The Trishul is a trident used as one of the principal symbols in Hinduism. Being one of the most powerful weapons mentioned in Hindu texts and epics. It is wielded by Lord Shiva one of the members of the Holy Trinity. The goddess Durga also holds the Trishul amongst other weapons and attributes in her hands and is said to have received these celestial weapons from both Shiva and Vishnu.
1. Trishul: Represents the Trinity
Unlike the Greek god, Poseidon strident, who can only control the oceans, the Trishul is much more powerful. It is said that once attacked with the Trishul, the opponent has no chance of surviving. The three-pointed edges or the prongs have various meanings and significance. They are commonly said to represent the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, for sometimes the Tridevi - Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Shakti.
It is also considered to represent other elements like the three modes of nature, which is creation, maintenance, and destruction, or the three Kaals which are Past, Present, and Future the list goes on. The three Gunas Sat (Goodness, Harmonious), Raj (Passion), Tam (Destruction, Darkness), and the three Loka’s like Swarg Lok, Bhu Lok, and Patal Lok also hold a strong significance.
2. Trishul Created by Vishwakarma
According to Vishnu Purana Vishwakarma created the Trishul using the matter from the Sun. When Surya Dev married Sanjana, the daughter of Vishwakarma, his wife, soon became unhappy with the married life due to the unbearable heat of her husband Surya.
She complained to her father Vishwakarma, who agreed to solve the problem. Her father came to an arrangement whereby Surya agreed to reduce his heat to accommodate Sanjana. The solar matter fell to the earth, reducing its heat by one-eighth.
That material was then used to make Trishul. Vishwakarma gifted this deadly weapon to Lord Shiva, which seems obvious because Shiva is known to be the destroyer among the Trinity. As a primary weapon of Shiva the destroyer, the Trishul is said to be capable of destroying all three worlds, the Swarga Lok, Bhu Lok, and Patal Lok. As per the Hindu epics, Shiva had used his Trishul to destroy many demons, as well as some of the most powerful Gods like Brahma, Surya, and also his son Ganesha.
3. Greatest Among Brahma and Vishnu
As the deals go Brahma and Vishnu were once arguing as to which one of the two was more powerful at that point, a great blazing pillar-like object like a burning jyotirlinga short out of nowhere, it extended from the ground soaring up to the sky. It was said to be so tall that, Brahma and Vishnu were unable to find the ends of the pillar, they could not even comprehend what it was and how it had appeared. They decided to make use of the situation to find who was more powerful among the two.
Brahma took the form of a swan and flew towards the sky, while Vishnu took the form of a Varaha and went down towards the ground, trying to find the limits of the blazing pillar, but no matter how high Brahma flew or how low Vishnu went. The pillar seemed to have no limits. As Bramha flew upwards, he reached the Satya loop. He met Ketaki flower whom Bramha convinced to lie on his behalf to Vishnu that he found the end of the Jyotirlinga. Vishnu, on the other hand, went down to Patal Lok but was unable to find the end of the blazing pillar when they returned Vishnu confess the truth that he was unable to find the end. But Brahma lied that he found the end and Ketaki became his witness.
4. Lord Shiva Beheaded Brahma with his Trishul
Therefore, Vishnu acknowledged Brahma as the supreme one and did offerings to Bramha. When Vishnu was about to touch the feet of Bramha, a fierce body shot out of the Jyotirlinga. It was Bhairava, a mighty and furious form of Lord Shiva. Shiva was infuriated at Brahma's lie and cut the 5th head of Brahma, which was looking upwards with his Trishul. This is a symbolic representation of how Shiva is liberated from Brahma from his fifth head, which represents his ego. Brahma and Vishnu immediately recognized his power and acknowledged his power as the superior of the trinity.
5. Shiva Beheaded Ganesha with His Trishul
Another story of Lord Shiva's beheading, his son Ganesha, is also quite popular in the Puranas. After several years of penance, when Goddess Parvati was taking a bath with her friends, Lord Shiva arrived at her palace without any notice. Parvati was unhappy with his behavior and decided to create a child of her own. She scraped some dirt from her body and shaved it into a beautiful boy bringing life into the boy.
She instructed him not to allow anyone inside the palace when she was bathing after a while, when Lord Shiva tried to enter again, he was stopped at the entrance by the little boy. Lord Shiva was enraged beyond control and they broke into a fight. Despite being aware of the might of Lord Shiva and the repercussions that could follow, Ganesha refused to disobey his mother, even if it cost him his life. In a fit of rage, Shiva severed the head of the child with his Trishul.
When Parvati came to the door, her eyes fell on her beheaded son. She took the infuriated form of Kali and threatened to destroy the world, fearing her anger, Shiva implanted the head of the first creature he saw, which was an elephant, thus bringing Ganesha back to life. It is not just the cost, but demons like Jalandhar, Shankhachooda, etc also have been the victim of an angry Shiva’s deadly Trishula. But as history goes, every time Trishul is used it has only restored peace and established divinity in the universe.