Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 11 08:04:57 UTC 2000

> > So it is next to impossible for Gautama to have had brahmin teachers
> > if he wasn't a dvija.
>Pardon my ignorance, but I though "dvija" meant one was a brahmin.
>You were saying (probably correctly) that the Buddha was a k.satriya
>earlier so when did this transmutation occur ?

The word dvija simply means he who has a second birth, i.e. the yajnopavIta
saMskAra. Theoretically, brAhmaNa, kshatriya and vaizya males were all
dvijas, because of equal adhikAra to receive the thread and study the veda.
The hair-splitting arguments over whether a ruling class of foreign origin
could be called kshatriya or not were based upon whether or not its members
could be granted this adhikAra.

Of course, you can also find any number of Sanskrit poetic references where
dvija means a bird, which is born twice, first as an egg and second when the
egg hatches. This is a straightforward biological reference. There is a
convenient online version of Monier Williams's Sanskrit-English dictionary,
linked from the Indology website, which can easily clarify these things. In
the dictionary, coriander and pepper seeds are also called dvija. I can't
figure out the reason behind it.


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