Dvija (Sanskrit: द्विज) means “twice-born” in ancient Indian Sanskrit.) The concept is premised on the belief that a person is first born physically and at a later date is born for a second time spiritually, usually when he undergoes the ritual of passage that initiates him into a school for Vedic studies. The term also refers to members of the three varnas in the traditional Hindu social system, or social classes — the Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors), and Vaishyas (merchants) — whose Sanskara of Upanayana initiation was regarded as a second or spiritual birth.
The word Dvija is neither found in any Vedas and Upanishads, nor is it found in any Vedanga literature such as the Shrauta-sutras or Grihya-sutras. The word is almost entirely missing, in any context, from ancient Sanskrit literature composed before the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, and it scarcely appears in Dharmasutras literature. Increasing mentions of it appear in Dharmasastras text of mid to late 1st-millennium CE texts. The presence of the word Dvija is a marker that the text is likely a medieval era Indian text.
Born again, or to experience the new birth, is a phrase, particularly in evangelicalism, that refers to “spiritual rebirth”, or a regeneration of the human spirit from the Holy Spirit, contrasted with physical birth. Historically, before the Protestant Reformation, “being born again” was understood as undergoing the sacrament of baptism and this is still the understanding of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches.[not verified in body]
In contemporary Christian usage, the term is distinct from sometimes similar terms used in mainstream Christianity to refer to being or becoming Christian, which is linked to baptism. Individuals who profess to be “born again” often state that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The phrase “born again” is also used as an adjective to describe individual members of the movement who espouse this belief, as well as the movement itself (“born-again Christian” and the “born-again movement”).
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”— Gospel of John, chapter 3, verses 3–5, NIV
John’s Gospel was written in Koine Greek, and the original text is ambiguous which results in a double entendre that Nicodemus misunderstands. The word translated as again is ἄνωθεν (ánōtʰen), which could mean either “again”, or “from above”. Nicodemus takes only the literal meaning from Jesus’s statement, while Jesus clarifies that he means more of a spiritual rebirth from above. English translations have to pick one sense of the phrase or another; the NIV, King James Version, and Revised Version use “born again”, while the New Revised Standard Version and the New English Translation prefer the “born from above” translation. Most versions will note the alternative sense of the phrase anōthen in a footnote.
Edwyn Hoskyns argues that “born from above” is to be preferred as the fundamental meaning and he drew attention to phrases such as “birth of the Spirit (v.5)”, “birth from God (cf. Jn 1:12-13; 1Jn 2:29, 3:9, 4:7, 5:18)” but maintains that this necessarily carries with it an emphasis upon the newness of the life as given by God himself.
The final use of the phrase occurs in the First Epistle of Peter, rendered in the King James Version as:
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: / Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.[1 Peter 1:22-23]
Here, the Greek word translated as “born again” is ἀναγεγεννημένοι (anagegennēménoi).
The traditional Jewish understanding of the promise of salvation is interpreted as being rooted in “the seed of Abraham”; that is, physical lineage from Abraham. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that this doctrine was in error—that every person must have two births—natural birth of the physical body and another of the water and the spirit. This discourse with Nicodemus established the Christian belief that all human beings—whether Jew or Gentile—must be “born again” of the spiritual seed of Christ. The Apostle Peter further reinforced this understanding in 1 Peter 1:23. The Catholic Encyclopedia states that “[a] controversy existed in the primitive church over the interpretation of the expression the seed of Abraham. It is [the Apostle Paul’s] teaching in one instance that all who are Christ’s by faith are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to promise. He is concerned, however, with the fact that the promise is not being fulfilled to the seed of Abraham (referring to the Jews).”
Charles Hodge writes that “The subjective change wrought in the soul by the grace of God, is variously designated in Scripture” with terms such as new birth, resurrection, new life, new creation, renewing of the mind, dying to sin and living to righteousness, and translation from darkness to light.
Jesus used the “birth” analogy in tracing spiritual newness of life to a divine beginning. Contemporary Christian theologians have provided explanations for “born from above” being a more accurate translation of the original Greek word transliterated anōthen. Theologian Frank Stagg cites two reasons why the newer translation is significant:
- The emphasis “from above” (implying “from Heaven“) calls attention to the source of the “newness of life”. Stagg writes that the word “again” does not include the source of the new kind of beginning;
- More than personal improvement is needed. “a new destiny requires a new origin, and the new origin must be from God.”
An early example of the term in its more modern use appears in the sermons of John Wesley. In the sermon entitled A New Birth he writes, “none can be holy unless he be born again”, and “except he be born again, none can be happy even in this world. For … a man should not be happy who is not holy.” Also, “I say, [a man] may be born again and so become an heir of salvation.” Wesley also states infants who are baptized are born again, but for adults it is different:
our church supposes, that all who are baptized in their infancy, are at the same time born again. … But … it is sure all of riper years, who are baptized, are not at the same time born again.
A Unitarian work called The Gospel Anchor noted in the 1830s that the phrase was not mentioned by the other Evangelists, nor by the Apostles except Peter. “It was not regarded by any of the Evangelists but John of sufficient importance to record.” It adds that without John, “we should hardly have known that it was necessary for one to be born again.” This suggests that “the text and context was meant to apply to Nicodemus particularly, and not to the world.”
- Derived from the Sanskrit word Dvija (द्विजा), literally “twice-born.”
Exoterically, in common usage it refers to three of the four castes in Indian society, or is used by various religions to denote those who “believe” in their dogma. Sadly, the term “Twice-born” has been twisted into a multiplicity of justifications for the crimes of humanity, such as caste discrimination, racial hatred, religious dogmas and fanaticisms, etc. But the real meaning has never been known by the public.
Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” —John 3
Esoterically, a Twice-born person is someone who has created the soul, and is therefore a solar human being, as opposed to the more common lunar intellectual animal.
“Hindu Brahmins symbolize the Second Birth sexually. In their liturgy, a large golden cow is constructed and the candidate for the Second Birth has to pass through the hollow body of the cow three times, by dragging himself, exiting through the vulva, and thus he becomes consecrated as a true Brahman-Dvija, or Twice-born: once of his mother and second by the cow. It is in this manner that the Brahmins symbolically explain the Second Birth taught by Jesus to Nicodemus… The Brahmins are not Twice-born, but symbolically they are. The Master Mason is not truly a Master, but symbolically he is. The interesting thing is to reach the Second Birth, and this problem is one hundred percent sexual.” – Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology
“The solar race, the Twice-born, have solar bodies. Yet ordinary people, humanity in general, belong to a lunar race and only have lunar bodies (bodies of a lunar type).”- Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology
“Once the body of conscious will [causal body, Tiphereth] is built, one becomes a Twice-born.” – Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
The conception of a’second birthl as we have already pointed out elsewhere, is one of those which are common to all traditional doctrines; in Christianity in particular, psychic regeneration is very clearly represented by baptism. Cf. this passage from the Gospel: ‘. .. unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . . Tiuly, truly, I say unto you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.. . . Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must he born anew.”‘(lohn T3-7). Water is looked upon by many traditions as the original medium of beings, by reason of its symbolism, as we explained earlier on, according to which it stands for Mula-Prakriti; in a higher sense, by transposition, water is Universal Possibility itself; whoever is’born of water’ becomes a’son of the Virginl and therefore an adopted brother of Christ and His co-heir of the’Kingdom of Godi On the other hand if one realizes that the’spirit’ in the text just quoted is the Hebrew Ruahh (here associated with water as a complementary principle, as in the opening passage of Genesis) and if it be remembered that Ruahh also denotes air, we have the idea of purification by the elements, such as is to be met with in all initiatic as well as religious rites; and moreover, initiation itself is always looked upon as a’second birth’, symbolically as long as it only amounts to a more or less external formaliry but effectively when it is conferred in a genuine manner on one duly qualified to receive it