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Statue of Shiv holding trishul in Delhi
|Place of origin||South Asia|
|Used by||Shiv, Durga, Kali, Prathyangira, Sarabh, Lavanasur, Ganesh, Shani, Mangal|
The Trishul (Sanskrit: त्रिशूल triśūl, Malay: trisul, Kannad:ತ್ರಿಶೂಲ್, "triśūl" Telugu:త్రిశూలం , trisoolam, Malayalam: തൃശൂലം tr̥iśūlaṁ, Tamil:i// திரிசூலம் tiricūlam, Thai: ตรีศูล trīṣ̄ūl or tri) is a type of South Asian trident also found in Southeast Asia. It is commonly used as a Hindu-Buddhist religious symbol. The word means "three spear" in Sanskrit and Pali.
In India and Thailand, the term often refers to a short-handled weapon which may be mounted on a danda or staff. But unlike the Okinawan sai, the trishul is often bladed. In Malay and Indonesian, trishul usually refers specifically to a long-handled trident while the diminutive version is known as a chabang or tekpi.
The trishul symbolism is polyvalent and rich. The trishul is wielded by the Hindu God Shiv and is said to have been used to sever the original head of Ganesh. Durga also holds trishul, as one of her many weapons. There are many other gods and deities, who hold the weapon trishul. The three points have various meanings and significance, and, common to Hindu religion, have many stories behind them. They are commonly said to represent various trinities—creation, maintenance and destruction, past, present and future, the three guna. When looked upon as a weapon of Shiv, the trishul is said to destroy the three worlds: the physical world, the world of the forefathers (representing culture drawn from the past) and the world of the mind (representing the processes of sensing and acting). The three worlds are supposed to be destroyed by Shiv into a single non-dual plane of existence, that is bliss alone.
In the human body, the trishul also represents the place where the three main nadi, or energy channels (ida, pingala and shushmana) meet at the brow. Shushmana, the central one, continues upward to the 7th chakra, or energy center, while the other two end at the brow, there the 6th chakra is located. The trisula's central point represents Shushmana, and that is why it is longer than the other two, representing ida and pingala.
- Trishul can sometimes also designate the Buddhist symbol of the triratna.
- The Goddess Durga holds a trishul among other weapons and attributes in her hands and amongst her accoutrement, having received celestial weapons from both Shiv and Vishnu.
- In Nepal, the trishul is the election symbol of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist).
- A similar word, Trishul, is the Romani word for 'cross'.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Trishul is a monster that can banish one card each from opponent's hand (future), field (present) and graveyard (past).
The Hachibushū Sendan Kendatsuba (or Candana Gandharva) is pictured killing several villains with his trishul in the collection of five paintings Extermination of Evil.
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