From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Uñchavṛtti literally means ‘living by leftover grains’.

Some of the brāhmaṇas, in the olden days, who wanted to live a very austere life, adopted uñchavṛtti for a living. They approached for this method since it entailed no violence or harm to other living beings. It consisted in gathering grains from agricultural fields after the harvesting was over. Collecting the grains that have fallen on the ground in any shop that sells grains was also included under uñchavṛtti. Food cooked out of these grains was considered very pure. Vedānta Deśika[1] and Tyāgarāja[2] are said to have lived by this means.


  1. He lived in A. D. 1268-1370.
  2. He lived in A. D. 1767-1847.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore