ICODA HOLIDAY: Dwija (Rebirth) Day
DWIJA (REBIRTH) DAY
Celebrating the second birth in the disciple’s life, which is the actual spiritual birth.
“Dwij” is a Hindu term meaning “twice born” or “born again”. One who experiences this is a “Dwija”. Ancient Hinduism asks: What occurs when one is born the second time? – who is a Dwija? And answers: He or she comes to know Brahman. And what is Brahman? That which is Infinite, Eternal – that which is God. So to know God, requires being ‘twice born’ – or conversely, he or she who experiences being twice born, will inevitably realize God. Hinduism explains that unless there is an absolute change in consciousness and an outright purification, nobody can achieve God-Realization. After the ‘first birth’ (physical birth) our eyes open and all our faculties expand exponentially. But in the process of growing up, we encounter limits. The innocent joy and delight of living spontaneously and in the moment, is traded for “I want to be a healthy, happy human”; the Infinite gets moved into the background.
Swami Premodaya experienced (sudden and spontaneous) Dwij on March 22, 1961, at 4:20pm. As thick, dancing beams of pure golden light streamed into the room and enveloped him, Premodaya was able to clearly feel himself being ‘re-born’. Although as a 12-year old he had no understanding of what was happening, he intuitively somehow understood that this was ‘an experience of a lifetime’, so significant that he noted the exact time and date, saying to himself: “This is the real moment of my birth”. The state of constant, intense, ecstatic bliss that began in that moment, persisted undiminished and unchanging – for a full 5 years more.
CALLING ALL SPIRITUAL SEEKERS: The Upanishads encourage us to return to the non-separate state, asserting that every woman, man, animal, plant – all animate or inanimate entities alike – all are part of the Divine energy, the Supreme – the Infinite, Eternal Divine itself. The Upanishads boldly proclaim: “You are that!” – and coax us, therefore, to aspire to it – to know it for ourselves – to unbind from our perceived limitations and instead be one with the Divine. In effect, the second birth dissolves our limitations and activates the individual’s potential to live up to the expectation of the Ultimate (which begins with conception, with this human form). Thus a ‘Dwija’ is one who has started this journey in earnest – a seeker of the Infinite. One who is a spiritual seeker but has not yet experienced the phenomenon of the second birth, has that to look forward to. And one who has experienced the dramatic moment of becoming twice born, but is not yet familiar with the actual Divine, is destined to witness its unfolding.