Agni is called twice born in RigVeda

abhi dvi janma tri rochanani vishva rajansi shushuchano asthat |
hota yajistho apam sadhaste".(RV.1.149.4) -

Griffith translates as -'He, doubly born, hath spread in his effulgence through the three luminous realms, through all the regions,Best sacrificing Priest where waters gather.

However, in Hinduism Brahmins and Kshatriyas are called 'twice born. My question is why Agni is called twice born in RigVeda at the first place. Secondly, is there any co-relation between the two different designation of 'twice born'?

  • 1
    Agni is said to be one of the closest connected gods with humans than any of the other deities in the Hindu tradition. The god Agni is identified with being the producer of fire and referred to as being Indra’s (god of thunder and lightning) brother. There are many different myths as to how Agni was born; some say that the deity was born three times, once from water, then air and last on Earth A common myth is that Agni was made from the coupling of the god of the earth (Prthivi) and god of the heavens (Dyaus) and is said to be the son of Brahma. Agni was born fully grown was said to be hungry Nov 16, 2017 at 22:03
  • Because Agni is born from the wind and the sky. So twice born
    – user6990
    Nov 17, 2017 at 4:09
  • @RakeshJoshi any specific reason for showing obsession with myth word. AFAIK this is Hinduism section not mythology section
    – user6990
    Nov 17, 2017 at 4:12
  • @OnkarKarambe then prove all the puranic legends to be history please Nov 17, 2017 at 15:02
  • @RakeshJoshi Can you prove history to be history? Can you differentiate between "real" history and "mythical" history? No, you cannot, because the historical record is the only source of knowledge regarding the past.
    – Ikshvaku
    Nov 17, 2017 at 20:28

3 Answers 3


I disagree with SwiftPuskar's translation because it is just an speculation from later text. Rigveda has story of birth of Agni

Why Agni has two births is explained in mandala IV under Vala myth. First Agni was born with all the worlds as its womb and at birth he was faceless and endless but retracting. Angira rishi installs the new born Agni as sacrificial fire. Then Angira rishi splits open the cave and frees the cows which Vala had stolen ensuing removal of the darkness as cows represent dawn. Then Angira installs the Agni as a Hotar priest which is here both sacrificer and receiver of oblation hence his second birth

IV. 1

11 He was born first in the dwelling places, at the base of this great realm, as his womb, footless, headless, concealing his two ends, continually retracting (his limbs [=flames]), in the nest of the bull.


  1. By truth they threw open the rock, having split it. The Aṅgirases roared along with the cows. For blessing the men besieged the dawn; the sun became visible when the fire was born.

IV 1

19 I would call here blazing Agni as Hotar, the best sacrificer who carries all burdens. He drilled, seemingly, the gleaming udder of the cows, which was purified like the stalk of the plant poured in circles [=soma].


Agni is twice born in RigVeda

    • the second birth is the ritual fire and household fire ("sva adhvaro raja visham athiti" RV.2.2(8) - king of the ritual pole and guest of the village). This is the Agni produced by human effort as explained by @Swift Pushkar above.

Rishi Angira was first to worship Agni as deva - "

tvam Agne prathamo Angira Rishih devo devanam bhavah shivam

sakha*"RV.1.31(1) -you Agni became the god of Angira Rishi for the first time,(then) became the blissful friend of all gods.

Gods not only worshiped Agni but also excelled in its use as war technology while anti-god people still considered it as an illusion -

"Ime naro Vritra hatyeshu shura adevi bhir santu maya*"RV.7.1(10)

  • for these people (Agni) is a great warrior after killing of Vritra, for anti-god people it is a Maya.

    1. The first birth of Agni is natural one. RigVeda is unequivocal in stating that Agni is present here since the origin of the world and he knows the birth of human and gods -

"aa devyani vrata chikitwana manushsya jansya janm*"RV.1.70(1)

  • come (Agni) to the realm of gods having knowledge of the birth of humans.

On the question how Agni came into being at the first time, RigVeda provides varied answers. One can trace the birth of Agni from water,air,outer space(vyom) up to 'not born' (aja) at all. But Vishwamitra Gathin holds a most scientific cognition in describing the birth of Agni from Sun -

"yat Asurasya jattarat ajayat*" RV.3.29(14)

  • here (Agni) is born out of the abdomen of Asura. Asura could mean Sun in RigVda I have explained elsewhere. Indeed, our ancestors were great 'watchers'.

Thus, Agni is twice born in the sense the first is the natural birth and the second is the birth from human effort. Similar idea was applied to human society in Hinduism through " the sanskara of yajyopavit "-after which a child is exposed to wider social world and sent to Gurukula.

  • i'm not clear from your explanation. are you saying anti-god ppl were against personifying agni? like no deva, no warrior, etc., just element of nature?
    – blue_ego
    May 30 at 20:42
  • so first birth is non-human realm, and the second birth is human realm?
    – blue_ego
    May 30 at 20:58

Let's see why Agni is called Twice Born in Rig-Veda sukta 1.149.4

अभि द्विजन्मा त्री रोचनानि विश्वा रजांसि शुशुचनो अस्थात | 
होता यजिष्ठो अपां सधस्थे || 1.149.4b ||

abhi dvijanmā trī rocanāni viśva rajāṃsi śuśucano asthāt | 

4 He, doubly born, hath spread in his effulgence through the three luminous realms, through all the regions.

Explanation-As we know Agni is created by rubbing/churning two wooden sticks together. As the two wooden sticks i.e. Arani are used , Agni is here called as born from two things. Dwijanma (द्विजन्मा)

The meaning of the word DwiJanma here (द्विजन्मा) is born from two objects. The word Dwija is not used but Dwijanma and both are separate words with separate meanings.

This is clear from another translation of Rig-Veda 1.149.4 Hindi

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  • You can translate the meaning from the images in to English and write them. Images don't work in some browsers and many can't understand Hindi. Nov 17, 2017 at 5:37
  • @SwiftPushkar you have rightly identified one birth of Agni, so I accept the answer. It is the second birth of Agni made possible through human effort. Yet Agni is present before humans clf. Jatveda - the most scientific explanation for the first birth of Agni Nov 17, 2017 at 6:03
  • @B.N.Bhaskar - Ok , Very thank your for explanation sir. That's really helpful. There is also one word "Agnyadhan" in another translation , unfortunately i couldn't find the meaning of that from web.But I will try to update my answer with refering to other translation's as well. Nov 17, 2017 at 6:15
  • 1
    @SwiftPushkar agni-adhana is preparation for agnihotra by brahmachari Nov 17, 2017 at 13:51
  • 4
    This is a flawed translation. Actually there's only one thing. It's a wooden stick. Whether you use two or 100 it doesn't matter.
    – user6990
    Nov 17, 2017 at 15:57

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