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 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 allow a disciple to eat the ucchiṣṭa of his guru. This practice was discouraged later.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore