All the Hindu gods possess sacred objects which symbolize the divine powers or are weapons which they use to protect their devotees with. Many a time, various stories are associated with these sacred objects.
For example, the Sudarshan Chakra that Lord Vishnu holds signifies the eternal universe and the cycle of time. The same Sudarshan Chakra is used by Lord Vishnu as a weapon too.
Similarly, a trident and a Damru are the two most popular objects that Lord Shiva is depicted with. While in meditation, these are placed by his side, and while dancing, he is seen holding these in his hands. Today, we will discus about the significance of the trident. Read on to know.
Mentioned In The Vishnu Purana
The mention of the holy trident is also found in the Vishnu Purana. It says that Surya Dev, the Sun God, married Sanjana. Sanjana was the daughter of Vishwakarma. Vishwakarma, who is also known as another form of Lord Brahma, is believed to be the architect of the world.
He is the lord of the tools used for construction, measurement or other instruments used for similar purposes. He is largely worshipped by the engineer class. So, when his daughter got married to Surya Dev, she did not like the unbearable heat of Surya Dev. Hence, she came back to complain about the matter to her father.
As a remedy, Lord Vishwakarma, invited Surya Dev to discuss the issue. Lord Vishwakarma and Surya Dev held a talk, the outcome of which was that Surya Dev agreed to shed of one-eighth part of his heat. This one-eighth part fell to the earth, which Surya Dev later used to make the trident. The same trident was given to Lord Shiva later.
Lord Shiva, who is believed to be a divine sage, is also known as the destroyer. The trident that he carries symbolises the way he blesses his devotees.
The Holy Trinity
The three points of the trident have various meanings. Sometimes, these refer to the holy Trinity, that is Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Due to this association, it is also believed that they symbolize the three forces of creation, maintenance and destruction.
When Shiva uses the trident to attack a demon, it signifies an attack from all the three of the Trinity. It is also believed that by using it, he liberates the being from the cycle of birth and death. There is a popular belief derived from the scriptures that those killed by God are the fortunate beings.
All the demons, though are cursed souls, are liberated from this world by the almighty himself, which is considered good. When Shiva attacks with the trident, he liberates them to salvation.
It Symbolizes Time
These three points of the trident also are believed to symbolize the time in its past, present and future form. This way, it is associated with Kaal, which means time. All the three forms of time, assimilate into the trident of Shiva.
All the karmas done by man in the past, and those that he is doing now or will be doing in the future are all taken into account and paid back using the trident by Shiva. He compiles all, and delivers his blessings. He brings an end to the past, present and future, when he attacks with the trident.
Associated With The Three Gunas
Yet another way the three points of the trident are seen is by associating these with the three gunas that the atmosphere consists of. Known as Satva, Rajas and Tamas, these gunas are the energies which are present in the atmosphere and are responsible for the various qualities that we possess, and therefore, these affect the people accordingly.
These energies are responsible for our moods and emotions. These are believed to be present in the human body in various proportions. Shiva's trident brings an end to the cycle of these energies, and destroys the element of ignorance, which lets the energies affect the moods of the beings.
The trident is seen as the place where all three energies become one, and ignorance is destroyed, giving origin to awakening. This awakening, which enables self-control, is believed to be the real knowledge.
Symbolizes The Three Worlds As Well
Since the Trident is also the weapon of Shiva, it also means that Shiva destroys the three worlds, Aakash (the sky), Patal (the netherworld) and Prithvi (the Earth), all in one stroke of bliss. When associated with the human body, trident also signifies the three channels of energy. These channels meet at the forehead between the eyebrows. The stroke of bliss thus enables awareness.