The Trident, Shiva's Weapon
Trishul or trident is the weapon of Siva with which he destroys the evils of
the world and evil forces of the world and restores order and regularity. It is
an inseparable part of him and invariably appears in all his iconic and symbolic
representations. It has a lot of symbolism too.
For example, the trident represents Shiva's unlimited power as the creator, preserver
and destroyer as well as his lordship over the triple worlds of the earth, the mid-region
and the heaven. It represents his power to destroy the triple impurities namely
egoism (anava), attachments (pasa) and delusion (Maya), which are responsible for
our suffering and bondage upon earth. By destroying them, he liberates the embodied
souls (jivas) forever from the mortal world
The trident also symbolizes the triple qualities of Nature (Prakriti) namely,
sattva, rajas and tamas. It is only through his grace and intervention one can overcome
their influence and stabilize the mind in the contemplation of Shiva to experience
peace and happiness here and an eternal life hereafter.
As the creator and upholder, Shiva grants the three types of happiness or bliss
namely the bliss of the body (sexual pleasure), bliss of the mind (contentment and
joy) and bliss of the soul (atmanandam). As the destroyer he removes the three types
of afflictions namely the afflictions of the body, of the soul and the afflictions
caused by previous karma which holds the soul in bondage.
Shiva is also the lord of Death, Mahakal or Kalabhairav, which is another name
for Time (Kala). As the lord of Death or Time, he controls the past, the present
and future. He is also beyond them. They are verily represented by the Trident.
According to the beliefs of Shaivism, nothing happens without the will
of Shiva. He determines the progress of the worlds through the time cycle as well
as the progression of the individual souls on the path of liberation. The trident
represents the triples paths to self-realization, namely the path of knowledge,
the path of action and the path of devotion.
By granting them knowledge, detachment and discernment, he transforms his devotees
by removing their impurities. The trident stands for the three primary evils
which need to destroyed in order to make progress towards the divine. They
are the evil of anger, the evil of lust and the evil of pride.