This chapter briefly introduces a trope Indian Buddhist sources share with literatures from the classical Greek and Roman world to China—that of the “perverse Persians” for whom, it is alleged, incest was a religious obligation. The purpose of this survey is to establish that the ancient Indians, like their neighbors, strongly disapproved of incest, notwithstanding the fact that the explicit objections to Mahādeva's behavior all center on his murders and demonstrate no overt concern with his incest. It is argued that although Indian Buddhists may not discuss it in the context of the Mahādeva story, they certainly were concerned with incest, which they did find objectionable, although not unimaginable. Buddhist treatments of incest nevertheless appear to stand is contrast to those of ancient Indian Hindu sources.
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