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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Ucchista, UcchisTa, Ucchista

Ucchisṭa literally means ‘the leftover’.

In the most general sense, it means anything left over after a rite or action. For instance, oblation materials like ghee leftover after a homa or a yajña[1] is ucchiṣṭa. However it is more commonly used with regard to the food leftover in the plate after a person has eaten. Though some dharmaśāstras like the Baudhāyana-dharmasutras[2][3] allow a disciple to eat the ucchiṣṭa of his guru. This practice was discouraged later.


  1. Yajña means sacrifice.
  2. Baudhāyana-dharmasutras 1.2.34
  3. Baudhāyana-dharmasutras 1.2.37
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore