of evolving society.

  • there is no activity that is 100% virtue, or 100% sinful. it all depends on person & circumstances. Yes, it is wrong to gamble. but is it wrong to gamble in order to defeat a person who first defeated you by forcing you to gamble ? it depends. there is a saying in Tamil 'kalavum kattru mara' - "even sins, learn then forget". what it means is - learn how to do sin, but don't do it. you may need to do it in order to defeat those who did the sin first. India has nukes, but we also have no-first-strike policy. It is needed, only for using against someone who used it first. – ram Sep 14 at 4:40
  • @ram - that does seem to make sense. I had read something similar in another context but didn't strike me. Nevertheless you put it in answer. Would help a lot more if there are are sources, but even without them the answer would be helpful – Carmen sandiego Sep 14 at 9:18
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    "My question is why mantras and rituals exist for activities that are not as per dharma . If doing the right karma is the dharma then why even have such mantras and rituals in first place ?" - Because according to Sri Vaishnava acharyas, these things are there in the Vedas in order to attract evil people to the Vedas, and hopefully reform them over time. So first they get attracted to evil things in the Vedas, and then the good things in the Vedas, etc. – Ikshvaku Sep 14 at 12:10
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    @Ikshvaku, SVAGATAM ! – ram Sep 14 at 17:43
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    @ikshvaku - welcome back ! On your comment , is this mentioned in popular texts , bhasyas ? – Carmen sandiego Sep 15 at 2:43

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