The Trishul is also an independent and powerful deity being found alongside Siva’s saguna Linga form. When one sees the Trishul, one has divine thoughts of Lord Siva. He has three braids of hair – Trijata. He is also known as Triloka Jnani meaning Knower of the Three Words; the higher, middle and lower worlds. He is also the Mahakala of Three Times, past present and future.
Trishula symbolizes that the entire manifest universe, its quantitative and qualitative nature, as well as the process by which it emerged from the unmanifest Absolute is described in triadic terms. One has to see beyond the Trishula to realise the Supreme and his divine aspects. The Trishul symbolizes invariable threes in Hinduism. The number Three has some significance in Hinduism. It is also symbolic of Lord Shiva as He is the third of the Trinity. But the Lord and His Trishul may symbolise several ‘threes.’
TRINETRA: To start, Lord Shiva is Trinetra – Three Eyed. Shiva Tattva describes this third eye as ‘the frontal eye, the eye of fire, it is the eye of higher perception. It is representative of the wisdom and insight that the Lord has. Tryambaka means ‘the three-eyed one’ each eye represented by Chandra, Surya and Agni.
VIBHUTI: In Shaivism, Vibhuti on the forehead is normally three horizontal lines representing Lord Shiva and the symbolism he stands for/ Holy ash signifies that the body's origin is from dust and ash and to dust and ash it shall return. The ash is a marker of impermanence. Everything in the interim is but an illusion.
SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM: Lord Shiva is also described as ‘Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram.’ Satyam means pertaining to Truth. This implies not real truth but that Shiva is reality of being within and without. Sundram means beautiful. To one committed to Shivam, He is the sub-stratum, the substance; the separate and the sum, the Sath; the SATHYAM. He is the awareness, the activity, the consciousness, feeling, the willing and the doing, the chith; the SIVAM. He is the light, the splendour, the harmony, the melody, the Ananda; the Sudram.
AUM: The symbol of AUM or OM consists of three curves. They each represent three states of consciousness. It has three hidden sound Au-u-um. The English word AUM has three letters. Together it means Zero or Pujyam which is Absolute Consciousness. Lower curve of Aum represents outward mowing wakeful consciousness; Upper curve represents silent consciousness and deep sleep state. This is the condition of oneness and peace. The Semi circle above the upper curve represents the Turiya or pure consciousness of Atman.
Omkara is the primal sound, the Word of God which gave birth to theUniverse. Om is the combination of A – akara, U – ukara and M – makara. It is for this reason that Lord Siva is Omkareshvara, the Lord of Omkara.
TRIMURTI: Or the Hindu Triad or Trinity. The Cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the maintainer or preserver and Shiva, the destroyer or transformer. Also Brahma-Vishnu-Maheswara.
SHAKTI: Trishul symbolizes three fundamental powers or shakti of 1. iccha, 2. kriys and 2. jnana – will, action and knowledge. Through progressive expansion of three Shaktis, the Unmanifest impinges into universal experience.
SIVOHAM: The three aspects of the Divine – Paramashiva, Parashakti and Parabindu are symbolized. The three aspects are the very Being – Aham or ‘I am’ of Siva, the very Self.
RTAM: Purusha and Prakriti manifest in the rest of Creation. Together they manifest Rtam which is a universal rhythm or Universal Order. Rtam underlies cosmic vibrations pervading the whole of creation, without which there would be disorder or chaos. Rtam is necessary for DNA to the ecosystem and orderly progression of time and events. Therefore, Rtam is the Shiva tandava in His cosmic form.
SHAIVA SIDDHANTA: In Siddhanta, 1.Pathi, 2.Pasu, 3, Pasam means: Shiva is Pathi; Pasus are the sheep-jivas and Pasam means bondage. One can say that this means Shepherd, Sheep and Symbol of Bondage.
GUNAS: The triple qualities if Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The mode of sattva – goodness, characterized by purity, illumination, order, stability, permanence, happiness, spirituality, cleanliness, and health. The mode of rajas - passion is characterized by action, creation, desire, lust, attachment, movement, and striving. Tamas or darkness is characterized by destruction, madness, disease, dissolution, ignorance, intoxication, heaviness, and sleep. Siva is the Master of maya and thereby master of these three qualities with which he controls the worlds. Trishul is the weapon of Siva with which he destroys evils and ignorance to restore order.
MALAMS. In Shaiva Siddhanta, ‘malam’ means impurities. Anava or ego, karma and maya keeps the individual separate and separable from Siva. Siva is the ruler over these three impurities. It is by the descent of His grace that one work through these impurities to realize Him. The trident symbolically represents the fact that Siva is the controller of the worlds and controller of all illusion.
KAAL. Three divisions of time are 1.Past, 2. Present, 3. Future. The Trishul also represents the three aspects of time, the past, the present and the future. Siva is Master of Time, Mahakala or Kala Bhairava, He determines the progress of the worlds according to his will; he is the Controller of time and also Controller of the illusion of Kaal. These apply to the past, present and future but the Lord Himself is beyond time.
YOGA PATHS: 1.Karma Yoga or the Path of Action; 2.Bhakti Yoga or the Path of Devotion; 3. Jnana Yoga or the Path of Knowledge. These are introduced by Shaiva Siddhanta, the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana. With these three paths, Siva transforms his devotees and destroys the evil in them. 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.
BHAKTI PATHS is a path of devotion to God. It is an entire realm of knowledge and practice unto itself. One is to understand the esoteric inter-working of the Three Worlds: 1. First world - is the physical universe; 2. Second World - is the subtle astral or mental plane of existence in which the devas, angels and spirits live; and the 3. Third World - is the spiritual universe of the Mahadevas, the Hindu Gods. The three worlds work harmoniously.
THREE MODES OF JNANA: The modes of Knowledge are the 1.Vedic Stage, 2.Upanishadic Stage and the 3.Gita Stage.
PURUSHARTA GOALS: In Hinduism, the goals are split between those emphasized by the "life is good" perspective and those emphasized by the "life is bad" perspective. The three life-affirming goals are 1.Dharma – virtue; 2.Artha - success and 3.Kama –pleasure. Life-negating goal is that of moksha or liberation.
THREE DHARMA PATHS or margas to salvation as presented by Bhagavad Gita are: 1.Karma-marga - path of ritual action or path of duties, the disinterested discharge of ritual and social obligations; the 2.Jnana-marga -path of knowledge, the use of meditative concentration preceded by long and systematic ethical and contemplative training called Yoga to gain knowledge of Brahman and 3.Bhakti-marga - path of devotion, love for a personal God. These paths are interactive and available to all.
THREE STATES OF EXPERIENCE: Siva states of consciousness are symbolized by the Trishul. These are the waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep state. He yet exists in the fourth transcendental state upon which the ordinary states are founded.
The Upanishads mention that man experiences three states of existence- 1.waking, 2.dream, and 3.deep sleep-and his Self within, the experiencer of the three states, is different from them. Analysis of all three states reveals the true nature of the Self.
THREE LOKAS: Existence is comprised of three worlds. (1) The First World (Bhuloka) is the material universe, the physical plane. (2) The Second World (Antarloka) is the subtle, astral plane, the mental and emotional sphere, occupied by angels, spirits and devas (divine beings). (3) The Third World (Brahmaloka) is the causal plane, the spiritual universe of the Mahadevas, ‘great radiant entities,’ the gods and highly evolved souls spoken of in Hinduism. The three worlds are harmonious and interacting.
Some Hindus would list the three worlds as: (1) Svarga – Heaven (2) Bhumi -Earth and (3) Patala -the Underworld. Shaivites interprate the super-conscious realm as Shivaloka.
RIGVEDA 9.1113: In Hindu Scripture is found the prayer, “Make me immortal in that realm where movement is accordant to wish, in the third region, the third heaven of heavens, where the worlds are resplendent.”
THREE DIVINE RESIDENCES: 1. Brahmalokha – Brahma, 2. Vaikuntha – Vishnu and 3. Kailasha – Shiva
SMIRTHIS: Three important Smriti literature are 1. Bhagavad Gita, 2. The Mahabaratha and 3. The Ramayana. These explain universal truths through symbolism and mythology, and contain some of the most beautiful and exciting stories in the history of religion world literature.
THREE DEBTS: 1. Debt to God – this is repaid by dedicating one’s life to the service of God; obeying scriptural injunction. 2. Debt to Sages and Saints – this is repaid by reverence and service at their holy feet; transmission of scriptural knowledge and 3.Debt to Ancestors – this is repaid by raising one’s family in accordance with the moral and ethical principles of dharma.
THREE GREAT CLASSES: 1.Vaishnavas - who worship the Lord as Vishnu; 2.Shaivas -who worship the Lord as Siva; and 3.Saktas - who adore Devi or the Mother aspect of the Lord.
TENETS. Three great tenets of Hinduism are: 1.Dwaita, 2. Adwaita and 3. Vishishtadwaita. They trace their origin to the ancient Vedas and discuss about the Creator of this world and about the nature of the world and about the relationship between the Creator and His creation.
CODES OF BEHAVIOUR: These three moral codes of behaviour are: 1. Brahmacharya – self control, 2. Ahimsa -non-injury and Satyam – truthfulness. They are the source of all values, and refer to the three layers of our personality: 1. physical, 2. emotional and 3.intellectual.
THREE SCHOOLS: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism.
THREE TEMPLES: 1. Community temples. 2. Home Shrines and 3. Shivalayan, the Human Inner Sanctuary as opposed to Avalayam.
NATURE: The three layers of nature are 1. Light, 2.Fire and 3. Darkness.
BEING: The three states of being are 1.Immanent , 2.Transcendent and 3. The Absolute.
PERIODS OF THE DAY are 1. Morning, 2. Noon and 3.Evening.
MOTHER: The first words of a newborn is Amma, A MM, A.
THREE BODIES are the 1.physical body, 2.subtle body, and 3.causal body.
PHASES OF LIFE: The three phases of Life are Young age, Middle age and Old age.
BREATH: 1. Apanam, In-breath, 2. Prane, Out-breath and 3. Ruddhva, Held-breath.
Hara Hara Mahadeva
(draft Lord Shiva symbolisms)