By Swami Harshananda
Haviṣya literally means ‘that which is fit to be offered in sacrifice’.
Haviṣya or haviṣyānna is any food fit or pure enough to be offered in a sacrifice. Food normally consumed by the forest hermits like milk, soma juice, boiled food without spices or the food to be offered to the brāhmaṇas and the invitees of śrāddhas is called as haviṣyānna.
Those observing religious vows either as prāyaścitta (expiation for sins) or otherwise are expected to subsist on haviṣyānna during that period. The haviṣyānna is generally prepared out of boiled grains like rice, wheat and barley, but without spices or salt being pure and sāttvika, was believed to aid the concerned persons with a better frame of mind for the observance of the ritual.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore