Bushyasta


Bushyasta

Bushyasta (Avestan, "būšyāsta", "būšiiąstā") is the Zoroastrian demon ("daeva") of "Sloth". Her stock epithet is "the long-handed."

In scripture as well as in later tradition, Bushyasta (Middle Persian "Bushasp") is the hypostasis of laziness and idleness. She is the cause of procrastination as she strives to keep the righteous ("ashavan") from performing productive tasks. She lulls the world back to sleep and "makes the faithful forget in slumber the hour of prayer."harvnb|Darmesteter|1880|p=lxvii.]

Although there are "as many demons as the sins that man commits" and Bushyasta is among the few "daeva"s who are specifically mentioned in the texts, she is not among the fiends who are described in any great detail.harvnb|Dhalla|1938|p=405.]

In scripture

Besides Bushyasta's stock epithet as "the long-handed," (e.g. "Vendidad" 11.9, 11.12, 18.16; "Yasht" 10.97), she is also described to be "gaunt" ("Vendidad" 11.9 and 11.12), and in "Yasht" 18.2, she is said to be "zairi", "yellow, golden, green."

In verse 1 and 2 of "Yasht" 18, which is nominally dedicated to Arshtat "Justice", "khwarenah" is said to vanquish Angra Mainyu, Aeshma of "Sloth", the Freezing Cold, Apaosha of "Drought", and Bushyasta.harvnb|Skjærvø|1987|p=826.]

Towards dawn, before the demons are forced back into the darkness, Bushyasta rushes from the north murmering "Sleep on, O men! Sleep on, O sinners! Sleep on and live in sin" ("Hadhokht Nask" 41-42). Bushyasta is named among the demons who flee at the sight of Mithra's mace. ("Yasht" 10.97, 10.134)

In tradition

In the "Bundahishn", a Zoroastrian account of creation completed in the 12th century, Bushasp is one of the "hamkar"s (co-operators) of the six arch-demons. (here "GBd" XXVII.32) This hierarchy mirrors that of the six Amesha Spentas and their helpers, the "yazata"s. In a fragment of the "lesser" "Bundahishn", Bushasp brings a "unnatural lethargy" upon a hero, who then at that moment fails to defend the world against the fiendish deeds of Aži Dahaka. But the hero is protected by the "divine glory of the heavens", so he eventually wakes rested and kills Dahaka. ("IBd" 29.7)

In the numerology of the "Shayest na Shayest", Bushasp "will twice come to the material world" (13.43), perhaps reflecting the hour of waking and the onset of sleep, or perhaps - as in "Dadestan-i Denig" 23.3 - being an allusion to birth and death.

In the "Dadestan-i Denig" 37.44, Bushasp is one of the few explicitely named entities amongst the "hordes" of demons created by Ahriman (Angra Mainyu). In strophe 51 of the same chapter, Ahriman charges the demon with "the weakening of the breath."

In popular culture

* Buyasta is a MUD engine that is named after the demon because it is easy to procrastinate using online games. The difference in spelling is accidental.

References and bibliography


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