From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Iṣṭāpurta literally means ‘what is sacrificed and what is' 'filled’.

The word ‘iṣṭāpurta’ is very ancient. It has been used in the Vedas, Samhitās and Upaniṣads. One can find it's mention in:

  • Ṛgveda[1]
  • Atharvaveda[2]
  • Taittiriya Samhitā[3]
  • Kathā Upaniṣad[4]
  • Mundaka Upaniṣad[5]

The word iṣṭāpurta is the compound of two words iṣṭa and purta. It mean, ‘what is sacrificed’ and ‘what is filled’. The complete sense of the meaning conveys the cumulative spiritual results or merits due to man’s performance of sacrifices and charitable acts.

‘Iṣṭa’ includes all the types of Vedic sacrifices and the gifts given during it's performance. ‘Purta’ indicates various acts of charity and public utility such as:

  • Building and dedicating of deep wells for the public
  • Building temples and gardens
  • Free distribution of food
  • Giving gifts
  • Nursing the sick
  • Many other acts of charity sanctioned by the holy books


  1. Ṛgveda 10.14.8
  2. Atharvaveda 3.29.1
  3. Taittiriya Samhitā 7.7.1-3
  4. Kathā Upaniṣad 1.8
  5. Mundaka Upaniṣad 1.2.10
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore